Oklahoma City, Okla., Nov 20, 2013 / 05:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City says he feels privileged to have been named chairman of the board for Catholic Relief Services and was surprised when he was asked last week to take the role.
“I’m humbled, and I’m honored, to have this opportunity to serve the Church and our mission to the least of our brothers and sisters around the world,” Archbishop Coakley told CNA Nov. 19.
“I’ve been on the board of CRS for over a year, going on two years, but I was very much surprised by the appointment.”
The archbishop recalled how the new U.S. bishop’s conference president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., approached him as the annual meeting concluded in Baltimore last week “and asked if I would be willing to serve.”
“So I had to ask him what chairing the organization would entail, and it certainly will require me to rearrange some priorities, but I’m very happy to serve in this way, very honored to be entrusted with this responsibility.”
Archbishop Coakley was announced Tuesday as chairman of Catholic Relief Services’ board of directors, succeeding Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson in the role. The charity is the international humanitarian agency of the U.S. bishops, providing assistance to those in need in 91 countries. It was founded in 1943 to aid World War II survivors in Europe.
In a public statement, Archbishop Coakley expressed his deep gratitude for Bishop Kicanas and his “sterling example and dedication as the previous chair.”
He added that “even now, as I transition into this role, more than 100 CRS workers are on the ground in the Philippines, offering their expertise and assistance as our Filipino brothers and sisters face great and unexpected suffering in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. The work of CRS – its mission to extend the love and compassion of Christ to the poor wherever there is need – continues.”
Archbishop Coakley explained to CNA/EWTN News that “the work of CRS is so important, and such a significant expression of the Catholic Church in the U.S., of our mission to serve the poor and those who are in distress, the least of our brothers and sisters.”
He visited CRS operations in Rwanda in September, and was “deeply moved by that experience.”
“It was my first opportunity to witness on the ground how CRS is affecting lives, and saving lives. I have a (Read More)