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A New Committee Chair and a New Website for Catholic Common Ground Initiative

February 2012

In November, Catholic Common Ground Initiative (CCGI) announced that Bishop Michael Warfel of the diocese of Great Falls/Billings, Montana, was named as chair of the CCGI Advisory Committee at their annual meeting in the summer and that they had launched their newly updated website,

“As we mark the 15th anniversary of Cardinal Bernardin’s death, we are very proud to demonstrate that his work continues,” said Sheila McLaughlin, director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, where the Initiative has been a part of since 2009 when the National Pastoral Life Center (NPLC) in New York, its original home, closed. “Many wondered what would happen to CCGI after it left the NPLC. We are pleased to share the great news that CCGI is alive and growing. We have a new Board Chair and a brand new website that will serve as a great way to communicate about the teachings, programs, and events of Catholic Common Ground Initiative.”

Since becoming a part of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, CCGI has hosted two Murnion Lectures, in 2010 and 2011, and recently honored Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, with the annual Bernardin Award. CCGI is also planning a conference for March of 2012 focused on the important strategic goal of engaging in dialogue with young people in the church.

The selection of Bishop Warfel connects CCGI in a new way with the church in the Western United States. His commitment to the Initiative is evident in the remarks he made at a recent gathering: “I believe that the future for the Initiative is bright because Catholics care about their Church. The Initiative provides a way for people of faith and good will to gather for candid and honest dialogue on difficult issues facing God’s people in the Catholic Church.”

Bishop Warfel was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, in 1980 and served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, from 1996-2007. Bishop Warfel succeeds Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, the retired ninth ordinary of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, who served on the Catholic Common Ground Advisory Committee from the inception of the Initiative in 1996, and gave eight years of faithful service as Chair. The first Chair of the Initiative Committee was Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, retired ordinary of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.

To learn more about Catholic Common Ground Initiative, its programs and resources, visit