The Washington Times - May 6, 2011, 01:47PM

House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Friday he will nominate the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy to serve as the chamber’s 60th chaplain. Father Conroy, a Catholic priest of the Jesuit order, would succeed the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, who retired last month after more than 11 years of service.

The Ohio Republican chose Father Conroy, 60, after consulting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. His nomination will be submitted to the full House later this month. He is expected to be easily confirmed.

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“We are honored that Father Conroy has agreed to serve as House chaplain,” said Mr. Boehner, who is Catholic. “His dedication to God’s work, commitment to serving others and experience working with people of faith from all traditions will make him an asset to the House community.”

Father Conroy currently teaches theology at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. He twice served as a chaplain at Georgetown University for a total of 10 years, ending in 2003. He also served as a chaplain at Seattle University from 1994 to 1997. A native of Washington state, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1983.

If confirmed, he would become the second Roman Catholic priest after Father Coughlin to fill the role of House chaplain.

Mrs. Pelosi, also Catholic, said Father Conroy’s “experience working with young people, tending to the spiritual needs of a variety of communities and serving for 38 years as a thoughtful and committed Jesuit priest will serve him well in this new role.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican who his Jewish, also applauded Father Conroy’s nomination, saying that his “commitment to ministry and his familiarity with a diversity of communities will enable him to serve as an effective spiritual leader for our members who represent a plurality of faiths.”

The chaplain is an elected officer of the House. 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.