The U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism will have a new chairman, following Bishop George Murry’s resignation from the position after being diagnosed with acute leukemia.
“Our most heartfelt prayers are with Bishop Murry and his loved ones,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We ask all people of faith to join us in praying for his full recovery.”
The cardinal has named Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, La. to serve as the chairman until the end of the term, the U.S. bishops’ conference website reports.
“I am grateful to Bishop Fabre for his dedication and commitment to now lead the work of the Ad Hoc Committee,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
The ad hoc committee was established in August 2017 in the wake of increasing racial tensions and white nationalist activism. Its work has included a press conference last fall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the creation of resources for the Sept. 9 Feast Day of St. Peter Claver as an annual day of prayer for peace within communities.
The committee also promotes education, resources, communications strategies, and care for victims of racism. A pastoral letter from the committee is expected to be released later this year.
On Monday the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio announced that Bishop Murry has been admitted to the Cleveland Clinic.
“He will undergo intensive chemotherapy for the next four weeks,” said the diocese’s statement, which called for prayer.
Murry also chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, which provides guidance for all Catholic educational institutions in the country.
CNA contacted the U.S. bishops' conference seeking information about whether the bishop would remain on this committee but did not receive a response by deadline.
Bishop Shelton Fabre was born October 25, 1963 in New Roads, La. He was ordained a priest in 1989 and became an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans in February 2007. In September 2013 he became Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux in southern Louisiana.
He is current chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on African American Affairs, on which he has served since 2010. Since 2013, he has served as a member of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.
The bishop is a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Peter Claver, a historically African-American Catholic fraternal organization which he serves as national chaplain. He is also a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.