The General Secretary of the Bible Society in Italy (BSI) represented both the national Bible Society and the global UBS fellowship at the funeral of Pope John Paul II and at the inaugural mass of Pope Benedict XVI.
BSIs Dr Valdo Bertalot also took part the following day in Pope Benedict's first audience, for foreign and non-Catholic guests.
"I had the opportunity to greet the Pope personally on behalf of UBS and BSI, offering him BSI's latest ecumenical literary translation of the Gospel of Mark as an example of the UBS service to the Churches," said Bertalot. "He offered his warm thanks to UBS for the service, appreciating very much that the gift was given on the same day that the Catholic Church celebrates St Mark."
The UBS Europe Middle East Area Secretary, Peter Wigglesworth, described the representation of United Bible Societies at the events in Rome connected to the death of Pope John Paul II and the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI as "evidence of the standing of UBS in the eyes of the Vatican".
He also said Bertalots presence at the events was a consequence of all the work that he and his father before him have done to establish close ties with the Vatican on behalf of UBS."
Earlier, the Rev A Miller Milloy, General Secretary of UBS, had written to Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, offering condolences on behalf of the Fellowship on the death of Pope John Paul II. In a separate letter just over two weeks later, he offered the Cardinal congratulations on the election of Pope Benedict XVI.