The former Kraft Foods executive will lead the world’s largest Catholic diaconate. Norman’s appointment takes effect July 1.
Chicago – (June 2, 2022) – The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced the appointment of Deacon James Norman as Vicar of Deacons. In this role, Norman will be responsible for the overall organization and administration of the Archdiocesan Diaconate, the largest Catholic diaconate in the world with 514 active deacons involved in 210 parishes and agencies. He is currently Director of Operations for Vicariate VI and will continue to support Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry until a replacement is appointed. Norman was ordained a deacon in 2013 and serves at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago.
“It is with joy that I announce the appointment of Deacon James Norman as Vicar of Deacons,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago. “Deacon Norman was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago and is a product of our Catholic schools. His ministry brought the needs of the community to the Church, helping the underserved, being a spiritual advisor to the faithful and supporting pastors. I look forward to collaborating with Deacon Norman in his new role.
The Vicar of Deacons supports the personal, spiritual and ministerial growth of the men and women of the deacon community of the Archdiocese which includes deacons of the Archdiocese of Chicago, deacons incardinated in other dioceses but ministering within of that archdiocese, their wives and families, and the wives of deceased deacons. He also acts as a consultant to auxiliary bishops, deans and parishes and institutions of the archdiocese in matters of diaconal ministry. In addition, it assesses the church ministry staffing needs of parishes, agencies, and other institutions in the archdiocese that can benefit deacons and their ministry. The Vicar of Deacons reports to Cardinal Cupich and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey, Vicar General of the Archdiocese.
Norman has spent over three decades of his career as a human resources manager. He has consulted with organizations seeking innovative and inclusive culture change. He began his career in manufacturing and operations management at Kraft Foods in 1980. In 1986, he moved into human resources management, where he held numerous positions at the Oscar Mayer and Louis Rich manufacturing plants. in California, Wisconsin and Texas.
He then worked as an associate director on HR generalist assignments with the Kraft Pizza Company and the Kraft Foods Research & Development Group in Glenview.
He was promoted to Director of Diversity for Kraft Foods North America in January 2001 and in May 2004 he was appointed to the position of Senior Director of Human Resources for Kraft Foods Snacks & Cereal Business Unit in East Hanover, NJ. In March 2008, Norman was appointed Vice President of Diversity for Kraft Foods, Inc. and in 2012, with the launch of the new Kraft Foods Group, Norman was named Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement where it increased Kraft Foods’ external recognition on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies from unlisted in 2009 to #7 in 2012.
Under her leadership, Kraft Foods was continually listed in the Top 100 Best Companies for Working Moms and the LatinaStyle Top 50 for Latinas. Also under her leadership, Kraft Foods has received external recognition for developing female executives and for its innovative diversity and inclusion training program. He retired from Kraft Foods in 2013.
Norman received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northwestern University.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the men and women of the diaconal community,” Norman said. “I am grateful to God and rely on the Holy Spirit to equip me for the task.”
Norman succeeds Deacon Richard Hudzik who is retiring and will fill a newly created position as Director of Continuing Education. This part-time position will report to the Vicar and be responsible for designing and overseeing the ongoing formation of all Deacons. Hudzik has served as Vicar of Deacons since July 2012. He served as Warden of Cardinal Stritch Retreat House (now known as Joseph and Mary Retreat House) from 2005 to 2012. Ordained in 1998, Hudzik’s current parish assignment is Mary , Mother of Divine Grace in Westchester. He previously ministered at St. Maria Goretti in Schiller Park and St. Mary’s Church in Lake Forest.
During his 10 years as vicar of deacons, Hudzik modernized the diaconate by shifting his communications to digital platforms, including creating a weekly newsletter, classes and a YouTube channel. He has accompanied clergy and parishes through the structural changes of Renew My Church by supporting pastors and parish leaders in creating strong unified parishes, assisting those in transition, and helping new parishes establish foundations. and sustainable operational resources upon which ministry and service can be built. Hudzik has also been a strong supporter of diversity in the diaconate through the men’s various lay professions and their wide ethnic diversity, including Hispanic, Black, Polish, Filipino and Vietnamese deacons.
Deacons assist (arch)bishops and priests in the ministries of the Word, Liturgy and Charity. This includes proclaiming the Gospel, conducting intercessions, preaching, preparing the altar, performing baptisms, leading the faithful in prayer, distributing Holy Communion, witnessing marriages and conduct of funeral and funeral services. Deacons also identify the needs of the poor and underserved and direct church resources to meet those needs.
Diaconate training for permanent deacons requires the completion of a comprehensive and intensive program through the Institute of Diaconal Studies or the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral, for Spanish speakers, both located at the University of Sainte Marie du lac in Mundelein. The programs include the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions of formation and a one-year internship in parish ministry. The program is mandated by the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Since 1972, the archdiocese has ordained 1,464 men as permanent deacons. Active, retired and inactive deacons number 706, while another 70 Chicago deacons serve in dioceses across the country – from Florida to California.