Father Michael J.K. Fuller, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, has been named associate general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a Nov. 19 announcement, Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill, USCCB general secretary, said the appointment was effective immediately.

Father Fuller has worked as the executive director of the USCCB's Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs since August 2016 and will continue to lead the secretariat and serve as the administrator of the conference's pastoral offices.

"I have had the privilege of working with Father Fuller for the last four years," Msgr. Burrill said in a statement released by the conference. "He has extensive experience working with conference committees and staff as well as with several of our key collaborating organizations."

He said Father Fuller "has gained the trust and respect of many including me" and that both shared a common vision as they prepared to carry out the priorities of the bishops.

Both Msgr. Burrill and Father Fuller were candidates for general secretary to succeed outgoing general secretary Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, whose five-year term ended Nov. 17 at the conclusion of the bishops' fall general assembly.

Following tradition, the bishops' voted to promote Msgr. Burrill, who had been associate general secretary since March 2017. The election results were announced Nov. 16, the first day of the bishops' two-day virtual fall assembly.

Father Fuller welcomed the appointment in the USCCB statement, thanking Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, for allowing him to continue serving at the conference.
He also expressed gratitude for "this new opportunity to serve the bishops and the church."

Before arriving at the USCCB, Father Fuller was on the faculty of at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, serving as chairman of the Department of Spiritual Theology from 2011 to 2016 and chairman of the Department of Christian Life from 2002 to 2011. He also was editor of the Chicago Studies Theological Journal.

In addition, he was spiritual director and instructor for the Diaconate Formation Program of the Diocese of Rockford, from 2002 to 2016, and an instructor for the Diaconate Formation Program of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Other teaching assignments were at the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and St. Anthony School of Nursing in Rockford.

Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockford, in 1997, Father Fuller holds a doctorate in sacred theology and a master of divinity, a licentiate of sacred theology and a bachelor of sacred theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

Prior to entering the seminary, Father Fuller spent two years in Swaziland as a Peace Corps volunteer.

A widely published author in scholarly publications, the priest also is the author of two books, "Daily Prayer 2008" and "The Virgin Martyrs: A Hagiographical and Mystagogical Interpretation."