The majority of State Catholic Conferences in the United States were established as a result of the Second Vatican Council (1963 – 1965) as twenty-two of the thirty-seven current existing state catholic conferences were established prior to 1970. In Connecticut, the Catholic Conference was incorporated by the State’s three Latin Rite Dioceses on September 24, 1968, under the direction of Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien of Hartford, Bishop Walter W. Curtis of Bridgeport, and Bishop Vincent J. Hines of Norwich. The Ukrainian Stamford Diocese was added to the Catholic Conference Board of Directors on January 29, 1979, under the direction of Bishop Joseph M. Schmondiuk.
The Bishops envisioned a unified Catholic voice that would clearly enunciate the Church’s social justice and economic message to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the State and Federal government. The Connecticut Catholic Conference became the public policy office of the Catholic Church in Connecticut.
As the first Executive Director of the Conference appointed by the Bishops on December 27, 1968, Mr. William J. Wholean was charged with the responsibility of developing the Mission of the Conference in accordance with the vision of the founding Bishops. Mr. Wholean served the Conference as Executive Director until 1991 and he was succeeded by Reverend Thomas J. Barry (1991 – 1997), Marie T. Hilliard (1997 – 2005), and Michael C. Culhane (2007 to present).