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U. S. BISHOPS TO VOTE FOR CONFERENCE SECRETARY, CHAIRMAN AND CHAIRMEN-ELECT OF FIVE COMMITTEES AT FALL GENERAL ASSEMBLY

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the conference secretary, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees at the upcoming annual 2016 General Assembly taking place November 13-14 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The five committee chairmen will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops' 2018 Fall General Assembly.  

Nominees for the Conference Secretary, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty and Chairman-elect of each committee are as follows:

Conference Secretary
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Archdiocese of Detroit
 

Committee on Communications 


Bishop John O. Barres, Diocese of Rockville Centre
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington
 
Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church
Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, Diocese of Cleveland
 
Committee on Doctrine
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, Diocese of Toledo
 
Committee on National Collections
Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, Diocese of Saginaw
Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, Archdiocese of Dubuque
 
Committee on Pro-Life Activities
 Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas
 
Committee on Religious Liberty - Chairman
 Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Archdiocese of Milwaukee


October 18, 2017
POPE NAMES AUXILIARY BISHOP JOSEPH SIEGEL BISHOP OF EVANSVILLE
 
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, up until now Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, as the new bishop of Evansville, Indiana.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on October 18 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
Bishop Siegel was named Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, Illinois, by Pope Benedict XVI on October 28, 2009 and was ordained a bishop on January 19, 2010 by Bishop Peter Sartain.

He was born in Lockport Township on July 18, 1963 and is the youngest of nine children. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana, where he completed his college education.  He was then sent to the North American College in Rome (1984-1988), attending the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities.

Bishop Siegel was ordained a priest for the Joliet Diocese in 1988 and then completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois.
Assignments after ordination include: associate pastor, St. Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale, Illinois, 1988-1994; associate pastor, St. Mary Immaculate Parish, Plainfield, Illinois, 1994-1998; parochial vicar, St. Mary Nativity Church, Joliet, Illinois, 1998-2000; parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Raymond, Joliet, Illinois, 2000-2004; pastor, Visitation Parish, Elmhurst, Illinois, 2004-2009. In July 2011, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon appointed Bishop Siegel as his Vicar General.

Bishop Siegel has served as a member and chairman of the Presbyteral Council and was appointed to the Diocesan Board of Consultors. He also served as director of Continuing Formation for Priests, a member of the Diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and Dean of Eastern Will County.
 
At the Catholic Conference of Illinois, he served on the Executive Committee and was chairman of the Catholics for Life Department. He chaired the Steering Committee for the Joliet Diocesan Year of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Congress and has been a member of the Bishops’ Respect Life Advisory Board. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, comprises 5,010 square miles. It has a total population of 512,870 people of which 76,218, or 15 percent, are Catholic.

October 17, 2017
USCCB MIGRATION AND REFUGEE SERVICES REPORT RECOMMENDS EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS) FOR EL SALVADOR AND HONDURAS
 
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), released its report today, entitled Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle recommending the U.S. government extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador and Honduras.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a letter of introduction of the report states: “As this report indicates, there is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time.”
 
A delegation from MRS/USCCB traveled to Honduras and El Salvador, from August 13 to 19, 2017, to examine conditions in both countries regarding Honduras and El Salvador’s ability to adequately receive and integrate the possible return of existing TPS recipients. USCCB/MRS Committee Member, Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of Los Angeles, California, led the delegation and was accompanied by MRS staff from Children’s Services, Policy and Public Affairs, and the National Collections offices. 
 
Currently, El Salvador and Honduras have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from the U.S. government for certain nationals living in the United States, and the review of TPS is shortly to be re-evaluated by the U.S. government. It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 current TPS recipients from El Salvador and 57,000 TPS recipients from Honduras living in the United States. TPS recipients living in the United States are parents to over 270,000 U.S. citizen children and are very integrated into American daily life.
 
Bishop Vásquez states in his introductory letter: “As you read this report, I urge you to keep the people of El Salvador and Honduras, including TPS recipients, in your thoughts and prayers. I encourage you to engage the Administration in requesting a TPS extension for El Salvador and Honduras . . . and to reach out to your elected Congressional leaders to request they support a legislative solution for TPS recipients who have been in the United States for many years.”


Resources and information about Temporary Protected Status and the report are available on the Justice for Immigrants website. The information includes a backgrounder on the temporary protected status and a toolkit for Catholic leaders that offers ideas on how to show their support and solidarity with TPS recipients.

The full text of the report can be found here.


October 16, 2017
POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF AUXILIARY BISHOP OF NEWARK

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop John W. Flesey from the office of auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Newark. 

The announcement was publicized in Washington on October 16 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Flesey has served in the Archdiocese since 1969.

As required by Canon Law, Bishop Flesey submitted to Pope Francis his letter offering his retirement having reached 75 years of age.

The Most Reverend John Walter Flesey, STD was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1942.  He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary until 1969, when he was ordained.
Bishop Flesey’s first assignment was to St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Plainfield, after which he earned an STL degree in Spiritual Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

He also holds an MS degree in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College and an STB from Catholic University of America.

He has served the Archdiocese as a member of the faculty, Rector and Dean, and Spiritual Director of Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, as well as Director of Ongoing Formation for the Priests of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Bishop Flesey was named Titular Bishop of Allegheny and Auxiliary Bishop of Newark in May 2004.  He currently serves as Regional Bishop of Bergen County and Pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Franklin Lakes.

October 14, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CHAIRMAN EXPRESSES CONCERN, CALLS FOR CAREFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF HEALTH CARE EXECUTIVE ORDER
 
WASHINGTON — On October 13, President Trump signed an Executive Order on health care, and news about the Administration ending subsidies to insurers to help lower-income individuals was confirmed by Administration officials around the same time.  In light of these developments, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for the Administration and Congress to protect low income people, as well as enact comprehensive reform for the sake of the most vulnerable.

Bishop Dewane’s full statement follows:

“President Trump signed an executive order yesterday intended to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines, and expanding certain insurance options and arrangements.  The USCCB will closely monitor the implementation and impacts of this executive order by the relevant administrative agencies.

In general, robust options for people to obtain health coverage, as well as flexibility and approaches aimed at increased affordability, are important strategies in health care. However, in implementing this executive order, great care must be taken to avoid risk of additional harm to those who now receive health care coverage through exchanges formed under the Affordable Care Act.
 
Administration officials also confirmed that subsidies to insurers designed to help low income individuals afford insurance would be ending. This is of grave concern. The Affordable Care Act is, by no means, perfect, but as leaders attempt to address impending challenges to insurance market stability and affordability, they must not use people’s health care as leverage or as a bargaining chip.  To do so would be to strike at the heart of human dignity and the fundamental right to health care. The poor and vulnerable will bear the brunt of such an approach.

Ultimately, this Executive Order ignores many more significant problems in the nation’s health care system.  Congress must still act on comprehensive reform in order to provide a sustainable framework for health care, providing lasting solutions for the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability, and underlying affordability problems that remain unaddressed.”

October 12, 2017
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RELIGIOUS LIBERTY GUIDANCE PROTECTS FREEDOM OF FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS

WASHINGTON – On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum for all executive departments and agencies on the subject of “Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty”.  Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has offered the following statement in response:

“The Attorney General’s guidance helpfully reaffirms that the law protects the freedom of faith-based organizations to conduct their operations in accordance with their religious mission.  The guidance also reaffirms that the federal government should never exclude religious organizations from competing on an equal footing for government grants or contracts, and religious entities should never be forced to change their religious character in order to participate in such programs.  We appreciate the Attorney General’s clarification of these matters, which will protect faith-based organizations’ freedom to serve all those in need, including the homeless, immigrants, refugees, and students attending religious schools.”

October 12, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR PRAYER FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

WASHINGTON — Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, asked for prayers for favorable weather and assistance for those impacted by devastating fires raging through Northern California.

Bishop Dewane’s full statement follows:


“Do not fear: I am with you;
do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10
 
Today we ask for the intercession of Almighty God as wildfires rage in Northern California. Already, these blazes have killed over 20 people, destroyed hundreds of houses and other buildings, and forced thousands of individuals to leave their homes and livelihoods behind in uncertainty. High winds and dry conditions have greatly increased the danger for the people in this region.
 
As brave men and women respond to these disasters, battling the fires and helping people to safety, we call upon God for improved weather, for the blessing of rain and favorable winds, to assist them.  We pray that those who are missing or are still in harm’s way will be found and protected. May God grant eternal rest to those who have died, and bring them into glory with him forever.
 
We pray, too, for generosity, care, and concern from neighbors and surrounding communities for those who are grieving and displaced. Though we may be weary from all that has taken place around the country in recent days, we know that God cannot be outdone in generosity and charity.  May he provide us with new wellsprings of love to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters who are hurting so deeply today.

October 12, 2017
POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS NEW AUXILIARY BISHOP OF MIAMI

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Father Enrique Delgado as a new auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Miami, Florida. Father Delgado is a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami and currently serves as pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Church in Weston, Florida.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on October 12 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Delgado was born December 26, 1955 in Lima, Peru. He earned a master’s degree in economics with a concentration in finance and accounting from the University of Lima in Peru. He worked for several years managing a company before immigrating to the United States. He entered seminary in the Archdiocese of Miami in 1991.

He completed his studies in philosophy at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and finished a master’s degree in theology in 1995 and a master of divinity in 1996 from St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami on June 29, 1996, in a Holy Mass in Peru officiated by Monsignor Agustin Roman.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Agnes Church, Key Biscayne, Florida, 1996-1999; parochial vicar, Nativity Catholic Church, Hollywood, Florida, 1999-2003; pastor, St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church, Key Largo, Florida, 2003-2010; pastor, St. Katharine Drexel Church, Weston, Florida, 2014-present. 
 
Father Delgado finished his doctoral studies in practical theology on December 19, 2015 from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Archdiocese of Miami, Florida, comprises 4,958 square miles. It has a total population of 4,317,591 people of which 496,528, or 12 percent, are Catholic.

October 11, 2017
NATIONAL VOCATIONS AWARENESS WEEK SET FOR NOVEMBER 5-11

The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week, November 5-11, 2017. This annual event is a special time for parishes in the United States to actively foster and pray for a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Chair of the US Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, reminds us that each of us in the Church has a key role to play in the witness of our vocation in ordinary circumstances, “As we go about our everyday life and most especially this week, we must keep vocations in our prayers, while, at the same time, being a mindful witness with our own vocation. We may never know how our lives may have an impact on someone else’s story.  Simply living out our call as disciples of Jesus Christ fully and joyfully in the world bears witness to the love of Christ as He generously bestows on each of us our own personal call.”

National Vocations Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first full week in November, prayer and special activities that focus on vocation awareness.  

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. It was later moved to Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort. 

October 10, 2017
U.S. BISHOP CHAIRMAN STATEMENT ON IMMIGRATION PRINCIPLES AND NEED FOR CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO PROTECT DREAMERS

WASHINGTON — On Sunday evening, the White House released Immigration Principles and Policies that are a proposed list of priorities to be considered when working on legislative protection for Dreamers. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement urging Congress to “ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all.”

Full statement follows:

“The Administration’s Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church.

“Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.

“For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship.”

October 10, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS TO MEET NOVEMBER 13-14 IN BALTIMORE

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will meet in Baltimore, November 13-14, for their fall general assembly. During the assembly, the bishops will elect a new secretary for the Conference as well as five committee chairs. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, will also give his first address to the body of bishops as President of the USCCB as he completes the first year of his three-year term. In addition, the body of bishops will also hear an update from the bishops working group on immigration.

The bishops will vote for new chairmen-elect of the following six USCCB committees: Committee on Communications, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Committee on National Collections, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee on Doctrine, and a Chairman for the Committee for Religious Liberty.  Bishop nominees for the board of directors for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will also elected.

The assembly will vote on the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Order of Baptism of Children text which reflects the translation principles introduced in Liturgian authenticam. They will also discuss and vote on the Conference's 2018 budget. 



There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization for a Lakota holy man and medicine man turned Catholic teacher named Nicholas Black Elk, Sr., sought by Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City.  



Several reports will also be given including a report from the National Advisory Council, as well as a report from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and from Bishop Frank Dewane, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop George Murry, Chairman of the newly established Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, will also give an update report. The bishops will also hear updates on the Share the Journey campaign launched by Pope Francis on September 27 and reports from Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services as well as Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D., President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). 



An update will also be given on the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in America that took place July 1-4, 2017 in Orlando, Florida, as well as reports on preparations for the upcoming V National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry and the 2018 Synod for Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The Most Reverend José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, OSA, Archbishop of Panama will also present on preparations for the 2019 World Youth Day. 

On Sunday evening, a Mass will also be held in downtown, Baltimore. The Mass will mark the Centennial Anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

The Conference will take place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel.

October 10, 2017
USCCB DOMESTIC JUSTICE CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR RENEWED CARBON EMISSIONS SOLUTIONS

WASHINGTON — After Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA will formally seek to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed disappointment about the decision and called on leaders to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”


The full statement follows:

“The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship, and has for several years called on our nation to help curb carbon emissions through a national carbon standard.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt announced that the EPA will now take steps to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030.

The CPP may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, but, unfortunately, the Administration does not propose an adequate alternative as it seeks to dismantle the CPP.  Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction.

Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, making this decision even more difficult. Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', calls us to action in caring for our common home.  A national carbon standard is a critical step for the U.S. at this time. Facing this shift from the Trump Administration, our leaders should heed the Holy Father’s moral call and seek new legislative solutions that will help the nation and world ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ once more.”

October 6, 2017
HHS MANDATE DECISION REPRESENTS RETURN TO COMMON SENSE
 
WASHINGTON – Today’s decision to expand the HHS mandate exemption is a “return to common sense, long-standing federal practice, and peaceful coexistence between church and state,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, are hailing the Trump Administration’s announcement to provide a broad religious and moral exemption from the mandate requiring health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions.
 
Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Lori offered the following joint statement in response:
 
“The Administration’s decision to provide a broad religious and moral exemption to the HHS mandate recognizes that the full range of faith-based and mission-driven organizations, as well as the people who run them, have deeply held religious and moral beliefs that the law must respect.  Such an exemption is no innovation, but instead a return to common sense, long-standing federal practice, and peaceful coexistence between church and state.  It corrects an anomalous failure by federal regulators that should never have occurred and should never be repeated.
 
“These regulations are good news for the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are challenging the HHS mandate in court.  We urge the government to take the next logical step and promptly resolve the litigation that the Supreme Court has urged the parties to settle.
 
“The regulations are also good news for all Americans.  A government mandate that coerces people to make an impossible choice between obeying their consciences and obeying the call to serve the poor is harmful not only to Catholics but to the common good.  Religious freedom is a fundamental right for all, so when it is threatened for some, it is threatened for all. We welcome the news that this particular threat to religious freedom has been lifted, and with the encouragement of Pope Francis, we will remain ‘vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.’”

October 6, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CHAIRMAN CALLS ON U.S. GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS BURMA REFUGEE CRISIS FOR RELIGIOUS MINORITY

WASHINGTON — Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, submitted written testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for a hearing on October 5, 2017, entitled “The Rohingya Crisis: U.S. Response to the Tragedy in Burma.” The hearing addressed the U.S. government response to the plight of a Muslim religious minority from Rakhine State, Burma, known as the Rohingya.

In part of his testimony, Bishop Vásquez states, “We turn now to the grim situation of those forced to flee from Rakhine State, Burma. Forced out by what the Burmese military reportedly has referred to as a ‘clearance campaign,’ an estimated 501,000 people have fled from Rakhine State, Burma, to Bangladesh since August 25, 2017. Most are women and children, and the most vulnerable are newborns, pregnant women, and the elderly. Many have only makeshift shelters at best, are struggling to find the mere basics of life, and are trying to avoid debilitating and life-threatening waterborne and airborne diseases. They are all in our thoughts and prayers as the Catholic Church joins with others to mobilize in response to the horrific situation.”

The most recent violence is part of an historical pattern of persecution against the Muslim minority in Rakhine State, and also continues against other religious and ethnic minorities, such as a Christian ethnic minority group in Kachin State, Burma. While such persecution has lessened in recent years with democratic elections, the Burmese military still maintains substantial political power and economic control. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, human rights icon and the major democratic leader in Burma, has not been very vocal about the plight of those fleeing Rakhine State, but she has played a major role in changing the day-to-day life for her people and continues to lead a major peacebuilding effort with ethnic groups in Burma known as the Panglong Process to build a viable democratic federal system.

“As we shed light on the human rights tragedies in Burma, we urge continued U.S. support to resolve these critical situations and to support the democratically elected government in addressing these situations while also supporting their broader efforts to build a new, democratic, inclusive Burma,” notes Bishop Vásquez.
 
Bishop Vásquez’s full testimony can be found at: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/statements/written-testimony-reverend-joe-s-vasquez-bishop-austin-texas-chair-u-s-conference-catholic-bishops-committee-migration-rohingya-crisis-u-s-response/.

October 6, 2017
POPE FRANCIS NAMES NEW AUXILIARY BISHOP OF ORANGE

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Thanh Thai Nguyen as a new auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California. Father Nguyen is a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine where he currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on October 6 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States.

Father Nguyen was born April 7, 1953 in Nha Trang, Vietnam.  In 1979, he escaped Vietnam by boat with his family and spent 10 months in a refugee camp in the Philippines before arriving in the United States in 1980.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts and a master of divinity degree from Weston School of Theology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Father Nguyen entered the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in 1984 and served as a priest of that congregation for eight years.  He was ordained a priest on May 11, 1991.  He was incardinated in the Diocese of St. Augustine, June 29,1999.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Smyrna, Georgia, 1991-1994; parochial vicar, St. Ann Parish, Marietta, Georgia, 1994-1996; parochial vicar, Christ the King Parish, Jacksonville, Florida, 1996-2001; pastor, Christ the King Parish, Jacksonville, 2001-2014; pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Jacksonville, 2014-present.
    
The Diocese of Orange, California comprises 782 square miles. It has a total population of  3,145,515 people of which 1,346,540, or 42 percent, are Catholic.

October 3, 2017
POPE ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF BISHOP GERALD F. KICANAS OF TUCSON; NAMES BISHOP EDWARD J. WEISENBURGER AS SUCCESSOR

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona.  Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger, up until now Bishop of Salina, Kansas, has been named as the new bishop for the diocese.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on October 3 by Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States.

Bishop Weisenburger was born in Alton, Illinois on December 23, 1960.  He pursued seminary studies at the American College Seminary at the Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium where he earned a bachelor of Sacred Theology degree along with both a masters in Religious Studies in 1986 and Moral and Religious Science in 1987.
  
Bishop Weisenburger was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on December 19, 1987.  He later earned his pontifical J.C.L. degree from the University of St. Paul in Ottawa, Canada (1992).  Upon returning to the archdiocese, he was appointed vice-chancellor and adjutant judicial vicar.
  
In addition to chancery duties, he worked in parish and prison ministries from 1992-1995 and served as the on-site chaplain for rescue workers following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.  In 1996, he was appointed Vicar General of the archdiocese of Oklahoma City.  He remained with the Oklahoma City Tribunal for almost 20 years and served in various capacities including Promoter of Justice for the cause of canonization of Stanley Francis Rother, Servant of God.  He served as pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Okarche, Oklahoma (1995-2002) and as pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (2002-2012).  On February 6, 2012, he was appointed Bishop of Salina by Pope Benedict XVI and was ordained on May 1, 2012.
 
Bishop Kicanas was born August 18, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois.  He was ordained a priest on April 27, 1967 and served in various capacities in the seminary system of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 25 years.  In 1984, he was appointed Rector of Mundelein Seminary and held seminary postings that included rector, principal, and dean of formation at the former Quigley Seminary South.
  
Bishop Kicanas is the former Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and former Secretary of the USCCB.   He currently serves on the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education, Committee on Communications, the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs (consultant), and he is a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc, (CLINIC).
He is also the former Chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services and has chaired and served on numerous USCCB committees.

Bishop Kicanas was named coadjutor bishop of Tucson on October 30, 2001, and was installed on January 15, 2002.  He became the seventh Bishop of Tucson on March 7, 2003.

The diocese of Tucson comprises 42,707 square miles of the southern part of Arizona.  It has a population of 1,904,477 people of whom 390,418 or 20 percent are Catholic.

October 2, 2017
BISHOPS CONFERENCE PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PRAYERS, CARE FOR OTHERS AFTER TRAGIC SHOOTING IN LAS VEGAS
 
WASHINGTON — On October 2, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), expressed “deep grief” after a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The full text of the statement follows:

“We woke this morning and learned of yet another night filled with unspeakable terror, this time in the city of Las Vegas, and by all accounts, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  My heart and my prayers, and those of my brother bishops and all the members of the Church, go out to the victims of this tragedy and to the city of Las Vegas.  At this time, we need to pray and to take care of those who are suffering.  In the end, the only response is to do good – for no matter what the darkness, it will never overcome the light.  May the Lord of all gentleness surround all those who are suffering from this evil, and for those who have been killed we pray, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”

September 29, 2017
USCCB PRO LIFE CHAIRMAN URGES PASSAGE OF PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36). It is expected to come to the House floor the first week of October. The bill, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), proposes a ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.

In a September 29 letter to the House, Cardinal Dolan wrote, “All decent and humane people are repulsed by the callous and barbarous treatment of women and children in clinics…that abort children after 20 weeks.”
“Planned Parenthood’s callous and disturbing practices of harvesting fetal body parts from late-term abortions, partial-birth abortions, and the deplorable actions of late-term abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell…, have shocked our nation and led many Americans to realize that our permissive laws and attitudes have allowed the abortion industry to undertake these procedures,” Cardinal Dolan said, calling the 20-week ban a “common-sense reform.”

The Cardinal offered reasons why “the proposed ban on abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization is a place to begin uniting Americans who see themselves as ‘pro-life’ and as ‘pro-choice’.” The first centers on the expanding range of fetal ‘viability’. “The Supreme Court’s past insistence that unborn children must be ‘viable’ to deserve even nominal protection is not meaningful or workable…[M]edical technology is moving the point of viability earlier in the pregnancy putting Roe on a collision course with itself.” Second, there are life-threatening dangers to women undergoing abortions beyond 20 weeks. Finally, addressing the proposal to perform late-term abortions in “mainstream” clinics, he notes that those clinics generally refuse to perform the risky procedures. “What does it say about us as a nation, if we will not act against abortions that even full-time abortionists find abhorrent?” Cardinal Dolan asked.

Cardinal Dolan reaffirmed the right to life of humans at every stage of development, and clarified that the Church remains committed to advocating for the full legal protection of all unborn children: “[E]very child, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law…. [T]he real problems that lead women to consider abortion should be addressed with solutions that support both mother and child.”

For the full text of Cardinal Dolan’s letter to the House of Representatives, visit: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/upload/CdlDolan-HR36-House-Ltr-09-29-2017.pdf

September 29, 2017
USCCB MIGRATION CHAIRMAN “GRAVELY CONCERNED” ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION FOR REFUGEE ADMISSIONS

WASHINGTON — On September 27, 2017, the Administration, in a consultation with Congress, proposed to only admit up to 45,000 refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2018. This Presidential Determination (PD) for Refugee Admissions is the lowest since the founding of the program in 1980 and marks the second consecutive year that the new Administration has reduced the PD. Currently there are 65 million displaced people and 22 million refugees worldwide. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
 
“We are disturbed and deeply disappointed by the proposed Presidential Determination number of 45,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. While the Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities, and Catholic communities across the country join in welcoming all of those refugees to American communities with joy and open arms, we are gravely concerned for the tens of thousands of extremely vulnerable refugees left behind by this decision.
 
“As I have stated before, this decision has very severe human consequences—people with faces, names, children and families are suffering and cannot safely or humanely remain where they are until the war and persecution in their countries of origin gets resolved. These people include at-risk women and children; frightened youth; the elderly; those whose lives are threatened because of their religion, ethnicity or race; and refugees seeking family reunification with loved ones in the United States.
 
“Each refugee that comes to the United States is admitted through an extensive vetting system.  Many of these refugees already have family in the United States, and most begin working immediately to rebuild their lives; in turn contributing to the strength and richness of our society.  God has blessed our country with bounty and precious liberty, and so we have great capacity to welcome those in such desperate need, while ensuring our nation's security.
 
“The same day of the consultation, Pope Francis exhorted us to ‘reach out, open your arms to migrants and refugees, share the journey.’ We urge the Administration to move past this period of intensified scrutiny and skepticism of the U.S. refugee program, which serves as an international model. This is a moment of opportunity to restore America’s historic leadership as a refuge for those fleeing persecution.  We urge the Administration to welcome and resettle every one of the refugees eventually authorized for FY2018. Looking ahead, we strongly urge the Administration next year to return to the level of resettling at least 75,000 refugees annually to the United States.  We can and must do better.”

September 28, 2017
USCCB CHAIRMEN URGE CONGRESS TO SUPPORT THE FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE NONPROFIT FAIRNESS ACT OF 2017
 
WASHINGTON — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, urged Members of Congress to support passage of the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R. 2405 / S. 1823).  An almost identical bill passed the House in 2013 with overwhelming bipartisan support.
 
In September 27 letters to the House and Senate, in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Rozanski asked Representatives and Senators to support the legislation, which would ensure the fair and equal treatment for houses of worship damaged in natural disasters by enabling them to seek aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 
 
The letters noted that the “legislation is consistent with Supreme Court jurisprudence, which recognizes the right of religious institutions to receive public financial aid in the context of a broad program administered on the basis of religion-neutral criteria.” The letters note the 2017 Trinity Lutheran Church case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which provides a firm legal foundation for such assistance.
 
Archbishop Lori and Bishop Rozanski explained that “houses of worship often play an irreplaceable role in the recovery of a community" after a natural disaster.  
 
“Discrimination that treats houses of worship as ineligible for federal assistance in the wake of a natural disaster, beyond being a legal violation, hurts the very communities most affected by the indiscriminate force of nature,” said Archbishop Lori and Bishop Rozanski.
 
Links to each of the letters can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-of-Support-to-House-for-Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-of-2017.pdf
www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-of-Support-to-Senate-for-Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-of-2017.pdf
 
A backgrounder is available at:  http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-2017-Fact-Sheet.pdf

September 22, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS WELCOME BIPARTISAN BILL THAT SEEKS CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

WASHINGTON — Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Bishop Oscar Cantú voiced their support for the Climate Solutions Commission Act of 2017, a bill that would establish a bipartisan National Climate Solutions Commission.
“This bill has the potential to inspire positive and concrete solutions towards protecting our common home,” said Bishops Dewane and Cantú. They urged legislators to support H.R. 2326, a bill introduced by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) who is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Bishop Dewane is the Bishop of Venice, Florida and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Bishop Cantú is the Bishop of Las Cruces, and chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the USCCB.

The chairmen, in a joint letter of support to each of the sponsors, noted that this would be “an important bipartisan step for protecting the environment and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.” There is a need, said the bishops, for “courageous actions and strategies aimed at promoting an integral ecology that considers together the protection of nature, the need for equitable economic development and the promotion of human dignity, especially that of the poor.”

The full letter can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/letter-to-congress-on-climate-solutions-commission-act-2017-09-15.cfm.

September 22, 2017
PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS CONFERENCE STATEMENT ON HURRICANE MARIA

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the impact of Hurricane Maria. The storm has devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica.  Now downgraded to Category-3 winds, the storm is expected to bring more heavy rain and flash floods as it makes landfall later today in the Turks and Caicos.

Full statement follows:
 
“Just as we begin to assess the material and emotional damage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the devastation of yet another storm, Hurricane Maria, has struck the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica, and has battered Puerto Rico with catastrophic effects unprecedented in the island’s modern history. I exhort the faithful to solidarity in this time of great need for our brothers and sisters in harm’s way—many of whom have been hit repeatedly by the successive hurricanes.
 
“Casting aside any temptation to despair, and full of hope in the loving Providence of God, we pray that our Father may receive unto his loving presence those who have lost their lives, may he comfort the grieving, and may he fortify the courage and resilience of those whose lives have been uprooted by these disasters. May he extend the might of his right hand and bid the sea be ‘quiet’ and ‘still’ (Mark 4:39).”

September 22, 2017
RECOGNIZE HARM TO POOR AND AMEND “GRAHAM-CASSIDY” BILL SAY U.S. BISHOP CHAIRMEN
 
WASHINGTON — On September 21, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin called on the U.S. Senate to “think of the harm that will be caused to poor and vulnerable people” by provisions contained in the “Graham-Cassidy” health care legislation.  They urged Senators to “amend the legislation while retaining its positive features.”

“The Graham-Cassidy bill includes a Medicaid ‘per capita cap’ that was part of previous bills which have been rejected,” said the Bishops. “The Medicaid caps will fundamentally restructure this vital program which supports the medical needs of those most in need. Over time, these modifications will result in deep funding cuts and lost coverage for millions of people,” the chairmen cautioned.  “Our nation must not attempt to address its fiscal concerns by placing an insufferable health care burden on the backs of the poor.”

The Bishop-chairmen called on the Senate to keep protections found in Graham-Cassidy that ensure that no federal funds are used for abortion or go to plans that cover it. “This improvement is praiseworthy, and it is essential that any improved final bill retain these key provisions which would finally address grave moral problems in our current health care system,” they said.  “We also applaud that Graham-Cassidy redirects funds from organizations that provide abortion.”

Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Dewane heads the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Vásquez is the USCCB chairman of the Committee on Migration.

The Bishops urged the Senate to work together to address looming health care problems for the good of all. “Decisions about the health of our citizens—a concern fundamental to each of us—should not be made in haste simply because an artificial deadline looms. The far-reaching implications of Congress’ actions are too significant for that kind of governance,” they said.  “Instead, the common good should call you to come together in a bi-partisan way to pass thoughtful legislation that addresses the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability and affordability problems that now exist.”

The full letter can be found at:  http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Senate-Cassidy-Graham-Letter-multiple-chairman-2017-09-21.pdf

September 20, 2017
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS CONFERENCE - MEXICO EARTHQUAKE

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement to the people of Mexico following yesterday’s powerful earthquake that struck southeast of Mexico City. The death toll has now surpassed 200. As the desperate search for survivors continues, Cardinal DiNardo calls for prayers for those suffering from the catastrophic earthquake.

Full statement follows:
 
“Once again, our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Mexico, who yesterday suffered yet another catastrophic earthquake, on the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that claimed the lives of thousands of people. The states principally affected were Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico State, and the capital, Mexico City.
 
“Today Pope Francis at his General Audience expressed his solidarity with the Mexican people, and implored ‘Almighty God to welcome all those who lost their lives.’ The Mexican bishops expressed their condolences to all those affected, and highlighted the generous fraternal affection the nation is witnessing in the response and rescue efforts: ‘Once again, we are witnessing the solidarity of the Mexican people, who sees a brother and sister in those who are suffering.’

“We join them in prayer and solidarity, and together invoke the maternal protection of our Lady of Guadalupe, Comforter of the Afflicted and Mother Most Merciful.”


September 14, 2017
EMERGENCY COLLECTION FOR THOSE IMPACTED BY HURRICANE IRMA CALLED FOR WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23-24
 
WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited his brother bishops to take up an emergency collection the weekend of September 23-24 on behalf of those devastated in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States by Hurricane Irma.

In the letter sent to bishops today, Cardinal DiNardo says the emergency collection is greatly needed to help victims of Hurricane Irma rebuild their lives and also help support reconstruction needs of churches destroyed or severely damaged in the U.S. and Caribbean.  
 
Cardinal DiNardo’s letter to the bishops follows:   
 
“In the past few days Hurricane Irma devastated significant parts of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. While emergency outreach was immediate, we know that the road to recovery and the rebuilding of communities will be long and additional support will be needed.
 
“I write to you today and ask that you take up an emergency collection for those impacted by Hurricane Irma. These funds will be used in the affected areas to support humanitarian aid, assistance with long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction, and for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in US and the Caribbean. 
 
“I am aware that this call comes on the heels of the emergency collection for Hurricane Harvey. That storm, which hit Texas and Louisiana and held on for days before moving inland, caused catastrophic damage and compelled us to respond. Likewise, Hurricane Irma has been devastating and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, especially the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and the southern US need our help.
 
“The Church is a channel for grace and solidarity in the wake of natural disasters as it offers solace and support in their aftermath. However, as is so often the case, the Church itself in these regions is both a long-standing provider of aid and now is in need of tremendous assistance itself. So many of the Church’s structures have been damaged and their resources depleted which makes it even more challenging to provide assistance and pastoral outreach to those in need.”

September 12, 2017
BISHOPS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON ADMINISTRATION’S DACA DECISION; CALLS ON CATHOLIC FAITHFUL TO URGE CONGRESS TO PASS DREAM ACT
 
WASHINGTON — The Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend DACA renewal deadlines in hurricane impacted states. The statement also urges Congress to find a durable and permanent solution on behalf of DACA youth and urges the Administration to allow 75,000 refugee admissions into the United States in 2018. The full statement from the USCCB Executive Committee follows:

“The Executive Committee of the USCCB, meeting this week, makes its own the Statement of the USCCB President and others on September 5th, which expressed extreme disappointment with the administration’s decision to end DACA with a six month wind-down period, and committed the USCCB to redouble its efforts to help find a permanent legislative solution in Congress.
 
“In light of many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, to address the situation, the Committee urges the Catholic faithful and all people of good will to contact their representatives in Congress to urge the passage of the DREAM Act or similar legislation as a prompt, humane, and durable solution to this problem of greatest urgency. The Executive Committee also notes the tremendous contributions of the DACA youth to date as extraordinary, including the fact that many serve in our military.
 
“In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the devastation left behind, the Executive Committee requests that the Department of Homeland Security extend the October 5, 2018 deadline for the DACA renewals that fall within the October 5- March 5, 2018 renewal period for those living in hurricane-affected zones. As Texas and Florida have some of the largest populations of DACA youth, we ask that you ensure that these individuals receive fair access to renew and are not unduly punished due to natural disaster. We fear that they cannot adequately do so at this time given the physical damage on the ground.
 
“The Committee is further troubled and deeply concerned, as the President nears a final decision to reduce the number of refugees welcomed in the United States by 50%, that the administration will unduly restrict our reception of those in search of safety for their families.  The USCCB proposes that 75,000 refugees, already a reduction of over 25% from the previous determination, be the goal for welcoming refugee admissions for 2018. Going further down to 50,000 or below, as proposed in previous Executive Orders by the President, is simply inhumane, particularly when our great nation has the resources and ability to do more. 
 
“We implore the administration to show mercy and compassion for those seeking refuge, and to advance the American value of freedom through providing safe harbor to those fleeing tyranny and religious persecution. 
 
“In this moment of moral decision, we look to Pope Francis, who in his address to Congress stated: ‘We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Mt 7:12). To this end, we believe that deporting exemplary young people who were brought here as children and who know only the United States as their home – or failing to do all we can to help refugees and their families, who are often driven to exile by war and extreme exploitation – is not in our interests as a moral and generous people. Our country has the right and responsibility to regulate its border. We ask that it be done humanely.”

September 12, 2017
A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE NEW AD HOC COMMITTEE AGAINST RACISM FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE USCCB

WASHINGTON — The following is a statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Committee in support of the new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. The committee focuses on addressing the sin of racism in our society and the urgent need to come together to find solutions. Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been named chairman of the committee by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the USCCB. The committee was formed upon the unanimous recommendation of the U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans.

Full statement follows: 

“Racism has rightly been called America’s original sin. It remains a blot on our national life and continues to cause acts and attitudes of hatred, as recent events have made evident. The need to condemn, and combat, the demonic ideologies of white supremacy, neo-Nazism and racism has become especially urgent at this time. Our efforts must be constantly led and accompanied by prayer - but they must also include concrete action.

“The Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expresses full agreement with His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB President, in creating the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.  We also pledge our enthusiastic support to the new committee and its chairman, Bishop George Murry, SJ, as he leads the committee in its work. May God give you, Bishop Murry, the members of the committee, and all those who will support you, the grace and courage to combat this manifestation of evil in our time.  May He grant success to the work of your hands. And, through your work and that of many others, may He bring healing and peace to our nation.”

September 12, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CONFERENCE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE RELEASE STATEMENT IN WAKE OF CATASTROPHIC HURRICANES; ENCOURAGE FAITHFUL TO RESPOND WITH PRAYERS AND SUPPORT
 
WASHINGTON — In the wake of two devastating hurricanes in just two weeks, the Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement:
 
“With lives and livelihoods still at risk in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean, we pray for the safety and care of human life in the wake of two catastrophic hurricanes. The massive scale of the dual disasters and the effect it has on communities, families and individuals cannot be fully comprehended or adequately addressed in the immediate aftermath of the storms.
 
At this time of initial recovery, we mourn the loss of life, homes and other property, and the harm to the natural environment, and we pray for all those affected and in need of assistance. We also pray for the safety of, and in thanksgiving for, the first responders who are risking their lives at this very moment in care for their neighbors, especially those who are elderly, sick, homeless, or otherwise already in need of special assistance.
 
We share Pope Francis’ trust that the Catholic faithful here in the United States will respond to the needs presented by these disasters with a ‘vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.' We encourage the faithful to respond generously with prayers, financial support, and for those who have the opportunity, the volunteering of time and talents in support of those in need.”
 
For more information on how you can help, please go to:  http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/emergency-collections-and-disaster-relief.cfm
September 9, 2017
USCCB PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PRAYERS, PERSEVERANCE AS HURRICANE IRMA APPROACHES MAINLAND

 
WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement as Hurricane Irma makes its way toward Florida. In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo calls for prayer for all those who are in the path of Irma as well as first responders and those who have been evacuated.

Full statement from Cardinal DiNardo follows:
 

 
“As the people off the Gulf Coast just begin to sift through the damage brought by Hurricane Harvey, our nation, tragically, must attempt to comprehend the approach of Hurricane Irma. People in the Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands have already felt Hurricane Irma’s full force. Florida is now in the grips of this approaching devastating storm.
 
As Irma moves rapidly toward Florida, we lift up in prayer all of those who may be impacted, asking almighty God to guide the steady hands of first responders and to widen the hearts of all who are able to be generous to neighbors facing danger, grief, or displacement of any kind due to the disaster.
 
St. Paul referred to our journey of faith as a race to be run (1 Cor. 9:24-27).  At a time like this, when our endurance is tested, we implore God to direct us to yet unknown reserves of strength and human compassion for those suffering so deeply. May our manifestations of love and solidarity be lasting signs in the midst of this crisis.
 
As with Hurricane Harvey, the USCCB will be working closely with affected local dioceses, Catholic relief entities and with other organization to assess the needs on the ground and offer assistance. More information about how best to direct material support will be forthcoming.
 
Let us join in prayer for those who are in the path of Hurricane Irma and may God bless and protect you.”

September 8, 2017
PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS CONFERENCE OFFERS CONDOLENCES AND CALL FOR PRAYER FOR VICTIMS AND FAMILIES INVOLVED IN MEXICO EARTHQUAKE 

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement and call for prayer for those involved in this morning’s devastating earthquake off the southern coast of Mexico and Guatemala.

Full statement follows:

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the victims of this morning’s catastrophic earthquake, which hit off the coast of southwestern Mexico and Guatemala. As of now, thirty-two people are reported dead, and many have lost their homes in what could be the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century.

I call on the faithful of this country to pray for the victims and their families, as well as for emergency personnel and rescuers.

The Mexican and Guatemalan people are resilient in their faith and trust in the loving Providence of God, and we commend them to the loving embrace of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who, amidst the sorrows of life, reminds us today as she did five hundred years ago: ‘Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the fountain of life?’”

September 8, 2017
U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS CHAIRMAN STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE LINE OF QUESTIONING OF NOMINEE
 
WASHINGTON — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty has issued the following statement in response to the line of questioning directed at a federal judicial nominee earlier this week.    
 
Archbishop Lori’s full statement follows:
 
“America has a strong and venerable tradition of pluralism that respects all religious views.  In this context, this week’s hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing is deeply disappointing.  Rather than simply consider the professional achievements of a nominee for the federal judiciary, multiple senators challenged her fitness to serve due to her Catholic faith.
 
Such questions are not just contrary to our Constitution and our best national traditions, which protect the free exercise of one’s faith and reject religious tests for public office, they are offensive to basic human rights.  They also, sadly, harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order.  These comments are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against latent bigotries that may still infect our national soul.
 
Were the comments of the Senators meant as a warning shot to future law students and attorneys, that they should never discuss their faith in a public forum, if they have aspirations to serve in the federal judiciary?  In truth, we should be encouraging faithful, ethical attorneys to serve in public office, not discouraging them by subjecting them to inappropriate, unnecessary interrogation based on their religious beliefs.
 
People of faith—whatever faith they may hold—should not be disqualified because of that faith from serving the public good. Rather than hold people of faith in suspicion, our laws and lawmakers should tolerate, if not celebrate, the role faith has in society and in the lives of individuals.  To do otherwise is contrary to the ideals of a healthy, pluralistic society.”

September 7, 2017
RESPONSE FROM U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS ON CARE FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES

WASHINGTON — The following statement has been issued by James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) clarifying the USCCB position on advocacy and care for migrants and refugees.

Full statement follows:
 
It is preposterous to claim that justice for immigrants isn’t central to Catholic teaching.  It comes directly from Jesus Himself in Matthew 25, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food…a stranger and you welcomed me.’ Immigrants and refugees are precisely the strangers we must welcome. This isn’t Catholic partisanship.  The Bible is clear: welcoming immigrants is indispensable to our faith.  
 
Caring for and about the “Dreamers” is nothing more than trying to carry out that seemingly simple, but ultimately incredibly demanding, commandment.  It is a commandment found throughout Sacred Scripture, reaching back to the Hebrew scriptures, including Leviticus, “when an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one” (Lv. 19:33).  In fact, the Church has been pro-immigration since God called Abram to leave Ur: “Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Gn. 12:1). To suggest otherwise is absurd.
 
The witness of the Catholic bishops on issues from pro-life to pro-marriage to pro-health care to pro-immigration reforms is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ rather than the convenient political trends of the day. We are called not to politics or partisanship, but to love our neighbor. Let’s reject the forces of division that insist we make a false choice between our safety and our humanity. It is both possible and morally necessary to secure the border in a manner which provides security and a humane immigration policy.
 
Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting.”

September 6, 2017
JOINT LETTER TO CONGRESS: 33 ORGANIZATIONS URGE PASSAGE OF CONSCIENCE PROTECTION ACT OF 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined thirty-two other major pro-life, religious, and health care organizations on September 6 urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644/S. 301).

Signatories include numerous medical groups representing tens of thousands of health care professionals who object to abortion and are seeking legal protection to serve their patients in good conscience.



"Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by Congresses and Presidents of both parties. Even many 'pro-choice' Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion," they wrote. “Yet, with violations of federal conscience laws occurring in California, New York, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and most recently Oregon, it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory.”

The Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644/S. 301), introduced in the House on January 24 by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and in the Senate on February 3 by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), addresses several "loopholes" in current federal laws that have allowed violations of conscience rights to continue. The letter cites a 2014 California mandate requiring almost all health plans in the state to pay for elective abortions in direct violation of the Weldon amendment, and the subsequent failure of the HHS Office of Civil Rights to enforce Weldon. It also cites the government's failure to vindicate the rights of New York nurse Cathy DeCarlo after she was pressured to assist at a late-term abortion.


The joint letter highlights the modest nature of the bill, explaining that it "would mean almost no change in the substantive policy of Congress" but "would be an enormous step forward in assuring Americans who serve the sick and needy that they can do so without being forced by government to violate their most deeply held convictions on respect for innocent human life."



The full text of their letter to Senate is posted at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Senate-Joint-Ltr-Conscience-Protection-Act-2017.pdf; with the concurrent letter to the House of Representatives at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Joint-Ltr-Conscience-Protection-Act-2017.pdf
 
For more on the bishops’ promotion of conscience rights, including a video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit: www.usccb.org/conscience.

September 6, 2017
USCCB PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENT AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS DENOUNCE DECISION TO END DACA, STRONGLY URGE CONGRESS TO FIND LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION

WASHINGTON — The President and Vice President along with Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued a statement denouncing the Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after six months.

The following statement from USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, along with USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angles, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers says the “cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible.”

Over 780,000 youth received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provided no legal status or government benefits but did provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and reprieve from deportation.
 
Full statement follows:

“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me' (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth.
 
As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”

September 5, 2017
POPE FRANCIS ACCEPTS RESIGNATION OF AUXILIARY BISHOP WALSH OF NEW YORK

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York, for reasons of age. He has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

Bishop Walsh’s retirement was publicized in Washington, September 5, by Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States.

Gerald T. Walsh was born April 25, 1942, in New York. He pursued seminary studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a masters of divinity.  He also holds a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on May 27, 1967 and was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York on June 28, 2004.

Assignments after ordination include: serving as Parochial Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in New York, 2004-2012. He also held assignments with the Cathedral Preparatory Seminary, the Ladies of Charity, and the New York Chapter of the Knights of Columbus. In 2012 he also served as Vicar for Clergy and Episcopal Vicar for Rockland, Central Westchester, South Shore, and Yonkers vicariates. In 2007, he was appointed rector of St. Joseph Seminary; and since 1979, he has served as board member for numerous Catholic and community agencies.  Since 2013, he has served as vicar general of the archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of New York comprises 4,683 square miles. It has a total population of 5,872,756 people of which 2,642,740 or 45 percent are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is the current Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York.

August 31, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CALL FOR SOLIDARITY AND CONVERSION AHEAD OF WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION

WASHINGTON — In anticipation of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement echoing Pope Francis’ call that all people, “Christians or not,…should be united in showing mercy to the earth as our common home.”

The letter emphasizes the call to conversion and the role of mercy in caring for the environment, building on the Pope’s message last year. “Showing mercy to our common home first requires a personal and institutional examination of conscience,” said Bishops Dewane and Cantú.

The bishops recognized the need for collective action and restated their call for an “energy revolution,” stressing that we must especially “remember those who labor in the energy industry, from coal miners and solar engineers to legislators and scientists.”

The message also recognizes September 1 as the first day of the “Season of Creation,” which concludes on October 4 with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. The bishops acknowledge that this “is a privileged time for all persons of faith to consider spiritual and corporal acts of mercy towards our common home and all those living in it, so that this may also become a ‘season of mercy’ within our families, our communities and our world.” 

The full text of the letter can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/statement-on-world-day-of-prayer-for-care-of-creation.cfm.

August 31, 2017
POPE FRANCIS CONVEYS SPIRITUAL CLOSENESS AND PASTORAL CONCERN TO ALL VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey, in a message conveyed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“His Holiness Pope Francis asks you kindly to convey the assurance of his spiritual closeness and pastoral concern to all those affected by the violent hurricane that swept through the states of Texas and Louisiana in these days,” Cardinal Parolin wrote. “Deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake, he prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding.”

Cardinal Parolin added that Pope Francis “likewise trusts that the immense and immediate needs of so many individuals and communities will continue to inspire a vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.”

The message was sent by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

The full text of the letter is available at: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2017/08/31/0543/01209.html.

August 30, 2017
USCCB COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION CHAIR CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO CONTINUE DACA PROGRAM

WASHINGTON — Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC), have issued a letter calling on President Donald Trump to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Your decision to continue this program would ensure that young people can continue to work, study, and be protected from deportation while Congress debates broader legislative fixes to our broken immigration system. A decision to end this program would turn our nation’s back on immigrant youth who are seeking to reach their full God-given potential and fulfill the promise of gratefully giving back to the only country most have ever known.” the letter notes.

The full letter is available at: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/news/letter-president-trump-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca/

August 30, 2017
LABOR DAY STATEMENT CALLS FOR ACTION AT TIME OF CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY
 
WASHINGTON — In his 2017 Labor Day statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, calls for action based on a vision of work that supports the flourishing of the family, a clearer understanding on the nature of poverty, and solidarity with those on the margins of society. 
 
Adopting Pope Francis’ language of the “gaze of love” that God has for the worker, Bishop Dewane examines the state of work today, which, when healthy, “anoints” the worker with dignity and is essential for human growth and development. “‘Brother work,’ in Pope Francis’ words, is formational and sustaining for every human life and community, and is essential to our faith.”  
 
Drawing on the words of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Dewane notes that insufficient, poor, or excessive work can be corrosive to the person; whereas severe and increasing disparities in wealth coupled with stagnation of wages for the majority of people presents dangers for the social pact and civil harmony. “When unethical labor conditions weaken the social pact, society can become vulnerable to attempts to use fear, and our care and concern for one another can disintegrate into blame and suspicion.”
 
Bishop Dewane suggests reflections and actions for Catholics and all people of good will, including: solidarity with neighbors, a renewed moral emphasis by leaders in business and government, a clearer understanding of the nature of poverty, focus on the vital role of unions, and the recovery of rest and a sense of the sacred in work.  
 
The full statement is available in English is at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/labor-employment/labor-day-statement-2017.cfm.    

August 27, 2017

A CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE HARVEY

WASHINGTON—U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has called for prayers and solidarity with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Cardinal DiNardo also called on all people of good will to closely monitor future calls for assistance for victims and survivors in the days ahead.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows. 

“Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in a catastrophic and devastating way this weekend, bringing with it severe flooding and high winds which have taken human life, caused countless injuries, and severely damaged homes and property throughout the region.  The effects of this storm continue to put people in harm’s way, with horrific scenes playing out all around, such as those of people trapped on their rooftops as water continues to rise around them.  Many dioceses of the Church in the United States have been affected; many others will be as the storm continues.


As the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, this crisis hits very close to home.  In solidarity with my brother bishops in this area of the country, I call on people of faith to pray for all of those who have been impacted by this Hurricane, and I ask people of good will to stand with the victims and their families.  May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protect all who are still in danger, and bring to safety those who are missing.  May He care in a special way for those who were already homeless, or without support and resources, before this disaster.  We pray in thanksgiving for the first responders who are risking their lives to save others at this very moment.  We include in our intentions the everyday heroes reaching out to help their neighbors in need, those who, like the Good Samaritan, cannot walk by a person in need without offering their hand in aid.

The USCCB is working closely with affected local dioceses, Catholic Charities USA and St. Vincent de Paul, along with other relief organizations, to assess the needs on the ground.  In the next couple of days, we will share more about the best ways to assist those in the Gulf region with material needs based on the latest information we can gather.  May God bless you and your families this day and always.”

August 23, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS ESTABLISH NEW AD HOC COMMITTEE AGAINST RACISM   
 
WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today announced the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.  Initiated by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the USCCB, the committee will focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our Church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.

“Recent events have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to inflict our nation.  The establishment of this new ad hoc committee will be wholly dedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothers and sisters,” says Cardinal DiNardo.     
 
Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been appointed by Cardinal DiNardo as Chairman of the committee.  The membership of the committee will be finalized in the coming days and its mandate will be confirmed at the first meeting, expected very shortly.
 
“I look forward to working with my brother bishops as well as communities across the United States to listen to the needs of individuals who have suffered under the sin of racism and together find solutions to this epidemic of hate that has plagued our nation for far too long,” says Bishop Murry.  “Through Jesus’ example of love and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what we have witnessed over the past weeks and months as a nation.  Through listening, prayer and meaningful collaboration, I’m hopeful we can find lasting solutions and common ground where racism will no longer find a place in our hearts or in our society.” 
 
The new ad hoc committee has been formed upon the unanimous recommendation of the U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB’s Committee on Priorities and Plans.  The establishment of the committee will also welcome and support the implementation of the pastoral letter on racism anticipated for release in 2018.  The formation of the ad hoc committee also follows the conclusion of the work of the Peace in Our Communities Task Force. The Task Force was formed in July 2016 by then USCCB President, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in response to racially-related shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.
 
Almost 40 years ago, the Bishops of the United States wrote a Pastoral Letter on Racism.  Among the many things, they discussed was the fact that “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.”

August 17, 2017
U.S. BISHOPS CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO BARCELONA TERROR ATTACK

WASHINGTON—Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, has issued the following statement in response to this afternoon's terror attack in Barcelona:

“Once again, an act of terror has taken more than a dozen lives and injured scores of others.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops unequivocally condemns this morally heinous act and places itself in solidarity with the people of the Archdiocese of Barcelona and Spain at this terrible time of loss and grief.

Terrorist attacks on innocent civilians can never be justified.   To directly attack innocent men, women and children is utterly reprehensible.

Our prayers are with the families of those slain and injured in a particular way as we also pray for an end to terrorism.  May God comfort the afflicted and convert the hearts of those who would perpetrate such acts.  May our Lord bless both our world and those suffering today from this attack with the gift of peace.”

August 13, 2017
USCCB PRESIDENT AND DOMESTIC JUSTICE CHAIRMAN CALL FOR PRAYER AND UNITY IN RESPONSE TO CHARLOTTESVILLE
 
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, are calling on all people of goodwill to join in prayer and unity today in response to yesterday’s violent protest and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Full statement follows:
 
“As we learn more about the horrible events of yesterday, our prayer turns today, on the Lord's Day, to the people of Charlottesville who offered a counter example to the hate marching in the streets. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.
 
We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love's victory over every form of evil is assured.  At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives.  Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.”

August 9, 2017
NEARLY $1.4 MILLION IN FUNDING APPROVED FOR CHURCH IN AFRICA

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 54 grants totaling nearly $1.4 million in funding to support dioceses and pastoral projects across the African continent.
Projects approved to receive funding include:

     •    In Angola, the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CEPAMI) is a commission under the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé that promotes the pastoral care of migrant
          communities. CEPAMI will provide training to about 40 leaders over two weeks. With this training, leaders will be able to assist, guide and organize the pastoral work for migrant communities in the 19 dioceses of Angola.
    •     In West Africa, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia will organize a summer camp for 100 youth from each of the three dioceses located in that country. Many of the youth are from poor families and have few resources. The
          country itself has suffered greatly from a 14 year civil war and the Ebola outbreak. This camp will provide a place for the children to stay, pray, receive basic catechism lessons and play together.



“Our brothers and sisters on the African continent often face challenges different from what we know in the United States, but we are united by the same faith,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “The generosity of Catholics in the United States to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa has supported these communities as they grow and strengthen their faith in the wake of wars, migration, and disease.”
Additional areas of funding include seminarian and religious formation, evangelization, family ministries and lay leadership training.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa.

To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.

August 9, 2017
POPE NAMES MAKES TWO EPISCOPAL APPOINTMENTS

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Bishop Emmanuel Challita of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto, Canada, as Bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle in San Diego. The pontiff also named `ishop Frank Kalabat of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, Detroit, as the apostolic administrator of the Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.

The appointments were publicized in Washington, August 9, by Msgr. Walter Erbì, Chargé d’ Affaires, at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.

Emmanuel Challita was born in Fishkabour-Zakho, Iraq, in 1956. He holds a doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle in 1984 and was ordained and installed as Bishop of Mar Addai on February 6, 2015.

Frank Kalabat was born in Kuwait in 1970, and moved to the United States in 1989. He began seminary studies at St. Francis De Sales Center in San Diego, California, and pursued theological studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. He was ordained a priest in 1995, and was ordained and installed as Bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle on June 14, 2014. 



There are an estimated 38,000 Catholics in the Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.

There are an estimated 65,150 Catholics in the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter. The jurisdiction extends to the western states of the United States.

July 8, 2017
POPE NAMES NEW AUXILIARY BISHOP OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC ARCHEPARCHY OF PHILADELPHIA
 
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has named Father Andriy Rabiy as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Father Rabiy, 41, currently serves as vicar general of the archeparchy and as pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, August 8, by Msgr. Walter Erbì, Chargé d’ Affaires, at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.
 
Andriy Rabiy was born October 1, 1975 in Lviv, Ukraine. He pursued seminary studies at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest in 2001.
 
Bishop-elect Rabiy holds a bachelor degree in philosophy (1999) and a licentiate in Canon Law (2008) from Catholic University of America; and a master of divinity degree (2002), from the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington D.C.
 
After ordination, Bishop-elect Rabiy held pastoral assignments at St. Michael the Archangel parish, Hillsborough, New Jersey, and at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2002-2005. Other assignments after ordination include: pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, 2008-present; coordinator, Sexual Abuse Prevention and Youth Protection Office, 2008-2015; member, Administrative Board, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, 2008-present; vicar general, 2009-present; vice-chancellor, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial College of Consultors, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial Presbyteral Council, 2011-present.
 
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 13,051. Archbishop Stefan Sokora has been the archbishop since 2001. The archeparchy currently has another auxiliary bishop, Bishop John Bura.

August 5, 2017
POPE FRANCIS NAMES TWO EPARCHIAL BISHOPS

WASHINGTON — The Synod of Major Archbishops of the Syro-Malankara Church has erected the Eparchy of Parassala, India, and with the assent of Pope Francis, elected as the first bishop of this new eparchy, the Most Reverend Thomas Mar Eusebius Naickamparambil.  Up until now, Bishop Eusebius has been bishop of the Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace of the United States and Canada.

The Holy Father has also given assent to the nomination of the Most Reverend Philipose Mar Stephanos Thattathil, up until now auxiliary bishop of Tiruvalla, India, as the next bishop of the Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace of the United States and Canada.
   
The appointments were publicized in Washington, August 5, by Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States.

Bishop Philipose Mar Stephanos was born May 9, 1952 in Pathanamthitta, India and was ordained to the priesthood on April 27, 1979.  He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Tiruvalla on January 25, 2010 and installed on February 9, 2010.    
Bishop Eusebius was born June 6, 1961 and ordained a priest, December 29, 1986.  He was ordained a bishop on September 21, 2010 at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Trivandrum and was installed as the first bishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Apostolic Exarchate in the USA.  He was later appointed as the first bishop of the then newly established Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace for the Syro-Malaknara faithful in USA and Canada on December 18, 2015 and was installed as its bishop, January 23, 2016.
 
The Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace is based in Elmont, New York and has around 11,500 members with 16 parishes in the United States and Canada.
 
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is centered in southern Indian and has about 500,000 faithful.  Parassala is located in the southern-most part of this region.  


August 2 2017
RAISE ACT WILL WEAKEN FAMILY BONDS AND IMPACT NATION’S ABILITY TO RESPOND TO THOSE IN CRISIS SAYS U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS CHAIRMAN

WASHINGTON — The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, says that the newly proposed RAISE Act would cause our nation to turn its back on those setting out to build better lives, weaken family bonds and impact the nation’s ability to respond to those in crisis.

Bishop Vásquez’s full statement follows:  
 
“I express strong opposition to the RAISE Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. Senate by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA). Had this discriminatory legislation been in place generations ago, many of the very people who built and defended this nation would have been excluded.
 
The United States supports families and should not throw up obstacles to their unity.  Unfortunately, the RAISE Act would have our nation turn its back on this long and storied tradition of welcoming families setting out to build a better life.
 
The RAISE Act would permanently cap the number of refugees allowed safe passage, thereby denying our country the necessary flexibility to respond to humanitarian crisis. As a Church, we believe the stronger the bonds of family, the greater a person’s chance of succeeding in life.  The RAISE Act imposes a definition of family that would weaken those bonds.
 
I urge the Senate to reject this measure and implore Congress and the President to work together in a bipartisan fashion to enact into law comprehensive immigration reform. I believe that such reform must recognize the many contributions that immigrants of all backgrounds have made to our nation, and must protect the lives and dignity of all, including the most vulnerable.”








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