Rorate Caeli

Pope's Latin Twitter account translator celebrates Low TLM in Michigan

The Detroit Free Press reported earlier this week:

Some 230,000 people follow Spanish-speaking Pope Francis’ Twitter feed in Latin, a language that draws more users than German, Polish or Arabic. And one of the Vatican-based authors who translates Francis’ 140-character pronouncements into Latin is Msgr. Daniel Gallagher, a Catholic priest who graduated from then-Traverse City High School and the University of Michigan.

Gallagher, on loan to the Vatican from the Diocese of Gaylord, is the only American among seven specialists in the Office of Latin Letters at the Vatican Secretary of State. Gallagher and his colleagues help the pope conduct business in Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church.

“The opportunity to compose in Latin as a job and day after day is very unique,” said Gallagher. “Most people who are involved in Latin at higher levels are there because they’re studying it. That’s a different ballgame than writing Latin, which is very unique. We’re the only place in the world ... that it’s an official requirement.”

Gallagher, 44, returns to Michigan today to be a featured speaker at a University of Michigan gathering Friday and Saturday of Latin enthusiasts — from high school Latin teachers to armchair Latinists who are coming from across the country for classical discourse. Gallagher majored in microbiology at U-M while pondering a medical career and didn’t intensively study Latin until he studied for the priesthood.

Gallagher will talk about his work, which involves feeding posts at least four times a week to Francis’ Twitter page and translating papal decrees, announcements and letters of commendation into the language of ancient Rome. There’s usually a Latin tweet every Sunday and Wednesday following the pope’s public addresses.

The popularity of the pope’s Latin Twitter account shows that Latin is far from dead, said Gallagher.

Msgr. Gallagher celebrated a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite yesterday at St. Thomas, Ann Arbor, MI, as recorded above (image by Juventutem Michigan). Congratulations to him and to all involved!