Cardinal Wuerl Appoints Cynthia DeSimone as Chancellor of Archdiocese of Washington

December 19, 2013

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, has appointed Cynthia DeSimone as chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

DeSimone currently serves as general counsel for the archdiocese and will assume the role of chancellor in addition to her existing duties. DeSimone succeeds Jane G. Belford, who is retiring at the end of December after nearly 13 years as the archdiocese’s first lay chancellor.

“Cynthia’s experience as general counsel, as well as her strong commitment to the faith and her unwavering enthusiasm for the work of the Archdiocese of Washington, makes her an exceptional choice to succeed Jane Belford, whose passion and dedication have been instrumental in implementing the mission of the archdiocese for over a decade,” said Cardinal Wuerl. “I am delighted that Cynthia has accepted this position.”

As part of her new role, DeSimone will serve as a member of the Administrative Board, which advises Cardinal Wuerl on issues affecting policy and pastoral practices within the archdiocese. Canonically, the role of chancellor includes the responsibility to ensure the acts of the curia, which assists the archbishop in the management of archdiocesan administrative affairs, are gathered, arranged and safeguarded in the archive of the curia. This duty also automatically makes the chancellor a notary and secretary of the curia. In the Archdiocese of Washington, the chancellor’s responsibilities have evolved and grown to include the additional responsibilities of providing counsel to the archbishop on matters of public policy, serving as a corporate member on all archdiocesan affiliated corporations and directing special projects and initiatives. In addition, DeSimone will continue to oversee the staff of the Office of General Counsel.

DeSimone is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., where she attended Catholic elementary school and Oakland Catholic High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She received a Master of Arts in Philosophy and a Juris Doctor with honors from The Catholic University of America, where she served on the Catholic University Law Review. DeSimone is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the School of Philosophy at CUA. She was in private practice in Washington, D.C., prior to joining the Archdiocese in 2007.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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