By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
WASHINGTON – Father J. Brian Bransfield, 41, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has been appointed executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, it was announced Sept. 24.
Father Bransfield’s appointment is effective in late spring. He has been serving at the USCCB as a specialist in Evangelization and Catechesis and now succeeds Msgr. Daniel J. Kutys, also a Philadelphia priest, who will return to the Archdiocese.
Msgr. David Molloy, General Secretary of the USCCB, thanked Cardinal Rigali for sharing the talents of both catechists with the wider Church.
“Msgr. Kutys has done extraordinary work in establishing the new Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis under the USCCB reorganization,” Msgr. Molloy said. His talents as an educator enabled him to explain Church teaching and work with textbook companies to reach the highest standards in religious education.
“In his short time at the USCCB Father Bransfield has shown his talents in many areas as well,” Msgr. Molloy said. “He is able to educate the public in Church teaching, even through the media. During the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States, for example, he presented Church teaching clearly in TV interviews and has been successful in communicating it on the Web and in print.”
Father Bransfield attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School in the Roxborough section of the city, then continued at Archbishop Kennedy High School and one year at Temple University before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Ordained in 1994, his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Andrew Parish, Newtown. He subsequently taught theology at Archbishop Wood High School, and in 2000 was sent to Rome for graduate studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
After further studies at the Institute’s Washington, D.C. campus, he received his licentiate in Sacred Theology in 2003 and his doctorate in Moral Theology with a specialization in the theology of marriage and the family in 2005. He then served on the moral theology faculty at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for two years before his appointment to the USCCB last December.
“I’m very thankful and grateful to Cardinal Rigali for allowing me to work here at the Conference,” Father Bransfield said. “I’m looking forward to this. The work of the Secretariat is essential and I’m humbled and energized at the same time to accept this position.”
The main challenge, he said, “is to continue to proclaim the Gospel and to make the teachings of the Church accessible in a world that oftentimes presents secularized values as the ideal.
“I hope to build on the many good things the staff and Msgr. Kutys have done, maintaining the professional and pastoral tone of the office,” he added.
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.