Patrick R. Brannigan, left, speaks with physicians opposed to assisted-suicide legislation Oct. 20, 2016, in Trenton. After 13 years in the position, Brannigan has retired as executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference. Joe Moore photo
Patrick R. Brannigan, left, speaks with physicians opposed to assisted-suicide legislation Oct. 20, 2016, in Trenton. After 13 years in the position, Brannigan has retired as executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference. Joe Moore photo
" Pat’s dedication and fidelity to the Gospel ensured that the NJCC was committed to advancing public policy that aimed to serve the most vulnerable persons among us. "

Patrick R. Brannigan has retired as executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. James J. King, director of the NJCC Office for Social Concerns since 2012, will serve as interim director.

Brannigan’s retirement became effective Oct. 4. King will serve in the interim role while the Board of Bishops conducts a search for a permanent executive director. Prior to joining the NJCC, King served as the director of the Office for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“For over thirteen years, Pat Brannigan served as the chief spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey on significant public policy issues such as respect for the dignity of human life, affordable housing, immigration and education,” King said.

“Pat’s dedication and fidelity to the Gospel ensured that the NJCC was committed to advancing public policy that aimed to serve the most vulnerable persons among us,” King continued. “Pat’s retirement is not only a tremendous loss for NJCC but the entire Catholic Church in New Jersey.” 

Brannigan, a deacon in St. James Parish, Pennington, succeeded William F. Bolan Jr. Before taking on the NJCC position in 2006, Brannigan spent 40 years in higher education and state government, serving with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and as deputy chief of management and operations in the governor's office. In that role, he served as liaison for the governor to the NJCC.