ST. CLOUD -- Catholic Charities appointed a new executive director Friday to lead the organization.

Deacon Stephen Pareja will be taking over as Catholic Charities' executive director. Pareja will replace Steven Bresnahan, who is retiring from his leadership position at the end of November.

Bresnahan announced his retirement in May and that a committee would be working to replace him before the end of year.

Pareja has a diverse background including healthcare, business and other leadership positions.

For the past 30-years Pareja has been working in the healthcare field with 20 of those 30-years he's maintained leadership positions. He has bachelors degrees in radiologic technology and business, he also has two master's degree's one in health care administration and another in theology. Pareja is currently serving a deacon at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sartell.

Pareja says he has many new people to meet.

"In those first 90 days what I really want to do is get to know the people, the people who are employed with Catholic Charities, 520 plus people, the volunteers who give their time to help out, and that's over 3,200 people, I want to get to know those people. I want to get to know several of the people we serve, who benefit from Catholic Charities."

Many challenges are coming for Pareja, he says he has the confidence and skills to lead the organization.

"I think that life experiences have prepared me for these challenges. I'm excited, honestly I don't think November 28th can come fast enough. I'm ready to be here, roll up my sleeves and start this great work."

A short training and transition period will take place early November and Pareja will fully take over as executive director, November 28.

Catholic Charities Executive Director Deacon Stephen Pareja (Photo provided by Catholic Charities)