Pope Francis has appointed Sister Alessandra Smerilli as ad interim Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and as Delegate to the Vatican COVID-19 Commission.
The Holy Father has therefore disposed that the direction of the Vatican Commission Covid-19 be composed of His Most Reverend Eminence Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, the Rev. Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, F.M.A., Acting Secretary, and the Rev. Fr. Fabio Baggio, C.S., Undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section.
Born in Vasto (Chieti), Italy, in 1974, Sister Smerilli has served as the Under-Secretary of the Dicastery since March 2021, as well as coordinator of the Taskforce Economy of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission.
The Cardinal Prefect and the entire Dicastery offer their congratulations and best wishes for fruitful partnership in the service of the universal Church and humanity.
“I am grateful to the Holy Father - says Sister Alessandra Smerilli - for the demanding task he has called me to take on, and I pray to the Lord to help me to honour this call in a spirit of obedience to the Church, with the humility, passion, creativity and ability to listen that it requires.
My desire and commitment is to serve the mission of the Church in the best possible way, for as long as the Pope sees fit.
At this time, I would like to express my special thanks to Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, to Monsignor Bruno Marie Duffè, former Secretary of the Dicastery, and Father Augusto Zampini, former Adjunct Secretary, as well as to the Under-Secretaries and all the people who have welcomed me and with whom we have walked an important and difficult stretch of road in recent months.
It comforts me to know that in carrying out my new service I will be able to count on the spirit of communion and collaboration of the entire Dicastery, as well as of the many international partners who collaborate with the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, for the promotion of integral human development and the care of creation, by continuing to expand upon the principles of the Catholic Social Teaching to which Pope Francis constantly calls us to build a better world”.
"I want to express my gratitude to the Holy Father - are the words of Mgr. Duffé - for having granted me the opportunity to serve the universal Church in this important task, at a time when humanity is living the challenge of the pandemic, which has allowed us to experience ever more clearly how health, ecology and social issues are deeply connected and bring us back to what Francis has called a "rediscovery of creation". I thank Sister Alessandra Smerilli for accepting the Pope's invitation to work for a new model of development that prepares a better future for all".
Fr. Augusto Zampini says: "I am grateful to the Holy Father for entrusting me with the challenging task of coordinating the Vatican Covid-19 Commission and serving as Adjunct Secretary of the Dicastery. Now that the Commission is ready to enter a new phase, and in accordance with my bishop, I have asked Pope Francis to be allowed to return to my diocese. I am confident that under the leadership of Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, the Commission will continue to chart a course for long term recovery that can help heal both people and planet".