New head of U.S.C.C.B. Ecumenical and Interreligious Office

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Father John William Crossin, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales who served most recently as executive director of the Washington Theological Consortium, has been named executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Father Crossin, who takes up his new position Dec. 5, succeeds Father James Massa, who returned to his home Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., in July.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, praised Father Crossin for his “extraordinary background and expertise in the world of ecumenism and interfaith relations,” as well as his “strong administrative experience honed in service to his religious congregation.”

In addition to his leadership of the Washington Theological Consortium from 1998 to 2011, the priest was a visiting fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, 1997-98; president of De Sales School of Theology in Washington, 1987-97; and academic dean at De Sales, 1986-87. He has served on weekends for 20 years at Annunciation Parish in Washington, where he currently is parochial vicar.

He has been a superior, member of the provincial council and assistant general treasurer of his religious order.

Father Crossin holds a doctorate in moral theology and master’s degrees in psychology and theology from The Catholic University of America. He is past president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists and the Thomas More Society of Washington.

Widely published in theological journals and the author of four books, he has taught at Catholic University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary and De Sales.

The bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs works with theologians and other experts in the areas of ecumenical, interreligious and Jewish dialogues. Current religious groups in formal dialogue with the U.S. bishops include Orthodox, Anglicans, Polish National Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed, United Methodists, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.

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