Speaker Boehner names Jesuit priest as next House chaplain

Speaker John Boehner / Father Patrick Conroy
Speaker John Boehner / Father Patrick Conroy

.- House Speaker John Boehner has proposed Father Patrick Conroy, S.J. to be the next chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives.

If formally elected, Fr. Conroy would become the second Catholic priest to hold the position.

Ordained in 1983, Conroy has served as a parish priest in his native Washington state and served the people of the Colville Indian Reservation and the Spokane Indian Reservation, USA Today reports. He was chaplain at Georgetown University from 1990 to 1994 and from 1997 to 2003. Between those periods, he served as chaplain at Seattle University.

At present he teaches at Jesuit High school in Portland, Ore.

Boehner said he consulted with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over the appointment.

Pelosi said Conroy will provide “guidance and comfort” while ministering to the needs of the Capitol Hill community in “an interfaith way.”

Catholic priest Fr. Daniel Coughlin, the previous House chaplain, retired last month to widespread praise.

The House chaplain position dates back to 1789, when the Continental Congress began a tradition of having the day’s proceedings open with a prayer.

The chaplain’s present duties include leading the daily prayer, providing counseling and pastoral services, coordinating the scheduling of guest chaplains and helping to arrange memorial services for House members and staff.

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