Montana Catholic Conference

Montana Catholic Conference was incorporated in 1969 to represent, in the public policy arena, the Roman Catholic Bishops in each of Montana's two dioceses. The Bishops, with the Board of Directors, are the governing authority of the Montana Catholic Conference.  Decisions made by the Board of Directors are subject to the approval of the Bishops.  The diocesan Bishops are members for the duration of their office.  Selected members of the Board of Directors serve a three year term, renewable twice and  the Knights of Columbus representative serve a two year term.  The Board of Directors meets bi-annually.

Inspired by Scripture, Tradition and Catholic social teaching, the Montana Catholic Conference serves the Bishops by:

1. Surfacing from the people of God in the State of Montana, their social justice needs.

2. Informing and advising the Bishops, who in turn may direct the Conference to inform and advise parishes, other Catholic Church organizations, and interested persons concerning matters of public policy, the legislative process, activities of governmental agencies and personnel, and the social and moral implications of these issues.

3. Helping to shape public policy that protects the sanctity and dignity of all human life; nurtures the family; advocates for the poor; the sick and the vulnerable; and promotes the common good.

4. Promoting such programs as may be authorized by the Bishops and its Board of Directors, and carrying out its assigned tasks to accomplish its goals.

2016-2017 Board of Directors  

Most Rev. George Leo Thomas

Bishop of the Diocese of Helena

Most Rev. Michael W. Warfel

Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Rev. Joseph Fleming (President)

Deer Lodge, MT

Monica Galleos-Laeupple (Vice President)

Havre, MT

Deacon Charles Harball (Secretary/Treasurer)

Kalispell, MT

Dr. Christopher Fuller

Helena, MT

Mike Mayott

Billings, MT

Rev. David Wilkins

Great Falls, MT

Laure Pengelly-Drake

Missoula, MT

Coreen Glen

Billings, MT

Steve Zachmann

Knights of Columbus representative

Baker, MT

Rev. John Robertson (ex officio)

Diocese of Helena

Very Reverend Jay Peterson (ex officio)

Diocese of Great Falls-Billings


Matthew Brower

Executive Director

Bishop bio's

Most Reverend George Leo Thomas

Born in Anaconda and raised in Butte, George Leo Thomas attended Catholic Schools in Butte. He went on to earn a B.A. in literature from Carroll College and a Master of Divinity from St. Thomas Seminary in Bothel, Washington. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Community Mental Health and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, both from the University of Washington. George Leo Thomas was ordained to the priesthood in 1976 in Seattle.

Following ordination, Fr. Thomas served at several parishes in the Seattle area. He was also the Catholic Chaplain to the King County Jail and the Seattle City Jail for 12 years and served as the chairman of the Board of Directors for Catholic Community Services for 10 years. In addition, he served as the Chaplain to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Seattle.

In 1987, Fr. Thomas was appointed Chancellor and Vicar General, positions he held for 17 years. Following the death of Archbishop Thomas Murphy, Fr. Thomas was elected administrator for the Archdiocese of Seattle until the appointment of Archbishop Alexander Brunett. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle by Blessed John Paul II in 1999 and was ordained Bishop in 2000.

On June 4, 2004 Bishop Thomas was installed as the Bishop of Helena at the Cathedral of St. Helena. As Bishop of Helena, Bishop Thomas is the Chancellor of Carroll College and a member of the Board of Trustees. He serves on The Foundation for the Catholic Diocese of Helena, Montana Catholic Conference, Catholic Social Services and Montana Association of Churches Boards of Directors.

Bishop Thomas also serves on the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education, the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Native American Catholics and in 2011 joined the Catholic Extension’s Board of Governors.

Most Reverend Michael W. Warfel

Born in Indiana, Michael W. Warfel excelled in wrestling in high school, attended college at the University of Indiana and Indiana University studying primarily music, and during his second year of college, enlisted in the U.S. Army. He spent 18 months in Vietnam and 13 in Korea. Following his honorable discharge from the Army in 1971, Michael entered St. Gregory’s College Seminary. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Juneau in 1980.

Bishop Michael W. Warfel was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings on November 20, 2007 and installed as the 8th Bishop for that Diocese on January 16, 2008. Prior to coming to Montana, he had served as Bishop of Juneau for 11 years. He earned his B.A. degree in Philosophy from St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati and Masters of Divinity from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, also in Cincinnati. He later received a M.A. in Theology from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Bishop Warfel served as Chair of the Bishop’s Subcommittee for Catholic Home Missions for six years and was a member of the Committee on National Collections in addition to the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. He has also served on the USCCB Committees for International Justice and Peace, the Church in Latin America, the Diaconate and World Missions.



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