After over a decade of service to the Catholic Church at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, Daniel J. Loar, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops (LCCB), has announced his retirement. The Louisiana Catholic Bishops have named Robert M. Tasman the new executive director effective July 1.
In the name of the Louisiana Catholic Bishops, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond expressed gratitude to Loar’s commitment to the Church and for all he has accomplished as director of the LCCB saying, “the bishops remain grateful for his leadership.”
Since 2002, Loar has served in the capacity of executive director and chief lobbyist for the Catholic Church in Louisiana representing the state’s seven (arch)bishops before the legislative and executive branches of state government.
He has worked with the bishops in Louisiana to host annual legislative luncheons prior to the start of each session, as well as celebrations of Masses for legislators near the State Capitol at St. Joseph’s Cathedral during each session.
In addition, Loar has worked closely with the (arch)diocesan school superintendents on legislation and state funding programs for nonpublic school programs.
Under Loar’s leadership, an inaugural website was launched, legislative bill handling was changed from paper service to digital service, an e-mail advocacy network of 10,000 people was established for influencing legislators’ votes, and files of the organization from its inception were archived and reposited.
He is the former Secretary, of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors and now serves as the organization’s Treasurer.
“While retiring from LCCB, I will continue working, going back to my original career of teacher, which is what I was prior to my being a lobbyist and businessman,” said Loar. “I will be teaching 6th grade Religion and 7th grade American History at St. Theresa Middle School in Gonzales. All of this is a blessing as I love kids, History, and my Catholic Faith.”
“I feel honored and privileged that I was able to work for the Church and the Bishops in the important work that we do at the Capitol,” continued Loar. “I know that Rob Tasman will do a fine job going forward as the next Executive Director.”
Tasman has served as Associate Director of LCCB since February 2008. In this capacity, he has been responsible for advising the bishops on policy for Life, Social Justice, and Family Life issues and advocating for the bishops at the Capitol during state legislative sessions and at the federal level throughout the year. He has also worked directly with legislators and state officials to explain the Catholic Church’s position on issues and drafted official statements and press releases on behalf of the LCCB.
“I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop and nurture relationships with policymakers and their staff so that the Word that our Church proclaims is expressed in a loving and resolute way,” said Tasman. “We are indeed relational beings as created by God and to be a presence of the Church to those within the political forum so that they know that they are appreciated and supported, and also that they can reach out to us for counsel and guidance is very appealing. Having those responsible for making decisions that impact the people in our state know who LCCB is and what we stand for is critical to the positive role we can play in the political forum.”
In addition to his work with the LCCB, Tasman is an instructor on issues of morality, sexual ethics and theology for the Diocese of Baton Rouge and a religious education instructor at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge.
Tasman has also been a featured speaker and panelist for organizations such as Catholic Charities USA, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). In May 2013, Tasman was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family.
“Representing the Catholic Church and more specifically the inspired, intentional, and faith-filled men who are our bishops is a humbling reality,” continued Tasman. “Quite frankly it is an awesome responsibility given the opportunity that the Church has to catechize and evangelize those within positions of power. My time spent with the LCCB has already deeply influenced my own faith life and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I remain in awe of many leaders within our faith, not least of which would be Pope Francis and therefore feel a great sense of pride and joy upon this occasion. I feel overwhelming blessed and thankful to our bishops and am indebted to Danny Loar for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Associate Director as well as for leaving the LCCB in great standing. It is my grand hope that when policymakers are faced with moral and ethical issues something compels them to reach out to the LCCB because they know of our presence and what we truly represent.”
A native of New York, Tasman holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Theology and a Master of Arts in Theology with a specialization in Christian Social Ethics, from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He holds a JD from the Paul M. Hebert School of Law at Louisiana State University and has been a member of the Louisiana Bar Association since 2009. He and his wife Katherine are the parents of four boys: Mack, Kevin, Joseph and Samuel.