Board of Trustees

Honorary Chairman

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick was born in New York City on July 7, 1930, to Theodore and Margaret McLaughlin McCarrick. He was ordained to the priesthood by Francis Cardinal Spellman on May 31, 1958 and earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. His first assignment was at Catholic University, where he served as Assistant Chaplain, Dean of Students and Director of Development. In 1965, he was named president of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. In 1969, he returned to New York to serve first as Associate Secretary for Education and then as Terence Cardinal Cooke’s Secretary.

Named an Auxiliary Bishop of New York in 1977, he served as Vicar of East Manhattan and the Harlems. In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed him the first Bishop of Metuchen, a newly-established diocese in New Jersey and as Archbishop of Newark in 1986. On January 3, 2001, he was installed as Archbishop of Washington, a position he held until May 2006. On February 21, 2001, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal McCarrick is past chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Policy, International Policy, Migration, Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. He also has served on the Administrative, Doctrine, Laity, Latin America and Missions committees. He has been Chancellor of The Catholic University of America and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He serves on the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services. For the Vatican, he serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He was one of l5 U.S. bishops elected to serve as a member of the 1997 Synod for America and on the Post Synodal Council. He is a founding member of the Papal Foundation and has served as its President since 1997.

Cardinal McCarrick has visited many nations as a human rights advocate and to survey humanitarian needs, including China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Rwanda and Eastern Europe. In 1996, then-Archbishop McCarrick was invited to serve on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In 1998, he was one of three American clerics invited to China to discuss religious freedoms in that country. From 1999 to 2001, he was a member of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. In 2000, he was honored by the Presidents of Lebanon and of the United States for his work on human rights, just two of many honors he has received.

Cardinal McCarrick speaks five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.


Father Peter F. Vasko, a native New Yorker, entered the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1981, after a ten-year career in marketing and public relations. Fr. Peter attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he majored in philosophy and theology. He later attended Duke University in North Carolina for graduate studies in anthropology and received additional training in archaeology at the Franciscan Stadium Biblicum in Jerusalem.

Fr. Peter was ordained to the deaconate in Jerusalem and, in 1987 was ordained to the priesthood in Washington, DC. Prior to his seminary training, he was a member of the Jaycees, Rotary International and the Public Relations Society of America. He is a former member of the St. Ives Society, an organization assisting in the civil rights of Palestinian people.

Fr. Peter has served four consecutive terms on the governing board of the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land which represents six Middle East countries. He served on both the Custody’s Finance and Sanctuary Boards and was formerly editor of the Holy Land Review, a quarterly archaeological, biblical and historical overview of the Holy Land.

Actively involved in the international diplomatic community in Jerusalem, Fr. Peter serves as a liaison and guide for the White House through the U.S. Embassy, as well as with the municipality of Jerusalem. He serves as Chaplain for the U.S. Marine Security Guard for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.  In 2008, Fr. Peter was bestowed  the prestigious recognition of  “Honorary Marine’ by the former  Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, USMC. The ceremony was held  at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

Presently, Fr. Peter is President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, an organization created to provide a worldwide voice for Christians living in the Holy Land and to ensure the continued Christian presence in the area.

With extensive live interview experience for both secular and religious media, Fr. Peter has developed a reputation as a skilled and versatile communicator. He is a compelling spokesman and public speaker, who has addressed many Catholic organizations including Legatus International, Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, Knights of Columbus, and Serra Club. Fr. Peter has appeared on several television specials about the Holy Land that were aired on Discovery Channel, BBC, NBC and CBS and many national radio talk shows. He has been a guest on EWTN’s “Mother Angelica Live” and “The World Over” on numerous occasions. He has also appeared on The 700 Club to address issues concerning the Christian exodus in the Holy Land and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was named one of the “Top Ten People in the Catholic Church” in the January 2006 issue of “Inside the Vatican” magazine.

He is the author of “See the Holy Land”, a photo essay of Israel/Palestine and has just finished a new second edition named ” Our Visit to the Holy Land”. In addition, he has also completed a 75-minute video about the Holy Land, entitled “On the Road to Christ.” Fr. Peter was also instrumental in the production of “Turning Point: Crisis in the Holy Land,” a television video documentary about the Christian exodus from the Holy Land, and was narrator for the video, “The Life of Jesus: a Scriptural Journey in the Holy Land.” He also co-produced a ten-part mini television series for EWTN entitled ‘THE HOLY LAND WITH FR. PETER F. VASKO, OFM’. His speaking engagements on the Middle East and the Holy Land have taken him to Europe, Africa and throughout the United States.

Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was born on January 16, 1941 in Varese, Italy. He was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968 and incardinated in the Diocese of Pavia (Italy).

He has a Doctorate in both Canon and Civil Law (Utroque Iure).His Excellency started his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See as Attaché in 1973 in Iraq and Kuwait.  In 1976 he was transferred to the Apostolic Nunciature in Great Britain.  From 1978 until 1989 he worked at the Secretariat of State of Vatican City.
On April 4, 1989 he was nominated Special Envoy with the functions of Permanent Observerto the European Council in Strasbourg.He was elected Archbishop on April 3, 1992.  On April 26, 1992 he was consecrated and made Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana.
He was nominated Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Nigeria, on April 3, 1992.  On April 4, 1998 he was nominated Delegate for the Pontifical Representations.Archbishop Viganò served as Secretary General of the Governorate of the Vatican City State from July 16, 2009 until September 3, 2011.
On October 19, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.  He speaks Italian, French, Spanish and English.

Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, a native of Bergamo, Italy, was appointed as the new Custodian of the Holy Land in June of 2004 by the Holy See and nominated by the General Definitor of the Franciscan order. He succeeds Fr. Giovanni Battistelli, OFM.

The appointment also allows Fr. Pizzaballa to serve as President of the Commission for Missionary Evangelization, Chairman of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, and as a member of the Commission for Judaism and Islam of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

In a recent interview, Fr. Pizzaballa reflected that, “Franciscans are at the heart of the life of the Church and of the world here (in the Holy Land)…the greatest challenge that we find ourselves facing now is that of not being limited to undergoing the difficult situations in which we live, but to become interested in them with an active and critical attitude.”

Fr. Pizzaballa was ordained into the priesthood in 1990 and has lived in the Holy Land for over 15 years. His previous appointments include serving as vicar of the Hebrew-speaking Catholic parish, and superior of the Friary of Saints Joachim and Anne. Fr. Pizzaballa also served as an assistant professor of biblical Hebrew and Judaism at the Studium Biblicum in Jerusalem.

In 1995, Fr. Pizzaballa and Franciscan Fr. Massimo Pazzini published the Mass in Hebrew. Fr. Pizzaballa, who is presently completing a doctorate in Holy Scriptures at the Studium Biblicum, has also translated several liturgical texts into Hebrew for the Hebrew-speaking Catholic communities in Israel.


Karen was raised in upstate New York where she earned a B.S. from New York State University and an M.S. from Union College in Schenectady. Later she relocated to Atlanta where she entered the field of Real Estate. She has lived in Atlanta for over 30 years. During that time she has been a member of the Junior League of the Atlanta Symphony, has been involved with the matrons of Tallah Falls School (A Georgian school for less privileged children), has been a volunteer at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and has been a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. She has been instrumental in organizing a Charismatic Prayer group and the legion of Mary in her parish. Karen is a Eucharistic Minister and a Lady Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. She is very involved in the healing ministry and has been a regional representative of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land since 1995. She has been a Board Member since 2002.

Eugene J. Alfonsi has an extensive business background spanning a forty year career. Mr. Alfonsi has served as an executive and also principle in the distribution, real estate development and health care industries.  He has also served as a director/trustee/member on several non-profit and private sector boards including several Catholic organizations.

Mr. Alfonsi is currently president and co-owner of Braxton Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.  He and his wife, Judith, reside in Dublin, OH and are the parents of 5 grown children.

Raymond Arroyo is an internationally known, award-winning journalist. Mr. Arroyo established EWTNews in 1996, creating several programs including: Newslink; Newsline; and the weekly international news magazine, The World Over Live. Mr. Arroyo is also responsible for EWTN’s live coverage of news events around the globe. Additionally, he has written and produced numerous documentaries and special programs; including the award-winning documentary: “Path of The Messiah” shot entirely in the Middle East.

