(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/)
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NATIONAL BLACK CATHOLIC CONGRESS ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT
BALTIMORE -- The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) is pleased to announce the election of the Most Reverend Roy E. Campbell, Jr. as its next President. Bishop Campbell was elected by the Black Bishops of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He succeeds the Most Reverend John Ricard who will remain active in the NBCC as its Immediate Past President. The change in leadership will become effective on April 1, 2019.
Although the first five gatherings of Black Catholics were convened from 1889 to 1894, these events inspired the creation of the NBCC in 1985 and rekindled the commitment to gather Black Catholics once more, with Congresses occurring every five years since that time. Under the direction of Bishop Ricard, who has long provided leadership, administrative and financial oversight, the NBCC has grown in its ability to assist Black Catholics and Black Catholic Organizations in their mission to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Campbell, born in Charles County, MD in 1947 and raised in Washington, DC, was ordained a Catholic priest in 2007 for the Archdiocese of Washington. He was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington by Pope Francis and ordained a bishop in 2017. He is currently a member of the USCCB Subcommittee on African American Catholics.
Bishop Ricard, the retired Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and currently the Rector of the Josephite Seminary in Washington, DC, will work closely with Bishop Campbell in his new role. Bishop Ricard continues to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to assist the Congress in its mission.
March 5, 2019
POPE NAMES BISHOPS FOR FRESNO AND MEMPHIS ALONG WITH AN UXILIARY BISHOP FOR LOS ANGELES
The appointments and resignation were publicized in Washington on March 5, 2019, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Rev. Msgr. Alejandro Aclan is currently serving as priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and most recently served as Vicar for Clergy. He was born February 9, 1951 in Pasay City, Philippines. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology (1971) from University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He also holds a Master of Divinity (1993) from St. John’s Seminary, in Camarillo. Father Aclan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1993.
Assignments after ordination include: Associate Pastor/St.Finbar, Burbank; St. John of God, Norwalk, 1993-2001; Director of Vocations in Progress (1996-1999). Rev. Msgr. Aclan served as a Pastor/St. Madeleine, Pomona (2001-2012); Member/Regional Pastoral Council, San Gabriel Valley Pastoral Region (2003-2008); Treasurer/Council of Priest (2006-2010); Regional Vocations Director, San Gabriel Valley Pastoral Region (2010-2012); Associate Vicar for Clergy (2015-2018). In July 2018 Monsignor Aclan began a sabbatical year.
Bishop Joseph V. Brennan was born on March 20, 1954 in Van Nuys, California. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from St. John’s Seminary College (1976) and a Masters in Divinity from St. John’s Seminary Theologate (1980). He was ordained a priest in June 21, 1980.
He was installed as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Trofimiana, September 8, 2015. Bishop Brennan is the Episcopal Vicar of the San Fernando Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Brennan has also served as Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Bishop Armando Ochoa was born in Oxnard, California, in 1943. In 1962 he entered St. John’s Seminary College and having graduated, continued his studies at St. John’s Seminary School of Theology. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 23, 1970. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Alphonsus Church in East Los Angeles; St. John the Baptist Church in Baldwin Park; and St. Teresa of Avila Church, Los Angeles. Bishop Ochoa was appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Los Angeles, in December 1984. While an Associate Pastor at St. Teresa of Avila, he was named a Monsignor, Chaplain to His Holiness, in 1982. Bishop Ochoa was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno on February 1, 2012 and served on several U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) committees.
Pope Francis has also appointed Bishop David P. Talley as Bishop of the Diocese of Memphis. Bishop Talley has served up until now as Bishop of Alexandria in Louisiana.
Bishop Talley studied for the priesthood at St. Meinrad School of Theology. He earned his doctorate in canon law from the Pontificia University Gregorian in Rome. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a graduate degree from the University of Georgia. He was ordained on June 3, 1989.
He was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Atlanta by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on January 3, 2013 and was consecrated a bishop on April 2, 2013. Pope Francis appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of Alexandria on September 21, 2016 and was installed a bishop of the diocese on February 2, 2017 following the resignation of Bishop Ronald Paul Herzog.
His assignments include: parochial vicar at St. Jude the Apostle church, officer of the Archdiocese of Atlanta tribunal, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is comprised of 8,636 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 11,541,404 of which 4,039,491 or 35 percent are Catholic.
The Diocese of Fresno is comprised of 36,072 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 2,906,023 of which 1,200,000 or 41.29 percent are Catholic.
The Diocese of Memphis comprises 10,682 square miles. It has a total population of 1,553,899 people of which 60,320 or 4% percent, are Catholic.
February 25, 2019
PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS ISSUES STATEMENT AT CLOSE OF MEETING ON PROTECTION OF MINORS IN THE CHURCH
ROME — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on February 24, said the just-concluded Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church, had been fruitful and had revealed to the bishops the deep wounds caused by the abuse in the Church.
“These have been challenging, fruitful days,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “The witness of survivors revealed for us, again, the deep wound in the Body of Christ. Listening to their testimonies transforms your heart. I saw that in the faces of my brother bishops. We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.”
The Cardinal noted that a number of mechanisms must be put in place and the cooperation with the laity would be important in the process. He suggested the Dallas Charter be intensified.
Following is the Cardinal’s full statement:
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
“These have been challenging, fruitful days. The witness of survivors revealed for us, again, the deep wound in the Body of Christ. Listening to their testimonies transforms your heart. I saw that in the faces of my brother bishops. We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.
“How then to bind the wounds? Intensify the Dallas Charter. Pope Francis, whom I want to thank for this assembly, called us to ‘concrete and effective measures.’ A range of presenters from cardinals to other bishops to religious sisters to lay women spoke about a code of conduct for bishops, the need to establish specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops, user-friendly reporting mechanism, and the essential role transparency must play in the healing process.
“Achieving these goals will require the active involvement and collaboration of the laity. The Church needs their prayers, expertise, and ideas. As we have learned from diocesan review boards, a comprehensive range of skills is required to assess allegations and to ensure that local policies and procedures are regularly reviewed so that our healing response continues to be effective. All of the models discussed this week rely upon the good help of God’s people.
