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Award-winning journalist Michael J. O’Loughlin joins Outreach as executive director

Breaking News James Martin, S.J. / February 6, 2024 Print this:
Michael J. O’Loughlin was named the executive director of Outreach on Tuesday. He was the national correspondent for America from 2016 to 2024; he is the author of Hidden Mercy, a history of the church's response to H.I.V. and AIDS in the 1980s and '90s. (Photo courtesy of Michael J. O'Loughlin)

Today, we are sharing some wonderful news from all of us at Outreach: We have hired Michael J. O’Loughlin in the newly created position of executive director. Let me start off by saying that Mike is the perfect person for this job, and this is the perfect job for Mike.

Many of you probably already know Mike, not only from his eight years as the national correspondent at America, but also from his brilliant book Hidden Mercy, on the Catholic Church’s response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ’90s. He brings a wealth of journalistic and theological experience, and has long covered the topic of LGBTQ Catholics over the course of his distinguished professional career.

In his new role, Mike will assume responsibility for fundraising, strategic planning, budgeting and overseeing the day-to-day operations of Outreach, as well as increasing the number of our events and online resources. But we also know that Mike, a creative, thoughtful and energetic person, will come up with ideas that we’ve not even considered yet! I’ll still be at the helm, though now as founder (a somewhat grand title, but we couldn’t come up with anything better). And Ryan Di Corpo will remain as our able, hardworking and very talented managing editor, in charge of running our annual conferences and managing our website.

In this new role, O’Loughlin will assume responsibility for fundraising, budgetary analysis, strategic planning and overseeing the day-to-day operations of Outreach.

Since its inception in May 2022, Outreach has continued to grow, with what our technical adviser says is remarkable traffic to our website (we passed 1 million views not long ago) and annual conferences that are always at capacity. So it’s natural that we would want to hire such a talented person to help our ministry grow. America Media, under which Outreach operates as a Jesuit ministry, obviously agrees: they graciously made Mike available for this new role. But, of course, where we eventually go is up to the Holy Spirit, not us.

To that end, please pray for Mike, and for all of us at Outreach, that we may respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and continue to help the church become a more welcoming place for LGBTQ people.

Below is today’s press release.


NEW YORK, NY, February 6, 2024—Outreach, the LGBTQ Catholic ministry, announced today that Michael J. O’Loughlin has been appointed the organization’s first executive director.

James Martin, S.J., who began Outreach in 2022 and who will continue guiding the organization in his new role as founder, said that Mr. O’Loughlin, will help grow the organization, which publishes a news and analysis website and hosts an annual conference for those engaged in LGBTQ ministry.

“Everyone at Outreach is overjoyed,” Father Martin said. “With his years of journalistic experience, his theological background, two books to his credit and his deep knowledge of the LGBTQ community, I can think of absolutely no one better suited for this job.”

An award-winning journalist and author who has covered the Catholic Church in the United States for more than a decade, Mr. O’Loughlin was most recently the national correspondent for America. He was previously a staff writer for The Boston Globe’s site Crux and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and elsewhere. He is frequently interviewed on television and radio about Catholic news.

An award-winning journalist and author who has covered the Catholic Church in the United States for more than a decade, Mr. O’Loughlin was most recently the national correspondent for America.

Mr. O’Loughlin’s in-depth reporting on the Catholic Church’s response to the H.I.V. and AIDS crisis, including the America podcast series “Plague,” earned awards from the Catholic Media Association, the Religion News Association and the National LGBTQ Journalists Association.

In 2023, he was a nominee for a GLAAD Media Award and his book, Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear, drew praise from Pope Francis, who thanked him for bearing witness to this important part of church and LGBTQ history. Mr. O’Loughlin has delivered talks at dozens of Catholic parishes, colleges, universities, hospitals and other nonprofits about LGBTQ issues and the church.

“I have seen firsthand the vibrant faith active in the LGBT Catholic community, which provides essential energy in our parishes, schools and nonprofits,” said Mr. O’Loughlin. “I’m looking forward to highlighting these stories and fostering community at Outreach, so that all LGBT Catholics, and their families, know that they are both welcome and needed in the church today.”

Outreach is a ministry of America and Mr. O’Loughlin will continue to contribute to the publication.

“In the two years that Outreach has existed, we’ve already seen a significant outpouring of support and a deep unmet need for its ministry of encounter and welcome to the Catholic LGBTQ community,” said Sam Sawyer, S.J., editor in chief of America Media.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.: “In the two years that Outreach has existed, we’ve already seen a significant outpouring of support and a deep unmet need for its ministry of encounter.”

“Mike’s deep involvement with and concern for the life of the church has always been evident in his writing for America, and we are excited to see how he will help more people, parishes and organizations across the church connect with the resources and opportunities for dialogue that Outreach offers.”

Outreach publishes news, essays and resources for LGBTQ Catholics and those who minister with them in the Catholic Church worldwide. The Outreach 2024 ministry conference will take place August 2 to 4 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

James Martin, S.J.

James Martin, S.J., is the founder of Outreach and the editor at large of America Media.

All articles by James Martin, S.J.

Outreach is part of America Media. To support Outreach you can make a donation or subscribe to America.

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