Local Immigration Attorney to Lead Catholic Charities

The Diocese of Owensboro is pleased to announce that Susan Montalvo-Gesser has accepted the position of Director of Catholic Charities effective January 2, 2019. Montalvo-Gesser will assume the position at the McRaith Catholic Center left vacant in June 2018 by retiring director, Rita Heinz.

“Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro has been a recognizable name for several decades,” said the Most Reverend William F. Medley, bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro. “With the appointment of Susan Montalvo-Gesser, we envision pulling together many of the charitable outreach initiatives across western Kentucky under one broad umbrella for greater cooperation and efficiency.”  

Montalvo-Gesser has been a practicing attorney for more than 10 years. She comes to the diocese from Kentucky Legal Aid as managing attorney where she represents clients in issues of family law, housing, estate planning and immigration cases involving domestic violence. Before working with Kentucky Legal Aid, Montalvo-Gesser was an associate at the law firm of Sullivan, Mountjoy, Stainback & Miller practicing exclusively in Immigration Law. She serves on the Kentucky Bar Foundation Board and on the Kentucky Bar Association Diversity Committee. She’s a member of the Kentucky Bar Association immigration law section, public interest law section and family law section; a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association; and the former president of the Daviess County Bar Association. Montalvo-Gesser organized Owensboro’s first Immigration Law Clinic, which is held monthly at Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish.

“I am so excited to take over the reins at Catholic Charities,” said Montalvo-Gesser. “I want to build a program of social justice of which Catholics in western Kentucky can be proud.  We will welcome the stranger, help clothe the naked, feed the hungry and empower the social justice works of individual parishes.  It is my hope that through Catholic Charities we will build a legacy of living out Catholic social teaching and that people will want to be a part of it.”

“The Catholic Church’s witness to the poor is wide and diverse,” said Bishop Medley. “In an age where the Church is currently undergoing serious challenges to its credibility, I am convinced that by reestablishing our identity with the Gospel mission of serving the poor, we can enrich everything we set our hands to accomplish through this office.”

Montalvo-Gesser graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and is a 2005 magna cum laude graduate of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where she served as an editor for the law journal and received an award for being the most outstanding graduate the law school class. She served as a law clerk to Judge Joseph McKinley of the Western District of Kentucky from 2005 to 2006.

Montalvo-Gesser and her husband, Chad, have four children: Jackie, JoJo, Michael and CeCe. They attend Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish in Owensboro.