“I and the bishops of the United States felt affirmed in the work that is underway. Enhanced by what I experienced here, we will prepare to advance proposals, in communion with the Holy See, in each of these areas so that my brother bishops can consider them at our June General Assembly. There is an urgency in the voice of the survivors to which we must always respond. I am also aware that our next steps can be a solid foundation from which to serve also seminarians, religious women, and all those who might live under the threat of sexual abuse or the abuse of power.
“In our faith, we experience the agony of Good Friday. It can cause a sense of isolation and abandonment, but the Resurrection is God’s healing promise. In binding the wounds now before us, we will encounter the Risen Lord. In Him alone is all hope and healing.
“May I also add a sincere word of thanks to the many who prayed for me and for all that this meeting be a success.”
February 21, 2019
ASH WEDNESDAY COLLECTION TO SUPPORT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
WASHINGTON — The annual special Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe will be taken up in most dioceses on Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The funds collected are used to support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects in 28 counties in Central and Eastern Europe.
“As we embark on our Lenten journey it is a fitting time to remember our sisters and brothers in Central and Eastern Europe, who are working to restore the Church and build the future after decades of oppression,” said Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, Bishop of Steubenville and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. “I thank the American faithful for their support. As a Paschal people, we help bring God’s consolation and the hope of rebirth when we extend our generosity to those in need.”
In 2017, the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe awarded over $9 million through more than 300 grants. Among projects recently supported is the construction of a Catholic youth center in a remote part of Georgia, helping to form a new generation of disciples.
The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection, including detailed information about who it supports and how the funds are distributed, can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.
February 18, 2019
POPE FRANCIS NAMES ARCHBISHOP OF THE UKRAINIAN ARCHEPARCHY OF PHILADELPHIA
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Bishop Boris Gudziak as archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Bishop Gudziak, 58, currently serves as bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Saint Vladimir-le Grand de Paris in France.
The appointment was publicized in Washington on February 18, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Gudziakwas born November 24, 1960 in Syracuse, New York. He was ordained on November 26, 1998 by Bishop Sofron Mudry O.S.B.M. He was ordained a bishop in France on August 26, 2012.
Bishop Gudziak holds a dual bachelor’s degree in philosophy and biology (1980) from Syracuse University, a degree in theology (1983) from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, and a Ph.D., in Slavic and Byzantine Cultural History (1992) from Harvard University.
Post-ordination assignments include: vice rector of the Lviv Theological Academy, rector of the Lviv Theological Academy, and rector and president of the Ukrainian Catholic University.
The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and parts of eastern Pennsylvania. It has a total Catholic population of 67,250. The Archeparchy has been sede vacante since April 2018.
February 16, 2019
PRESIDENT OF USCCB STATEMENT ON THEODORE MCCARRICK IN RESPONSE TO JUDGEMENT BY THE HOLY SEE
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement upon the decision of the Holy See announced today regarding Theodore McCarrick.
Cardinal DiNardo’s Full Statement Follows:
“The Holy See’s announcement regarding Theodore McCarrick is a clear signal that abuse will not be tolerated. No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church. For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgement will be one small step, among many, toward healing. For us bishops, it strengthens our resolve to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to Pope Francis for the determined way he has led the Church’s response.
If you have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of someone within the Catholic Church, I urge you to contact local law enforcement and your local diocese or eparchy. Victims Assistance Coordinators are available to help. We are committed to healing and reconciliation.”
February 15, 2019
PRESIDENT OF BISHOPS AND CHAIR OF COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION RESPOND TO PRESIDENT’ TRUMP'S FUNDING FOR BORDER WALL
WASHINGTON — Today President Trump announced that he will issue an order stating his intention to make use of funds previously appropriated for other purposes to fund the construction of a border wall at the U.S./Mexico border that Congress has refused to fund. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following joint statement:
We are deeply concerned about the President’s action to fund the construction of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, which circumvents the clear intent of Congress to limit funding of a wall. We oppose the use of these funds to further the construction of the wall. The wall first and foremost is a symbol of division and animosity between two friendly countries. We remain steadfast and resolute in the vision articulated by Pope Francis that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls.”
February 8, 2019
U.S. BISHOPS’ CHAIRS CONDEMN DECISION PREVENTING MUSLIM MAN FROM RECEIVING APPROPRIATE SPIRITUAL CARE AT EXECUTION
WASHINGTON – On February 7, 2019, the State of Alabama executed Domineque Ray, a Muslim man whose request to have an imam present at his execution was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 5-4. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued a statement, which reads:
“The execution of Domineque Ray deeply troubles us. The death penalty itself is an affront to human dignity, and the Church has long called for its abolition in the United States and around the world. Mr. Ray bore the further indignity of being refused spiritual care in his last moments of life, in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Alabama law. This unjust treatment is disturbing to people of all faiths, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or otherwise. People deserve to be accompanied in death by someone who shares their faith. It is especially important that we respect this right for religious minorities. As Pope Francis said during his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates, ‘What we are called to do as believers is to commit ourselves to the equal dignity of all.’ Let us make this commitment today.”
February 8, 2019
PRO-LIFE COMMITTEE CHAIR FOR U.S. BISHOPS RESPONDS TO SCOTUS RULING
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked Louisiana from implementing a law requiring doctors at abortion facilities to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of the Louisiana law.
While the petition on the merits of the law has yet to be filed and ruled upon by the Supreme Court, it ruled 5-4 on an application for a stay in the case of June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:
“The fact that abortionists and their facilities cannot or will not meet basic health standards exposes the lie of their clever slogan that abortion is health care. The abortion industry’s objection to such a reasonable law, and this Court’s decision to temporarily prevent it from going into effect, is further evidence of how abortion extremism actively works against the welfare of women.
“Regardless of this disappointing ruling, the pro-life movement will continue to work and pray for the day when every legislature and court recognizes the brutal injustice of abortion—to women and their children alike—and our society sees abortion as unthinkable.”
February 8, 2019
STATEMENT OF CHAIRS OF NATIONAL CATHOLIC-MUSLIM DIALOGUE AND BISHOPS’ COMMITTEE ON ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
WASHINGTON — His Excellency Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, issued the following statement:
“In our increasingly hostile world in which violence too often predominates between Christians and Muslims—violence that has led to tragic consequences for the most vulnerable humans—we welcome with great joy this historic joint statement on human fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. The statement, which represents the culmination of the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula and marks the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in Egypt, is a clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace. We commend it to all people of good will, especially leaders of nations and religious groups, in the hope that it might serve as a resource to overcome division through a renewed commitment to dialogue and the establishment of goodwill.”
February 7, 2019
CHAIR OF BISHOPS’ COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND PEACE EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY WITH VENEZUELAN BISHOPS
WASHINGTON — Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has issued the following statement expressing solidarity with the Bishops’ of Venezuela.
The Archbishop’s full statement follows:
“On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express our solidarity with the Bishops of Venezuela, and with all those working for a peaceful and just resolution to the crisis there. The humanitarian situation is dire. Severe malnutrition and death from treatable illnesses afflict a growing number of Venezuelans.
I am grateful for the United States Government’s pledge to provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans. I urge the administration to help facilitate the provisioning of humanitarian assistance, and, where necessary, help coordinate safe migration options, in order to avoid more suffering. The Church in Venezuela, as its bishops stated on February 4th, acts ‘according to principles of independence, impartiality, and humanity,’ and stands ready to help distribute assistance justly and equitably.
May Our Lady of Coromoto, Patroness of Venezuela, watch over all Venezuelans as they strive for peace and prosperity in their country.”
February 7, 2019
NATIONAL MARRIAGE WEEK USA AND WORLD MARRIAGE DAY HIGHLIGHTS THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE
WASHINGTON—February 7-14 marks the annual celebration of National Marriage Week USA. World Marriage Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of February. This year, World Marriage Day is Sunday, February 10.
National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities for “building a culture of life and love that begins with promoting and defending marriage and the family,” wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to his brother bishops.
The USCCB offers resources to the faithful for the promotion and defense of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman through its dedicated websites ForYourMarriage.org, PorTuMatrimonio.org, and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org. Additional resources specifically for the celebration of National Marriage Week, including a preaching resource, poster, and prayer intentions, can be found on the USCCB website.
Starting February 7, a daily virtual marriage retreat for couples will be made available on the ForYourMarriage.org website and via the For Your Marriage social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. The seven-day retreat will focus on the theme “Marriage: Made for a Reason.” A rosary for married couples and for families in need of healing will be live-streamed from the chapel at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC via the USCCB Facebook page and Twitter feed on Friday, February 8 at 3:00 pm EST. A conversation about marriage will be livestreamed on the USCCB Facebook page Wednesday, February 13 at 2:00pm EST.
A wide array of prayer cards, books and pamphlets on marriage and family can be ordered online through the USCCB store.
National Marriage Week USA, launched in 2010, is part of an international event seeking to mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses in a common purpose to strengthen marriage in communities and influence the culture. For information and resources, visit: NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org. World Marriage Day was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
February 6, 2019
BISHOPS’ PRO-LIFE CHAIR URGES SENATE VOTE AND PASSAGE OF BORN -ALIVE ABORTION SURVIVORS PROTECTION ACT
WASHINGTON – Last night, the Senate failed to adopt by unanimous consent the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act—legislation that would ensure that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:
“Last night, the United States Senate had an opportunity to unanimously declare to the nation that infanticide is objectively wrong. That they failed to do so is unconscionable. No newborn should be left to suffer or die without medical care. It is barbaric and merciless to leave these vulnerable infants without any care or rights. Congress must take up and pass this bill and ensure that the legacy of Roe v. Wade does not extend itself from killing unborn children to killing newborn babies.”
The Archbishop also sent a letter to the U.S. Senate today urging the body to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor for a vote and to pass it this week. In his letter, Archbishop Naumann asked the Senate to support the “common-sense legislation” that would protect infants who survived abortion attempts.
February 5, 2019
CHAIR OF BISHOPS’ INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON INS TREATY WITHDRAWAL
WASHINGTON — Most Reverend Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:
“I regret to learn of the U.S. government’s intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that has served for over thirty years to reduce nuclear arsenals between the U.S. and Russia significantly. Coupled with the news of the Russian reaction to this decision I am concerned for the potential of a new arms race created by these decisions. I ask all Catholics and people of good will to join in prayer for renewed, earnest dialogue among world leaders. May efforts on the part of all of us foster hope and encourage the aspiration of all peoples to live in peace and security.”
February 4, 2019
BISHOPS’ RELIGIOUS LIBERTY CHAIRMAN ASKS SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO END RELIGIOUS TESTS ON NOMINEES
WASHINGTON – Today, ahead of the U.S. Senate’s consideration of nominees for the federal judiciary in the coming weeks, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking senators not to impose a religious test for public office. The letter states, in part, as follows:
“In recent months, multiple nominees to the federal judiciary have been interrogated about their membership in the Knights of Columbus, with the implication that participation in the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the country – a respected organization that has accomplished so much good for over a century – could be disqualifying. Not only are religious tests unconstitutional and unjust, they are an attack on all people of faith and those with no faith at all. Religious tests tell not only Catholics, but all Americans, that they cannot both serve their country and live out their convictions.”
Archbishop Kurtz concluded, “I implore you: end these discriminatory questions and refrain from further imposing religious tests on judicial nominees.”
“THIS LEGISLATION IS EVIL, PURE AND SIMPLE,” SAYS CHAIRM OF BISHOPS’ PRO-LIFE ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement in response to several states moving forward with legislation that would permit a baby to be aborted at nine months.
Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
“Abortion has always been built on a lie. Today, the lie is switching from 'abortion is a choice' to 'abortion is healthcare.' A law recently passed in New York not only legalizes abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy but removes any protection for children born alive after abortion. A similar bill was proposed in Virginia along with several other states, all in the name of women’s health.
This legislation is evil, pure and simple. And it shocks the conscience to see such evil legislation greeted with raucous cheers and standing ovations. Most grieving to our Lord of Life is that those who advocate for abortion put their eternal souls in jeopardy.
It is sickeningly dishonest to claim that women’s lives or health depend on intentionally killing their children. This is especially true for late-term abortion, which always involves the purposeful destruction of a child which could have been born alive, with much less risk to the mother, had they both received real healthcare.
Now is the time for all Catholics—bishops, priests, and laity—to fight for the unborn with renewed vigor. We must educate family, friends, legislators, and fellow citizens about how it is never necessary to intentionally kill unborn children in order to save their mothers. Local action is especially important. Though ending Roe v. Wade is a central goal of the pro-life movement, if the decision were overturned, only eleven states would immediately ban abortion; the other thirty-nine states would still allow it.
