WASHINGTON (February 23, 2006)—Cecile Motus, Ethnic Ministries Coordinator for Migration and Refugee Services' Office for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees (PCMR) at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has been named Interim Director of the office.
Father Anthony Dao, O.P., Director of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees since 2003, has resigned from this position to assist Hispanics and other ethnic communities in California.
"Cecile Motus has an extraordinary background and a deep understanding of migration issues and the needs of migrants. We are quite fortunate that Cecile has agreed to serve in this important capacity," said Mark Franken, Executive Director of USCCB Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). "I am extremely grateful for the outstanding leadership and service that Father Anthony Dao has given to this work for the past three years."
Cecile Motus has been MRS Ethnic Ministries Coordinator since 1999. She has been responsible for providing support to dioceses and ethnic communities in responding to the pastoral needs of newcomers, especially Asian and Pacific communities.
Prior to joining the staff of the USCCB, she served from 1991 to 1999 as the Asia Regional Liaison Officer for the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC). She was Executive Director and Refugee Resettlement Director of Catholic Charities –Honolulu's Catholic Immigration Center from 1985 to 1990. She was also an adjunct lecturer in the Ethnic Studies Department of the University of Hawaii. Previously she was Director of the Adult Language and Culture Program for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the Vietnamese First Asylum Camp in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, from 1981 to 1983.
From 1972 to 1983, Cecile Motus worked with the Peace Corps in the Philippines in various capacities. During this period she was assigned to open Peace Corps programs in Western Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea.
She holds a Master of Arts degree in teaching English as a second language from the University of Hawaii and the East-West International Center in Honolulu. Born in the Philippines, she has a Bachelors degree in Education from the University of San Carlos in Cebu and is a graduate of Redford High School, Detroit, where she was an American Field Service exchange student.
The U.S Catholic Church's first coordinated national efforts to assist immigrants and refugees occurred in 1920 when the Department of Immigration was established within the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC). In 1965, the department was renamed Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). Recognizing the challenge of welcoming increasingly diverse Catholic newcomers into the Church in the United States, the U.S. Bishops formed the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR) in 1983. PCMR was integrated as a unit into MRS in 1986.