Diocesan News

State’s bishops hire leader for their public policy organization

Omaha (NCC/SNR) – Greg Schleppenbach will take over as executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) Sept.1, Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha has announced.

Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops picked Schleppenbach, currently the NCC’s State Director of the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro Life Activities, after conducting a nationwide search for the public policy organization’s next leader.     

The NCC is the state-level office operated jointly by the Archdiocese of Omaha, Diocese of Grand Island, and Diocese of Lincoln. Located in Lincoln, the NCC represents the public policy interests of Nebraska’s three bishops.

“Since coming to Nebraska, I have been impressed by Greg’s strong faith and his dedication to doing all that is possible to protect and enhance human life and dignity,” said Archbishop Lucas, who serves as president of the NCC. “The Catholic bishops of Nebraska will now rely on him to help us articulate the truths of the gospel on a wide range of issues that affect the common good in our state.”

For the last 23 years Schleppenbach has coordinated and directed pro-life programs for Nebraska’s three dioceses, focusing primarily on countering threats to human life and dignity such as abortion and euthanasia. He has managed a statewide grassroots organization and lobbied on behalf of pro-life legislation at the state and federal levels.

“It is a privilege to be appointed the incoming executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference,” Schleppenbach said. “I am most grateful to Archbishop George Lucas, Bishop James Conley and Bishop William Dendinger for trusting me to fill this important role. I hope to bring all of the Church’s resources to bear in effectively presenting the Catholic voice on Nebraska’s public policy issues, especially those impacting the human person, the family, the common good and the Church’s service to our communities.”

Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln has known Schleppenbach since arriving in the state in 2012.  Bishop Conley says he knew Schleppenbach’s reputation before that.  “Greg has done remarkable things with the pro-life movement in the state of Nebraska,” the bishop remarked.  “I expect he will be able to help build a strong network of Catholics, across the state, to support our faith in public life.  I am looking forward to what Greg can do to engage our state.”

Schleppenbach’s newspaper column appears regularly in the state’s three Catholic newspapers – The Catholic Voice (Archdiocese of Omaha), the Southern Nebraska Register (Diocese of Lincoln), and the West Nebraska Register (Diocese of Grand Island).

Schleppenhach, 50, is replacing James Cunningham. Cunningham has served as the NCC’s executive director since 1977. He is the longest-serving Catholic conference director in the United States.

Schleppenbach said he is humbled to follow Cunningham’s 40 years of outstanding service. 

“In the years to come, I hope to build on his legacy.”

Cunningham said he is pleased Schleppenbach is succeeding him at the NCC.  “Greg has great love for the Church and a remarkable grasp of her teachings,” Cunningham said.  “He has been a valuable employee and trusted colleague for more than two decades.”
Cunningham will remain with the NCC in an advisory capacity until June 30, 2015.

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