I urge Catholics, and thoughtful Americans of all religions or none at all to advocate for local change. Sign up for your State Catholic Conference or diocesan pro-life advocacy network, which can help you communicate to elected officials. Or seek out state and local pro-life groups, including parish respect life groups, that are making a difference at the state level.
Though we live in very dark days, we know that the Lord has already triumphed over death. But we must use this time on earth to be His hands and feet. This means each of us rededicating ourselves to prayer, and fighting for the most vulnerable among us, especially unborn children and their mothers.”
February 1, 2019
USCCB CHAIR RENEW SUPPORT FOR INCLUSION ACT TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF FAITH-BASED FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION PROVIDERS
WASHINGTON — Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the bipartisan Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2019. The Act would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that declines to conduct its services in a manner that would violate its religious or moral principles.
"Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children," wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bipartisan bill.
Some faith-based child welfare providers, including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Philadelphia, New York, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The chairmen said, "The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importance of a birth mother’s choice, the chairmen remarked, "Women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/CWPIA-Endorsement-Letter-2019-to-Rep-Kelly.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/CWPIA-Endorsement-Letter-2019-to-Sen-Enzi.pdf
February 1, 2019
U.S. BISHOPS’ CHAIR ON PRO-LIFE ACTIVITIES CALLS ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL TO STAND UP AND PROTECT UNBORN AND BORN INFANTS
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement in response to the introduction of a bill in the Virginia legislature that would allow a baby to be aborted at nine months. Although the bill was defeated there, a similar bill was passed by the New York legislature and signed into law by its Governor.
Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
“A Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill which would allow a baby to be aborted at nine months, even if the mother is just about to give birth. This legislation shocks the conscience and is made more egregious by the Governor of Virginia suggesting the permissibility of denying care to infants born alive during the abortion. This senseless disrespect for new human life is horrifying. We join the bishops of Virginia in urging all people of good will to stand up to protect unborn and born infants from legislation that would permit their gruesome deaths.”
January 31, 2019
POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF BISHOP FREDERICK CAMPBELL OF COLUMBUS; NAMES BISHOP ROBERT BRENNAN AS SUCCESSOR
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Frederick Campbell, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio and has named Bishop Robert Brennan to succeed him. Bishop Brennan is an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
The resignation and appointment was publicized in Washington, January 31, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Robert Brennan, 56, was born on June 7, 1962 in the Bronx, New York. He attended St. John’s University in Queens, NY, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Math. He earned his Masters of Divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1989 for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Bishop Brennan was named Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope Saint John Paul II with the title of monsignor on May 27, 1996. He was consecrated as an auxiliary for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on July 25, 2012.
Other assignments included: priest of Church of Saint Patrick; Secretary to the Bishop for the late Bishop John R. McGann, the late Bishop James T. McHugh, and Bishop William Murphy; vicar general and moderator of the curia, pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Isle, member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Heath Services of Long Island, member of the Bishop’s Advisory Committee for Catholic Education, chaplain for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County.
Bishop Campbell was ordained a priest in 1980. He served as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1999 to 2004, and then as the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Columbus since 2004.
The Diocese of Columbus is comprised of 29,282 square miles in the state of Ohio and has a total population of 2,447,972 of which 252,103 or 10.3 percent, are Catholic.
January 28, 2019
PRESIDENT OF USCCB, CHAIR OF BISHOPS’ INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE CONDEMN PHILIPPINE CATHEDRAL BOMBINGS
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued the following statement in response to the January 27 bombings in and around the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the Philippine island of Sulu in Jolo, Philippines.
The full statement follows:
“The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have condemned these attacks as ‘an act of terrorism’ and asked Christians to pray for the victims and ‘join hands with all peace-loving Muslim and indigenous people against violent extremism.’ The bombings, which occurred as people attended Mass, have been condemned by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo and Archbishop Angelito Lampon as being the ‘action of evil people with utter disregard for the sacredness of human life.’
The bishops of the United States stand in solidarity and prayer with these victims and join the bishops of the Philippines in condemning such senseless acts of violence. We invite Catholics and all men and women of good will to do the same.”
January 25, 2019
U.S. BISHOPS’ DOMESTIC CHAIR REACTS TO BIPARTISAN CARBON PRICING BILL
WASHINGTON — After the introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (EICDA) yesterday, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the legislation as an important step forward in addressing climate change.
The full statement follows:
“This bipartisan bill is a hopeful sign that more and more, climate change is beginning to be seen as a crucial moral issue; one that concerns all people. If enacted, this proposal is expected to result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when the dangerous effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, the need for legislative solutions like this is more urgent than ever.
Fundamentally, this bill is about ensuring that the full spectrum of costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions—economic, social, and environmental—are accounted for. Failing to consider the health and well-being of people, including future generations and the planet, means that ‘businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved’ (Laudato Si’, no. 195). This proposed legislation is one possible remedy to addressing these imbalances.
While it is well-known that putting a price on carbon will increase energy prices, a phenomenon that can have a disproportionate impact on the poor, it is encouraging that initial analyses suggest that low-income individuals will overwhelmingly benefit from this policy. Additional in-depth and independent analysis is still needed to fully understand the potential impacts on poor and vulnerable persons, families and their communities. Supplemental support for these households may be needed to further alleviate potential financial burdens. Climate change can only ever be adequately addressed if it is done with an eye towards ‘the least of these.’”
January 25, 2019
WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE CELEBRATES THE DIVERSITY AND BEAUTY OF CONSECRATED VOCATIONS
WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church will hold its annual celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2, 2019. This celebration is a special time for individual parishes and the greater Church to celebrate the beauty of the consecrated vocation, highlight its various forms, and reflect on the unique Christ-centered witness that consecrated men and women bring to the Church and the surrounding community.
Instituted by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997, World Day for Consecrated Life will be formally recognized during a Mass offered by Pope Francis at the Vatican on February 2, 2019. The day is celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, which commemorates through the blessing and lighting of candles that Christ is the light of the world. In the same way, consecrated persons, by belonging exclusively to Christ, act as the true hands and feet of Jesus by bringing his love and the light of the Gospel to all those they encounter in their life and work.
