News and Press

Information and Announcements About The Diocese

(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/

May 13, 2021
USCCB Bishops’ chairman renews prayers for Israel and Palestine
WASHINGTON — In the midst of recent heightened violence in Jerusalem and Gaza, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace expressed renewed commitment to the people of the Holy Land and called for prayer.

Bishop Malloy’s statement follows:

“We are greatly saddened that simmering tensions erupted into violence in the Holy Land this week. It is a cycle we have unfortunately witnessed and spoken out against many times, but because of our great love in Christ Jesus, we remain ever present and close to the people of this land until the Peace of God reigns in its fullness forever.

“We call on all parties to cease the violence. The maiming and killing of one’s neighbor only serves to demonize one’s adversary and deepen passions that divide and destroy. The Holy Father reminded the world on Sunday, ‘Violence begets violence. Enough with the clashes.’

“The U.S. bishops have long called for upholding the Status Quo of the Holy Places, including the Al-Aqsa Compound, the site of much of this week’s violence. We affirm the need to adhere to international law in settling these disputes, rightly rooted in moral law, the rights of nations, and equal dignity of every people.

“We join with the Holy Father, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and other brethren who have called on the international community to intervene in the promotion of a just peace in the Holy City. We especially offer our prayers for all those who rightfully call the Holy Land home, as it is through them any lasting peace will come. May the primary adversaries in this conflict be given the guidance, strength, and courage that only comes from on High to build trust amidst those who are eager for belligerence. With our suffering Lord as our model, we renew our enduring commitment to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.”

May 8, 2021
Pope calls for global “marathon” of prayer for end to COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has called for a “marathon” of prayer during the month of May to appeal for divine assistance in bringing about an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marian shrines around the world have been chosen by the Holy See to lead the rosary each day of the month with specific prayer intentions focused on those impacted by the pandemic.
 
In the United States, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. has been asked to lead the rosary on Monday, May 17. Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop of Washington, will lead the recitation of the rosary at 12:00 PM ET that day for the special intention of world leaders and the heads of international organizations as they continue to work to combat the pandemic.
 
The faithful are invited to join online, and the prayer will be livestreamed on the shrine’s website at: www.nationalshrine.org/mass. In addition, the national shrine will accommodate 1,000 people while maintaining appropriate social distancing in its Great Upper Church; those wishing to attend in person are invited to register at: www.nationalshrine.org/mass-registration.
 
This month-long initiative of prayer is being organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The shrines chosen for each day of prayer reflect the global reach and diversity of the Catholic Church as each prays in their local language.
 
For more information on this worldwide effort, please visit: http://www.pcpne.va/content/pcpne/en/news/2021-04-23.html.
 
May 4, 2021
USCCB migration chairman welcomes revised refugee admissions cap
WASHINGTON — On Monday, May 3, the Biden Administration announced that it will increase the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States during the current fiscal year to 62,500. In response to Monday’s announcement, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
 
“As a nation of immigrants, we have a moral obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world who are in need. The updated refugee admissions cap is a step in the right direction to help those who need it most. We were pleased with the Administration’s previous decision to reinstate the regional allocation framework, but this increase was a crucial step toward rebuilding the crippled Refugee Admissions Program. We view this number as a stepping stone toward the Administration’s stated goal of 125,000 admissions, a figure more consistent with our values and capabilities as a nation.
 
“For decades, the United States has been a leader in refugee resettlement. We are in the midst of the greatest forced displacement crisis of our lifetime and know that there are more than 26 million refugees worldwide and more than 47 million people who are internally displaced. It is imperative that we act now to ensure the safety of these individuals and their families. The Catholic Church teaches that every person is created in God’s image and must be valued, protected, and respected for the inherent dignity that he or she possesses. It is more important now than ever that our country continue to lead as we address this humanitarian emergency.”
 

April 30, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Wilmington bishop
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop W. Francis Malooly, 77, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wilmington and has appointed Monsignor William E. Koenig, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre as Bishop-elect of Wilmington. Bishop-elect Koenig currently serves as vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Monsignor Koenig was born August 17, 1956 in Queens, New York. He attended Cathedral College in Douglaston, New York (1975-1979) and received a Master’s degree in Divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York (1979-1983) and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University in Bronx, New York (1994). He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on May 14, 1983. 

