Pope Francis appointed Sister Alessandra Smerilli Secretary ad interim of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Delegate of the COVID-19 Vatican Commission. Sister Smerilli is replacing Monsignor Bruno Marie Duffé and Reverend Augusto Zampini, Secretary and Vice-Secretary respectively of the Dicastery, who have returned to their dioceses.
The appointment was reported today, Thursday, August 26, 2021, by the Holy See Press Office. The Holy Father has included on the Board of Directors of the COVID-19 Vatican Commission: Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, the Dicastery’s Prefect; Sister Alessandra Smerilli and Father Fabio Baggio Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section.
“Vatican News” reported that Sister Smerilli is grateful to the Pontiff for appointing her to the “demanding task” and she prays “to the Lord to help me honor this call with a spirit of obedience to the Church, with humility, passion, creativity and the capacity to listen, which it requires. My desire and commitment is to be able to serve the Church’s mission as best possible, during the time the Pope considers opportune.”
She said she “counts on the spirit of communion and collaboration of the whole Dicastery, as well as the numerous international members that collaborate with the COVID Commission, for the integral promotion of the person and the care of creation, promoting and carrying out those principles of the Social Doctrine of the, to which Pope Francis calls us constantly for the construction of a better world.”
Sister Alessandra Smerilli
Was born on November 14, 1974, in Vasto, Italy. She obtained a doctorate in Political Economy from the Faculty of Economics of Rome’s La Sapienza University, and in Economics from the School of Economics of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, the UK.
At present, she is an Adviser of Vatican City State and Consultor of the Synod of Bishops.
Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development
Since January 1, 2017, the Dicastery has brought together the competencies of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; the Pontifical Council Cor Unum; the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care).
Included in the Dicastery are the Charity Commission, the Ecology Commission and the Health Care Workers Commission, which work in keeping with their rules.
A Section of the Dicastery is concerned with migrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, following due attention to questions related to the needs of those obliged to leave their homeland or deprived of it. This Section is found ad tempus under the guidance of the Supreme Pontiff, who exercises it in the way he considers appropriate, with the help of the Under-Secretaries.
The Dicastery is competent in the relationship with Caritas Internationalisin keeping with its Statutes; it has a close relationship with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, taking its Statutes into account, and it collaborates with the State Secretariat, participating in the Holy See’s delegations to inter-governmental meetings in areas of its competence.
The Dicastery is also responsible for the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel and the Populorum Progressio Foundation for Latin America.