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WASHINGTON—María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso has been appointed executive director of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). She has served as assistant director of Media Relations at USCCB since 2007 and served the Archdiocese of Denver from 1996-2007.
Muñoz-Visoso currently collaborates with numerous efforts of the U.S. bishops, including Cultural Diversity in the Church, Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), National Collections, Divine Worship, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). She writes “Entre Amigos,” a monthly English/Spanish Latino column, which appears in diocesan media nationwide. She also oversees Spanish-language social media at USCCB and serves as a liaison for English and Spanish media.
“Mar Muñoz-Visoso is a highly respected leader in the bishops’ conference, in Hispanic ministry and in Catholic communications,” said Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary. “The experience, expertise and energy she brings to the Cultural Diversity secretariat will greatly enhance the bishops’ vision for this area and will be a gift to the faithful of the communities served by that office.”
The appointment is effective February 27. Muñoz-Visoso succeeds Jesuit Father Allan Deck, the first executive director of the secretariat, which was established in 2008. Cultural Diversity in the Church coordinates the bishops’ outreach to members of the diverse cultures, ethnicities and races that make up the Church in the United States, serving communities of African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans, as well as migrants, refugees and travelers.
A native of Spain, Muñoz-Visoso received a bachelor’s in communications with a major in journalism from Centro Escuela Universitaria (CEU) San Pablo in Valencia in 1994, and a master’s degree in theological studies from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, in 2005.
From 1996-1998, she served as the Spanish-language communications officer for the archbishop’s office in Denver and founded El Pueblo Católico, the archdiocese’s first official Spanish-language publication. Her work received multiple awards from the Catholic Press Association. She served as archdiocesan director of Hispanic ministry from 1998-2004, working closely with USCCB and other local and national organizations in defense of immigrant rights and in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
In 2003, she co-founded Centro San Juan Diego, a community center and pastoral institute for the Hispanic community of northern Colorado, where she served as executive director till 2007, working closely with then-auxiliary Bishop José Gomez, now archbishop of Los Angeles.
In 2010, Muñoz-Visoso received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, at the request of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. One of the highest honors the pope can bestow on an individual, the medal is given in gratitude for “sustained and exemplary service to the Catholic faith.” In 2011, she represented the USCCB Department of Communications at the Church and Digital Culture conference in Santiago, Chile, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM). She serves on the board of St. Francis International School in the Archdiocese of Washington, which gathers families of mixed income from more than 50 different nationalities.
She and her husband Rafael have three young children and are parishioners of St. Camillus Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Media Relations, Cultural Diversity in the Church, Mar Muñoz-Visoso, Denver, Spain, St. Camillus, Media Relations, Entre Amigos, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Charles Chaput, immigration, migration, Catholic Church
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