Bishop Johnston now chairman-elect of Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People

Bishop Johnston greets Pope Francis October 9 at St. Peter’s basilica while on pilgrimage with 35 others who participated in a trip to Italy, sponsored by Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph. (photo courtesy of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications)

During their Fall General Assembly, members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) elected six new chairmen for committees—among them, Bishop James Johnston, Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Bishop Johnston is now chairman-elect for the USCCB Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and will take office at next year’s Fall assembly. He defeated Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of the Diocese of Jefferson City by a vote of 167 to 77.

“I believe that my role will be to oversee the work of the committee as well as the relationship between the National Review Board and the Bishop’s Conference,” Johnston said.

He has served as a member of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People in the past.

“I also believe my experience here and our experience here in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will assist me in providing leadership for the committee,” said Johnston. “We’ve done some really great things, important things here and I believe many people are aware of that beyond our diocese.”

Following his 2015 installation as bishop of the diocese, Johnston led a Service of Lament to pray for and offer a sincere apology to victims of child sexual abuse and made five commitments to advance their healing. In addition to being involved with the work of the diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection, he offers a meeting when a survivor comes forward.

Johnston views the future chairman position to be one of service to others.

“I’m excited and humbled to be the chair, so that I can be of service to the larger Church,” he said.

For Bishop’s bio, visit For information on the Office of Child and Youth Protection, visit


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November 26, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph