New Director of USCCB Justice, Peace and Human Development

Was he a Chaput-in? (Sorry ... )

The new director of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development has been named. Replacing the legendary John Carr is frankly an unknown quantity to me and someone from completely outside the conference universe: Jonathan J. Reyes, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver. That's a position he's held since 2009 when he was hired by then Denver Bishop Charles Chaput. It's fair to wonder what this appointment means for the direction of the JPHD office, which has been criticized by some individual conference members and voices of agitation from outside the conference for leaning too far to the left in pushing CST onto the national political scene. Does the appointment mean a greater focus on charity and direct service and less on Washingon advocacy in the JPHD future? And how will it affect morale at the office and among long-time staff who may have been seeking the appointment? Reyes is the father of seven so we at least can be confident he knows how to deal with an unruly crowd. Stay tuned ...


Here's the release from USCCB:


Denver Catholic Charities, Social Ministries Director Named Head Of USCCB Justice, Peace, Human Development Department

September 17, 2012

WASHINGTON—Jonathan J. Reyes, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver since 2009, has been named executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

He succeeds John Carr, who retired from the USCCB in late August after almost 25 years of service. He is currently is a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, focusing on the links between faith and public life.

Reyes, who has served as director of social ministry for the Denver Archdiocese simultaneously with his Catholic Charities position, oversees an organization that serves 45,000 persons annually and includes five homeless shelters, six child care centers and 22 affordable housing properties, among dozens of other charitable programs.

Among other contributions to the Church's social mission, Reyes also founded Christ in the City, a national volunteer and formation program for college students.In its third year, it has had over 200 participants.He also oversaw the creation of Regina Caeli Catholic Counseling Services and Lighthouse Women's Care Center and completed the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center in Greeley, Colorado.

His previous work in Denver included co-founding and becoming first president of the Augustine Institute, 2005-2008. The institute is a Catholic graduate school that combines education in theology, Scripture and history with practical formation in pedagogy and leadership. Additionally, from 2004-2005, he was vice president for campus ministry and leadership formation of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in Denver. FOCUS is a team-based evangelization program aimed toward students on college campuses.

From 1998-2004, Reyes served on the staff of Christendom College, in Front Royal, Virginia, first as an assistant professor of history, and then as vice president of academic affairs.

He received a doctorate in European history from the University of Notre Dame in 2000, and a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1990. He is married and has seven children.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, made the appointment. 

"Jonathan Reyes brings vital experience with on-the-ground charities work and with young adults and is a proven administrator," he said. "Jonathan has the ability to inspire people to embrace the Church's social teaching and carry it out in their daily lives. I feel confident that his knowledge of the many issues facing the Church in our nation and world, combined with his practical experience and dedication, will promote effectively the outstanding and critical work of the USCCB Justice, Peace and Human Development Department."

Reyes voiced both regret and anticipation.

"Although I am sad to leave Catholic Charities and the community of northern Colorado, I am excited and honored by the opportunity to serve the Church in this capacity," he said. "I look forward to working with the excellent staff of the USCCB."

Reyes will oversee USCCB efforts in domestic and international affairs and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the bishops' anti-poverty program.He will assume his position at the bishops' conference in December.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Tomi Allio
8 years ago
If the Bishops wanted to appoint someone with little or no public policy experience, no history in working with Catholic social action leaders, no knowledge about national faith based organizations, no experience on how to effect social change, no background with peace and international issues, no connections on Capitol Hill or understanding of how the process works and no experience in serving an institution as large, diverse and challenging as the U.S. Bishops....then they have picked the right man.  This appointment does not excite those working in the trenches at dioceses around the country.  I do wish him well.  He would be smart if he listened and learned from the capable staff he inherits. 
Tom Allio


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