WASHINGTON (June 14, 2007)—Father Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., President/Executive Director of the Loyola Institute for Spirituality, Orange, CA, has been named the first Executive Director
of the Office for Cultural Diversity in the Church in the newly reorganized United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The appointment, effective January 1, 2008, was announced by Msgr. David J. Malloy, USCCB General Secretary.
"Father Deck is an outstanding priest with a distinguished record of achievement in Hispanic Ministry," Msgr. Malloy said. "He has the vision and the commitment to make this vitally important new office come alive as an effective means of meeting the needs of the Church's ethnic and immigrant communities."
The strategic reorganization of the USCCB which the Bishops approved last November called for the creation of an office for Cultural Diversity in the Church. The office will focus on the ministries to Hispanic Catholics, African American Catholics, Asian and Pacific Island Catholics, Native American Catholics, African Catholics, and the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers, which serves numerous other communities of Catholics.
Allan Figueroa Deck was born April 19, 1945, in Los Angeles. He entered the Jesuit order in the California Province on September 7, 1963 and was ordained March 27, 1976.
Father Deck earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Saint Louis University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Studies at the same institution in 1973. He received a Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 1976; a Diploma in Pastoral Ministry from the Brazilian Development Institute, Rio de Janeiro, 1981; a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, 1986; a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian, 1988; and a Certificate in Fund-Raising, Center on Philanthropy, 1996.
Summer visiting professor of Pastoral Theology at Barry University since 2005, Father Deck has been associate professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, where he served as Coordinator of Hispanic Programs at the Center for Pastoral Life, 1992-1997. He held the position of assistant professor of Pastoral Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, 1988-92. He is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America and served on its Committee on Admissions in 1990. He was a founder of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States and its First President, 1988-1990.
Father Deck was First Diocesan Director of Hispanic Ministry, Diocese of Orange, 1979-1985, and a Synodal Judge, Diocesan tribunal, 1982-1985. He was the First President of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry, 1990-1996.
He has been president/ executive director, Loyola Institute for Spirituality, since 1997 and superior of the Jesuit Community of Orange County, CA, since 2000.
Father Deck was a consultant to the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs from 1991-94, served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Orange County 1998-2001, and has been a Reviewer for the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on the Use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church since 2000.
Father Deck's 1989 book The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures was winner of the Best Professional Book Award by the Catholic Press Association. The priest was co-editor, with Jay P. Dolan, of Hispanic Catholic Culture in the United States: Issues and Concerns, 1994, and co-editor, with Virgil P. Elizondo and Timothy Matovina of The Treasure of Guadalupe, 2006.
Among the awards which Father Deck has received were the O'Grady Award of the National Catholic Conference of Catholic Charities for an article entitled "A Christian Perspective on the Reality of Illegal Immigration," and the Serra International Award for the best article on Christian vocations.
In addition to English and Spanish, Father Deck is fluent in Portuguese and reads Italian and Latin.