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BRIGHTON ? Father J. Bryan Hehir told The Pilot July 25 that he will step down from his position as president of Catholic Charities but remain the Archdiocese of Boston’s cabinet Secretary for Social Services. Catholic Charities has appointed Tiziana Dearing to head up its daily activities.
Since 1996, the president of Boston Catholic Charities has also served as the archdiocese’s Secretary for Social Services.
Father Hehir has held both positions for more than three years. As secretary, he oversees the work of Catholic Charities, Life Resources, St. Ann’s Home and the Pro-Life Office. His duties have also expanded to include collaboration with the 2010 Initiative for Catholic Education and consulting on the future of Caritas Christi Health Care.
He is also a board member of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Church in the state, and faculty member at Harvard, teaching three courses annually.
“These important responsibilities compete with the time needed for management of Catholic Charities,” Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said in a statement.
Father Hehir said that separating the two positions will strengthen the organization and the executive committee of the board has determined that this is the best way to continue the growth of Catholic Charities.
“We want to build the internal management and the relationship of Catholic Charities as a whole to the archdiocese,” he added.
Cardinal O’Malley said the archdiocese is fortunate that Dearing will be managing the organization full-time. As president, she will be in charge of Catholic Charities’ strategic direction and financial welfare. She will report to the Catholic Charities board as well as the Secretary of Social Services.
Dearing’s previous work with Catholic Relief Services and assistance with the 2006 Financial Transparency Report has prepared her to face the challenges of carrying on the mission of Catholic Charities, he said.
Dearing “is an outstanding example of lay persons bringing their skills and talents to the work of the Church for the good of all whom we serve and the wider society,” the cardinal added.
Dearing has served in a number of consultant roles for nonprofit organizations. Since 2003 she has served as executive director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Initiatives at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, providing strategic direction, marketing and fundraising.
Dearing said in the statement she is honored to join the staff at Catholic Charities.
“I am truly excited about this opportunity,” she said. “Catholic Charities has a century-long tradition here in Boston of serving those in need, regardless of faith, and of helping to fulfill the Church’s social mission.”
Dearing was born and raised in Bedford, where she resides with her husband and two children. She obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from the University of Michigan. She also earned a master’s in public policy from Harvard in 2000.
Father Hehir met Dearing when she was a parishioner and he pastor at St. Paul Parish in Cambridge and has worked with her at CRS and at Harvard. She is a talented leader from a solid Catholic family, he said.
“She brings real management and consulting skills,” he added. “We’ll work together on Charities because there are lots of challenges these days.”
Those challenges include serving 200,000 people annually and meeting the needs of an ever-growing immigrant population, he said.
Jeff Kaneb, chair of Catholic Charities’ board, said that the asset of Father Hehir’s insight will continue through the change.
“We have been blessed with Father Hehir’s leadership as both president and Secretary of Social Services, and we are happy to know that Catholic Charities will continue to benefit from his spiritual and intellectual leadership as Secretary of Social Services,” he said.