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7/6/2017 9:00:00 AM
New diocesan position to focus on evangelization
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced the following administrative and pastoral appointments:

* REV. JAMES EBERT has been appointed diocesan vicar for clergy, effective Sept. 1. He will continue as pastor of Mater Christi parish in Albany.

* REV. THOMAS KONOPKA has been appointed pastor of St. Mary's parish in Clinton Heights, effective Aug. 1. He will continue his ministry as director of the Consultation Center in Albany, which offers mental health services.

* REV. STEVE MATTHEWS has been appointed pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in Greenville and Sacred Heart in Cairo (with Our Lady of Knock Shrine), effective Aug. 1. He had been serving as parochial vicar (associate pastor) of St. Pius X parish in Loudonville.

* REV. JUANITO ASPREC has been appointed parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany, effective immediately. * REV. JOHN CRONIN has been appointed parochial vicar of Mater Christi parish in Albany, effective immediately.

* REV. MICHAEL FLANNERY has been appointed parochial vicar of St. Mary's parish in Albany, effective Aug. 1.

* REV. JOHN TALLMAN has been appointed parochial vicar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, effective Aug. 1.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced a new diocesan position that will focus on assisting families and parishes throughout the Diocese of Albany with their evangelization efforts.

Thomas G. Cronin, a sales and business development professional with a wealth of experience in parish ministry and evangelization, has been appointed advisor to the Bishop for family and parish evangelization.

With an office located at the diocesan Pastoral Center in Albany, Mr. Cronin will spend a lot of time traveling around the Diocese and will work as part of a diocesan team to advance the call of all Catholics to be missionary disciples both within the Church and out in the public square.

"Tom is uniquely qualified to head up this new team effort, which will bring together people from various departments in the Diocese and from parish leadership with the objective of better serving our parishes and our Catholic families who are hungry for a way to make their faith more relevant to their daily lives and to share that faith with others," said Bishop Scharfenberger. "Collaboration will be key in this new position, as Tom sets out to identify best practices and resources that will benefit every parish in our 14 counties."

Most recently director of sales for Gracenote in Queensbury, Mr. Cronin is the founder of Pray 60, an evangelization campaign he created in 2015 as a result of hearing again and again that many families were not attending Mass due to their children's sports activities. Pray 60 encourages families to put their faith before youth sports.

Mr. Cronin was also recently appointed by Bishop Scharfenberger to chair the newly-formed Diocesan CYO Commission that is working to enhance the Catholic identity of CYO and standardize processes with diocesan guidelines.  

  "After more than 23 years in the private sector in various sales, marketing and business development roles, this new position with the Albany Diocese is not a change of jobs; it is answering God's calling for the next chapter of my life," Mr. Cronin said. "Our goal is to aggregate best practices across the Diocese and implement strategic campaigns on the parish level.

"I am honored and humbled by the appointment to this position, which provides me the opportunity to serve our Church in a larger and more impactful role," he added.

An active parishioner at St. Joseph's Church in Greenfield Center since 1995, Mr. Cronin has served as lector, usher, parish council president, eucharistic minister, parish trustee, greeter, sacristan and marriage preparatory couple with his wife, Rebecca. He is chair of St. Joseph's evangelization committee and a member of its finance committee. 

Mr. Cronin has also been active at Saratoga Central Catholic High School, where his two children, Kevin and Katie, are enrolled. He serves on the enrollment committee at SCC and has coached baseball and boys' and girls' basketball. He has coached youth sports for more than 14 years and has seen how those activities can dominate young families' lives.

"I have experienced today's societal demands firsthand and see many families struggling with the balance of practicing their faith while keeping up with all the activities on their calendars," Mr. Cronin explained. "Putting one's faith on the back burner will have a long-term negative impact for generations to come.

"One of my goals in my new position will be to help the Diocese of Albany become more proactive in encouraging families to re-prioritize and re-ignite their faith by moving it to the front burner of their lives, which will lead the way for stronger families and more vibrant communities."

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