Each form of consecrated life is distinct and inspired by the Holy Spirit to serve the Church through a particular charism. Discerning consecrated life involves a process of identifying the unique way in which Christ is calling a person to love. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations offered encouraging words for those discerning a vocation to consecrated life: “Oftentimes, those discerning a vocation search for the perfect community. The Lord, who created every heart, knows of the way he is calling each person to serve him. Trust that he will lead you to the vocation that is perfect for you.”
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is retained each year by the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations to conduct a survey of those solemnly professed in the United States in the past year. This year’s CARA Study identified 240 men and women religious who professed perpetual vows in 2018. Of these 240 religious, 162 responded with 92 sisters and nuns and 70 brothers and priests participating in the study. Some of the major findings are:
On average, responding religious report that they were 19 years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life, but half were 18 or younger when they first did so. ucharistic Adoration, retreats, and the rosary are the most common types of formative prayer experiences, reported by two-thirds of religious of the Profession Class of 2018. Nearly six in ten reported participating in spiritual direction.
Of those surveyed, 23% of respondents earned a graduate degree before entering their religious institute. More than 71% entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree (65% for women and 79% for men).
The entire CARA survey, Prayers of the Faithful, and a bulletin quote for World Day for Consecrated Life, as well as information about the different forms of consecrated life and the work of the Secretariat on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is available at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/consecrated-life/index.cfm
January 22, 2019
POPE FRANCIS NAMES NEW AUXILIARY BISHOPS OF ARCHDIOCESE FOR THE MILITARY SERVICES, USA
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Joseph Coffey and Rev. William Muhm as Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
The appointments were publicized today in Washington, DC, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
Rev. Coffey is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and currently serves as a Chaplain and Captain in the United States Navy. Rev. Muhm is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and up until now, served as Administrator of Most Precious Blood Parish in Walden, NY.
Father Coffey was born May 31, 1960 in Minnesota. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from LaSalle University, Philadelphia (1982), and spent one semester at the Sorbonne, Paris. He attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1995. He was ordained a priest on May 18, 1996. In 2002, Rev. Coffey received a Master Administration in Moral Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia in 2002. For one year, after university and before seminary, Rev. Coffey was an auto salesman in Europe, selling cars to American serviceman in Germany and Belgium.
Assignments after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Katherine of Siena Parish, Philadelphia Spiritual, 1996-2001. From 1997 to 2001, Rev. Coffey was the Director of the Legion of Mary (Holy Family Curia) Military Chaplain. During this time, he was assigned to the United States Naval Reserve (1998-2001); Chaplain, Department of AIDS Ministry (1999-2001); Board Member, Archdiocesan Council of Priests (2000-2001). Since 2001 to present, he has been U.S. Navy Chaplain and a Recruiter for the Chaplain Corps.
Father Coffey’s Naval assignments have included: Chaplain to Combat Assault Battalion of the Marine Corps, Okinawa, Japan; MAG-39 at Camp Pendleton, CA; Coast Guard Recruit Training center in Cape May, NJ; Chaplain Recruiter for U.S. Navy; Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego; Coast Guard recruit center in Cape May and deployments with both the Marines and Navy, including to Afghanistan.
Father Coffey received the Distinguished Service Award (Chaplain of the Year) in 2004 from the Military Chaplains Association.
Rev. William J. Muhm was born June 27, 1957, in Billings, Montana. He was ordained a priest on May 30, 1995 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York by Cardinal John O’Connor.
Father Muhm attended Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, (1977); Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, (1980) and then he graduated in 1995 from St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, NY (STB, Master Divinity). He served in the Navy for some time before entering the seminary.
Assignments after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Ann Parish, Ossining, NY, (1995-1996); Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Parish, Staten Island, NY (1996-1998), and since 1998 to present, he has been Chaplain and Captain in the United States Navy.
Rev. Muhm’s assignments as U.S. Navy Chaplain have included: 2008-2009: Deployment with 1st Marine Regiment, RCT 1, Anbar Prov., Iraq. Since 2009 to 2012, he was Catholic Chaplain at U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD and from 2012 to 2018 he served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC. He voluntary managed the Navy priests’ retreat the last several years and was on sabbatical June – November 2018. From November 2018 to present, he has served as Administrator of Most Precious Blood Parish, Walden, NY.
Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., is the current Archbishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services serves U.S. Catholics of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Department of veterans Affairs and those in Government Service outside the USA. It was created by Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 countries. Numerically, the AMS is responsible for more than 1.8 million men, women, and children.
January 20, 2019
BISHOPS' PRESIDENT, CHAIR OF MIGRATION COMMITTEE URGING THE PRESIDENT AND LAWMAKERS TO END SHUTDOWN
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Houston, President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following joint statement in response to the President’s January 19th remarks:
“We urge the President and lawmakers to end the shutdown. Political leaders must come together to ensure a bipartisan solution is reached which recognizes the economic struggle that many families are facing including those dependent on federal workers and those assisted by critical nutrition and housing programs.
We are encouraged by the President’s openness to providing legislative relief for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients. However, we understand that the President’s proposal would only provide temporary relief, leaving many in a continued vulnerable state. We believe that a permanent legislative solution for TPS holders and for all Dreamers is vital. Moreover, the proposal calls for the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, a proposal that our brother bishops on both sides of the U.S. border with Mexico oppose, and it suggests changes in current law that would make it more difficult for unaccompanied children and asylum seekers to access protection.
Throughout our parishes, there are many DACA youth and TPS holders, who have lived substantial parts of their lives in the U.S. contributing to this country. We listen and understand the fear and uncertainty they and their families face and the anguish that they are currently experiencing as their existing immigration protections hang in the balance and come to an end. Temporary relief will not ease those fears or quell that anxiety. It is for this reason that we have long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform; reform that will provide permanent solutions: including border security, protection for vulnerable unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, and a defined path to citizenship to enable our immigrant brothers and sisters to fully contribute to our society.
We look forward to reviewing the President’s proposal in detail and hope to work with the White House and Congress to advance legislation that shows compassion, keeps us safe, and protects the vulnerable.”
January 18, 2019
CHAIR OF THE USCCB COMMITTEE ON ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS AFFAIRS ISSUES INVITATION TO CELEBRATE ANNUAL WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
WASHINGTON — Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, invites all to celebrate the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place January 18-25, 2019. This week provides an opportunity to join together and pray as Jesus did “that they may all be one.” (John 17:21)
The practice, originally called the Christian Unity Octave, was first observed in 1908 by Fr. Paul Wattson and Sr. Lurana White, co-founders of the Society of Atonement. Today, it is a collaborative project by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.
This year’s theme is “Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20). It was chosen by Christians from Indonesia, highlighting the unique opportunity the call for justice plays in our ecumenical efforts. According to Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII) who promotes the Week of Prayer in the United States, Christian communities "become newly aware of their unity as they join in a common concern and a common response to an unjust reality. At the same time, confronted by these injustices, we are obliged, as Christians, to examine the ways in which we are complicit. Only by heeding Jesus’s prayer 'that they all may be one' can we witness to living unity in diversity. It is through our unity in Christ that we will be able to combat injustice and serve the needs of its victims."
Further information and other resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are available.
January 18, 2019
PRO-LIFE COMMITTEE CHAIR’S ROE V. WADE ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT ENCOURAGES FAITHFUL TO BE “WITNESSES OF MERCIFUL LOVE”
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City called on the faithful "to pray for an end to the human rights abuse of abortion, and for a culture of life, where through God’s grace all will come to know they are made in His Divine Image.”
His statement on January 18 marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states. Archbishop Naumann, who gave the opening prayer at the March for Life the same day, chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Protecting the life of the unborn children is the pre-eminent human rights issue of our time, not only because of the sheer magnitude of the numbers, but because abortion attacks the sanctuary of life, the family,” wrote Archbishop Naumann. “Every abortion not only destroys the life of an innocent child, but it wounds and scars mothers and fathers...in reality, the welfare of parents and their child are always intimately linked.”
Naumann also made it clear that pro-life Catholics “are concerned about the life and dignity of the human person wherever it is threatened or diminished,” and highlighted the sexual abuse crisis within the Church as an example of “grave injustice” to this dignity. “The abuse of children or minors upends the pro-life ethic,” the Archbishop explained, because it is an “egregious offense against the dignity of the human person.”
The Archbishop spoke of a Church “devastated by the scandal of sexual misconduct by clergy and of past instances of the failure of bishops to respond with compassion to victims of abuse and to protect adequately the members of their flock.” He urged the Church and the faithful to “seek justice for all of God’s children.”
“We must do all we can to be God’s witnesses of merciful love in the world,” the Archbishop continued. “We know and give thanks for the great dignity God has given to us from the moment of conception, to be made in his image. We also must pray for the grace to remind others of this inherent dignity, in our words and in our actions.”
The Archbishop encouraged all Catholics to take part in the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn on January 22: “Let us pray that we can be great and effective witnesses for life, witnesses for love, witnesses for mercy.”
The full text of Archbishop Naumann's message is available online.
January 18, 2019
PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT TO UPHOLD PRO-LIFE LAWS
WASHINGTON — Today, President Trump reiterated his enduring support for pro-life laws or policies. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities responded with the following statement:
“As Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I commend President Trump for announcing at today’s March for Life that he will oppose repealing or weakening any existing pro-life laws or policies. These pro-life laws and policies reflect the convictions of millions of Americans, many of whom attended today’s March, that taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions, or organizations that promote abortion, or participate in any way in the deliberate destruction of unborn human life.
We are deeply grateful for the President’s pro-life commitment, and for all the actions this administration has taken to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to advance policies that value human life and dignity from conception to natural death.”
January 18, 2019
SOCIETY NEEDS “ARTISANS OF PEACE” BY FOLLOWING DR. KING’S EXAMPLE
WASHINGTON — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has issued the following statement in relation to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 21.
Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:
“Today more than ever, our societies need ‘artisans of peace’ who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.”
Pope Francis’ words, given in his 2019 World Day of Peace address, remind us how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such an artisan of peace. Dr. King was a messenger and true witness to the power of the gospel lived in action through public life. This year, as we again mark the anniversary of his life, and reflect upon the 51st anniversary of his death, we are thankful for the path forged by Dr. King and the countless others who worked tirelessly and suffered greatly in the fight for racial equality and justice.
As a nation and as a society, we face great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities ahead. This past November, the entire body of Catholic bishops approved Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love— A Pastoral Letter Against Racism. The letter’s goal is to again name and call attention to a great affliction and evil that persists in this nation, and to offer a hope-filled Christian response to this perennial sickness. Racism is a national wound from which we continually struggle to heal. As we wrote in the pastoral letter, “Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality—economic and social—that we still see all around us.”
Today, remembering how Dr. King contended with policies and institutional barriers of his time, many which persist today, we renew our pledge to fight for the end of racism in the Church and in the United States. We pledge our commitment to build a culture of life, where all people are valued for their intrinsic dignity as daughters and sons of God. We encourage Catholics and all people of good will to study the pastoral letter, and to study and reflect upon Dr. King’s witness against the destructive effects of racism, poverty and continuous war.
We call on everyone to embrace our ongoing need for healing in all areas of our lives where we are wounded, but particularly where our hearts are not truly open to the idea and the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. As Dr. King said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
January 18, 2019
HOLY LAND 2019 COORDINATION COMMUNIQUÉ: CHRISTIANS IN ISRAEL – CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
WASHINGTON — Representatives of bishops' conferences from several countries, including Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Chairman of the International Justice and Peace Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met in the Holy Land January 12-17, 2019. Together, they have issued their annual communiqué in which they acknowledge the challenges and opportunities that Christians face in Israel. In the communiqué, the bishops call for prayer, pilgrimage and practical solidarity on behalf of Christians in Israel to help keep hope for the future alive.
Noting that Israel was founded on the principle of equality for all citizens, representatives of bishops’ conferences from several countries, including the United States, acknowledged that Christians in Israel face challenges and opportunities. In the final communiqué of the Holy Land Coordination, the bishops called for prayer, pilgrimage and practical solidarity to help Christians in Israel keep their hope for the future alive.
Nineteen bishops from Europe, the United States, Canada and South Africa made the annual solidarity visit which included time spent in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, and villages meeting with Christian mayors, villagers, and migrants to hear of their stories of living and working in Israel.
In their communiqué, the bishops note that many Christians, along with Palestinian Arabs and migrants, face systematic discrimination and are marginalized. In particular they noted that Israel’s Nation State Law passed in 2018 creates “a constitutional and legal basis for discrimination” against minorities and supported “all those challenging discrimination.”
After visiting a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camp and school in Jenin, the bishops also called for their governments to help fund health care, education and other basic services for Palestinian refugees. This was in response to the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw funding for the Palestinians and call for the closing of UNRWA.
The bishops expressed admiration for their sisters and brothers in the Holy Land for not losing hope and committed themselves to help keep that hope alive.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops along with bishops from other nations on this solidarity visit continue to decry violence as a way to resolve conflict but instead strongly support a two-state solution in which the two democratic sovereign states of Israel and Palestine exist in peace.
The Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land has met every January since 1998 to pray and act in solidarity with the Christian community in the Holy Land.
The bishops’ 2019 communiqué is available here.
January 17, 2019
PRO-LIFE SECRETARIAT EXPRESSES DEEP DISAPPOINTMENT AT SENATE FAILURE TO PASS NO TAXPAYER FUNDING FOR ABORTION ACT
WASHINGTON — “Taxpayer dollars should not pay for abortion. The majority of Americans, including many who consider themselves pro-choice, agree on this,” said Kat Talalas, spokeswoman on abortion for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responding to the Senate’s vote today on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2019” (S. 109). The Senate voted (48-47) in favor of the bill, but Talalas expressed deep disappointment that it did not receive the 60 votes needed for passage in the Senate. The Senate held its vote on January 17, the day before the annual March for Life in Washington.
The bill would codify a permanent, government-wide policy against taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage. It would also require health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act to disclose the extent of their coverage for abortion and the amount of any surcharge for that coverage to consumers. Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB, wrote to Congress prior to the vote, urging support for the legislation. Naumann said that “abortion is a false and violent response to an unplanned pregnancy that turns a woman in crisis and her unborn child against each other,” and that the federal government “should not force taxpayers to subsidize this violence.”
“The USCCB urges the House and Senate to work together to pass legislation that reflects the will of the American people, and prevents tax dollars from funding elective abortion,” Talalas said.
January 16, 2019
OVER 12,000 U.S. PILGRIMS AND 34 U.S. BISHOPS TRAVELING TO PANAMA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
WASHINGTON -- The United States will be sending over 12,000 youth and young adults, ages 16 to 35, to Panama for the thirty-fourth annual celebration of World Youth Day (WYD). The global event, taking place January 22-27, 2019, in and around Panama City, is expected to draw over 1 million people from all six continents.
“The bishops of the United States and I joyfully walk with the young people and young adults of our country as fellow pilgrims,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport and the WYD liaison for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In all, 32 bishops from the U.S. are planning to attend the global event.
Bishop Caggiano will be one of 20 bishops who also have been invited by the Vatican to serve as English- and Spanish-language catechists in Panama, giving reflections to groups of pilgrims on the 2019 WYD theme, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38). Other U.S. catechist bishops include Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.
Pope Francis arrives in Panama on Wednesday, January 23, with a special welcome ceremony planned for Thursday, January 24. He will also preside at a Via Crucis prayer service (January 25), a candlelight vigil and adoration (January 26), and the Closing Mass (January 27), where he will announce the location of the next international WYD in 2022.
While the pope and the WYD pilgrims meet in Panama this January, several dioceses and communities across the United States will be hosting “stateside celebrations” concurrent with tWYD events for thousands of young people in the U.S. There will be major gatherings for youth and young adults in California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State, and a multi-diocesan flagship event in Washington, D.C., called “Panama in the Capital” with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Mark Kennedy Shriver of Save the Children Action Network, and many others. Details of these events can be found at http://www.usccb.org/about/world-youth-day/stateside-wyd-celebrations.cfm
“We pray in solidarity with the thousands of young people across the United States who are celebrating this experience digitally and stateside in their local communities,” noted Bishop Caggiano on the connection of the Panama pilgrims and those experiencing WYD at home.
On Wednesday, January 23, the USCCB will collaborate with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and the Knights of Columbus on a special one-day event called “Fiat Festival,” to be held at the Figali (Amador) Convention Center in Panama from 3:00 to 10:00 pm ET. The event will feature music, keynotes, panels, video, prayer, and a closing Holy Hour with Bishop Robert Barron and Cardinal Sean O’Malley. It will be livestreamed through FOCUS Catholic’s YouTube Channel.
January 16, 2019
NATIONAL CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2; THEME - “CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: LEARN. SERVE. LEAD. SUCCEED.”
WASHINGTON — National Catholic Schools Week 2019 (CSW) will be observed in dioceses around the country January 27–February 2. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.,” focuses on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education firmly rooted in the Truth of the Gospel.
As Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, Oakland, newly elected chairman of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education said, “Young people today need Catholic education more than ever. In a world where truth, beauty and goodness are considered all but subjective, the Way, Truth and Life offered us in Jesus Christ are our only source of direction, clarity and hope. Furthermore, being rooted in faith does not endanger the academic quality of Catholic schools, but in fact is their very motivation for excellence in all things.”
Nearly 1.8 million students are currently educated in 6,352 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that helps them become critical thinkers, strong communicators and active members of society, thus equipping them for higher education, a competitive work environment, and most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society. “Following Christ’s example of loving and serving all people, Catholic schools proudly provide a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. Since the inception of Catholic schools in our country, we have always sought to welcome families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity,” Bishop Barber said.
The observance of CSW began in 1974. Schools and parishes around the country will hold activities such as Masses, open houses, and family gatherings to celebrate the communities they represent. The week also highlights the educational and community successes of Catholic schools nationwide. Ninety nine percent of Catholic school students graduate from high school and 86 percent of Catholic school graduates attend college. This percentage has been consistent for over 20 years.
For the second year, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) will lead the Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools, in partnership with FACTS Management, January 29, 12 PM EST through January 30, 12 PM EST. This 24-hour period is one way to support development programs in Catholic schools throughout the country. Scheduled during National Catholic Schools Week, this Day of Giving is a perfect time for individuals to give to their local Catholic schools. In 2018, more than $850,000 was donated to 539 participating Catholic schools, six dioceses and NCEA. For more information on the Day of Giving, please go to www.NCEA.org/csw/manygifts.
