Brooklyn priest named direct of US bishops’ ecumenical office

.- Fr. James Massa of Brooklyn and professor at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y., has been named executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, effective in January.

Fr. Massa succeeds Fr. Arthur Kennedy of Boston, who served the office for nearly four years. Fr. Kennedy will return to teaching at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

“Father Massa is a gifted scholar and a fine priest with significant ecumenical and pastoral experience,” said Msgr. William Fay. “We are fortunate that he will direct an office whose mission is so vitally important to the life of the Church.”

Fr. Massa completed undergraduate work at Boston College, where he earned a BA in Theology and History and at the University of Durham in England. He earned a M. Div. at Yale University Divinity School.

After serving as a parish priest in Forest Hills, N.Y., and as a campus minister at the City University of New York, Fr. Massa pursued doctoral studies at Fordham University, where he wrote on communion ecclesiology under Cardinal Avery Dulles. His doctoral dissertation was on “The Communion Theme in the Writings of Joseph Ratzinger.”

Fr. Massa has published articles and book reviews on topics related to Christology, church and culture, and ecumenism. He is a member of the Society of Catholic Liturgy and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Over the past 12 years Fr. Massa has held teaching positions at Newman University in Wichita, Kan., and Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass. He coordinated various programs for undergraduates and seminarians with the Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu communities.

In addition to parochial duties in the Diocese of Brooklyn, he maintains formational responsibilities for men preparing for the priesthood in the dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center, and the Vincentian Order.

Fr. Massa served as Theological Advisor to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Laity in 2003-04 and is currently preparing a book-length manuscript on the ecclesiology of Pope Benedict XVI.

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