WASHINGTON (January 5, 1999)-- Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, has accepted a two-year extension of his term as head of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas aid and development agency of the Catholic Bishops of the United States.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference, asked that Bishop Ricard remain at CRS.
"Your long association with CRS as a board member, treasurer, and now President has served the agency well," Bishop Fiorenza said in a December 21, 1998, letter. "Your brother Bishops are grateful to you for the guidance and oversight which you give to the work of CRS. CRS staff appreciate the leadership which you offer. I am sure that your appointment to a new term will be welcomed and applauded by the Bishops and staff alike."
Bishop Ricard, 58, was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1968. He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore on July 2, 1984; and was named Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee on January 21, 1997. He served on the CRS Board of Directors as treasurer from 1992 to 1995, before being named President and Chairman in December 1995. His term will expire December 31, 2000.
Catholic Relief Services, a separately incorporated organization of the U.S. Catholic Conference, was founded in 1943 to assist the people of Europe and North Africa during and after the Second World War. It has since expanded its relief operations to other areas and is well-known for its response to disasters and its assistance to refugees. It places significant emphasis on supporting self-help programs which involve people and communities in their own development. Although the policies and programs of CRS reflect and express the teaching of the Catholic Church, the agency is committed to working with governments and ecumenical groups to assist persons solely on the basis of need.
In recent years, Catholic Relief Services has been involved in relief efforts in the Balkans, Somalia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Russia. CRS has played a leading role in the relief efforts in Central America following Hurricanes Georges and Mitch.