Bishop-elect Koenig’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Edward the Confessor parish in Syosset (1983-1986); parochial vicar at St. James parish in Setauket (1986-1989); director of vocations (1989-1996) and director of the Office of Ministry to Priests (1990-1996) for the Diocese of Rockville Centre; parochial vicar at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre (1996-2000); pastor of St. William the Abbot parish in Seaford (2000-2009); and rector of St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre (2009-2020). Since 2020, Monsignor Koenig has served as the vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. 

Bishop-elect Koenig’s pastoral ministry also includes service as a member of the diocesan priest personnel board since 2019. In 2007, Monsignor Koenig was named Chaplain to His Holiness, with title of Monsignor. 

The Diocese of Wilmington is comprised of 1,932 square miles in the state of Delaware and 3,375 square miles in the state of Maryland and has a total population of 1,490,342 of which 246,999 are Catholic. 

April 30, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Colorado Springs bishop
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and has appointed Father James R. Golka, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island as Bishop-elect of Colorado Springs. Bishop-elect Golka currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, Nebraska. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Father Golka was born September 22, 1966 in Grand Island, Nebraska. He attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology (1985-1989). He served as a Jesuit lay missionary volunteer for the Native American Missions in South Dakota (1989-1990) before entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota where he received a Master of Divinity in 1994. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1994 for the Diocese of Grand Island. 

Bishop-elect Golka’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at St. James parish in Kearney (1994-2000), associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Alliance (2000-2001); pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Scottsbluff (2001-2006); and pastor of St. Patrick’s parish and president of St. Patrick’s School in North Platte (2006-2016). Since 2016, he has served as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island and vicar general since 2018. 

Bishop-elect Golka’s pastoral ministry also includes service as a member of the diocesan College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, and the Personnel Board. He has also served as the director of Higher Ground, a diocesan summer retreat experience for youth, as well as a pilgrimage director for Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Bishop-elect Golka speaks both English and Spanish. 

April 21, 2021
World Day of Prayer for Vocations is April 25
WASHINGTON — The 58th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be celebrated by the Catholic Church on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, commonly referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. The World Day of Prayer for Vocations unites the faithful in praying for those currently discerning and living out vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life.

Last December, Pope Francis marked the 150th anniversary of the Church’s declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the universal Church and proclaimed the Year of Saint Joseph (December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021). In his message for the 2021 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis again turns to Saint Joseph, as a guide for fathers and mothers, both biological and spiritual, who seek to foster the gift of vocation in the hearts of those entrusted to them saying:

“The Lord desires to shape the hearts of fathers and mothers: hearts that are open, capable of great initiatives, generous in self-giving, compassionate in comforting anxieties and steadfast in strengthening hopes. The priesthood and the consecrated life greatly need these qualities nowadays, in times marked by fragility but also by the sufferings due to the pandemic, which has spawned uncertainties and fears about the future and the very meaning of life. Saint Joseph comes to meet us in his gentle way, as one of “the saints next door”. At the same time, his strong witness can guide us on the journey.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) stated that Saint Joseph teaches us the value of holy perseverance and patience. “We are living in very challenging times full of uncertainty and fear,” he said. “Yet, Saint Joseph teaches us, especially our young people, that consistent, quiet fidelity to God is what opens our hearts to receive Christ’s grace and peace. In imitation of Saint Joseph, may we entrust our hearts and desires completely to Our Risen Lord.”

In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the CCLV Committee released the Ordination Class of 2021 Study, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. A few of the major findings of the report are:

  • On average, responding ordinands first considered priesthood when they were 17 years old.
  • Two-thirds of responding ordinands (65%) are Caucasian. One in six (16%) are Latino/Hispanic. One in ten (10%) are Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian. And one in twenty (6%) are African/African American/black.
  • The four most common countries of origin among foreign-born ordinands are Mexico, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Poland.
  • Three in five (60%) completed an undergraduate or graduate degree before entering seminary.
  • In regard to participation in various activities before entering the seminary, half of all responding ordinands (46%) participated in a parish youth group. A quarter (25%) participated in Catholic campus ministry/Newman Center.
  • Nine in ten responding ordinands (93%) report being encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life (most frequently, the parish priest, a friend, or another parishioner).
  • Half of responding ordinands (47%) indicate that they were discouraged from considering the priesthood by one or more persons. Most often, this person was a family member (other than parents) or a friend/classmate.

The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2021 can be accessed here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/ordination-classes

 
April 20, 2021
USCCB statement on verdict in trial of Derek Chauvin
WASHINGTON – Following the verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota today, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued a statement.
 
