Leadership Team and Officers, 2016-17
- Father David Cooper, Milwaukee
- Father Joe Ruggieri, Youngstown
- Father Frank Eckart, Toledo
- Father Bernie Survil, Greensburg
- Father Kevin Clinton, St. Paul - Minneapolis
- Father Bob Bonnot, Youngstown
- Father Dan Divis, Cleveland
- Father Clarence Williams, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus
- Father Jim Kiesel, Baltimore
- Father Jim Schexnayder, Oakland
- Chair, Bob Bonnot
- Vice-chair, Kevin Clinton
- Treasurer, Frank Eckart
- Secretary, Joe Ruggieri
- Sister Jackie Doepker, OSF, Executive Secretary, Franciscan Sisters, Tiffin, Ohio
Brief Team Member Biographies
Bob Bonnot, re-elected to the Leadership Team, elected to serve a third term as Leadership Team chair. Bob, now retired as of July 3, brings 49 years of experience as a priest and pastor in the Diocese of Youngstown. He has background and experience, locally and nationally, in administration, planning, communication and forward thinking. “As much as possible I plan to spend my time, talent and energy in service to AUSCP's vision and mission, priests, the presbyterates of the United States. I support the efforts of Pope Francis and our bishops to continue the evangelizing of our people and our world through implementation of Vatican II and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Kevin Clinton, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, re-elected by as vice-chair of the Leadership Team. Kevin serves the AUSCP out of a conviction that "the movement of the Holy Spirit in Vatican II asks all priests to minister with courage and openness to the dynamism of the Spirit's presence in the here and now." He is enthusiastic about and committed to the mission of the AUSCP and wants to help create a significant pastoral voice that comes from years of US priests' pastoral experience. Kevin, with 42 years as a diocesan priest with parish and archdiocesan responsibilities. He is a charter member of the AUSCP who has attended all annual Assemblies.
Jim Kiesel, Archdiocese of Baltimore, re-elected to the Leadership Team. “I am forever grateful to our God for the gift of the AUSCP because they inspired hope and renewal in my priesthood at a particular time in my life . . . . There were likeminded brothers who shared my dreams, visions, hopes and support. I have been to every assembly. I want to be in the company of my brother priests where we share our values and beliefs, to pray and to share our hopes and our struggles.” Ordained in 1995, Jim hope to bring priests of his generation into the AUSCP.
Louis Arceneaux, elected to the Leadership Team in 2016. He is a member of the Congregation of the Mission, Western Province USA, ordained in 1966. He names his strengths as knowledge of and passion for liturgy of Church; knowledge and passion for peace and justice in Church and society. His experience includes years of teaching liturgy and sacramental theology in seminaries after receiving a doctorate in theology from San Anselmo in Rome; being active on liturgical committees in dioceses; working with the AUSCP Roman Missal Task Force; heading the Peace and Justice Committee for his Vincentian province; being a long time member of Pax Christi USA and participant in peace demonstrations at the School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Frank Eckart, Diocese of Toledo, Retired, is one of the 27 Founding Fathers of the Association serving in his second term on the Leadership Team. He retired about the time AUSCP was formed and with his extra time volunteered to serve on the Leadership Team and also as treasurer, including all financial bookkeeping. Additionally, Franktook on responsibility for planning AUSCP’s Annual Assemblies, becoming a virtual pro at that special role. Frank spent nearly all of his priesthood in in parish ministry. Since retirement he provide hospital and prison ministry while also relieving priests who need some help. He is also president of the local neighborhood organization where he lives.
Joe Ruggieri, Diocese of Youngstown Pastor at Regina Coeli and St. Joseph Catholic Churches in Alliance Ohio. Ordained in 1995, Joe has served in several parishes of the Diocese and been pastor in several situations involving multiple churches. He also facilitates the Association of Priests in the Diocese of Youngstown and serves on the Diocese’s Personnel Board. Born in 1967, Joe is one of our youngster members. He graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio in 1990 and completed his major seminary studies at Mt. St. Mary (the Athenaeum of Ohio), Cincinnati, Ohio before ordination by Bishop James W. Malone in May, 1995. Joe is a firm believer in the “servant/leader” model of ordained ministry and works to foster active participation among the members of the parish family. He sees coordination and collaboration as essential and brings those skills to the AUSCP in his service as Leadership Team Secretary.
