WASHINGTON (December 19, 2003) -- Daniel Lizárraga has been appointed Director of the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Mr. Lizárraga has served as Acting Director of the Secretariat since November, 2002 when Father John Swope, SJ, rejoined the leadership of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Mr. Lizárraga became Assistant Director of the Secretariat in 1998.
Msgr. William Fay, USCCB General Secretary, announced the appointment. "I am very pleased that Daniel Lizárraga has accepted this appointment," Msgr. Fay said. "He has shown great skill and competence in directing the work of the Secretariat during the past year. Above all, he has demonstrated an extraordinary affinity and great love for the mission of this office, which is of crucial importance to the well-being of the Church throughout the hemisphere."
The U.S. Bishops established the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America in 1960 and subsequently approved the creation of an annual national collection to provide assistance to pastoral projects of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mr. Lizárraga becomes the first Hispanic to serve as Director of the Secretariat in the more than 40 years of its existence.
Prior to his service in the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America, Daniel Lizárraga worked as a field representative for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. His previous experience includes working on social policy issues and with the Latino immigrant community in Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and earned a Master's degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Lizárraga is also completing graduate studies in theology at the Washington Theological Union.
He and his wife and three children reside in Maryland.
The work of the Secretariat for the Church in Latin America includes the promotion and development of intra-American ecclesial relations among U.S. bishops and their representative entities and Latin American and Caribbean bishops, national bishops' conferences, and CELAM (Conference of Latin America Bishops); educating Catholics in the United States about the reality of the Church in Latin America and the framework of Ecclesia in America, Pope John Paul II's 1999 Apostolic Exhortation; organizing the collection for the Church in Latin America; and assisting the Church in Latin America through a grant program.
Auxiliary Bishop John Manz of Chicago is Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for the Church in Latin America.
Mr. Lizárraga's appointment is effective January 1, 2004.