Monsignor Ray East is the son of the late Thomas and Gwendolyn East. The grandson of Baptist missionaries to South Africa, he was born in Newark, New Jersey. Raised in San Diego, he graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Business Administration.
His position with the National Association of Minority Contractors brought him to Washington, DC where he later experienced a call to the priesthood and was ordained in 1981 by Cardinal Hickey.
Father East has served in six Washington parishes before being named director of the Office of Black Catholics and Vicar for Evangelization. He is a member of the boards of Jobs Partnership Greater Washington and Food and Friends. He also serves on the board of St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. He has worked in the areas of Liturgy, Youth Ministry, Initiation, and Evangelization.