January 15, 2019
BISHOPS EXPRESS DISMAY AT COURT RULING ENJOINING MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION TO HHS MANDATE
WASHINGTON – In response to Monday’s federal court ruling from Pennsylvania granting a nationwide injunction barring the broadened moral and religious exemption to the HHS mandate, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:
“Yesterday’s court ruling freezing these common-sense regulations leaves those with conscientious or religious objections to the HHS mandate out in the cold. In a free country, no one should be forced to facilitate or fund things like contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, which go against their core beliefs. We pray that this decision will be appealed and that future courts will respect the free exercise arguments of the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others who simply seek the freedom to serve their neighbors without the threat of massive government fines hanging over their heads.”
January 14, 2019
9 DAYS FOR LIFE UNITES OVER 100,000 FAITHFUL IN PRAYER AHEAD OF ROE V. WADE ANNIVERSARY
WASHINGTON — Over one hundred thousand people nationwide have joined 9 Days for Life, the annual pro-life prayer and action campaign, beginning this year on January 14. The novena is an opportunity for recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.
The overarching intention of the novena is the end to abortion, but each day treats a different aspect of respecting the dignity of the human person—from the beginning of life to its natural end. Each daily intention highlights a related topic and is accompanied by a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions. The novena culminates on January 22, the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.
Joining tens of thousands nationwide, participants can build a culture of life through prayer and sacrifice, and share their experiences on social media with the hashtag #9DaysforLife. Those still hoping to participate can sign up at www.9daysforlife.com. Participants can choose to receive the novena via email, text message, a printable version, or through a free "9 Days for Life" mobile app (with customizable reminders) in English or Spanish.
9 Days for Life, sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, began in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
January 10, 2019
NATIONAL PRAYER VIGIL FOR LIFE TAKING PLACE IN NATION’S CAPITAL, JANUARY 17-18
WASHINGTON — The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from Thursday afternoon, January 17 to Friday morning, January 18, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Over 20,000 pilgrims from around the nation will gather at the Shrine to pray for an end to abortion before the annual March for Life, taking place the following day. The Vigil marks the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 60 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.
The principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Opening Mass will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Many of the nation's bishops and priests will concelebrate with him in the Basilica's Great Upper Church from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Vigil continues in the Crypt Church with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Byzantine Rite Night Prayer, and Holy Hours led by seminarians throughout the night and into the next morning. Morning Prayer on Friday, January 18, begins at 6:00 a.m. in the Crypt Church, followed by Benediction at 6:30 a.m. The Vigil's Closing Mass will take place at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church, with Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond as principal celebrant and homilist.
“Again, this year, the Vatican has granted that a plenary indulgence may be obtained under the usual conditions by participating in the National Prayer Vigil for Life, as well as the other sacred celebrations surrounding the March for Life,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “This is a special opportunity for grace offered to pilgrims for their witness, prayer, and sacrifice.”
The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and The Catholic University of America.
January 10, 2019
CHAIR OF U.S. BISHOPS’ COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION CALLS ON PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO CREATE A BORDER SOLUTION AND END SHUT-DOWN
WASHINGTON — Bishop Joseph Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration issued the following statement calling for the President and Congressional leaders to create a border solution and end the government shut-down.
Bishop Vasquez’s full statement follows:
“Secure borders and humane treatment of those fleeing persecution and seeking a better life are not mutually exclusive. The United States can ensure both and must do so without instilling fear or sowing hatred. We will continue to advocate for immigration reform to advance the common good and address these issues.
Pope Francis states that migrants are not statistics, but persons with feelings that need ongoing protection. From our work serving immigrant and refugees along the U.S./Mexico border, in the interior of the United States and throughout the world, we know this to be true. We urge lawmakers to look beyond rhetoric and remember the human dignity that God our Father has given each of us simply because we are all His children.
The President and Congressional leaders need to come together and end the shut-down with a solution that recognizes the dignity of work of affected employees, respects the humanity of all regardless of immigration status, and protects the sanctity of human life.”
January 4, 2019
NATIONAL MIGRATION WEEK CELEBRATED JANUARY 6 – 12
WASHINGTON — National Migration Week 2019 will take place January 6 - 12. For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which provides an opportunity for the Church to highlight the presence and situation of immigrants, refugees, victims, and survivors of human trafficking. The week serves as a time for both prayer and action in support of immigrants and refugees.
The theme for this year’s celebration – “Building Communities of Welcome” – emphasizes our responsibility and opportunity as Catholics to engage and welcome newcomers on their arrival and help to ease their transition into a new life here in the United States. Welcoming communities do not emerge by chance but are established through the hard work and conviction of people on the ground through direct service, shared experience and faith, advocacy, and institution building
“In this moment, it is particularly important for the Church to highlight the spirit of welcome that we are all called to embody in response to immigrant and refugee populations who are in our midst sharing our Church and our communities,” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration.
January 3, 2019
U.S. BISHOPS RECEIVE LETTER FROM POPE FRANCIS AS THEY GATHER FOR SPIRITUAL RETREAT
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Bishops have received a letter from Pope Francis as they gather in northern Illinois at Mundelein Seminary this week. The week-long retreat is taking place at the invitation of Pope Francis who has asked all bishops in the United States to pause in prayer as the Church seeks to respond to the signs of the times.
The Preacher to the Papal Household, Capuchin Friar Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., is directing the retreat under the theme of “He appointed Twelve, to be with Him and to Send Out to Preach” based on Mark 3:14. The structure of the retreat includes time for quiet reflection, including silent meal times, daily Mass, time for personal and communal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, vespers, and an opportunity for confession. No ordinary business is being conducted during the retreat.
Mundelein Seminary, located on the campus of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, is the principal seminary and school of theology for the formation of priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and educates nearly 200 seminarians from 34 dioceses across the country and around the world.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), sent the following message on behalf of the U.S. bishops upon the opening of the retreat.
The Cardinal’s full message follows:
Most Holy Father:
As the bishops of the United States gather today in prayer, we humbly ask Your Holiness to pray for us that we may draw closer to one another and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this closeness, we seek to find the wisdom and strength necessary to meet the great challenges ahead. We carry with us these days the pain and hope of all who may feel let down by the Church. Yet, we find ourselves grateful for the reminder that the future does not rest with any of us alone, but rather belongs to God. Hope is to be found in Christ. In Him, hope becomes unshakable.
Holy Father, we also draw near to you in our prayer and ministry. Your witness to those suffering around the world strengthens us. May our days together reflect the communion of the Universal Church.