PRESS RELEASE: Franciscan Action Network Announces New Executive Director

December 2, 2019
Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Janine Walsh | walsh@franciscanaction.org | (203) 685-1856

Franciscan Action Network Announces New Executive Director

Washington, D.C. - Stephen Schneck has been named the executive director of The Franciscan Action Network (FAN), effective January 6, 2020.  “Steve was the unanimous choice of the board of directors at our November meeting. We are delighted to have a Franciscan-hearted leader of Steve’s caliber and expertise. His experience and dedication to the common good leave him poised to build on the success stories of FAN’s outgoing executive director Patrick Carolan,” noted Board President Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv.  Dr. Schneck succeeds Mr. Patrick Carolan the founding executive director who has served since 2010.

A nationally-known Catholic advocate for social justice, Schneck comes to FAN after thirty years at The Catholic University of America (CUA), where he taught political philosophy and also served as department chair and dean. At CUA, he founded the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, which involved him in advancing Catholic social teachings in public life, engaging with politicians, government officials, activists, and Church leaders in the United States on issues from migration and care of creation to health care and poverty.

“The charism of the Franciscans was instilled in my youth by the Sisters of Saint Francis in Clinton, Iowa, where I was schooled in the ‘60s by civically-engaged sisters and where my family often worked with the sisters on issues of poverty, racism, and economic injustice,” Schneck said. “It is a profound privilege to serve with the Franciscans now, returning full circle in perhaps the last chapter of my life’s work.”

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF, FAN Board member and past president, praised outgoing Executive Director Patrick Carolan, “Patrick’s desire and passion that FAN would envision and embody what was needed for our church, our world, our Franciscan family and beyond has always been inspiring. In meeting Stephen, I was personally moved by his eagerness to share more in our Franciscan spirituality and values as we engage the world around us."

Among Patrick’s many accomplishments include the development of Franciscan Solidarity Tables which connect Franciscans and Franciscan-hearted individuals from all branches of the Franciscan family tree in a grassroots advocacy initiative that is taking shape in cities throughout the country.  “Patrick has led us well and leaves a great legacy in the spirit of Francis of Assisi ‘preaching the gospel always, using words only when necessary,’” reflected Fr. Lasky. 

Patrick is excited to help in the transition. “I’ve worked with Steve for many years and know he will be a great asset to FAN. I’m so grateful for the opportunity given to me by this great organization and I am confident that Steve will be able to step in as leader and continue to carry out the mission we started 12 years ago.”

As he looks forward to taking up his new position, Schneck commented, “Since its founding in 2007, FAN has been an inspiration for those in Washington and around the nation involved in faith-based social justice advocacy – for those who hear the call of the poor and the call of the earth.”

Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, the example of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, and the historic leadership of Pope Francis, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and social justice.  FAN sees the interconnectedness of all creation and the common origin of humanity as rooted in God’s loving design for the earth and all people.  Recognizing this fundamental goodness of God through the act of creation, FAN counters the social sinfulness that persistently compromises God’s hopes, through a clarion call to conversion.  Since its founding in 2007 FAN has grown into a well-established organization in Washington, DC and a dependable Franciscan voice for justice in the nation’s capital and beyond.

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