In a letter to Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich received in early October, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, confirmed the reappointment of Father Jack Wall for a third five-year term as president of Catholic Extension.
After Pope Francis, Cardinal Parolin is the highest-ranking Vatican official. In his letter to Cardinal Cupich, who is the chancellor of Catholic Extension, Cardinal Parolin wrote, “I take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the Holy See for the work of the Extension Society and to assure you of my own prayers for all involved in its vital missionary apostolate.”
Father Jack Wall was first appointed by the Holy See as president of Catholic Extension in 2007. This is his second reappointment and his third five-year term. Since Father Wall became president, Catholic Extension has provided $233 million in support to poor dioceses, a 53-percent increase in support.
At present, Catholic Extension raises and distributes financial support to Catholic communities in 90 of the 195 dioceses of the United States and its territories — serving more than 17 million of the nation’s 70-plus million Catholics. Last year it provided a total of more than $26 million to these dioceses.
As archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Cupich is the ex officio chancellor of Catholic Extension and is responsible for overseeing its affairs and governance. He had submitted the request for Father Wall’s confirmation in a letter to Cardinal Parolin earlier this year.
“Father Jack Wall is well known to many people here in Chicago and across the United States for his many talents and devotion as a priest,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and Chancellor of Catholic Extension.“ It is encouraging to know that, once again, the Holy See is also recognizing this fine priest by appointing him to another term as President of Catholic Extension. Our heartfelt congratulations to him.”
During Father Wall’s tenure, Catholic Extension has become a national movement galvanizing Americans to build the future of a strong Catholic Church. He has built close relationships with the dioceses on America’s margins and has led the development of a broad base of supporters. He has spearheaded innovations in Catholic Extension’s communication efforts through publishing, digital communications and video/broadcast and has positioned Catholic Extension as a leader in effective nonprofit business practices.
Thriving faith communities are one of the most effective ways to bring about positive change in our country, especially in poor communities according to Father Wall. His vision for Catholic Extension is well attuned to Pope Francis’ renewed call for the Catholic Church to “go out to the peripheries, to the margins, to the marginalized.”
Writing in the Fall 2017 issue of Extension magazine, the official publication of Catholic Extension, Father Wall, recently said, “When people ask me what we do at Catholic Extension, I tell them, ‘We do one thing: we build up vibrant Catholic faith communities in the poorest regions of the United States. At the heart of our mission is this core conviction: When we bring good people together in faith, good things happen. Individuals and communities are transformed. People change, and they change the world around them.”
Prior to leading Catholic Extension, Father Wall served for 24 years as pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church, the second oldest parish founded in the city of Chicago and one of the city’s oldest public buildings.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Father Wall was ordained on May 2, 1968.
Catholic Extension was founded in 1905 by Father Francis Clement Kelley and was made a papal society by Pope Pius X in 1910. Its mission is to build churches and the Church in America’s poorest places. Through its generous donors, Catholic Extension has been able to distribute more than $1.2 billion dollars to the Catholic Church and has funded the construction of almost 12,500 churches over its 112 -year history. Catholic Extension is headquartered in Chicago.