San Diego diocese gets first woman chancellor

Bishop Robert McElroy appoints María Olivia Galván to replace Rodrigo Valdivia, who was named Vice-Moderator of the Curia; appointment follows a trend of the Church embracing more women in leadership roles

María Olivia (Marioly) Galván (image from The Southern Cross)

In a groundbreaking decision, San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert W. McElroy appointed María Olivia (Marioly) Galván as the diocese’s first woman chancellor. In addition, she will serve in a new position, director of Pastoral Ministries, overseeing and supporting seven departments.

The offices are the Diocesan Institute, Family Life and Spirituality, Liturgy and Spirituality, Social Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry, which she has directed for two years and will continue to do so.

The appointment comes at a time when the diocese is focused on reaching more Catholics, particularly those no longer practicing their faith. A new Office for Family Life and Spirituality opened last summer to meet the distinct needs of today’s families. The diocese is in the middle of a four-year national initiative to better serve Latino Catholics, called the V National Encuentro of Hispanic Ministry. And more innovative programing to engage young Catholics is being offered.

Galván, 35, is perfectly suited to champion all of these efforts, having worked her way up from part-time secretary to one of the highest lay positions at the diocese.

For the Chula Vista native, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, that journey began in high school when she responded to the call of being catechist at her home parish of St. John of the Cross in Lemon Grove.

And it continued while she obtained a degree in Business Administration, with a focus on real estate, an industry where she would work for almost 10 years.

The fact that she has become the first woman chancellor in the diocese is not lost on her.

“I think it speaks volumes of the presence of lay women in ministry, and specifically in leadership roles like this one,” she said. “It’s very humbling for me. I recognize what a huge responsibility it is.”

Her appointment follows a trend of the Church embracing more women, including laity, in leadership roles. Hoffsman Ospino, a national lecturer on the history of the Catholic Church, said that the number of women who serve as chancellors has been growing across the country but it’s still small. (In California, however, nine out of 12 dioceses have women chancellors, four of them religious women.)

Full story at The Southern Cross.

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Comments

  1. I’m tired of all this identity box-checking. My prediction is that nothing will improve in the diocese. So what’s the big deal?

  2. Political correctness in the Church…the real question is, is she qualified? She has a background in business and real estate, so that qualifies her to be chancellor how? Is she otherwise expert in canon law and the areas of expertise she is supposed to know according to the “job description” provided for in canon law? Of course, doesn’t surprise us in San Diego, where doctrine and law go by the wayside.

  3. What might be the specific requirements to be Chancellor per Canon Law? Did the male predecessor hold those requirements? Does the average parish priest? Lay out the specifics and then judge where the lady is unqualified.

  4. Compare this woman’s credentials with Pia de Solenni’s in the Diocese of Orange, and this appointment is an embarrassment by comparison. Solenni was appointed chancellor of Orange last year, so San Diego is late to the bandwagon in appointing a woman. Seems this woman’s biggest qualification is she speaks Spanish, is Mexican, and the diocese is pushing to reach out to Spanish-speaking people. I suspect the chancellor in S.D. doesn’t actually do much, so it was bundled with a pastoral director’s job to free up a priest for much-needed priestly ministry since vocations are nonexistent. Good P.R. for the bishop.

  5. What does a chancellor do, anyhow?

    • Anonymous says:

      Can. 482 §1. In every curia a chancellor is to be appointed whose principal function, unless particular law establishes otherwise, is to take care that acts of the curia are gathered, arranged, and safeguarded in the archive of the curia.

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