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Pope Francis appoints the first lay secretary to Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

Gleison de Paula Souza newly appointed Secretary for the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life (Photo credit Vatican News)

Pope Francis appointed Gleison De Paula Souza as the new secretary for Discatery for Laity, Family, and Life on November 17.

38-year-old Souza is the first lay secretary for the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life on the appointment as secretary by Pope Francis.

Souza succeedes 51-year-old Brazilian Father Alexandre Awi Mello who resigned this year because Father Mello became the superior general of the Secular Institute of the Schonstatt Fathers on August 21. Father Mello served as the secretary in this Dicastery since 2017.

The prefect of the Dicastery is the Irish-born American cardinal Kevin Farrell.

Souza is a teacher of religion at the Antonio Vallone Science and Linguistics High School in Galatina, Puglia, Italy.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome, and a master's degree in Philosophical Sciences from the University of Salento in Lecce.

Souza was born in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil on May 14, 1984.

From 2005 to 2016, he was a member of “Orionine Fathers,” which is the Congregation of the Sons of Divine Providence founded by the popular priest in Italy, Father Luigi Orione (1872-1940).

He is married and a father of two daughters. - With inputs from Vatican News and Aleteia


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