The bishops’ full statement follows:
 
“Today, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd. As we receive this result, we recall that God is the source of all justice, love, and mercy. The death of George Floyd highlighted and amplified the deep need to see the sacredness in all people, but especially those who have been historically oppressed. Whatever the stage of human life, it not only matters, it is sacred.
 
“The events following George Floyd's death also highlighted the urgent need for racial healing and reconciliation. As we have seen so plainly this past year, social injustices still exist in our country, and the nation remains deeply divided on how to right those wrongs. We join our voices and prayers in support of Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and the entire Minnesota Catholic Conference which said today:
 
‘As a diverse community, the Catholic Church is committed to changing hearts and minds and to moving the conversation about race in this country beyond accusations and recriminations toward practical, nonviolent solutions to the everyday problems that are encountered in these communities.’
 
“Let us pray that through the revelation of so much pain and sadness, that God strengthens us to cleanse our land of the evil of racism which also manifests in ways that are hardly ever spoken, ways that never reach the headlines. Let us then join in the hard work of peacefully rebuilding what hatred and frustration has torn down. This is the true call of a disciple and the real work of restorative justice. Let us not lose the opportunity to pray that the Holy Spirit falls like a flood on our land again, as at Pentecost, providing us with spiritual, emotional, and physical healing, as well as new ways to teach, preach, and model the Gospel message in how we treat each other.”
 
The USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism has prepared resources for prayer which may be found here; earlier this week, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda and priests across the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis offered special Masses “For the Preservation of Peace and Justice.” Last summer, several bishop chairmen of USCCB committees and the president of the Conference issued statements regarding George Floyd’s death in addition to the individual statements by bishops from around the United States.
 

April 19, 2021
USCCB response to reversal of limits on human fetal tissue research
WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health announced last Friday that it is reversing limits on human fetal tissue research that were put in place by the Trump Administration. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement in response:

“The bodies of children killed by abortion deserve the same respect as that of any other person. Our government has no right to treat innocent abortion victims as a commodity that can be scavenged for body parts to be used in research. It is unethical to promote and subsidize research that can lead to legitimizing the violence of abortion. Researchers have demonstrated that we can do effective scientific research and develop efficacious clinical treatments without harvesting tissue from aborted babies. It is also deeply offensive to millions of Americans for our tax dollars to be used for research that collaborates with an industry built on the taking of innocent lives.  I call on the Biden Administration to instead fund research that does not rely upon body parts taken from innocent children killed through abortion.”

April 16, 2021
USCCB chairman calls for Easter response to mass shooting at FedEx
WASHINGTON — Following the mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:
 
“Tragically, we awoke to learn of another mass shooting today, this time in Indianapolis, that has reportedly left eight dead and several wounded. As we heard at Mass yesterday, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted’ (Ps. 34:19). We again need prayer and concrete acts of charity for the families, and for all victims of violent crime. 
 
“Again and again, we react in horror to these violent acts, but many cannot agree on how to stop them. The bishops continue to support a number of policy measures to try to reduce homicides and suicides.[1] In this Easter season, when we are reminded that there is always hope, even when we seem to be at a dead end, I would ask our political leaders, and all people of good will, once more to examine this issue and propose prudential solutions. It is good that President Biden and some leaders in Congress are drawing renewed attention to this. For a comprehensive and long-lasting path to peace, it will take bipartisan cooperation. In the spirit of Easter, let us pray for renewed reverence for the gift of life, and faith that by the grace of God, we can always begin again and work towards peace.”   
 
April 16, 2021
USCCB’s pro-life committee chairman on chemical abortion pill policy change
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that they will no longer be enforcing the “in-person dispensing requirement” for the chemical abortion pills during the remainder of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This requirement was put in place by public health officials over 20 years ago, under President Bill Clinton, as a necessary precondition to ensure that pregnant women do not have contraindications that would make the abortion pills even more unsafe and possibly deadly for the woman. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:
 
“It is difficult to see the FDA’s decision to not enforce important safety protocols as anything other than callous capitulation to the requests of abortion activists without regard for the health and safety of the women involved. An in-person evaluation by a medical professional is necessary to accurately determine the age of the baby (abortion pills are only approved for use in the first 70 days), whether the pregnancy is ectopic (which the woman has no way of knowing on her own), and to test and treat for Rh-incompatibility between mother and baby. Without this information and proper treatment, a woman’s health, future fertility, and life are placed in serious jeopardy. With this decision, not only are women being sold the lie that abortion will solve their problems, but also that chemical abortion is a safe and easy way to go about it. By pushing women away from medical oversight, abortion advocates are luring women into isolated, unsafe, and medically unwise decisions. The inalienable dignity of women and their unborn children deserves so much more.”

