Bush Taps Ex-Aide of Mother Teresa for Faith-Based Project

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A onetime associate of Mother Teresa was chosen by President George W. Bush to oversee his revised effort to provide federal funds to religious charities.

Bush´s selection, Jim Towey, who once served as Florida´s director of health and rehabilitative services. Towey worked with Mother Teresa´s ministry for more than 10 years and in 1996, founded the advocacy group Aging With Dignity, the Associated Press reported.

The president announced the appointment Thursday and said Towey brings “a servant´s heart” to the job. “He understands there are things more important than political parties, and one of those things more important than political parties is helping to heal the nation´s soul,” Bush said.

Towey responded: “I´m deeply grateful to God and to you, sir, for entrusting me with this honor to serve my country, particularly those Americans who are hurting and in need. Mother Teresa introduced me to this joy that comes from befriending those in need, and discovering their tremendous dignity. … I am delighted, I am grateful and I am looking forward to the work.”

Towey succeeds John J. DiIulio Jr., a Democrat who quit last fall after struggling with Congress and religious conservatives over the direction and procedures of the Faith-Based Initiatives program.