News from the USCCA and the church in China

USCCA Spotlight: Kathleen O’Brien, New CEI Team Member


We are very excited to announce that last week, Kathleen O’Brien, who has joined the USCCA’s Campus Engagement Initiative (CEI) effort part-time, came out to the Bay Area to meet with local partners. She is preparing for spring 2022, when she will come out to work on this effort full-time.


“We met with high school representatives, a local Chinese Catholic young adult group, university campus ministers, Protestant partners of the USCCA, and other potential colleagues,” Kathleen shared. “Through our conversations with Catholic Chinese priests, the Chinese Catholic Young Adult group, and campus ministers, we have been able to outline the first stages of our strategic plan. This includes creating four pilot programs by May 2022 so that they can be launched in the fall 2022.”


Looking to the future of the CEI, Kathleen said, “Today in our world, division often dominates our discourse. The CEI is dedicated to the vision that engagement and friendship based on mutual respect are not only possible, but that they are the way forward. I also hope that through the work of the CEI, we can witness to the relevance of Catholic faith in people’s lives.”


Kathleen is currently finishing her master’s degree in Theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. For three years she served as a Maryknoll lay missionary in China. There she taught English both at a university in Jilin and at the local Catholic seminary. “I was teaching English. But more importantly, I was able to accompany my students during their formative years. Teaching English at Jilin seminary gave me access to how Chinese Catholics understand God and grapple with their faith in Chinese society.”


Kathleen brings this experience to share with others who work with Chinese international students. The USCCA’s Campus Engagement Initiative is dedicated to the proposition that the American and Christian values of generosity and friendship reflect the best of who we are. In addition, a goal of the CEI is to welcome Chinese international students and take time to share with one another what makes us most human - it is truly a work of faith.


We thank Kathleen for taking the time to visit and look forward to her joining the USCCA team full time in 2022!