(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/)
September 10, 2021
USCCB president remarks on 20th anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The full text of Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:
“As we remember the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, our hearts are with all those who lost loved ones on that day. We pray for the innocent lives that were lost, and we pray for those who grieve, and for the many who still bear the wounds from these attacks, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
“It was a dark day of destruction and death, but we remember also the heroes — first-responders, firefighters, police, emergency medical and rescue teams. Many gave their lives in the service of their neighbors. This violence, borne of worst evil in the human heart, also brought out the best in our humanity. We think today of the courage and generosity of countless ordinary people and the spirit of unity and authentic patriotism we saw in the days after these attacks.
“We honor the dead by the way we live. And today we pray for a new spirit of national pride and unity. May God inspire in all of us to seek fellowship, reconciliation, and common purpose.
“We ask God to bring comfort to those who mourn and peace to every heart that is consumed by hatred, and may he bring peace to our troubled world.
“We entrust our prayers and our nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the mother of each one of us.”
September 9, 2021
Updated edition of National Directory for diaconate program released
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released the second edition of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. First promulgated in November 2004, the directory outlines the guidelines and directives to be used by dioceses in preparing or updating a diaconate program and formulating policies for the ministry and life of deacons.
According to the most recent available data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, there are 18,075 permanent deacons in the United States; it is also reported that 97 percent of the world’s permanent deacons live in the Americas and Europe. The updated directory reflects on the wisdom gleaned from a broad spectrum of deacons and their formators. With a focus on the identity of the deacon as a “living icon of Christ the Servant within the Church,” and a minister of Word, Liturgy, and Charity in the community, the new edition reflects poignantly on fifty years since the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the United States. Developed by the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), the second edition includes norms that will take effect on June 9, 2022.
In a recent meeting with permanent deacons and their families in Rome, Pope Francis described the spirituality of deacons as “availability inside and openness outside…available inside, from the heart, ready to say ‘yes,’ docile, without making one’s life revolve around one’s own agenda; and open outside, looking at everyone, especially those who are left out, those who feel excluded.” The Holy Father reminded those present that the Church should have “a heart that burns with love and serves with humility and joy.”
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations expressed gratitude for the update of the document. “I am grateful for the good work of the CCLV committee that has led to the publication of the updated National Directory. This document will serve as an instrumental resource for dioceses as they work to strengthen their permanent diaconate programs. It is my hope that permanent deacons and those who accompany them will be encouraged by the new edition of the Directory and be inspired to continue in their faithful service to the Church in imitation of Christ the Servant.”
The National Directory, 2nd edition is available for purchase on the USCCB store: https://store.usccb.org/products/national-directory-for-the-formation-ministry-and-life-of-permanent-deacons.
September 9, 2021
USCCB pro-life chairman’s statement on supporting pregnant and new mothers
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement on supporting pregnant and new mothers.
Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
“As chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to echo the words of the Texas Catholic bishops who expressed gratitude for the growing network of support for pregnant mothers and their families in Texas. Recently, the Texas legislature increased support for low-income mothers by 25 percent through their Alternatives to Abortion program, in addition to expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers.
“Another new Texas law, which has elicited far more controversy, seeks to use civil rather than criminal law to protect the lives of vulnerable children in the womb. Tragically, the President, Speaker of the House, and other public officials have responded with statements that ignore our nation’s sacred interest to protect the life and health of both mothers and their unborn children, instead responding with radical pledges to mobilize the full force of the federal government to block all efforts to protect the life of the child in the womb. And they seek to enshrine into federal law the failed policy of Roe v. Wade, which pits the welfare of mothers against their children.
“As Catholics, we are committed to working and praying for the conversion of minds and hearts so all people will respect the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Our national outreach, Walking with Moms in Need, helps parishes to identify and help provide the full range of needs for mothers and their unborn children, not only during pregnancy, but for years to come. We stand with Pope Francis, who reminds us that killing a child is never a solution to a problem. We advocate for surrounding both mother and her child with love and practical support as the humane response to a difficult pregnancy.”
To learn more about the Walking with Moms in Need nationwide initiative to serve pregnant and parenting mothers, please visit www.walkingwithmoms.com.
September 7, 2021
USCCB launches initiative to counter polarization and division
WASHINGTON – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a new initiative today aimed at addressing polarization in society. Based on Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti for “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good” (no. 154), the new initiative, Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics asks Catholics to respond to this invitation with charity, clarity, and creativity.
The initiative, which many dioceses throughout the country will be participating in locally, will aid efforts of evangelization to shine the light of our faith on the often challenging area of politics. At CivilizeIt.org, participants can take a pledge and access supporting materials including an examination of conscience, short reflections, prayers, and a guide that will empower individuals, families, and communities to be bridgebuilders across perspectives. Based on chapters 5 and 6 of Fratelli Tutti and on other reflections by the Holy Father, the materials aim to help Catholics and others of good will to cultivate a culture of encounter, root perspectives in truth, justice and solidarity, and seek collaborative action for the common good.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development reflected on the importance of the initiative at this time:
“Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics aims to equip Catholics to address the division and polarization in society that are at times also reflected in the Church. Such division among the faithful compromises the Church’s ability to effectively witness to the life and dignity of the human person in the family, parish, workplace, and political sphere. In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis offers a different way forward based on Gospel values, justice and truth. My hope is that this initiative will assist all of us as we seek to ‘become neighbors to all,’ as the Holy Father calls us to do, and take up the challenges of encounter, dialogue, truth-seeking, and creative problem-solving, in order that all Catholics can work together for the common good.”
Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics builds on an initiative of a similar name implemented during the 2019-20 election season that sought to help Catholics model love of neighbor by honoring human dignity through civil conversation during the election year.
More information on the initiative as well as the pledge, resources, and other tools may be found on CivilizeIt.org.
September 2, 2021
USCCB chairman echoes Pope's call to build economy without exclusion
WASHINGTON — For Labor Day, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, released a statement observing that there are both encouraging signs of economic recovery and ongoing hardships related to COVID-19.
Archbishop Coakley echoes Pope Francis’ call from the encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, to rise out of this crisis with an economy that expresses universal fraternity. He writes, “It is our task not only to reflect on the present ills of our economy, but also to build consensus around human dignity and the common good, the bedrocks of Catholic social teaching, and to answer the Pope’s call to propose new and creative economic responses to human need, both locally and globally.” Archbishop Coakley also calls attention to the Holy Father’s Economy of Francesco initiative, as well as the responses of the Churches’ many ministries to the increased needs of the pandemic.
The full statement may be found here.
September 1, 2021
Bishop chairmen emphasize developing ecological conscience
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, released a statement on the Holy Father’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The bishops emphasized developing an ecological conscience, informed by faith, science, and reason that leads to prayer, sound judgment, and action.
The full statement can be found here.
USCCB president offers prayers in solidarity for Hurricane Ida survivors
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement praying for the lives and safety of all those impacted by Hurricane Ida which has made landfall in the Gulf Coast and has moved inland as a tropical storm, continuing to cause damage across several states:
August 23, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Byzantine Eparchy bishop
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John Pazak, C.Ss.R, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Byzantine Eparchy of Holy Protection of Mary, and has appointed Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Eparchy.
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on August 23, 2021, by Msgr. Séamus Horgan, chargé d’ affaires, a.i. of the Apostolic Nunciature in the temporary absence of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
The Byzantine Eparchy of Holy Protection of Mary embraces all Catholics of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.
August 17, 2021
USCCB chairmen respond to evolving crisis in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — A widespread humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan, with the Taliban swiftly seizing control of the capital on August 15. Thousands of people who have worked as interpreters, translators, and in other capacities alongside the United States military over the past twenty years, including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, find themselves and their families in danger. The United States is in the process of evacuating diplomats and other U.S. government employees. However, all commercial flights to and from Kabul’s airport have been suspended for the time being. Yesterday, the President authorized use of up to $500 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for meeting the urgent needs of Afghan refugees and SIV applicants.
In response to these events, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:
“We have known that the withdrawal of American forces and evacuation of vulnerable Afghans, including those who supported our military or worked with NGOs and other organizations, would be a complicated process that had the potential for instability in Afghanistan. The images and videos coming out of the country are difficult to view, as people make life or death decisions in desperation. We are particularly concerned for all those requiring evacuation, as well as Afghan women and girls, who risk losing opportunities gained over the last two decades and now face potential mistreatment.
“For the past few weeks, staff from the USCCB, Catholic Charities, and other partners have been at Fort Lee in Virginia, assisting the U.S. government in the welcoming and resettlement of SIV applicants and their families. We will continue that work as long as necessary until those who are in harm’s way are brought to safety.
“The government’s goal to relocate as many as 30,000 SIV applicants to the United States remains a monumental task that hangs in the balance. We know that time is of the essence to help our brothers and sisters in need, and we call on our government to act with the utmost urgency, considering all available avenues to preserve life. We also join the Holy Father in praying for peace in Afghanistan—‘that the clamor of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue.’"
August 14, 2021
USCCB president offers prayers in wake of Haiti earthquake
WASHINGTON – Following news of the earthquake this morning in Haiti and reports of casualties and heavy damage caused to property and the infrastructure by the intensity of the seismic activity, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement:
August 10, 2021
USCCB chairman grateful to Senate for passing infrastructure bill
WASHINGTON — Following passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of the Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:
“We are grateful for the bipartisan efforts of members of the Senate to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As the bishops wrote to all members of Congress in April, we are especially interested in how the package affects those on the margins of society and protects God’s creation. Aware that our environmental challenges are too big for any one bill, we are pleased that the legislation reflects an integral ecology, with historic investments in public transit, rail, bridges, and clean drinking water, and emphases on climate change mitigation, carbon capture and climate resilience. It is also very good to see expanded broadband internet access and the creation of new jobs.
“There are also some areas, highlighted in our April letter, that we urge Congress to continue working together to address. These include investing in decent housing and rental assistance, continuing the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, making the Child Tax Credit permanently refundable, expanding access to in-home care for family members, ensuring quality and affordable childcare options, paid sick leave, parental leave, and other supports for families, as well as legalization and a path to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status/Deferred Enforced Departure holders, migrant agricultural workers, and other undocumented essential workers. In addition, as Pope Francis recently emphasized, we continue to call for universal access to good and affordable healthcare.
“We continue to be resolute in our insistence that no taxpayer funding go to abortion. It is critical that any proposal to expand health care coverage avoid an expansion of taxpayer funding of abortion. We also note with disappointment that a provision in the current legislation would advance a false understanding of gender and sexuality, and we affirm that Catholic institutions must be free to serve everyone with respect and dignity in accordance with our beliefs.
“As work continues, we ask Congress to give consideration to these views and work together to promote the common good and the dignity of every human person.”
July 30, 2021
Dr. Julie Rubio appointed to National Review Board
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has appointed Dr. Julie H. Rubio to serve on the National Review Board (NRB). The NRB was established as part of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People and advises the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
In his letter of appointment to Dr. Rubio, Archbishop Gomez emphasized the role of the National Review Board as playing “a vital role as a consultative body assisting the bishops in ensuring the complete implementation and accountability of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. As stated in the Charter, ‘The whole Church, especially the laity, at both the diocesan and national levels, needs to be engaged in maintaining safe environments in the Church for children and young people.’”
Dr. Rubio is a professor of Christian Social Ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Divinity School and earned a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of California. She was a professor of Christian Ethics and Women’s and Gender Studies for 19 years at St. Louis University.
In addition to teaching and other speaking engagements, Dr. Rubio has an extensive list of publications she has authored, including several books and articles in professional journals. She has also investigated the ethics of sexual violence and participates in research on clerical sexual abuse.
Information on the National Review Board and its functions may be found at: National Review Board | USCCB.
July 29, 2021
USCCB chairman responds to House vote forcing taxpayers to fund abortions
WASHINGTON — Today, the House voted 219 to 208 in favor of H.R. 4502, a package of appropriations bills that currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions like the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and would have the effect of forcing health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as forcing employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
“The House has voted in a way that is completely out of step with the will of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives since its enactment. Without it, millions of poor women in desperate circumstances will make the irrevocable decision to take the government up on its offer to end the life of their child.
“To be certain, this bill includes provisions that help vulnerable people, including pregnant moms. As we have said before, ‘being “right” in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life.’ In truth, ‘the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the “rightness” of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.’[i]
“The injustice in HR 4502 extends to removing conscience protections and exemptions for healthcare providers who believe abortion is wrong, or whose faith drives them to serve and heal lives, instead of taking them.
“Funding the destruction of innocent unborn human lives, and forcing people to kill in violation of their consciences, are grave abuses of human rights. We call on the Senate to redress this evil in H.R. 4502, and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that fully support and protect human dignity, and the most vulnerable among us.”
July 20, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Reno diocese bishop
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Randolph R. Calvo from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Reno and has appointed Bishop Daniel H. Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, as Bishop of Reno. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Mueggenborg’s biography may be found here.
The Diocese of Reno is comprised of 70,852 square miles in the State of Nevada and has a total population of 734,093 of which 89,838 are Catholic.
July 19, 2021
Migration chairman urges Congress to act after court ruling on DACA
WASHINGTON — On July 16, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be unlawful. DACA allows certain undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children — known as Dreamers — to remain in the country. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and grants work authorization; it does not create a pathway to citizenship. Not all Dreamers are eligible for DACA, nor have all DACA-eligible individuals received protection through the program. Today, there are approximately 650,000 active DACA recipients in the United States and around 3.6 million Dreamers total.
Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response to the court’s ruling:
“While we are disappointed with this ruling, we know that DACA was never meant to be a permanent solution for Dreamers. This ruling is simply the most recent development in a long list of events warranting action by Congress. The Senate currently has multiple bills before it that would grant permanent relief to Dreamers, including the American Dream and Promise Act passed by the House of Representatives in March.
“Dreamers contribute to our economy, serve in our armed forces, and raise American families, but they are prevented from becoming full members of our society. All Dreamers, not just those receiving DACA, deserve the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential in the only country most of them have ever known. This is not only a matter of human dignity but also family unity, considering the 250,000 U.S.-citizen children with Dreamers as parents. Current DACA recipients continue to receive protection, but for how long?
“My brother bishops and I urge the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing legislation that would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for all Dreamers. In doing so, we recall the words of Pope Francis: ‘Immigrants, if they are helped to integrate, are a blessing, a source of enrichment and new gift that encourages a society to grow.’”
July 19, 2021
Statement issued on recent events in Cuba
WASHINGTON – In response to the recent events in Cuba, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:
“As protests continue in Cuba and among the diaspora in the United States, we would like to express our solidarity, as well as that of our brother bishops in the United States, with our brothers in the Cuban episcopate, and with all men and women of goodwill in Cuba.
“As the Cuban bishops declared in their July 12 statement, ‘A favorable solution will not be reached by impositions, nor by calling for confrontation, but through mutual listening, where common agreements are sought and concrete and tangible steps are taken that contribute, with the contribution of all Cubans without exception, to the building-up of the Fatherland.’
“In the same spirit as the Cuban bishops, we urge the United States to seek the peace that comes from reconciliation and concord between our countries. For decades, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in conjunction with the Holy See and the Cuban bishops, has called for robust cultural and commercial engagement between the United States and Cuba as the means to assist the island in achieving greater prosperity and social transformation.
“We pray that Our Lady of Charity, our mother, watches over her children in Cuba, and that, together, our countries can grow in friendship in the interests of justice and peace.”
July 13, 2021
Bishop chairmen respond to extreme abortion push in appropriations bill
WASHINGTON – This week, the House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill, which currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions including the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and force health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
“This is the most extreme pro-abortion appropriations bill that we have seen, effectively mandating healthcare professionals to participate in abortion, and forcing American citizens to pay for abortion with their tax dollars. By eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and other Hyde-like policies, the financial fruits of Americans’ labor would advance the destruction of the smallest, most vulnerable humans. Eliminating the Weldon Amendment would be an egregious violation of conscience rights by forcing individuals and entities to perform, pay for, or otherwise participate in an abortion against their beliefs. Abortion is not healthcare nor a ‘human service’ to anyone. Rather, abortion is inhumane. It is a painful death to an innocent baby, and often leaves women physically harmed and emotionally devastated.
“We implore the House Committee on Appropriations to reverse course on these bills that currently expand taxpayer funding of abortion, and to restore the longstanding, bipartisan Hyde provisions and Weldon Amendment that have saved millions of lives and protected conscience rights. These bills include many other provisions and funding for critically-needed services that we support. Americans’ tax dollars should be used for the common good and welfare of all, not to finance abortion or force Americans to violate deeply-held beliefs.
“Further, we ask all Catholics and all people of good will to contact their legislators and make their voices heard. The lives of millions of vulnerable children, and the well-being of their mothers, depend on our advocacy.”
The Committee on Pro-Life Activities has sponsored a petition to legislators asking them to preserve the Hyde Amendment. All are encouraged to sign it at NoTaxpayerAbortion.com.
July 13, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Roger Foys
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger J. Foys, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Covington and has appointed Father John Iffert, a priest of the Diocese of Belleville as Bishop-elect of Covington. Bishop-elect Iffert currently serves as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Father Iffert was born November 23, 1967. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois (1988). He attended Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, IL, where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1996 and a Master of Divinity in 1997. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Belleville on June 7, 1997.
Bishop-elect Iffert’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville (1997-2000); administrator and pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Columbia (2000-2003). During that time, he served as a member of the diocesan personnel board, Defender of the Bond for the Tribunal, Spiritual Moderator for both the Belleville deanery CYO and the Diocesan Teens Encounter Christ movement. In August 2003, he entered the novitiate of the Order of Preachers, Province of St. Albert the Great, USA (Dominican, Central Province). He professed simple vows as a Dominican in 2004 which he renewed in 2006. From 2007-2008, he served as parochial vicar of St. Thomas Catholic Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Father Iffertleft the Dominicans in 2008 and returned to the Diocese of Belleville.
Father Iffert has served as administrator of St. Mary parish in Mount Vernon (2008-2010); administrator of St. Theresa parish in Salem and at St. Elizabeth in Kinmundy (2009-2010); pastor of St. Mary parish (2010-2020); and pastor of St. Barbara in Scheller (2014-2020). He has served as vicar forane of the North Central Vicarate (2013-2020); diocesan co-vicar for priests (2014-2020); member of the Diocesan Finance Council (2010-present); and as a member of the College of Consultors (2016-present). Since 2020, Father Iffert has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville and since January 2021 he has served as pastor of St. Stephen in Caseyville.
The Diocese of Covington is comprised of 3,359 square miles in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has a total population of 532,567 of which 91,895 are Catholic.
Continued prayers offered for Holy Father’s recovery from surgery
WASHINGTON – As the world awaits to hear updates from the Holy See on the continued recovery of Pope Francis after his surgery last weekend, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement:
July 9, 2021
Statement on assassination of the President of Haiti
WASHINGTON – Upon the news of the brazen assassination of Haiti’s president at his home, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:
“We express our sadness and shock at Wednesday’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti and the wounding of his wife, Martine Moïse.
“This shocking attack further compounds Haiti’s current political unrest and the multitude of challenges they face in the wake of natural disasters, hunger, failing economy, and gang violence that has made it one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. We join in solidarity with the Church in Haiti and all Haitians in this time of crisis, renewing our hope in Christ Jesus for their country. We share the prayers and sentiments of Pope Francis who seeks ‘a future of fraternal harmony, solidarity, and prosperity’ for Haiti in light of this tragic news. We urge the United States Government to continue to explore ways of effectively addressing the deeply rooted issues that prevent the country from emerging from its problems. “
$3.56M awarded from annual collection for Church in Central and Eastern Europe
WASHINGTON — Catholic dioceses that are struggling to recover from decades of communist persecution will receive $3.56 million for ministry and outreach thanks to the generosity of American Catholics to the annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe that is taken up in most dioceses each winter.
Revitalizing parish life in the Czech Republic by helping clergy and lay leaders better respond to spiritual needs in their communities.
Funding for a cathedral and pastoral center in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, which will be a national hub for outreach and evangelization.
Promoting the development of pro-life ministries in five nations:
In Albania, lay leaders are being trained to rebuild a culture of life rooted in a love of family, healthy relationships, and a deeper understanding of sexuality.
In Georgia, the Church will offer direct support to pregnant women and new parents while teaching fertility awareness and the basics of healthy relationships.
In Romania, hospitals, schools, social services, a Catholic university, and other ministries will collaborate to promote respect for life, strong families, and natural family planning.
In Slovakia, a grant supports a pregnancy resource center staffed by a professional psychologist and social workers.
In Slovenia, the Church will offer education and support to different age groups on healthy sexuality, cultivating purity, and overcoming addiction to pornography.
WASHINGTON – On July 1, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was imposing a moratorium on federal executions and reviewing its policies and procedures regarding the use of the death penalty. In response, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
Pope calls for global “marathon” of prayer for end to COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has called for a “marathon” of prayer during the month of May to appeal for divine assistance in bringing about an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marian shrines around the world have been chosen by the Holy See to lead the rosary each day of the month with specific prayer intentions focused on those impacted by the pandemic.
March 30, 2021
Annual liturgical celebration of youth and young adults moved to Christ the King
WASHINGTON — In March 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee voted to align its nationwide liturgical celebration of youth and young adults, which was traditionally celebrated on Palm Sunday, with the new universal date, the feast of Christ the King. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth issued the following statement:
“The Holy Father asked Catholic churches around the world to renew their celebration of youth and young people on Christ the King Sunday, to help connect younger generations with “the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man” (Homily, Nov. 22, 2020).”
“We welcome this opportunity to join Pope Francis in lifting up youth and young adults, in particular those on the margins who feel disconnected from our faith communities. In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis told young people, ‘Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you… he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.’ This celebration will allow our local churches to once again communicate this important pastoral message to the young on a day focused on Jesus as our Lord and King, the one who invites all generations into his loving embrace.”
This year, the Feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday, November 21, 2021.
More information will be posted on the Youth and Young Adult Ministries page of the USCCB website at https://www.usccb.org/topics/youth-and-young-adult-ministries.
March 17, 2021
Web pages launched for celebration of “Year of Amoris Laetitia Family"
WASHINGTON — Marking the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has asked the Church to celebrate the family and reflect upon how ministry supports married couples and the family in every level of Church life. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth is coordinating the anniversary celebration in the U.S.
The “Year of Amoris Laetitia Family” is meant to be an opportunity for reflection and appreciation of the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation. In launching this initiative, the Vatican is upholding the important role that families play, which has been highlighted during the COVID pandemic. The spiritual, pastoral, and cultural content and resources for the initiative are meant to reach families around the world and are meant to be implemented at the local level in parishes and dioceses, as well as in universities, by ecclesial movements, and family associations.
The USCCB has launched new pages on its website to celebrate the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family, which will run from March 19, 2021 to June 26, 2022. The year-long celebration will conclude at the Tenth World Meeting of Families in Rome in June 2022.
The USCCB’s new Amoris Laetitia webpages feature:
- Links to the Vatican website about the initiative with videos of Pope Francis teaching about the family and frequently asked questions about the apostolic exhortation
- Catechesis on the Sacrament of Marriage, the Family as Domestic Church, Theology of the Body, and Natural Family Planning
- Sharing the joy of marital and familial love with youth and young adults
- Resources for families in many situations of need
- Monthly reflections by the staff of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth on each of Pope Francis’s “Twelve Ways to Walk with Families”
- Resources for pilgrims who plan to attend the World Meeting of Families in Rome
- Resources for dioceses preparing simultaneous events to celebrate the World Meeting of Families locally.
More information for the initiative may be found at: https://www.usccb.org/topics/marriage-and-family-life-ministries/year-amoris-laetitia-family.