NEW HAVEN ? Only three weeks into her
new job as director of the Archdiocesan Office of Urban Affairs
, Cori Thibodeau
has already gotten the lay of the land.
?My first task is to understand the history and contacts, and to make some assessments,? she
?But the one thing that I was encouraged about by this office,? she
emphasized, ?is that there is a clear commitment to being at the service of the parish and empowering parishes to live out the social mission of the Church.?
That?s an important distinction for Ms. Thibodeau, who comes from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, where she developed a reputation for being passionate about helping parishes and communities to create a just society.
worked there for more than seven years, most recently as regional director of the Catholic Social Action Offices
, and as diocesan director for Catholic Relief Services.
?I was very happy with my current job and not really looking for a job,? she
said about the opening in the Hartford Archdiocese. ?But when I saw the advertisement for the job, I was really impressed and encouraged by the work that was being done in the Archdiocese.
?Throughout the interview process, every piece fell absolutely right in place,? she
said about the match. ?And I saw the potential to move in some different directions because of a staff size that is larger than the office in
, who turns 30 this month, also traveled to Angola, Africa, as part of a legislative delegation to examine the role of the Church in calling for a more just use of natural resources.
Ms. Thibodeau holds a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in
succeeds P. Joseph Smyth, who resigned Feb. 29after three and a half decades at the helm.
However, Ms. Thibodeau
own vision and mission to the job. ?I appreciate what the office here has accomplished and the wonderful reputation it holds nationally,? she
said. ?And I feel humbled to be in Joe?s place after he?s committed so many years of service here.?