Pope Francis has just appointed Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as a member of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Renato stated: “I received with great emotion the news of the appointment by the Holy Father to represent the Society members of the world in this important Dicastery, whose focal point is very close to our Society’s charitable activity. It is an immense honour and also a great privilege to be part of this Dicastery, which is one of the most important of the Holy See.”
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was created by Pope Francis as a result of the merger of several pontifical commissions and councils, including the defunct “Cor Unum”, of which the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was part.
According to its statutes, in force since January 1, 2017, the Dicastery works in the areas of justice and peace, migration and refugees, health, charitable works and the care of God’s creation. In light of the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church, the Dicastery promotes integral human development, with special attention to the needy, children, the sick and unemployed, and includes providing assistance during natural disasters.
The Dicastery is also responsible for promoting solidarity with the most vulnerable, in particular through the celebration of the World Days of Peace (January 1), Migrants (June 20) and The Sick (February 11). In addition, as stated in the Dicastery’s statutes, there are three working commissions: a commission on charity, another on ecology and one on health care.
The Dicastery is chaired by a prefect (Cardinal Peter Turkson), assisted by a secretary (Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé) and a secretary deputy (Father Augusto Zampini Davies), as well as four undersecretaries, consultants and experts. The program of activities for 2021, which includes a Plenary Assembly, will be published shortly on the website of the Dicastery (www.humandevelopment.va) in English, Italian and Spanish.
Besides this Dicastery, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, through its President General, is also part of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life since 2018 (www.laityfamilylife.va) and is in the process of joining the Dicastery for Communication, at the invitation of the Vatican.
The word “dicastery,” unusual in several dictionaries and languages, can be translated as “department of the Roman Curia,” and it exercises governmental functions that are equivalent to country ministries.
Click here to see the Letter of Appointment, written in Latin and signed by Cardinal Peter Turkson on behalf of Pope Francis. The letter is dated November 11, 2020 and Renato will serve on this dicastery for five years.