Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency.
He was named to the post by Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, during the Nov. 17 executive session of the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.
A USCCB news release said the cardinal made the appointment “with the full support” of Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, elected Nov. 16 to succeed him as president at the close of the Nov. 15-18 meeting.
Bishop Kicanas, outgoing USCCB vice president, succeeds Archbishop Dolan as CRS chairman. The New York prelate had to vacate the position when he was elected president.
CRS president Ken Hackett praised the selection of Bishop Kicanas, saying he “has been a good friend to CRS for many years, both in our work overseas and in the U.S.”
“We have collaborated on a range of issues, and Bishop Kicanas has made it a point to visit many of our CRS offices in his overseas travels,” Hackett said in a statement. “We have been inspired by his commitment to the poor and vulnerable throughout the world. We look forward to his leadership at this important moment in CRS history.”
Bishop Kicanas takes the chairmanship as a nationwide search is under way for a successor to Hackett, who announced Sept. 29 he will retire when his current five-year term ends next June. Hackett, 63, has agreed to continue serving as president for six months beyond the end of his term. A new president is expected to be installed by January 2012.
Hackett, whose career with CRS spans nearly four decades, will continue to serve as a consultant to the agency until July 2012.
At their meeting Nov. 16, the bishops elected CRS board members: Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M.; and Bishops William P. Callahan of La Crosse, Wis.; Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla.; and John C. Wester of Salt Lake City. Archbishop Sheehan and Bishop Wester were re-elected to a second term.