Paula Gwynn Grant, currently the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, has been named the new secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, replacing Edward McFadden, who left that post earlier this summer.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced Grant’s appointment late last month. She will assume her new role on Sept 3.

“My charge is to assist our clergy, bishops and Archbishop Gregory in our overall mission and their ministry of sharing our faith,” Grant said of her new post.  ”My hope is that our Catholic faithful – and people of good will – share what we provide in the Office of Communications with others in their world.”

The archdiocesan secretariat for communications oversees media and public relations, digital media, multimedia production and Carroll Media, which publishes the Catholic Standard and El Pregonero newspapers.

Grant has served as director of communications for the Archdiocese of Atlanta since 2014.

“I know from working with and for Archbishop Gregory these past five years in Atlanta, he is an authentic leader who genuinely cares about people and works tirelessly as our shepherd,” she said. “This was true in Atlanta, and I know that this will be our experience with Archbishop Gregory here in the Archdiocese of Washington.”

In making the announcement, Archbishop Gregory said, “I look forward to having Paula join our archdiocesan staff in the vitally important role of secretary of communications. In that capacity, she will be able to bring her extensive professional skills to bear on informing the public of the many encouraging signs of life and mission that are occurring within this local Church.”

Calling the Archdiocese of Washington “a thriving, vibrantly diverse community of caring people who are serving those in need every day,” Grant said that “we face some particular challenges in our Church in Washington right now … I am here to provide clarity as needed and communication tools to share information about Christ’s love within this local Church and our greater community.” 

A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Grant said, “I’m thrilled and very surprised to be coming home 26 years after I left.  I did not think there would ever be an opportunity to return home. I’m incredibly grateful and appreciative to be of service to God’s people here, my hometown Catholic family.”

Grant attended St. Jude School in Rockville and the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington.

“My Catholic education was a very nurturing and fulfilling experience that significantly shaped who I am,” Grant said. ”The sisters at both schools were women I looked up to and emulated from a young age.  I thought they were so smart, organized, pleasant and caring - everything I wanted to grow up to be.”

Grant graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from the University of Maryland in College Park. She worked at WUSA Channel 9 in Washington as a production assistant and later host of a music video and teen talk show, and during that time, she won an Emmy Award.

She also worked at Black Entertainment Television (BET) as an associate producer for “Video Soul with Donnie Simpson.” In 1989, representing Washington, D.C., Grant competed in and was crowned Miss Black America.

After relocating to Atlanta, Grant worked as a local radio show host and a television show host, earning several Emmy Award nominations and winning the “Best Individual in Radio” award from the American Women in Radio and Television. She also co-hosted a nationally syndicated show for American Urban Radio Networks and did voice over work for local and national companies.

Grant had also served as communications director and vice president of public affairs in Fulton County and DeKalb counties in Georgia.

She has served on several non-profit boards including the Mercy Care Foundation, the Catholic Press Association, Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center and as chair of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta-area, Decatur Family YMCA. Additionally, she served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Communications Committee as a consultant.

“With what God has allowed me to achieve in my career with the talents He has gifted me, I have had the great privilege of assisting people in a way that has deeply enriched my life,” Grant said. “However, when five years ago I became an employee for the Catholic Church in communications in Atlanta and now here in Washington, my daily purpose is to directly serve our Catholic community.” 

Grant and her husband Ray, a college English professor and film writer, have been married for 26 years, and have a 22-year-old daughter, Rae, and an 18-year-old-son, Donovan.

This year, Rae graduated with a pre-law bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, and Donovan graduated from high school. Both are taking a gap year before heading to law school and college respectively.  

“I am most grateful for Ray’s ongoing support and love. I love him and appreciate his willingness to move to the Washington area,” Grant said of her husband. “Rae and Donovan are my heart - plain and simple.”

As she prepares to take on her new post, Grant said that she sees her job as “to consistently tell our Catholic stories in honest and real ways utilizing the channels that people prefer so we may be blessed, reliably informed and learn from one another.”

Calling it “vitally important that we share our faith stories about our good times and the challenges we are overcoming,” Grant said that the archdiocese will utilize “our newspapers, video, radio, website and social media… to serve the Catholic faithful in Washington, D.C. and our five Maryland counties.”

She said that her communications secretariat must be “a key voice in projecting and safeguarding the vision and values of our Catholic faith and its teachings. This is not always popular in today’s society, but it is always what we must do.”