In addition to his work at EWTN, Mr. Arroyo has appeared on “The Today Show”, “CNN Headline News”, “Access Hollywood”, “Capitol Gang”, “Deborah Norville Tonight”, “Scarborough Country”, and other national programs. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Financial Times, National Review, Our Sunday Visitor, and elsewhere. Mr. Arroyo resides in New Orleans with his wife Rebecca and his sons, Alexander and Lorenzo.

Kathy Assaf graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1970 with a BS in Business Administration. She has been married to Ron for 34 years and they have five children and 10 grandchildren, both she and her husband were invested into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 2010 and have made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Fr. Peter Vasko.

Work History

  • 1970-1974 – Arthur Young & Co. Senior Auditor
  • 1974-1984 – Sensormatic Electronics
    • Manager in Finance Dept.
    • Director of International Services Dept.
    • Director of Special Projects.
  • 1984-1992 – Boca Bank, Member of Board of Directors,
  • 1993-1995 – Boca Bank, Chairman of the Board
  • 1995-1996 – Intercontinental Bank, Member of Board of Directors

Past Chairmanship Positions:

  • The American College at the Catholic University at Louvain, Belgium: 2001-2009 Chairman of the Advisory Board, served on Board for 17 years, and chaired its 2001 Tradition with a Vision Campaign;
  • St. Bernadette Church – Advance Gifts Chairman for Building Campaign.
  • Diocese of Palm Beach Annual Bishop’s Appeal;
  • Children’s Museum Gala
  • St. Jude Church Building Drive
  • Diocese of Palm Beach New Beginnings Campaign and two Lumen Christi Galas

Nicholas J. Babiak, is the President and CEO of SKYLET, Inc., a Company that provides executive management services in support of DoD, commercial and academic interests and short-term position trading of equities. Mr. Babiak has over thirty years’ experience as a senior executive, commercial business development, senior program manager, technologist, and senior science advisor for commercial industry, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the United States Air Force. He has extensive experience in virtually every phase of military science and technology. He is a recipient of the Department of Defense’s Top Award for program management, the “Pioneer Award,” has Top Secret, SCI clearances, and was promoted to the Rank of Air Force Colonel four years before contemporaries. Before his current position he was a professional options trader of equities utilizing the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges. Previously, Mr. Babiak served as Vice President, Business Development, Cambridge Research Associates. When serving in the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant, he was the Air Force nominee for the United States Jaycees Ten Most Outstanding Men in America. Mr. Babiak holds the rank of Knight Commander, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

“Jimmy” was born and raised in Washington, DC where he currently resides with his wife and two children.  He graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1985, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Denison University in 1989.  After a brief stint of working on Capitol Hill, he transitioned from politics to the private sector by entering the Financial Services industry in 1993. Jimmy has served the past ten years as a Principal and Financial Advisor with Brown Advisory Securities, LLC, and prior to that, he spent ten years with Prudential Securities.

Jimmy has served on the Board of The Woodrow Wilson House, which is a privately funded, non-profit corporation and a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  In addition, he just completed his five year term on the Board of the Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington, where he served as Vice President and Chair of the Audit Committee.  He is presently serving on the Immaculate Conception Church Sesquicentennial Restoration Committee.

Bishop Dewane was born in 1950, of devout Irish-Catholics. He attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned a B.S. in Social Sciences. He then earned a M.A. in International Administration from The American University. After graduation, Bishop Dewane worked for NBC and PepsiCo.

Bishop Dewane began his studies for the priesthood at Notre Dame University, completing his studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1988, Bishop Dewane was ordained and appointed to the Diocese of Green Bay as an assistant pastor. He also worked for the diocesan Tribunal.

In 1991 Bishop Dewane became a delegate for the Vatican as a member of the Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations. Bishop Dewane currently serves on the U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. On July 25, 2006 Bishop Frank J. Dewane was installed as bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida.

