WASHINGTON (February 16, 2000) -- New staff members will share the work load of the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as preparations move forward for the third annual collection for the home missions, which will be taken up in the parishes of the United States this spring.
"Strengthening the Church At Home" is the theme of the appeal, scheduled for Sunday, April 30, 2000.
Under the direction of the Bishops' Committee on the Home Missions, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supports the work of the Church in mission dioceses throughout the United States and its Caribbean and Pacific dependencies, where the local Church depends on significant outside help. These poor dioceses exist throughout the country, mainly in the Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest/Alaska, and include the U.S. Church's "territorial dioceses" abroad (American Samoa, Guam, Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).
The new staff members are Dr. David J. Suley, appointed Coordinator for Resource Development, and Margit Serenyi, Mission Support Specialist. The Home Missions office is part of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Missions, directed by Dr. David Byers.
"The arrival of two such talented and dedicated people as David and Margit is a great blessing to the Committee on the Home Missions," Dr. Byers said. "They will help the Committee achieve its goal: to forge strong links among all the dioceses of the United States in a spirit of communio."
For the past 12 years, David Suley was an official of Bread for the World, a national ecumenical movement which seeks to pass legislation or affect public policy on behalf of low-income and hungry persons.
Dr. Suley holds a doctorate in ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, as well as a master of theology degree and a master of divinity degree from St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, California. He served as a lay missionary in Malawi, Central Africa. He is a member of the U.S. Catholic Mission Association and the National Association for Lay Ministry. He is married and the father of two children.
Dr. Suley's responsibilities will include coordinating the annual Home Missions Appeal, designing and implementing educational and promotional resources to better educate U.S. Catholics about the needs of the home missions, and visiting mission and non-mission dioceses to build support.
Margit Serenyi was born in Budapest, Hungary. She came to this country with her mother and siblings in 1950, under the sponsorship of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (now United States Catholic Conference), while her father was imprisoned by the Hungarian communist government. She is a graduate of Notre Dame de Sion high school in Kansas City, Missouri, and Boston College, where she earned a degree in history.
Ms. Serenyi was a student placement counselor for the American Field Service, a grant administrator for International Research and Exchanges Board, which administers the principal scholarly exchange programs between the U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe, and a consultant and fundraiser for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Soros Foundation, where she established the Czech and Slovak desks.
From 1990 to 1999, Ms. Serenyi worked for the Office to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The office assists projects which help to rebuild the Church's organizations and structures in those regions.
As Mission Support Specialist, she will be responsible for preparing applications for the consideration of the committee, for advising the committee on the proper allocation of funds, and for ensuring accountability. She will also travel widely in the missions to determine program needs.
Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa is Chairman of the Committee on the Home Missions (CHM). Through its annual fundraising campaign, the CHM educates U.S. Catholics regarding mission needs and invites them to assist fellow Catholics in the practice of their faith. Last year 70 dioceses received CHM grants totaling a little more than $4.6 million. Twenty of the poorest dioceses, which depend most heavily on outside help, were awarded the maximum grant of $100,000. An additional 24 received substantial support of $50,000 or more.