Bernie Survil, Diocese of Greensburg, Retired is another of AUSCP's Founding Fathers. After ordination in 1967, Bernie served various parish and high school teacher/chaplain assignments in Greensburg and Indianapolis before becoming a Maryknoll Priest-Associate, serving in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica during the War Years. He remains a member of COOPESA, an association of Central American priests since 1975, an experience he cherishes. Bernie organized the August 2011 Retreat out of which emerged the AUSCP. He has served on AUSCP’s Leadership Team from the beginning, specializing in membership development. Bernie is persuaded that the Association and its leadership need great diversity, especially ethnic. He works had to make that happen … and has largely succeeded. He was also part of the group that developed a model for priest and people to participate in the Selection of Bishops.
Dave Cooper, Ordained 1970, Milwaukee Archdiocese, is another one of the 27 Founding Fathers and chair of the Leadership Team for the AUSCP for the first three years. He spent 45 years of priestly service in parishes as Associate Pastor and as a Pastor dedicated to the vision and forward motion of Vatican Council II. Dave retired on June 21, 2015 and is using his time to help serve the Association among other ministries. Dave serves on the Associations Finance Committee helpedestablish an Endowment for the Association. Dave is a good listener and is attentive to the needs of the membership. He understands diocesan priests and the issues they struggle with since I too have struggled with those issues. He is pleased to be serving AUSCP.
Dan Divis, Ordained 1979, From the Diocese of Cleveland is also a Founding Father and counts perseverance as one of his strong qualities. He is energized, hopeful, encouraged and grateful that the Association exists. It brings priests together to share hopes, needs, dreams, and support, and collaborates to find ways to impact our communities and our world. Dan has been in ministry for 38 years and has ‘seen a lot.’ He is a pastor in Lorain Ohio, has been on the Leadership Team from the beginning and is well known in the Association as the best Assembly MC possible – “just sayin’” as Dan often says after contributing some special insight to Association deliberations. Dan is our representative to international gatherings of priest associations, which fits his desire to travel.
Jim Schexnayder, Ordained 1964, From the Diocese of Oakland has served as an AUSCP Leadership Team member since January 2013 and for several years served as its Secretary. He brings an understanding of AUSCP’s mission, goals and board processes. He engages well with AUSCP members at our Assemblies and is generously committed to the work of AUSCP among many other ministries, including serving as a pastor, director of the formation for the permanent diaconate, director of campus ministry, HIV/AIDS ministry with Catholic Charities and served as executive director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay ministries. He has conducted colloquia for our Assemblies and contributes astutely to the development and support of actions that embody Vatican II. Jim delivered AUSCP’s report on priests responses to the 2015 Synod on the Families survey. He strongly supports Pope Francis’ vision for priesthood and church.
Clarence Williams , CPPS, Ph.D., Pastor of St. James the Less Church, Columbus OH is the founder of the Institute for the Recovery from Racism, an organization dedicated to the promotion of racial sobriety. He has authored number articles and books, having served as Director of Detroit's Office for Black Catholic Ministries and on the staff of Catholic Charities USA. His current parish is multiracial, multicultural, and bilingual. Among his many awards is the Christopher Award for Religious Broadcasting. Clarence joined the AUSCP Leadership Team in 2015, strengthening our diversity and helping to connect the AUSCP with the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus.
Sr. Jackie Doepker, OSF, a Tiffin Ohio Franciscan, has served as AUSCP's Executive Secretary since 2014 after having served as the President of her congregation for a second time. She is a strong advocate for Justice and Peace, having worked in the past on such concerns for the Diocese of Cleveland.