|U.S. Bishops' National Advisory Council Adds New Members|
WASHINGTON–Fifteen new members have been added to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' National Advisory Council, a 56-member body which meets twice a year to review and offer recommendations about matters before the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The National Advisory Council includes bishops, men and women religious, diocesan priests, deacons and lay persons. The most numerous group (30 members) is comprised of lay men and women representing the fifteen geographical regions of the USCCB. Appointments are usually for a four-year term.
Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz, OMI of Anchorage, Alaska, joins the Council this year. A fourth bishop is to be elected by the USCCB Administrative Committee later this year.
Dominican Sister Catherine Marie Hopkins of Nashville, Tennessee, Msgr. Heberto Díaz Jr. of Brownsville, Texas, and Father Gary Zender of Seattle, Washington, are also joining the council.
From the fifteen regions of the Bishops' Conference those having regional elections in 2007 selected the following lay representatives: Region 1: Angel Fernández-Chavero, Diocese of Hartford, Connecticut, and Patricia Collins, Portland, Maine. Region 4: Virginia Berg of Arlington, Virginia. Region 6: Benjamin Brown of Toledo, Ohio, and Jeannette Wheatley of Detroit. Region 11: Pham Van Tac of Orange, California, and Laura Lopez of San Bernardino, California. Region 14: Thomas Paul Thigpen of Savannah, Georgia, and Lydia Menocal of Miami. Region 15: James DuBois of St. Louis, Missouri, and Helen Kennedy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The 2008 officers of the Council are: Father Richard Vega, Chicago, Chair; Hector Rodriguez, Edinburg, Texas, Chair-Elect; Marcus Jones, Riverside, California, Secretary; Father James P. Shea, Killdeer, North Dakota, Internal Affairs Chairperson; Rob McCann, Spokane, Washington, Proactive Chair; Charlene L. Harris, Sacramento, California, Reactive Chair. Past Chair of the Council is Marie Hilliard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.