The Rev. Larry Snyder, a nationally known advocate for the poor who has led Catholic Charities USA for nearly a decade, has been named vice president of missions for the University of St. Thomas.

Snyder, who spent much of his career in Minnesota before moving to Washington, D.C., has been a leader in a national campaign to end poverty and an advocate on social issues at the nation’s capital.

The former CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Snyder will help the university meet its mission of serving the less fortunate and promoting the “common good,” the university said. That includes working with volunteer and service-learning programs, the Office of Campus Ministry and other projects, university staff said.

“Father Snyder has been one of the most important and compelling voices over the last decade on more effective ways of collaboration to end poverty in America,” St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan said.

“His core beliefs align beautifully with those of the St. Thomas community, and we are excited about the new initiatives he can develop and lead to further fulfill our mission of advancing the common good.”

Snyder, 63, said he looks forward to returning to Minnesota, where he taught at a New Hope church, then earned his master’s of divinity from St. Thomas in 1987.

“It’s a huge deal for me,” he said. “I knew at some point that I would come back. … My foundation of support and my friends are in the Twin Cities. I can hardly wait.”

In addition to managing Catholic Charities USA, the umbrella organization for more than 1,700 Catholic Charities units across the country, in 2007 Snyder was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the body overseeing the church’s charitable activities around the world.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Snyder to a two-year term on the President’s Advisory Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Snyder replaces the Rev. John Malone, who retired May 31.