WASHINGTON (August 6, 2001) -- Father John Kozar has been named Director of the Holy Childhood Association effective September 1.
He succeeds Holy Spirit Father Francis W. Wright, 79, who has been director since 1973.
Father Kozar, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will continue as National Director of the three other Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, a post he assumed in February.
Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, praised the priests for their dedication to the mission efforts of the Church.
"Father Kozar's willingness to accept responsibility for this additional mission effort speaks well of him and for the missionary outreach of the Church in the United States. The bishops of this country thank him for his generosity."
Bishop Fiorenza also praised the almost 30 years of service of Father Wright to the Holy Childhood Association.
"Father Francis Wright has shown untiring service in the Holy Childhood Association's efforts of educating children to the importance of the missions of the world," Bishop Fiorenza said. "A key step toward achieving world peace in the future is educating youngsters now about their peers in developing nations. Through the Holy Childhood Association, Father Wright has worked toward this noble goal. The bishops of the United States are grateful to him and to his religious order for this dedicated service."
The Holy Childhood Association is one of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. It has a dual mandate of educating children about their part in the Church's mission work and challenging them to share what they have with children growing up in developing countries.
The Pontifical Mission Societies also include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. They are part of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Father Kozar was appointed as head of the Mission Societies several months ago by Cardinal Josef Tomko, who then headed the Evangelization Congregation. The announcement in the United States was made by Bishop Fiorenza in a February 16 letter to Father Kozar.
The Societies are headquartered in Manhattan.
Father Kozar, 55, was ordained a priest in 1971. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana and his master of divinity degree from St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore. As a seminarian he worked in a Peru mission on a summer assignment. Prior to the appointment as national director, he was administrator of St. Mary's Parish, Aleppo Township, and director of the Pittsburgh diocesan offices for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, and Catholic Relief Services.
The Propagation of the Faith last year collected $64 million from Catholics of the United States for missionary efforts around the world. Through offerings of Catholics worldwide, which last year totaled $160.9 million, the Propagation of the Faith provides ongoing support for the pastoral and evangelizing programs of the Catholic Church in Africa, Asia, the islands of the Pacific and remote regions of Latin America.
The Society of St. Peter Apostle invites individuals to support the education of candidates for the Catholic priesthood in the developing world and to support the formation of men and women candidates for the religious life in the Missions
The Missionary Union of Priests and Religious seeks to increase awareness of the Church's worldwide mission among priests, permanent deacons, men and women religious, candidates to the priesthood and religious life and other persons engaged in pastoral ministry in the Catholic Church.