VATICAN CITY — Fewer than five months after updating the statutes of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, Pope Francis named a new slate of members of the Vatican office, including U.S. law professor Helen Alvare, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta and Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec.
The Vatican announced the new members and a large group of consultants Oct. 6.
On the recommendation of his international Council of Cardinals, Francis created the dicastery in 2016 by combining the former pontifical councils for the laity and the family. He promulgated the first statutes of the office and appointed U.S. Cardinal Kevin Farrell as prefect that same year.
In May, Pope Francis updated the statutes, including a stronger emphasis on youth and young adult ministry, on the office’s responsibility for promoting reflection on the role of women in the Church and society and on the office’s task of supporting improved marriage preparation programs and Church outreach to couples living in situations the Church considers “irregular.”
Among the new dicastery members are three married couples; they come from Poland, Singapore and Germany.
The new consultants to the office include: U.S. Father Robert W. Oliver, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; and Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska.