Catholic Charities’ Reyes to head USCCB’s Human Development office
By Nissa LaPoint
Catholic Charities’ president and CEO Jonathan Reyes will soon say goodbye to Denver.
In December, he will leave for Virginia to take on a new mission as the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in Washington, D.C.
“I am excited about serving the Church in this new way,” Reyes told the Denver Catholic Register. “I view it as a mission, and I’m honored to be selected to it.”
The announcement of his position was made Sept. 17. He will succeed executive director John Carr in working to increase awareness of Catholic social teaching through the department’s anti-poverty mission and federal advocacy on domestic issues such as food security, housing and employment including international issues.
Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said Reyes is well-known for his abilities to inspire and implement an environment in the archdiocese that is reflective of the Catholic faith.
“In a short time Jonathan has done a lot to support the mission of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver,” he said. “We should be grateful to him for the increased presence of the Gabriel House, for the opening of the Regina Caeli Clinic and the Lighthouse Women’s Center. He has successfully articulated a vision of Catholic ministry, which is rooted in the dignity of the human person and the Gospel of life.”
After long deliberation, Reyes said he and his wife, Stephanie, who have seven children, decided to respond to God’s call although they will miss Denver.
“I have overwhelming gratitude to God for being able to be here and be a part of the community,” Reyes said.
He will assist Archbishop Aquila in finding his replacement before he takes his new post Dec. 28.
Reyes and his family have lived in Denver for eight years. Originally from Michigan, Reyes came to work with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) before becoming the founding president of the Augustine Institute in 2005. He was named CEO of Denver’s Catholic Charities in 2009. He received a master’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and completed a doctorate in history at the University of Notre Dame.
Reyes worked closely with former Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.—now archbishop of Philadelphia—who nominated him to the USCCB department.
“Dr. Reyes combines an evangelical heart with an abiding zeal for serving the poor,” Archbishop Chaput said. “He has excellent skills as a leader, manager and educator. He did a superb job for the Archdiocese of Denver as CEO of Catholic Charities. He’ll serve the American bishops very well through his work at the USCCB, and he’s exactly the man to build on John Carr’s distinguished career.”
Many in Denver wish Reyes well although he will be missed.
“His infectious vitality for the kingdom of God is inspiring,” Chancellor J.D. Flynn said. “As a colleague and friend of Jonathan, he will be missed tremendously in the archdiocese.”