Catholic Extension

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Catholic Extension
Formation October 18, 1905 (113 years ago)
Purpose Supports poor mission dioceses across the United States
  • Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°52′48″N 87°38′12″W / 41.879984°N 87.636663°W / 41.879984; -87.636663
Rev. John J. Wall
Main organ
Board of Governors
Affiliations Roman Catholic Church

Catholic Extension (also known as the Catholic Church Extension Society) is a national fundraising organization which supports and strengthens poor mission dioceses across the United States. They provide funding and resources to dioceses and parishes through programs and services investing in people, infrastructure and ministries. This support is given based on need, passion and commitment to the growth of the Catholic faith.


Father Francis Kelley, a priest from Lapeer, Michigan, first envisioned Catholic Extension in 1905. Through his travels, he discovered places and communities that were struggling to keep the Catholic faith alive and growing. The Archbishop of Chicago, James Edward Quigley, agreed to help Father Kelley launch this new organization. As a result, the Catholic Church Extension Society was organized on October 18, 1905. Temporary headquarters were established in Lapeer, Michigan, where a charter was granted to the society by the state of Michigan on December 25, 1905.

In January 1907, society headquarters were moved to Chicago, and the president was transferred to that archdiocese. In April 1906, the society began the publication of a quarterly bulletin called Extension. In May 1907, this quarterly was enlarged and changed into a monthly bulletin.

On June 7, 1907, Catholic Extension received its first papal approval by an Apostolic Letter of Pope Pius X addressed to the Archbishop of Chicago. Almost exactly three years later, on June 9, 1910, the Pope issued a brief by which the society was raised to the dignity of a canonical institution directly under his own guidance and protection. By the terms of this brief, the Archbishop of Chicago will always remain chancellor of the Society, and the president must be appointed by the Pope himself. The President's term of office is not more than five years. The board of governors has the right to propose three names to the Holy See for this office, and to elect, according to their laws, all other officers of the society.[1]


Past presidents[edit]

  • Reverend Francis Clement Kelley – Founder, President 1905–1924
  • Most Reverend William D. O'Brien – President 1925–1962
  • Reverend Joseph B. Lux – President 1962–1966
  • Reverend Kenneth G. Stack – President 1966–1968
  • Reverend John L. May – President 1968–1970
  • Reverend Joseph A. Cusack – President 1970–1976
  • Reverend Edward J. Slattery – President 1977–1994
  • Reverend Kenneth J. Velo – President 1994–2001
  • Most Reverend William R. Houck – President 2001–2007[5]

Extension Magazine[edit]

In 1906, just six months after founding Catholic Extension, Father Francis Clement Kelley envisioned a new way to communicate the needs of the Church in frontier America to Catholic homes across the United States. Thus, Extension magazine was born, with Father Kelley serving as the original writer, editor and publisher. Since then, Extension has developed to include a collection of articles illustrating the history of the Catholic Church in America and seeking to inspire its readers with stories about vibrant Catholic communities across the United States. Now a quarterly publication, Extension is the voice of Catholic Extension's mission to strengthen the Church in America's poor mission dioceses.

Lumen Christi Award[edit]

Every year, Catholic Extension's Lumen Christi Award honors an individual or group working in one of America's mission dioceses who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. The award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant: $25,000 for the honoree and $25,000 for his or her nominating diocese.[6]


  1. ^ Kelley, Francis (1912). "The Catholic Church Extension Society". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 14. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Board of Governors". Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "President's Page". Catholic Church Extension Society of the United States of America. 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Past Presidents". Catholic Extension. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Lumen Christi Award". Retrieved 2012-09-17. 

External links[edit]