Minnesota’s Catholic Bishops will begin the search for a new executive director to build on the strengths and successes of the past ten years.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, will seek a new executive director to assist the bishops of Minnesota in their social ministry and their advocacy on behalf of human life and dignity. Jason Adkins, who has led the conference through eleven legislative session years, is stepping down on July 31.
“I leave this role with a heart full of gratitude for the unique opportunity to serve our local Church,” said Adkins, who has been MCC executive director and general counsel since March 2011. As MCC’s executive director, Adkins has advised the bishops on legislative matters and public affairs, while working with MCC staff to execute the bishops’ strategic goals and priorities through lobbying, communications, and public engagement.
“Politics is an important mission field, and we have worked at every turn to offer a credible witness to the Gospel at the Capitol and in the public arena,” he said. “I have been blessed to work with courageous, unified bishops and a dedicated staff, which has made this ministry a joy.”
“Jason’s collaboration and visionary leadership at the Minnesota Catholic Conference will be sorely missed by the bishops of our State,” observed Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. “We are grateful that his love for the Church and Catholic social teaching and his understanding of the political process have consistently intersected in his work at the MCC. I will be always grateful that he has consistently inspired us in our work to keep the focus on people rather than politics to the benefit of our brothers and sisters most in need.”
Some of MCC’s key accomplishments during Adkins’s tenure as executive director include:
- Knocking down unreasonable and discriminatory COVID-19 worship restrictions for all faith communities in Minnesota;
- Serving as a trusted resource with leaders in both political parties to enact legislation that protects human dignity and promotes the common good;
- Helping to change the discussion at the Capitol around poverty and the safety net for low-income Minnesota families;
- Partnering with more than 70 organizations in the Minnesota Alliance for Ethical Healthcare to stop the legalization of assisted suicide in its tracks, preventing it from receiving even one committee vote in the Legislature;
- Reigniting the school choice movement in Minnesota with the founding of MCC partner organization Opportunity for All Kids;
- Hosting three successful Catholics at the Capitol events where over 3,000 Catholics learned the ins and outs of meeting with legislators and more about the work of faithful citizenship;
- Creating award-winning catechetical content, such as the “Faith in the Public Arena” column and the Bridge Builder podcast and radio show.
According to Bishop John M. Quinn of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, “[t]he Catholic Community in Minnesota has greatly benefitted from the leadership of Jason Adkins, who has encouraged the laity to take an active role in formulating public policy and in building productive relationships with politicians. As a bishop in Minnesota, I have learned from Jason the importance of living the Gospel with integrity and charity.”
Adkins leaves MCC to help launch the new law firm Cross/Castle, PLLC. In addition to developing legal solutions for business and nonprofit clients, he will work to build the firm’s pro bono and public interest practice, which aims to help families and faith communities live their vocations and missions with integrity. “I look forward to continuing to serve the body of Christ in this new role,” said Adkins. “I am just moving to a different spot on the battlefront.”
Adkins will likely stay connected to MCC in an ongoing advisory role. In the meantime, the bishops will launch a search for the next executive director. Interested persons can watch the MCC website (mncatholic.org) for more information about that process.
An informal farewell open house will be held on Thursday, July 22, from 4-6 pm at the Como Park Pavilion South (1199 Midway Pkwy, St. Paul, MN 55103). All are welcome.