First House Chaplain from Washington State
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement today after the U.S. House approved the nomination of the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, a Gonzaga University graduate, to serve as the new House chaplain. He is the first House chaplain from Washington State.
"Bulldogs are beaming with pride today as one of their own ascends to a very important position in Congress that will greatly enrich the spiritual life of our nation,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “There is no question that Members of Congress need to pray and be led in prayer to be wise stewards of our blessed nation. With his roots in Eastern Washington, and his impressive accomplishments, I know that Rev. Conroy will do an excellent job in that capacity.”
Rev. Conroy was born in Everett, earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Gonzaga in 1977, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1983. In the 1980s, he served Indian reservations in Eastern Washington – first as a pastor in Inchelium, on the Colville Reservation, then in Ford and Wellpinit, on the Spokane Reservation. He later served 10 years as a chaplain at Georgetown University. Prior to his nomination, he taught theology at Jesuit High School in Portland.
Rev. Conroy is the 60th chaplain of the U.S. House. He succeeds the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, who retired last month after more than 11 years of service.
The chaplain is an elected officer of the House of Representatives. In addition to opening proceedings with prayer, a tradition dating back to the First Continental Congress, the chaplain provides pastoral counseling to the House community, coordinates the scheduling of guest chaplains, and arranges memorial services for the House and its staff. In the past, chaplains have performed marriage and funeral ceremonies for House members.