News Headlines > The International Catholic Migration Commission to be headed by former Caritas priest

13 May 2016 | by Catholic News Service

The International Catholic Migration Commission to be headed by former Caritas priest

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Mgr Robert J. Vitillo will be the new secretary-general of the

The International Catholic Migration Commission has appointed a US priest, Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, to be its new secretary-general.

Mgr Vitillo, a priest of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, has been on the staff of Caritas Internationalis since 2005 and serves as both the head of its delegation to the United Nations in Geneva and as special adviser on HIV/AIDS and health.

The ICMC said that Vitillo would assume the duties of secretary-general June 1. His candidacy was approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The commission, which has a council made up of representatives of bishops' conferences and Catholic organizations involved with migration and refugees, works toward the recognition of rights and develops programs focused on humanitarian assistance, resettlement, and migration and development.

Vitillo, a trained social worker and psychotherapist, had served in the 1980s as director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson. From 1986 to 1995, he worked in Rome on the staff of Caritas Internationalis and then returned to the United States as executive director of the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

In a statement released by the ICMC, Mgr Vitillo said that after working with the commission "on a range of migration and refugee issues for many years, I feel honoured to have the opportunity to now lead ICMC, especially in a world wrestling with migration challenges".

His expertise includes child protection and social services, adoption, migration and refugee services, human rights, integral human development, management, HIV/AIDS and health. He speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian.

Vitillo takes over from Johan Ketelers who his coming to the end of his third term, having led the organization as secretary-general since 2004.

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