Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York


For the past couple of years, I’ve been proud to be part of a committee that’s done some important work in the diocese without a lot of fanfare.

In June, 2015, Bishop LaValley established a Public Policy Team to promote and publicize the Church’s public policy advocacy priorities in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

The bishop expressed his “hope that we will educate our people on the Church’s social teachings, current issues and proposed legislations, and the needs of our people, especially the poor and the marginalized.  Ultimately, we want to help form our people into knowledgeable and compassionate advocates for justice and the common good…”

Daughter of Charity Sister Donna Franklin served as the first chair of the committee until she retired from her position as director of Catholic Charities earlier this year. Deacon Patrick Donahue replaced her on the committee while Marika Donders, director of the Department of New Evangelization; became the new chair.

Other current team members are Stephen Tartaglia, director of the Family Life Office; Father Douglas J. Lucia, Judicial Vicar, director of vocations and director of seminarians; Colleen and John Miner, directors of the Respect Life Office, Msgr. Dennis Duprey, pastor of St. Peter’s in Plattsburgh, St. Joseph Sister Ellen Rose Coughlin, director of Catholic education and superintendent of Catholic Schools; Kelly Donnelly, director of youth ministry; and yours truly.

While we can claim a few brag-worthy accomplishments since the group was formed, today I’d like to let you know what’s next on our agenda.

As Bishop LaValley said in his Lenten message this year (see page 3), the diocesan priority this Lent is to help Catholics better understand the Church’s social teaching and its key principles. 

“Using the Prayer of St. Francis as our model,” he writes, “I invite our local Church to consider what it means when we pray: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…” 

The public policy committee is doing its part by putting together a series of articles exploring each of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching, what the American bishops have described as a “rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.”

Sounds like a perfect way to become an instrument of peace... in our world, our country, our church, our homes!



Bishop LaValley's Letter for Lent

Lenten Letter 2018


Click Images to download a printable pdf (front and back, will print 4 prayer cards per page)

social justice prayer card front




Article 1: Catholic Social Teaching: Seven Themes

Article 2: Life and dignity of the human person

Article 3:  Call to family, community, participation