WASHINGTON (December 1, 1999) -- Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr was re-elected General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference for a one-year term. Monsignor William P. Fay, previously an associate general secretary, was named General Secretary-Elect.
During their fall meeting here, November 15-18, the Bishops extended Msgr. Schnurr's term for an additional year by a vote of 247 to 5 and also selected Msgr. Fay as his successor.
The General Secretary serves a term of five years which can be extended for a year at a time. General Secretary-elect is a new position which was established to allow for the consideration of a field of candidates which might include clergy who have not worked for the Conference.
Born in 1948 in Hospers, Iowa, Msgr. Schnurr is a priest of the Diocese of Sioux City, ordained July 20, 1974.
He served the diocese as an assistant pastor, finance director, tribunal judge, and chancellor.
Besides his diocesan posts, he also served as Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.
He joined the NCCB/USCC in 1989 as an associate general secretary and also served as the executive director of the World Youth Day held in Denver in 1993. He became General Secretary in February, 1995 and will now serve in that post until February, 2001.
He holds an M.A. from the Gregorian University in Rome, where he prepared for the priesthood at the North American College, and he has a doctorate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America.
Born in Boston in 1949, Msgr. Fay was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston on July 13, 1974.
He received an M.A. in theology from the Gregorian University, Rome, in 1974, where he prepared for the priesthood at the North American College, and a doctorate in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America.
Msgr. Fay served as professor of philosophy, College of Liberal Arts and School of Theology, St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts, from 1981 to 1995.
He was dean of the college and chairman of the department of philosophy there when he was named an associate general secretary of the NCCB/USCC in March, 1995. He also served as president of the National Association of College Seminaries.
From 1977 to 1995, in addition to his other duties, Msgr. Fay served as part time associate pastor of parishes in Massachusetts and in Virginia, and was involved extensively in retreat work for priests, religious, seminarians and laity.
Msgr. Fay will assume the post of General Secretary in February 2001 for a five-year term.