Media CenterFirst Latino Bishop to head U.S. Catholic Conference
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, November 13, 2019 –
Archbishop José H. Gomez has been elected by his fellow bishops to head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the first Latino to hold the position. In the role, he is expected to appoint the next chairman of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the overseas humanitarian arm of USCCB.
“Archbishop Gomez is courageous and outspoken in advocating for migrants. He also urges the Church to use its moral authority on behalf of displaced people, many of whom are forced from their homelands by conflict, failed crops, severe weather and other hardships. We are delighted to work with the Archbishop in order to ease the root causes of forced migration worldwide,” said Sean Callahan, president & CEO of CRS.
The USCCB, meeting in its annual plenary assembly, also elected on Tuesday three new CRS board members: Bishop Mark Seitz, Bishop of El Paso; Bishop Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport; and Bishop Anthony Taylor, Bishop of Little Rock. They will begin their three-year terms Jan. 1, 2020.
Bishop Seitz was installed as Bishop of El Paso in 2013. After his priestly ordination, he taught at the University of Dallas and held several positions at Holy Trinity Seminary. He had several pastoral assignments; in one, he donated a kidney to an ailing parishioner.
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano was installed as Fifth Bishop of Bridgeport in 2013. He formally convoked the 4th Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport in 2014, the first in 32 years. Under his leadership the diocese has launched the Diocesan Leadership Institute, ongoing Strategic and Pastoral Planning and other initiatives to renew the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral life of the diocese. A noted catechist, Bishop Caggiano was invited by Pope Benedict XVI to deliver World Youth Day talks in Sydney in 2008, and in Madrid in 2011; and by Pope Francis to serve as a catechist at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 and in Panama in 2019.
Bishop Taylor was installed as the Seventh Bishop of Little Rock in 2008. Hispanic ministry has been a major feature of Bishop Taylor's ministry, and he served the Hispanic population in a five-county area. In 1993, he was the founding pastor of St. Monica Parish in Edmond, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, which is a total stewardship parish. In 2003, he returned to his first parish, Sacred Heart Parish in Oklahoma City, as pastor and oversaw the last phase of its transition from predominately Anglo to predominately Hispanic.
Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, will end his term as chairman of the CRS board at the conclusion of the USCCB annual assembly tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 14. Archbishop Gomez will then appoint a new chairman.
Bishop Mansour has served on the CRS board for nearly seven years, first as a member and then—for the past 3 years—as chair. During that time, he traveled to Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, El Salvador, Uganda and Nigeria.
“Catholic Relief Services is the finest Catholic agency I’ve ever had the privilege of serving. Our staff bear witness to the gospel by their lives – while following the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching,” Bishop Mansour said. “The grants for which we apply, whether from large donors, the U.S. Government, or the Global Fund, are vetted to be sure we do not agree to do anything against those Teachings as we serve the poorest of the poor.”
“The work of CRS overseas is the finest example of a morally-based Catholic agency,” Mansour continued. “Its mission is only growing. CRS is strengthening its outreach to thousands more Catholic parishes, Catholic colleges and Catholic high schools and grade schools. The hope is that American Catholics will see CRS as one more noble Catholic effort to satisfy the longing to serve.”
Callahan thanked Bishop Mansour for his remarkable service: “I am so grateful to Bishop Mansour who helped us through the tragic loss of four of our staff, and also in our strategic planning for the next decade, one in which we aim to make transformational changes in the world, to scale up innovative, replicable and measurable successes to reduce poverty.”
CRS extends its heartfelt thanks for the service of five board directors who will retire on Dec. 31: Tom Arndorfer, Archbishop Paul Coakley, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, Bishop Gregory Parkes and Jeri Eckhart Queenan.
CRS carries out the commitment of the U.S. bishops to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. It works in over 100 countries implementing humanitarian and development assistance.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CRS Online Press Room: www.crs.org/press-room