Former Vice President Joe Biden at the Hammond Civic Center

In this 2018 file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., urge supporters to get out and vote during a rally at the Hammond Civic Center. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved President Biden's nomination of Donnelly to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Thursday the nomination of former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, the tiny European city-state that's home to Pope Francis and global headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church.

In his new role, the University of Notre Dame graduate plans to ensure the safety and security of Americans in the embassy and at the Vatican, while also working to promote peace and the release of political prisoners alongside the Vatican and Catholic organizations.

Donnelly has said as ambassador he will "bring the same public service ethic, collaborative mindset and focus on delivering for the American people that defined my time in Congress to the task of expanding and deepening our partnership with the Holy See."

Records show Donnelly is the first Vatican ambassador to be appointed by a Catholic American president, Democrat Joe Biden, because the United States did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See during the tenure of the nation's first Catholic president, Democrat John F. Kennedy (1961-63).

Donnelly represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate from 2013 to 2019. Earlier, Donnelly served as congressman for eastern Porter County, LaPorte County and north-central Indiana from 2007 to 2013.

Originally published on nwitimes.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.

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