Cardinal Dolan was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 and served as associate pastor in Richmond Heights, MO. until 1979 when he began graduate studies in American Church History at the Catholic University of America.

On his return to St. Louis, he served in parish ministry from 1983-87, during which time he was also liaison for the late Archbishop John L. May. In 1987 Archbishop Dolan was appointed to a five-year term as secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. When he returned to St. Louis in 1992, he was appointed vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, serving also as director of Spiritual Formation and professor of Church History.

On June 19, 2001 Fr. Dolan was named the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II. He was named Archbishop of Milwaukee by His Holiness in June, 2002 and  installed as Milwaukee’s 10th archbishop in August where he served until he was appointed Archbishop of New York by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in February, 2009.

A native New Yorker, inspired since his youth by St. Francis of Assisi, Mr. Donnelly has been active in support of the peoples of the Holy Land and the search for a lasting peace based on equal justice for the last 15 years, seven of which he lived in Jerusalem. He has served with and advised all the major Catholic organizations, both national and international. He has been active with various ecumenical and secular organizations, as well as at the United Nations as a nongovernmental organizations representative. Based on the closest possible encounters with the local Church and the native peoples in Israel and the Palestinian lands he was instrumental in developing the Living Stones Pilgrimage programs for American Christians visiting the Holy Land. Joseph is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and has spoken to diverse audiences throughout the USA and Europe. Today he is both the International Delegate to the United Nations-New York for Caritas International and the North American Director of the Foundation for the Children of Bethlehem. He has also been a Board Member since 2002.

In June 2006 Karen became the first woman from the US to serve as President General of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO).  It has a membership of almost 100 organizations, representing millions of Catholic women of every walk of life in 66 countries.

Karen has been actively involved in the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) for many years on the parish, deanery, diocesan and national level.   She serves on the Governing Board of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP). and Member of the Holy See Delegation to the United Nations 55th Commission on the Status of Women in 2011.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI granted Karen the Pontifical Honor of Dame of the Equestrian Order of Pope Saint Sylvester for service to the Church in the Diocese of Harrisburg.  The Catholic Daughters of the Americas honored Karen as Catholic Woman of the Year 2008.

For the past twenty years, Karen has served as Pastoral Associate of Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Harrisburg, PA.  She and her husband, Terry, reside in Harrisburg.

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1978.  After ordination, he studied law at DePaul University and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1981.

Father Paprocki was appointed Chancellor in March, 1992, under Cardinal Bernardin where he is still retained by Cardinal George.  Pope John Paul II appointed him to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 2003. Bishop Paprocki also serves as the Cardinal’s Liaison for Health and Hospital Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago and as Vice-President of the Illinois Catholic Health Association. He is Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago and Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. In January 2008, Bishop Paprocki was elected Vice-Chairman of the John Paul II Foundation in Rome.  Bishop Paprocki’s hobbies are reading, running and playing hockey.

Steven is a 1973 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.  He went on to attend gradate school at the University of California at Davis and language school (Spanish) at the Department of Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey.  Steven has held a variety of management positions within California State government from 1975 through 1982.

He has held management positions of Manager of Public, Regulatory and Human Affairs with the Southern California Gas Company in Los Angeles. Steven and his wife Carmen have been franchisees of McDonald’s Corporation since 1988.  They have owned and operated McDonald’s franchises in Sacramento, California, in Acapulco and Tijuana, Mexico and currently own six franchises in San Diego.  They reside in Coronado.

He is also a current member of the following Board of Trustees:

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Hospital Infantil de las Californias, (Tijuana, Mexico)
  • Ronald McDonald House of San Diego

Susan is a 5th generation Texan, co-founder of the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation of Texas whose purpose is to provide reliable information on the secular attacks on faith and family values, uphold the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church and expose persecutions and abuses of human rights around the globe through annual conferences featuring national and international speakers. For over forty years she has served on over 100 charitable, cultural and educational boards in California, Morocco, Spain, South Carolina, and Texas. Since 1994 she has served as Regional Representative of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land and chaired two benefit dinners for the Foundation. She is also a Lady Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Mrs. Stanzel has been a Board Member since 2002.