Alaska Archbishop to Head Foundation's Church Affairs Council

February 26, 2009—Crownsville, Maryland: Anchorage Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz, OMI, today assumed the chairmanship of the National Catholic Community Foundation’s Church Affairs Council, which is advisory to Foundation trustees and serves to ensure that NCCF activities are consistent with Catholic Church teachings.Archbishop Schwietz said he was “honored to be asked to serve” and pleased to accept the Council chairman’s role. “I agree that philanthropy is a ministry,” he said, characterizing as “a worthy endeavor” the Foundation’s work “to ensure that donors’ treasures are wisely invested in ministries that support Church teachings.”

NCCF president Edward H. Robinson said he is “delighted that so highly regarded a prelate as Archbishop Schwietz has chosen to affiliate with the Foundation and provide guidance in matters that are central to its mission.”

The Minnesota-born archbishop has headed the Anchorage Archdiocese for nearly eight years. A member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), he was ordained in Rome in 1967, served in parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and directed OMI’s college seminary program at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He was pastor of a Duluth, Minnesota, parish when, in late 1989, he was appointed the seventh Bishop of Duluth by Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Schwietz was named Coadjutor Archbishop of Anchorage in January 2000 and, less than a year later, succeeded as Anchorage’s third archbishop. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Philosophy, a S.T.L. in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University. Lewis University, located in Romeoville, Illinois, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1998.

The Archbishop has held a variety of leadership positions with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He served two terms on the Conference’s policy-making Administrative Board and was chairman of both the Bishops’ Vocation Committee and the Laity Committee’s Subcommittee on Youth. He also served a six-year term on the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services. He currently serves as Episcopal Moderator of the Teens Encounter Christ movement, a position he has held since 1991, and as Episcopal Liaison to Region I of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.