Over the last few months Crux has reached several important benchmarks, from new highs in online traffic to success with our first-ever fundraising appeal. All the while, our daily coverage has continued to deliver the smart, wired and independent journalism upon which readers have come to depend.

Today, I’m announcing three new milestones, one a new addition to our team and the other two in-house promotions.

First, I’m thrilled to announce that effective today, Elise Harris is our new senior correspondent. She’s based in Rome and specialized in Vatican coverage, but she also has wide knowledge of the global Catholic scene and will chase stories for us wherever they emerge.

Harris comes to us from the Catholic News Agency, where she first served as a multi-media and content management assistant in Denver and then as Senior Rome Correspondent covering the Vatican. Over her five years there, she earned a reputation for clarity, fairness and tenacity in her reporting.

I know Harris is grateful to CNA for the opportunities she enjoyed there, and Crux will always owe our friends at CNA a debt of gratitude for having nurtured such a remarkable young talent. She graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2010 and holds degrees in philosophy and communications.

In addition to her professional qualifications, we’ve also come to know Harris as a kind and insightful colleague and friend, and she’ll enhance the Crux team in every possible sense. Her debut piece today on Chilean Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa and his ties to a Peruvian founder of a lay movement accused of sexual abuse, as well as abuses of power and conscience, is a small sample of what you can expect in the weeks and months to come.

I should add that bringing Harris on board is made possible through the support of our friends and partners at the DeSales Media Group in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Going forward, she’ll also be contributing to their “Currents” news program and their publications, the Tablet and Nuestra Voz. We’re extraordinarily grateful.

In tandem with our other Rome-based journalists, Inés San Martín and Claire Giangravè, I believe the addition of Harris gives Crux one of the most impressive three-person teams that’s ever worked the Vatican beat.

As an aside, I never set out to hire women for those roles, because I was simply looking for the best people for the jobs. However, I’ll admit that in a business that’s traditionally been an old boy’s club, it’s no small point of pride to watch three incredibly talented young women setting the standards other emulate.

Speaking of San Martín, I’m also pleased to announce that effective immediately, she becomes our Rome Bureau Chief, responsible for coordinating the efforts of the prodigious threesome we’ve now got in the field. She’s been with Crux from the very beginning, and her contributions are absolutely foundational for everything we’ve accomplished.

In her new role, San Martín will ensure that important stories aren’t falling through the cracks and that our resources are deployed to maximum effectiveness. She will, of course, also continue to deliver the same stellar Vatican coverage which has established her reputation as an industry leader.

San Martín will be working in collaboration with me, since I have no intention of taking a step back from the Roman scene. If anything, I intend to expand my own reporting and analysis from the Eternal City, since it’s increasingly clear it’s where Crux’s center of gravity is destined to be, and, in the Pope Francis era, it’s also where the action is.

One striking feature of the emerging physiognomy of Crux is how young we are. I’m 53 years old, and I’m now surrounded by a pack of energetic and wildly intelligent millennials. Yet it’s precisely that youthful passion that makes Crux so vibrant, and it positions us to have a keen grasp not only of present realities but also future possibilities.

You’ll be able to watch the expanded Crux team in action later this month, when we’ll be all over the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, including Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland Aug 25-26. It’s an “all hands of deck” situation for us, which will begin with our coverage of Northern Ireland Aug. 13-17 and then reach a crescendo in Dublin Aug. 18-27.

We’ll be doing all that in tandem with our partners at “Currents” and the Tablet and Nuestra Voz in Brooklyn.

Finally, I’m also pleased to announce that Father Jeffrey Kirby, STD, our Sunday spirituality columnist, has been named a senior contributor. Kirby began writing a weekly column for Crux in 2016, while he was completing his doctorate in Rome, and it’s become a favorite weekly staple on the site.

Kirby is the author of several spiritual works, including Lord, Teach Us to Pray; the award-winning The Doors of Mercy; and, most recently, Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life. All are published by St. Benedict’s Press.

With these promising pieces in place, there are amazing days ahead for Crux, and I invite you to keep coming along for the ride!

As a reminder, it takes resources to keep bringing Crux’s unique content to you every day. We’re always grateful for your support, which makes everything we do possible.