(RNS) A Jesuit will be sworn in as the 60th chaplain of the House of Representatives on May 25, when he will become the first member of his order and second consecutive Catholic priest to serve the House.
As chaplain, the Rev. Patrick Conroy will be in charge of opening House sessions with prayer, coordinating guest chaplains, counseling members of the House community and arranging memorial services, weddings and funerals.

“One does not aspire to become the chaplain to a chamber of Congress,” Conroy, 60, said in a statement released on Friday (May 6).

“I am also humbled by the confidence my Jesuit superiors are demonstrating in making me available to answer this call to serve the People’s House,” he added.

Conroy was selected by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who consulted with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Both are Catholics.

“We are honored that Father Conroy has agreed to serve as House chaplain,” Boehner said in a statement. “His dedication to God’s work, commitment to serving others and experience working with people of faith from all traditions will make him an asset to the House community.”

Conroy has master’s degrees in philosophy, divinity and sacred theology, and a law degree from St. Louis University in Missouri.

In the 1980s, he was pastor of several Washington missions and parishes, and later was chaplain at Georgetown University in Washington, for nearly a decade.He will celebrate his 28th year as a Jesuit on June 11.

(Nancy Haught writes for The Oregonian in Portland, Ore.)

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