New Secretary for Catholic Education Named for Archdiocese of Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, has named Dr. Jem Sullivan as Secretary for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Washington. The appointment was effective August 14, 2017.

As Secretary for Catholic Education, Dr. Sullivan will assist the teaching ministry of the archbishop through oversight and leadership of all educational efforts of the Archdiocese of Washington. Her role in the oversight of Catholic education includes a system of 93 Catholic schools that serve approximately 27,000 students, and 127 parish religious education programs serving over approximately 24,000 students and 30,000 adults in Washington, D.C. and the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s. The Catholic schools in the archdiocese form the largest non-public school system in the area.

“It is a pleasure to appoint Jem Sullivan as Secretary for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Washington,” said Cardinal Wuerl. “Her extensive background and experience as an educator and her commitment to the Catholic Church will enhance the mission of our schools to pass on the Catholic faith to future generations. She brings her deep Catholic faith and wealth of experience as an educator and catechetical leader to the position, and I look forward to working with her as she takes on the leadership of archdiocesan schools and religious education programs.”

Dr. Sullivan has spent her career teaching at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels in addition to writing catechetical programs and instructing courses in catechesis and adult faith formation. Since 1999, she has served as adjunct professor at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, where she teaches graduate courses on Catholic education, and has served on the school’s Accreditation Steering Committee, leading a successful re-accreditation process. She served as lead staff to the Subcommittee on the Catechism of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the role of Coordinator of Assessment, as staff to the Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, and as educational consultant for a collaborative project to create and implement initiatives for pastoral excellence in the archdiocese.

Her various accomplishments include authoring three books on catechesis and the new evangelization, including a Study Guide to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. She is a regular contributing writer of art essays in Magnificat and The Catechetical Review.  She also served as editor of The Sacraments: A Continuing Encounter with Christ, drawn from Cardinal Wuerl’s acclaimed catechism, The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults. Dr. Sullivan was appointed to serve on the archdiocese’s Sacred Arts Commission as well as the Iconography Committee of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Dr. Sullivan’s other endeavors include serving as a docent at Washington’s National Gallery of Art where she led public tours of the museum’s masterpiece collections; coordinating research for the permanent exhibit at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, authoring an illustrated children’s book on Saint John Paul II; hosting and writing a one-hour documentary special on sacred art in the new evangelization that aired on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN); and serving as a guest commentator for the USCCB’s reflections on daily Mass readings.

“Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s teaching ministry is respected and admired throughout the United States and around the world. It is an honor of a lifetime to serve Cardinal Wuerl’s teaching ministry in the role of Secretary for Catholic Education, and with thanks to God and gratitude for the task entrusted to me, I am humbled by this opportunity to dedicate my work to the service and leadership of archdiocesan Catholic schools and parish religious education programs,” Dr. Sullivan said. “I look forward to working with our superintendent of Catholic Schools and the dedicated staff of the Catholic Schools Office, along with the staff of the Office for Catechesis, in serving pastors, school administrators and teachers, and catechists, all of whom are preparing the next generation of societal leaders and future saints of the Church.”

Dr. Sullivan completed undergraduate studies at Xavier University (India) and the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines). She earned a Master’s degree in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and received her doctorate in Religious Education from The Catholic University of America.