WASHINGTON (December 16, 2004)–Father Robert J. Vitillo, for the past eight years Executive Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, will leave CCHD for a new post with Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based global confederation of national Catholic social service and development organizations that operate in some 200 countries.
Father Vitillo will serve as full-time Special Advisor to Caritas on HIV and AIDS. Working in collaboration with other Catholic organizations, he will direct the Caritas Internationalis response to wide-ranging aspects of the global pandemic in various parts of the world.
Father Vitillo will coordinate the Caritas Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS, serve on the AIDS Funding Network Group of Catholic organizations engaged in HIV and AIDS programs in the developing world and other needy countries, and assist the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis in liaison with the Pontifical Council on Health Care and the Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Centre and Specialized Agencies in Geneva.
He will begin his new assignment, based at the Centre Catholique International de Geneve, in Geneva, Switzerland, in early February, 2005.
Prior to joining the staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Father Vitillo was Caritas Internationalis delegate to the United Nations in New York and to the World Bank in Washington. He was Caritas Internationalis Chief of Service for Europe and North America from 1986 to 1989.
"Father Vitillo is an outstanding priest whose entire ministry has been characterized by devotion to the poor and the downtrodden," said USCCB General Secretary Msgr. William P. Fay. "He has had a tremendous impact on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, guiding it to attain even greater recognition and visibility than before. Our consolation in losing his services is only in knowing that his many talents will be at the service of the wider Church."
Robert J. Vitillo is a priest of the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., and holds a master's degree in social work from Rutgers University, where he also pursued doctoral studies in the same field. He completed his undergraduate studies at Marquette University, Milwaukee, and theological studies at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. He became Executive Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in January, 1997.
The Campaign was founded in 1970 by the nation's Catholic bishops. It is the largest private funding source for organizations that empower the poor and work to eliminate poverty and injustice in the United States.
From 1982 to 1986 Father Vitillo was Executive Secretary, Secretariat for Social Ministries, in the Diocese of Paterson. In that capacity he served as primary liaison with various advocacy and social services agencies.
Since 1987, Father Vitillo has also been engaged in education of church leaders and development of church-based programs in response to the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. He has served as consultant to UNICEF in Eastern and Central Europe on the development of family-centered programs to benefit children in need.
Father Vitillo is president of the National Catholic AIDS Network board of directors, serves as co-convenor of the Strategy Group on HIV and AIDS for the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (based at the World Council of Churches), and as a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Council for Adoption, the Global Community Service Foundation, and Medicines for Humanity.
Father Vitillo's working languages include Italian, Spanish, and French.