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Schleppenbach takes USCCB post

Greg Schleppenbach

Greg Schleppenbach, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC), has been hired as associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

 He replaces Richard Doerflinger, who will retire as associate director April 29, after 36 years of service to the bishops’ conference.

Schleppenbach goes to the USCCB after more than 25 years of service to the NCC. As the state conference’s pro-life director, he engaged in extensive speaking, writing and lobbying on a wide range of matters, especially abortion, stem cell research and end-of-life issues.

He was named NCC executive director in 2014, and was in charge of the overall operation of the conference, overseeing public policy lobbying activities and educating Catholics on important public policy matters in relation to church teaching. He is known for his skill in coalition-building and is well respected by diocesan pro-life directors and state Catholic conference directors.

“Greg Schleppenbach has done so much to proclaim the gospel of life and to build up the common good here in Nebraska,” said Archbishop George J. Lucas, whose public policy interests are represented by the NCC, along with Bishops James D. Conley of Lincoln and Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island.

“He will be a great asset to the work of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  We wish him well, even as we will miss his leadership and collaboration.”

Schleppenbach and his wife, Jacqueline, have been married for two years, and both have been involved in pro-life work and service to the church. Schleppenbach begins his full-time service at the USCCB May 16.

“Greg Schleppenbach has been a respected friend and colleague for many years,” said Doerflinger. “He thoroughly understands the church’s pro-life witness, and has always found new ways to bring people together in support of life. I will keep working on these issues in retirement, but am delighted to leave this particular job in very capable hands.”

Doerflinger joined the bishops’ conference in 1980 and has served as legislative assistant, assistant director, associate director for policy development, and, since 2008, as overall associate director of the Pro-Life Activities.

Throughout the church and public policy circles, Doerflinger is known for his expertise in monitoring and responding to federal legislation; advising and assisting state legislative efforts; coordinating the U.S. bishops’ efforts on health care conscience rights, physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, stem cell research and other challenges in bioethics; and conducting media outreach and interviews. He researched and drafted policy statements, letters and testimony on abortion and many other life issues, and helped guide the activities of the Secretariat. Through his service on the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life since 2011, his work also is known internationally.

“It’s humbling to succeed a pro-life giant like Richard Doerflinger,” Schleppenbach said. “But I come to this position with confidence in God’s amazing grace and a heart filled with passion for his precious gift of human life. I am grateful for the honor of serving the bishops of Nebraska for so many years and am equally grateful for this opportunity to now serve the bishops of the United States.”

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