April 15, 2021
#iGiveCatholic online giving platform for pastoral, charitable programs
WASHINGTON — Catholics can now support eight programs administered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through the online giving platform #iGiveCatholic Together

The programs being supported provide material aid to people of all faiths and support Catholic ministries in regions where the Church cannot sustain itself. Annual national collections have been the primary source of funding for these vital programs since their inception. People can learn more about each of the eight programs at https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections

“These programs help those living on the margins of society and those who are spiritually isolated, said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. “The need is great because gifts to some of these programs plummeted by more than half in 2020 with the COVID pandemic. These programs rely on the modest gifts that make a tremendous impact in the lives of people who are hungry, persecuted, or in spiritual need.” 

“#iGiveCatholic makes it simple to do what our Lord has told us to do: to love God and our neighbors,” Archbishop Etienne said. “Gifts to these USCCB programs are a tangible testimony of the love and mercy of Catholic people across the United States. Together, we are one Church with one mission.” 

#iGiveCatholic is the nonprofit parent organization of #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, the U.S. Catholic Church’s Giving Day. The newly established #iGiveCatholic Together is a year-round platform to connect the generosity of faithful donors with ministries that impact our communities locally, nationally, and around the world. 

#iGiveCatholic Together expands opportunities to give, supplementing the online and e-giving platforms of dioceses and parishes. “As a gesture of solidarity and support of the U.S. bishops’ efforts, #iGiveCatholic covered the costs associated with the development of program giving pages on the platform,” Archbishop Etienne shared. “The Committee on National Collections is tremendously grateful for this generosity and for #iGiveCatholic’s ongoing support of our efforts to engage Catholics in the outreach efforts of our Church.”

April 14, 2021
New director appointed for National Pontifical Mission Societies
WASHINGTON — Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington of the Diocese of Brooklyn, has been named the new national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The appointment was made by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Monsignor Harrington succeeds Father Andrew Small, OMI, who is completing his second five-year term. 

Monsignor Harrington has served as vicar for communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn since being appointed to the role in 2006 by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. In this role, Monsignor Harrington has been responsible for overseeing the diocesan public information office, government affairs and public policy office, NET, the cable station of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and The Tablet newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Monsignor Harrington is the rector of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Brooklyn and graduated with honors from St. John’s University with a degree in philosophy. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and a Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. 

“I am humbled by the trust placed in me to serve the Church in this most important area of missionary evangelization,” said Monsignor Harrington. “I look forward to working with the bishops and dioceses to support the pastoral work of the pontifical missions.” 

Father Small warmly welcomed the news of Monsignor Harrington’s appointment, adding, “Having gotten to know Monsignor Kieran over the last ten years, I am delighted that someone of such ability and passion has been chosen as the next National Director of the Holy Father’s mission societies.” 

The Pontifical Mission Societies are organizations that are under the direction of the Holy Father. Their purpose is the promotion of a universal missionary spirit among all baptized Catholics. There are four societies: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These four societies each received the title “pontifical” in 1922 to indicate their status as official instruments of the pope and of the universal Catholic Church. The national director heads the four societies in the United States and oversees the World Missions Sunday Collection, which is taken up on the third Sunday of October each year. For more information, please visit www.onefamilyinmission.org

April 13, 2021
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop of the Diocese of Crookston
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner from the Office of Bishop of Crookston and has appointed Most Reverend Richard E. Pates as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Diocese of Crookston.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Diocese of Crookston is comprised of 17,210 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 277,689, of which 34,649 are Catholic.

April 7, 2021
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John O’Hara, 75, as Auxiliary Bishop of New York.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

April 7, 2021
Pope Francis names Father Daniel Felton as Bishop of Duluth
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Daniel J. Felton as Bishop of Duluth. Bishop-elect Felton is a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and currently serves as a vicar general and moderator of the curia for Green Bay. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Duluth has been a vacant see since December 2019. 

