Catholic World Mission Welcomes New Executive Director, James Flanagan
Catholic World Mission has recently welcomed its newest member to the team – James Flanagan took on the role of Executive Director in January of this year.
James is a devout Catholic with over 12 years of leadership and success in communications as well as various non-profit recognitions. He has served close to nine years in the Army, where he had the honor to lead many successful teams in war zones and across the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, South Korea, and Turkey. After leaving the military in the fall of 2017, James moved back to Georgia and worked in Senior and Executive corporate communications roles for Fortune 250 companies with an emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility. James holds a BBA from the University of Georgia and a JD from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
For James, it is his previous service in the military that has well-equipped him for his new role as Executive Director of Catholic World Mission:
“I was honored to be a part of something larger than myself when I was in the military. Each day, I knew that I was a part of a great mission, no matter how small my contribution might have been, and it was extremely humbling. After the military, I had the opportunity to lead some amazing teams and projects in Corporate America, but that feeling of being part of a great mission was missing. Now I am blessed to be a part of a great mission each day at CWM!”
Catholic World Mission is a family of donors, partners, and communities that uplifts the poor, shares the Gospel, and ignites the Holy Spirit to transform the world, one community at a time. Founded in 1998, Catholic World Mission is a Regnum Christi outreach that works to spread the message of the Catholic Church and rebuild communities worldwide with a trinitarian approach that involves collaboration between the community in need, a dedicated partner who helps oversee the project (which can include priests, religious, bishops, and lay people), and a generous family of supporters. For this reason, an important aspect of every mission entails getting to know the people in the communities being served and ensuring that they are actively involved in finding a solution to their needs, and forming relationships in order to create long-term results. “Our trinitarian approach of connecting donors with local project managers to support communities in need provides a real impact each day,” says James.
Catholic World Mission projects fall under three main categories or pillars. Through the Dignified Living Pillar, CWM responds to the call of the Catholic Church to perform the Corporal Works of Mercy: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, and visiting the sick. For example, CWM has been working in the village of Ndekesha in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rebuilding the orphanage which had been closed in 1998 due to war and increased violence in the area, and working to construct a water tower to provide safe access to clean drinking water to the 16,000 residents.
The Evangelization Pillar uplifts the poor by sharing the Gospel of Christ, partnering with communities in need to remove the obstruction of spiritual despair so that people can experience spiritual and emotional growth. CWM has built the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Enchi, Ghana; 11 community centers which double as churches in India; and missionary centers in Costa Rica. The organization also works to provide and assist in seminarian formation, lay evangelization, and opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration.
The third pillar of Catholic World Mission is Education, which CWM believes has the power to attack poverty at the root level, allowing individuals to realize their God-given potential to elevate their lives and communities. CWM works closely with Mano Amiga schools around the world, and currently is working to transform Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Nursery and Primary School in Oyede, Nigeria from a dilapidated church building to a safe and functional education facility that can be used for meetings, church activities, weddings, and even as a stronghold in times of disaster.
A key aspect of Catholic World Mission’s projects is that CWM never accepts funds that would restrict or prevent them from not only uplifting the poor, but also spreading the Gospel. When communities receive aid from Catholic World Mission, they also hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and experience His love and the support of a community who truly cares for them – CWM supports the work of priests, religious, missionaries, and lay people working to make a difference in the lives of others, both materially and spiritually. As a Catholic mission organization, they remain fully in line with Scripture, Catholic Church teaching, and the guidance of Pope Francis, whose words continue to fuel CMW to persevere in caring for the whole person:
“It is not enough to offer someone a sandwich unless it is accompanied by the possibility of learning how to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that leaves the poor person as he is is not sufficient. True mercy, the mercy God gives us and teaches us, demands justice; it demands that the poor find the way to be poor no longer.”
Catholic World Mission serves communities all throughout the United States, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, but each project and location is chosen with great prayer and consideration; CWM works where they are most needed, and where they can guide the community toward self-sufficiency through the three pillars of education, evangelization, and physical restoration.
For James, it has been an honor to be asked to lead the Catholic World Mission team, and he is grateful for the efforts of each member of the staff, who have been instrumental in building the organization. He looks forward to collaborating with each one of the leaders on the Board of Directors, which includes a number of lay Regnum Christi members and Legionary priests, like Fr. Joshua West and Fr. Daniel Brandenburg, who has served as the board’s chairman since 2017, and whose leadership and faith has been pivotal in driving the CWM mission. James looks forward to leading the CWM team of passionate individuals, connecting with donors, collaborating with partners, and promoting the mission. “By working together, we have the opportunity to make Catholic World Mission the most impactful organization of its kind!”
James is married to Dr. Elaine Flanagan, a Catholic convert and pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Together, they have two young daughters, Rose and Grace. They attend Mary Our Queen parish in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
If you feel called to support projects around the world to evangelize, improve education, or promote the dignity of life, visit catholicworldmission.org or contribute to the Annual Fund Drive for 2023.
To read of some of Catholic World Mission’s recent projects, like the opening of the Pope Francis School and Health Center, a multipurpose campus in Ghana that cares for vulnerable children and orphans who parents suffer from HIV/AIDS, check out their recent successes. Or follow Catholic World Mission on any one of their social links: