Introduction to CAPP-USA

Throw Light on World Affairs

Tackling Today’s Challenges

In Support of the Holy Fathers

Committed Lay Faithful

Impacting the Structures of Society

Founded by a Saint

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Pope St. John Paul II established CAPP —
“to promote and defend the knowledge and the practice of the Church’s social doctrine.

Message to the Members of the “Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice” Foundation​

Mission and Challenge

  • Our purpose is to have Catholic social teaching implemented in society through lay Catholic business, academic and professional leaders; to order and throw light upon all the affairs of the world in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, especially as contained in the Church’s social doctrine.

  • Our mission is to evangelize lay leaders – to help form their consciences on the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine and support their initiatives to implement it in the various sectors of society.

  • Our challenge is to develop a strong, committed group of Catholic lay leaders, rich in faith and theologically prepared to be present in public life to explain, develop and implement Catholic social teaching in our challenging world so as we may become a deep and credible voice in the public square.


Being a Catholic in today’s world has special challenges.  We are called upon to implement the Church’s deep and exquisite social teaching in a progressively antagonistic and secular culture.

We require an understanding of – and steadfast belief in – the Truth. And, we must be prepared to communicate this truth in the public square. From debates on life and human dignity, war, migration, health care, the role of government…We need to present correct and compelling policy responses and solutions.

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Purpose: “As far as the Church is concerned, the social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all a basis and a motivation for action”. (Pope St. John Paul II, 57)

More specifically, about CAPP at our founding, he said: “Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice [is] a significant expression of your involvement as lay faithful” (Pope St. John Paul II, Address to Centesimus Annus, June 5, 1993)

Mission: “[T]he pastoral care for the leading sectors of society has been neglected and many people have thus been estranged from the Church…the spread of secularism in these sectors — political or economic, union-related, military, social or cultural — shows how urgent it is that they be evangelized…insisting especially on the formation of consciences on the basis of the Church’s social doctrine…Conversely, if this evangelization of the leadership sector is neglected, it should not come as a surprise that many who are a part of it will be guided by criteria alien to the Gospel and at times openly contrary to it.” (Pope St. John Paul II, 67)

Challenge: “Each one of you, as a faithful lay person, should live as his own the direct duty to work for a just ordering of society.'” (Pope Benedict XVI)

CAPP was founded by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993 to promote the knowledge and practice of Catholic social teaching.

Our Founder

Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice was founded by Pope St. John Paul II to spread the knowledge and encourage the practice of Catholic social teaching. It is our special mission – assigned by this great saint himself – to impact society with the social teachings of the Church.

What an awesome task…if taken seriously.

The Vatican Fondazione

CAPP is a lay-led, pontifical organization characterized by a special relationship with our founder, Pope St. John Paul II, and his successors to the Chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. The Holy Father sees CAPP as a vehicle for lay education and evangelization of Catholic social doctrine.

The Foundation is a non profit corporation with purposes of religion and charity. Its specific goal is to study and to spread the knowledge and application of Christian social doctrine in today’s society.

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It is run in accordance with its approved bylaws under the aegis of the Apostolic See, and is headquartered in the state of Vatican City. The organization is subject to the civil law of Vatican City and the Canon Law of the Church.

  • Promotes informed knowledge of the social teachings of the Church and of the activity of the Holy See among qualified and socially motivated business and professional leaders
  • Promotes initiatives aimed at expanding the Church’s role in all sectors of contemporary society
  • Promotes fund raising initiatives to support the mission of the Holy See

Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (FCAPP) is a “canonical juridical person and a civil juridical person” incorporated in the State of Vatican City. The Fondazione was established by His Holiness, Pope St. John Paul II on June 5, 1993 by virtue of the apostolic power of the Church and the sovereignty of the State of Vatican City, in accordance with canons 331, 114 and 115 #3, 116 #1 and 1303 #1 of the Code of Canon Law; with Art.1 of the basic Law of Vatican City of June 7th, 1929 and Art.1 (letter a) of the Law on judicial sources of June 7th, 1929 II. Since its creation the Fondazione ‘resides’ in the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (A.P.S.A.). The Foundation governing board consists of 9 members: 2 appointed by the Secretary of State – 1 appointed by the President of A.P.S.A. – 2 elected by members – 4 selected by the board.

Fondazione Statutes


The Vatican International Conference is one of the signature CAPP events. Here, Pope Francis addresses CAPP and greets President Anna Maria.
Pope St. John Paul II addresses Fondazione members at the first International Conference in 1993

CAPP-USA Legal/Organization

Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc. (CAPP-USA) is the American arm of the Vatican based FCAPP. It is a membership corporation governed by the Connecticut Revised Nonstock Corporation Act – created to support lay leaders in bringing Catholic social teaching to bear in all aspects of society – to use Catholic social teaching as a vehicle for personal and professional expression. It is recognized by the United States Treasury as a 501 (C) (3), with further recognition as an independent “integrated auxiliary” of the Roman Catholic Church (holding this status independently of the “Red Book”). CAPP-USA benefits from the ecclesiastical guidance of Joseph Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R. (Archbishop of Newark) and The Most Reverend Frank Caggiano (Bishop of Bridgeport). Past advisors include The Most Reverend William E. Lori (Archbishop of Baltimore).

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Marian Dedication

Be it RESOLVED that we dedicate this organization to Our Lady of Fatima and will commemorate her feast yearly, in May, with prayers and Mass rededicating our efforts to implement the Church’s Social Teaching under her patronage.

Taken at this organization’s Annual Meeting this 7th day of June in the year 2004 at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

CAPP-USA is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima

Executive Committee

Dr. Fred Fakharzadeh, CAPP-USA president and treasurer.

Dr. Fred Fakharzadeh, MD

Frederick F. Fakharzadeh, MD is a hand surgeon in private practice in Bergen County, NJ. He received his BA degree Magna cum Laude from Cornell University and his MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

Robert Nalewajek, executive vice president of CAPP-USA and FCAPP board member

Robert Nalewajek

Mr. Robert Nalewajek is current Executive Vice President, and past President of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice – USA and a former member of that organization’s board at the Vatican. He is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Knights of Malta), American Association where he served on its Education and Defense of the Faith Committee.

James Rice is CAPP-USA vice president and secretary.

James Rice

Mr. James Rice is a member of the Board of Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro-Pontifice, Vatican, and the Vice President and Secretary of CAPP-USA. He is a principal of Brody Wilkinson LLP and a member of the firm’s Business Group.   He received his B.S. from Fordham University and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Study Center

Insights from industry leaders, religious and clergy, political officials, and economic experts, on the trends of our society and the answers Catholic social teaching brings to every structural problem we encounter. 

In partnership with Catholic University of America, CAPP has developed a one week Masters level course in Catholic social teaching with options for online learning as well.

Catholic social doctrine is rooted in Sacred Scripture under the guidance of the Magisterium of our Holy Mother Church, as taught by the Holy Fathers since Pope Leo XIII.

Catholic social teaching distilled down to crisp, visually compelling, and accessible formats so that we may learn and apply to our lives.


A beautiful photo of the New York City skyline and harbor at sunrise.

Pro Pontifice Dinner

When: September 27, 2024
Where: New York City

Our annual gathering honoring the Holy See’s Representative to the opening of the UN General Assembly.

CAPP events are vital to enriching ourselves with Catholic social teaching. Here, Pope Francis greets and addresses CAPP members at the Vatican International Conference.

2024 International Conference

The 2024 International Conference in Rome is scheduled for June 20-21 with an audience with the Holy Father on June 22. Details will follow. Mark your calendars now.

When: June 20-21, 2024
Where: Rome and the Vatican

CAPP-USA and Catholic University of America partner to teach Catholic social teaching.

Certificate Program in Catholic Social Teaching

A week-long, graduate level investigation of the Church’s deep patrimony of social teaching.

When: October 20-25, 2024
Where: Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.


Why Be a Member of CAPP?

Consider these 8 reasons:
  • Our mission comes directly from the Vicar of Christ. We are invited to join with him, personally, in our Church’s efforts. Religious and lay organizations take on the charism of their founder. Our founder is a successor of St. Peter; he sat on his chair and is declared a saint.
  • CAPP is unique in the 2,000 year history of the Church as the only lay led organization with canonical standing in the Church and juridical standing in Vatican State.
  • As Pope Francis told us: “[B]y sharing your own knowledge and expertise, and by making known the richness of the Church’s social doctrine, you seek to form the consciences of leaders in the political, social and economic sectors. I encourage you to persevere in these efforts which contribute to the building of a global culture of economic justice, equality and inclusion. (Address to CAPP, May 26, 2018)
  • As Pope Benedict XVI said, “I believe that the Church in America…is faced with the challenge of recapturing the Catholic vision of reality and presenting it, in an engaging and imaginative way.” (Meeting with the Bishops of the United States,1) CAPP is an important way to meet that challenge. We are about action and ‘movement building’.
  • It is our job! It is our special task to order and throw light upon all the affairs of the world in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is OUR unique and special mission. (Gaudium et Spes, Chapter IV) As Pope Francis said: “Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment.” (Second World Meeting of Popular Movements, 3.1)
  • Catholic social teaching is a key element that characterizes our spirituality – it is a path towards God. “By living this new life” Pope Benedict XVI told us we will not only be “interiorly transformed, but we also change the world around us.” (General Audience, April 27, 2011) And, as Pope St. John Paul II said to members: “It will be crucial to understand the social doctrine as an element that characterizes the spirituality of the lay faithful”. (Address to CAPP, December 4, 2004)
  • Our Church says we must “engage in dialogue…not remaining confined to our communities and our institutions, but accepting the challenge to take part in these…so as to speak and bear witness in [sic] these sectors, from the inside.” (Synod of Bishops XIII Ordinary General Assembly, 7)
  • Four months before his death Pope St. John Paul II told us: “I therefore urge the Members to spare no effort to ensure that the Foundation seeks to pursue these goals”. (Address to CAPP, December 4, 2004)

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Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc (CAPP-USA) is the United States affiliate of Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice at the Vatican. | Sitemap
Phone: (888) 473-3331
Address: 295 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY, 10017