Father Felton was born February 5, 1955 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He attended St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Psychology (1977) and a Master’s degree in Theology at St. John University in Collegeville, Minnesota (1981). He received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Dogmatic Theology and a Master’s degree in Social Communications from the Gregorian University in Rome (1990). He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Green Bay on June 13, 1981. 

Bishop-elect Felton’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Blessed Holy Innocents in Manitowoc (1981-1985); director of affiliate affairs for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in New York (1985-1987); correspondent for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in Rome (1987-1990); pastor of St. Raphael parish in Oshkosh (1990-2004); pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Manitowoc (2004-2011); and pastor of the combined parishes in Mackville, Greenville, and Freedom, Wisconsin (2011-2014). Since 2014, Father Felton has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Green Bay. 

Bishop-elect Felton’s pastoral ministry also includes assignments as a member of the college of consultors, the presbyteral council, the diocesan finance committee, and the personnel board. He has also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

The Diocese of Duluth is comprised of 22,354 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 448,983 of which 46,763 are Catholic.

April 1, 2021
Joint statement on situation at the U.S.-Mexico Border
WASHINGTON — The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries. Their joint statement follows:
As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.
 
Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly, and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.
 
For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders, and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions.  “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”
 
Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.
 
We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit   to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons, and the clergy.
 
One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.
 
U.S. Bishops:
Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
 
Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz
Bishop of El Paso
 
Most Reverend James A. Tamayo
Bishop of Laredo
 
Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburge
Bishop of Tucson
 
Most Reverend Daniel E. Flores
Bishop of Brownsville
 
Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino
Bishop of Las Cruces
 
Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy
Bishop of San Diego
 
Most Reverend Michael J. Sis
Bishop of San Angelo
 
Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS
Archbishop of San Antonio
 
Mexican Bishops:
Monsignor José Guadalupe Torres Campos
Bishop of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Encargado de la Dimensión Episcopal de Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (DEPMH)
 
Monsignor Jesús José Herrera Quiñones
Bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua
 
Monsignor Alonso Garza Treviño
Bishop of Piedras Negras, Coahuila
 
Monsignor Enrique Sánchez Martínez
Bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
 
Monsignor Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía
Bishop of Matamoros, Tamaulipas
 
Monsignor Hilario González García
Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila
 

March 30, 2021
Annual liturgical celebration of youth and young adults moved to Christ the King
WASHINGTON — In March 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee voted to align its nationwide liturgical celebration of youth and young adults, which was traditionally celebrated on Palm Sunday, with the new universal date, the feast of Christ the King. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth issued the following statement:

“The Holy Father asked Catholic churches around the world to renew their celebration of youth and young people on Christ the King Sunday, to help connect younger generations with “the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man” (Homily, Nov. 22, 2020).”

“We welcome this opportunity to join Pope Francis in lifting up youth and young adults, in particular those on the margins who feel disconnected from our faith communities. In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis told young people, ‘Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you… he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.’ This celebration will allow our local churches to once again communicate this important pastoral message to the young on a day focused on Jesus as our Lord and King, the one who invites all generations into his loving embrace.”

This year, the Feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday, November 21, 2021. 

More information will be posted on the Youth and Young Adult Ministries page of the USCCB website at https://www.usccb.org/topics/youth-and-young-adult-ministries.

March 24, 2021
USCCB chairman welcomes repeal of death penalty in Virginia
WASHINGTON — Following passage of legislation to repeal the death penalty in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement: 

“I welcome Virginia’s repeal of the death penalty as a bold step towards a culture of life.  Virginia will become the twenty-third state to abolish the death penalty, and I urge all other states and the federal government to do the same. 

“Congratulations are in order for the Virginia bishops, the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Catholic Mobilizing Network, and all other advocates who worked very hard to achieve this historic result. 

“This Lent, we are called once again to repent and believe in the Gospel. We are reminded that God created and loves every person, and we can respond to this love with reverence for the dignity of every human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled, or desperate that life may seem. As we prepare for Easter, let us give thanks for God’s many gifts and continue to build a culture of life.”

March 24, 2021
USCCB chairman mourns loss of life in Colorado mass shooting
WASHINGTON — Following a mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, CO, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“As we are still reeling from the loss of life in the mass shootings in Atlanta, it is heartbreaking to hear of yet another mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, CO, that reportedly has resulted in the deaths of ten people. We pray for the families and friends of those who were lost and for their communities. We are especially grateful for the efforts of first responders to safeguard the community and treat victims and urge all people of good will to offer concrete support to victims of violence wherever possible.

