Jeannine Marino, the Archdiocese of Washington’s new secretary of pastoral ministry and social concerns, said in her new role she is excited “to be working directly with the pastors and parish staff of the archdiocese, and to be serving in the local Church I have been a part of for 20 years.”

Originally from Yorktown, New York, Marino has served in many different roles in the Church, including as a Lasallian Volunteer with the Christian Brothers in San Francisco, an RCIA catechist in parish and university settings, and as the pastoral associate for faith formation at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. She currently lives in Hyattsville with her husband and children, and attends St. Martin of Tours Parish in Washington.

Marino worked for the past 10 years at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as assistant director in the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, where she assisted in implementing the bishop’s vision for evangelization and catechesis at the national level. She particularly worked on implementing the vision of living as a missionary disciple, as outlined in Pope Francis’s 2013 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”).

She also served as staff to the USCCB’s Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, where she assisted bishops on a variety of canonical issues, “always trying to infuse the law of the Church with the spirit of the Gospel,” she said.

Marino is currently a doctoral candidate in canon law at The Catholic University of America, where she has also received a bachelor's degree in religion and history, as well as a licentiate in canon law. She also earned a master's degree in theology from Boston College. 

In her doctoral dissertation, Marino is writing about the process of canonization and the pastoral realities that dioceses face when working on a cause for canonization.

This is a topic that Marino is familiar with, since she has served since 2007 as vice-postulator for the cause of canonization of Servant of God Mary Virginia Merrick, a native of Washington who founded the National Christ Child Society.

“She was ahead of her time,” said Marino, explaining why Merrick inspires her. “She really saw the need to serve the vulnerable because they were Christ. She saw in children who were in need that they were Christ.”

In many ways, Merrick did the work of Catholic Charities before it existed, said Marino. Despite paralysis resulting from a fall as a teenager, she dedicated her life to serving low-income children.

“[Mary Virginia Merrick] is an incredible role model of someone who had a disability but who could be a full fledged participant in the Church and the world,” said Marino. “She absolutely advocated for others. She never let [her disability] hold her back or let anyone else tell her it would hold her back.”

In her new role, Marino will have the opportunity to follow Merrick’s example of seeing Christ in others as she oversees the secretariat that includes the departments of Special Needs Ministry, Social Concerns, Life Issues, Evangelization and Family Life, Youth Ministry, Worship, Cultural Diversity and Outreach, Lay Leadership, the Pontifical Missions Society and Hospital, Jail and College Campus Ministry.

Marino said she is motivated to work for the Church “for love of the Lord and wanting to serve him, being open to how He is calling us to be salt of the Earth, [and to] proclaim God’s message of forgiveness, redemption and love.”