Diocesan News

Kevin Fitzpatrick joins Diocesan staff as CFO

LINCOLN (SNR) – As of Sept. 4, the Diocese of Lincoln has a new chief financial officer, Kevin Fitzpatrick.

With extensive experience in public accounting as well as both privately held and publicly trading manufacturing companies, Fitzpatrick recently moved his family from Spirit Lake, Iowa to Lincoln to take over the management of diocesan finances.

His most recent position was controller for Polaris Industries, Inc., a snowmobile and ATV manufacturer. Mr. Fitzpatrick has a masters of business administration from the University of South Dakota and a bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista College (now University) in Storm Lake, Iowa.

"I’m really excited about Kevin and what he brings to the Diocese of Lincoln," said Bishop James D. Conley.

The bishop explained that he felt it was important to add some proven talent from the outside world to help the diocese move to the next level with finances.

"We’ve been blessed by our very dedicated but small finance office staff. For a diocese of this size, it is incredible how well we’ve done. Now, I believe, it’s time to bring in reinforcements." he said.

Bishop Conley noted that diocesan finances are as complex as any small corporation.

"We want to continue to exercise good fiscal accountability and to be good stewards of the gifts God, through His people, has given to us," he added. "The Church is calling us to tap the gifts and talents of the lay faithful, and I think this is one area where the lay faithful can fulfill a huge role in the Church."

Fitzpatrick will work closely with diocesan finance officer Father John Sullivan, who also serves as pastor as Blessed Sacrament Parish. Bishop Conley pointed out that Father Sullivan "is a great leader, a great priest, and an important part of our diocesan leadership." The two financial officials will coordinate the planning, budget, and canonical components of the diocese’s administration and ministry, while allowing Father Sullivan time to attend to his pastoral duties.

As a special diocesan search committee, made up of priests and laypersons with experience in the financial realm, reviewed applications, they looked for a candidate who combined both solid knowledge of finance and a deep love for and understanding of the Catholic faith.

"Kevin met both of those," Bishop Conley stated. "He was very successful in the corporate world, but I think he came here because he wanted to use his talents to serve the Church."

While he is still very new to the job, Fitzpatrick said he can see some parallels between his work in the corporate world and his new responsibilities for the diocese.

"It’s similar in terms of controlling costs and delivering all the services we want to deliver," he said.

Overseeing the diocese’s financial resources is primarily Bishop Conley’s responsibility. Fitzpatrick will assist him, offering an extra measure of professional experience and insight that will help protect the current financial stability while preparing for future growth.

He was raised on a grain and livestock farm near Milford, Iowa, in the northwest corner of the state. His parents were very active at St. Joseph Parish, and Fitzpatrick and his four siblings attended Catholic schools and helped out at the parish whenever there was a need.

Fitzpatrick’s first experience in the Diocese of Lincoln was in May 2005, when he arrived to run the Lincoln Marathon. On the Saturday before the race, he attended a vigil Mass at St. Teresa Parish, where he was impressed to see large families attending Mass together.

"I thought, ‘This was what it was like when I was growing up,’" he said.

After Mass, he was invited to dinner at the home of Wally and Katy Boever. Msgr. Joseph Nemec, pastor of St. Teresa Parish, and his sister Kristina were also invited. Fitzpatrick called Kristina a few months later, and the couple began dating. They were married in October of the following year.

Now they are the parents of three boys and a girl. Joseph is 5, Brendan is 4, Maura is 2 and Ciaran is 1.

The children’s needs influenced Mr. Fitzpatrick’s decision to take the diocesan job and move to Lincoln.

"We want them to attend a Catholic school," he said.

Catholic education was not readily available where the couple had been living in Storm Lake. Plus, Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s parents still live in the Lincoln area, and the family wanted to be closer to them.

In mid-August, the couple moved into their home in St. Teresa Parish. The two oldest boys are attending St. Teresa Elementary School in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten.

The whole Fitzpatrick family appreciates the new opportunity they’ve been given. And they are enjoying their new neighborhood, which includes a few School Sisters of Christ the King.

"We are sitting on the porch and three nuns are walking down the street together, enjoying life, and kids can see that," Mr. Fitzpatrick said. "We have priests over to the house for dinner on occasion, and that’s always fun."

Mr. Fitzpatrick already seems perfectly at home in Lincoln, even while he is still at the very beginning of the transition into his new role.

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