“The bishops have long promoted prudent measures of gun control to limit mass shootings and other gun homicides and suicides, and we stand by those positions.[1] We must always remember that each of us is a brother or sister in Christ, created in the image and likeness of a loving God. As we approach Holy Week, let us continue to reflect on God’s love and mercy for each one of us and renew the call for conversion of heart.”

March 17, 2021
Web pages launched for celebration of “Year of Amoris Laetitia Family"
WASHINGTON — Marking the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has asked the Church to celebrate the family and reflect upon how ministry supports married couples and the family in every level of Church life. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth is coordinating the anniversary celebration in the U.S.

The “Year of Amoris Laetitia Family” is meant to be an opportunity for reflection and appreciation of the Holy Father’s apostolic exhortation. In launching this initiative, the Vatican is upholding the important role that families play, which has been highlighted during the COVID pandemic. The spiritual, pastoral, and cultural content and resources for the initiative are meant to reach families around the world and are meant to be implemented at the local level in parishes and dioceses, as well as in universities, by ecclesial movements, and family associations.

The USCCB has launched new pages on its website to celebrate the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family, which will run from March 19, 2021 to June 26, 2022. The year-long celebration will conclude at the Tenth World Meeting of Families in Rome in June 2022.

The USCCB’s new Amoris Laetitia webpages feature:

  • Links to the Vatican website about the initiative with videos of Pope Francis teaching about the family and frequently asked questions about the apostolic exhortation
  • Catechesis on the Sacrament of Marriage, the Family as Domestic Church, Theology of the Body, and Natural Family Planning
  • Sharing the joy of marital and familial love with youth and young adults
  • Resources for families in many situations of need
  • Monthly reflections by the staff of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth on each of Pope Francis’s “Twelve Ways to Walk with Families”
  • Resources for pilgrims who plan to attend the World Meeting of Families in Rome
  • Resources for dioceses preparing simultaneous events to celebrate the World Meeting of Families locally.

More information for the initiative may be found at: https://www.usccb.org/topics/marriage-and-family-life-ministries/year-amoris-laetitia-family.

March 15, 2021
Protections reaffirmed for faith-based foster care, adoption providers
WASHINGTON — Three committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are affirming their strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2021. The Act would prevent the federal government and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services from taking adverse action against a provider that declines to conduct its services in a manner that would violate its religious or moral principles.  

“Child welfare providers, who serve the needs and rights of children regardless of background, enjoy the cherished freedom of religious liberty like all Americans,” wrote the bishops in a letter of support to Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who introduced identical bills in their respective chambers.

Some faith-based child welfare providers, including those operating in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Philadelphia, New York, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The chairmen said, “The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination, and maximize the benefit to thousands of children in need, by enabling all foster care and adoption providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

Stressing that the Inclusion Act also respects the importance of a parent’s choice, the chairmen remarked, “Adoptive and foster care parents, as well as women and men who want to place their children, ought to be able to choose an agency that shares their religious beliefs or convictions about the best interests of their children.”

The letter of support was signed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and is available here.

 

March 5, 2021
Bishop chairmen join statement on abortion funding in American Rescue Plan 
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been joined by the chairmen of seven USCCB committees in a statement on abortion funding in the American Rescue Plan.

Joining Archbishop Gomez were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education;  Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration. 

The full statement from the bishops follows:

“Our nation needs to heal, come together, and help one another. The American Rescue Plan is an important step in the right direction. It should provide much needed assistance for American families and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“However, we are deeply concerned that this important legislation, as written, risks creating new divisions by abandoning a longstanding bipartisan compromise that respects the consciences of millions of Americans. 

“For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions. Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency only serves to divide people in the very moment we should be united. Please, let us instead focus on delivering the COVID relief so desperately needed. 

“We urge President Biden and the leadership on Capitol Hill not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need. We ask that our leaders please not pit people against one another in such a way. We ask all Members of Congress to include the same protections against abortion funding that have been present in every COVID relief bill to date, and every annual spending bill for almost half a century.” 

March 2, 2021
USCCB addresses concern over Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s link to abortion
WASHINGTON — On March 2, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States.  

“The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.[1]  However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.  

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”

 

 

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Diocese of Lake Charles 

Three new seminarians for the Diocese of Lake Charles have been accepted by Bishop Glen John Provost, according to the Office of Vocations.