Pope taps layman as new secretary of Laity, Family, Life

Gleison De Paula Souza, a husband and father of two children, was named secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life by Pope Francis Nov. 17, 2022. (CNS Photo courtesy of Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named a Brazil-born husband, father of two children and teacher of religion in an Italian school to be the secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

The pope’s choice of Gleison De Paula Souza, who teaches in the southern Italian town of Galatina, was announced by the Vatican Nov. 17.

He succeeds Schonstatt Father Alexandre Awi Mello, who was elected superior general of his order in August.

Souza, 38, was born in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state. From 2005 to 2016, he was a member of the Sons of Divine Providence but left the community without being ordained to the priesthood. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Salento in Lecce.

The dicastery is led by U.S. Cardinal Kevin Farrell and has two undersecretaries: Linda Ghisoni and Gabriella Gambino.

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