June 16, 2014
WASHINGTON—Mark Rohlena, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, has been named director of the Office of Domestic Social Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
As head of the Colorado Springs agency, Rohlena has overseen the organization’s annual budget of $3 million and 50 employees, who serve in 10 counties of Colorado with the help of over 1,600 volunteers per month. Services include poverty reduction programs, parish social ministry, family immigration services, adoption services and disaster relief work. The organization played an important leadership role in assisting those affected by the recent fires in Colorado.
As CEO of the Catholic Charities agency, Rohlena also initiated programs for young adults to address the challenge of homelessness and served on the boards of the Catholic Housing Corporation and Partners in Housing of Colorado Springs. He was a founding board member of the Lighthouse Women’s Care Center in Denver.
Before his work as president of Central Colorado Catholic Charities, Rohlena was the Senior Ethics and Conflicts Attorney for Holland and Hart, LLP of Denver. His work at the firm included legal ethics, employee benefits law, labor and employment law, and state and local tax law.
Rohlena holds a law degree from the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in history and political science from Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia
"Mark Rohlena has a proven track record as a leader and manager in putting the Church’s social teaching into action,” said Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB General Secretary. “Mark has a heart for the poor and vulnerable and a critical understanding of the way public policy impacts the Church’s ground-level, charitable work. He is well-formed in the faith, and especially Catholic Social Teaching, which has inspired his strong commitment to service, leaving a successful career at a large law firm to advocate for those most in need.”
Rohlena stressed the opportunities to serve the poor in his new position.
“The Church has been and must continue to be among the strongest voices in the public square on behalf of the poor, the sick, the weak and the suffering,” Rohlena said. “It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of that legacy, to join the work of urging federal policymakers to recognize that each and every one of our neighbors is filled with dignity – worthy to be encountered, loved and cared-for. It is a unique way to witness to the love of Christ, which, as Pope Francis reminds us, lies at the heart of our charitable work.”
Rohlena will oversee USCCB efforts in the area of domestic social development, with a special emphasis on poverty. He will assume his position at the bishops' conference in August. He succeeds Kathy Saile, who left the USCCB in December to become Associate Director for Government Affairs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.
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Sister Mary Ann Walsh