News and Press

Information and Announcements About The Diocese

“Together for Life,” the marriage preparation day hosted by the Office of Family Life, has been rescheduled to November 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with an hour lunch beginning at 11:00 a.m. All marriage prep days will be held via Zoom until further notice. The only remaining date in 2020 is December 5. Dates for 2021 will be announced soon. For more information, contact: Beth Buller, Office of Family Life, at 337-888-6026; or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Catholics are encouraged to vote yes for the Love Life Amendment (No. 1 on the ballot) on November 3. The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly supports the Love Life Amendment, which would successfully amend the Louisiana constitution and thereby continue to strengthen our commitment to end abortion in the state. A statement from the LCCB reads:

"As Catholics, we are called to ensure that life is indeed valued and that the dignity of all is upheld. This is the foundational principle of our social teaching and must be intentionally considered in all that we do.

Passage of the Love Life Amendment would have a dual effect. Primarily, it will ensure that the state of Louisiana cannot establish a right to abortion at present or if Roe v. Wade is overturned in the future. Secondly, it will prohibit the funding of abortion through taxpayer dollars within our constitution. Without such an amendment, the invalidation of the many anti-abortion laws we have all advocated so strongly for in Louisiana remains a possibility.

The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops therefore enthusiastically supports the Love Life Amendment, and encourages all to approach this initiative with a formed conscience and a commitment to defend the sanctity of human life and uphold the dignity of all people."

The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops Board of Directors includes: The Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans; The Most Reverend Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles; The Most Reverend Michael G. Duca, Bishop of Baton Rouge; The Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of Houma-Thibodeaux; The Most Reverend J. Douglas Deshotel, Bishop of Lafayette; The Most Reverend Francis I. Malone, Bishop of Shreveport; The Most Reverend Robert W. Marshall Jr., Bishop-Elect of Alexandria; and The Most Reverend Fernand J. Cheri, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans.

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

(For interesting commentary on Catholic issues go to http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com/)  

October 21, 2020
USCCB chairman applauds actions to ensure access to spiritual care
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Religious Liberty, applauded yesterday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) that, in response to two complaints received, it has taken action to ensure that hospital patients have access to spiritual care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In each case, the hospital in question, citing safety protocols it instituted to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, had denied a request for a priest to visit a patient in order to administer a sacrament — in one case, baptism, and in the other, anointing of the sick. Relying on guidance from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services intended to ensure that patients retain access to spiritual care, HHS OCR worked expeditiously with the hospitals to find a safe way for patients to receive the sacraments.

Archbishop Wenski’s full statement follows:

“Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, gave us the sacraments to convey God’s grace and healing. As Pope Francis has noted, the sacraments are ‘Jesus Christ’s presence in us.’ Without them, we are distanced from God, the source of our being and meaning. So it is of paramount importance that our government, public health authorities, and health care providers strive to respect the liberty of the faithful to receive the sacraments.

“COVID-19 requires us to limit or modify our physical interactions to some degree, in order to reduce risks to physical health. Medical experts play a natural role in this effort but must avoid treating physical interactions in religious exercise as unnecessary or unacceptable risks because they are religious. A true understanding of human wellbeing accounts, as Jesus did, for the health of both body and soul.”

October 20, 2020
Pope names Bishop Burnette as Apostolic Administrator in Canada
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Kurt R. Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Slovakian Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Toronto, Canada. He will continue to serve as the Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic.
 
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on October 20, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 

October 14, 2020
Pope names Father William Byrne as Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Rev. William Draper Byrne, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as the Bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts has been a vacant see since June 2020.

Bishop-elect Byrne was born on September 26, 1964 in Washington, D.C., and ordained to the priesthood on June 25, 1994 for the Archdiocese of Washington. Father Byrne attended Georgetown Preparatory School in Rockville, Maryland and received a bachelor’s degree in English from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and received a Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology (STB) in 1992 and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in 1994, both from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

After ordination, Father Byrne was assigned to the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Maryland as parochial vicar where he served until 1995 when he was assigned as parochial vicar at the Shrine of Saint Jude in Rockville, Maryland. From 1999 until 2007, he served as the chaplain for the University of Maryland’s Catholic Student Center in College Park, Maryland. He was named pastor of St. Peter’s parish in Washington, D.C. in 2007 where he served until 2015. From 2009 until 2015, while serving as pastor of St. Peter’s, Father Byrne was also Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington. In 2015, Father Byrne was named pastor of Our Lady of Mercy parish in Potomac, Maryland where he currently serves.

Bishop-elect Byrne’s ministry also includes service on the Archdiocese of Washington’s Vocations Team (1998), Formation Board (2002-present), Priest Council (2003-2006), Priest Personnel Board (2006-2009), and Archdiocesan Administrative Board (2009-2015), as well as membership on the board of directors of St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home, Catholic Youth Organization, and Redemptoris Mater Seminary, as well as the advisory board of the Lay Leadership Institute.

 The Diocese of Springfield is comprised of 2,822 square miles in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has a total population of 828,667 of which 199,289 are Catholic.

October 10, 2020
USCCB committee chairman echoes Pope’s call for cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
WASHINGTON — Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement in the wake of conflict and violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan:
 
“In late September, fighting escalated in the Caucasus region over the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region within Azerbaijan that is populated primarily by ethnic Armenians. Hundreds of people, including civilians, have reportedly been killed and thousands displaced by the violence in recent weeks. Concerns are rising that involvement by other countries may further expand the conflict.
 
“My prayers are for a cessation of the violence and for a return to negotiations to resolve this conflict. In his Angelus devotion of September 27, Pope Francis called for ‘the parties in conflict to perform concrete acts of good will and brotherhood that may lead to resolve the problems, not with the use of force and arms but through dialogue and negotiation.’ The Caucasus is a far off and little-known region to most Americans. But those who suffer are always close to Our Lord and to those who follow Him. Let us be challenged and take heart in the words of the Holy Father’s new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, that calls us to that love ‘that transcends the barriers of geography and distance.’ I invite all Catholics and people of good will to join together in prayers for peace in the Caucasus.” 
 
October 9, 2020
USCCB president prays for life and safety as Hurricane Delta reaches Gulf Coast
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement praying for the lives and safety of all those in the path of Hurricane Delta as it makes landfall in the Gulf Coast:
 
“We pray to God today to keep secure and safe all those in the path of Hurricane Delta and to preserve and protect the invaluable gift of life. We pray especially for those in Louisiana and Texas who, tragically once again, will be most affected by this storm. We beseech the Good Lord for the safety of all families and their homes threatened by this hurricane. We pray especially for all the first responders who courageously risk their own lives to assist those in need. In keeping with the beautiful instruction expressed by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, I earnestly request all the faithful and all people of good will to stand in fraternity and solidary with those who are affected by this storm, in whatever way may be possible in the circumstances at hand.   
 
“We celebrated earlier this week the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and we pray especially for the intercession of our spiritual mother, for safety from the storm, for consolation in the face of the great suffering it will cause, and for continued courage in the resurrection of our Lord, who promises to guide us unceasingly to eternal life.”

October 7, 2020
U.S. Bishop chairman calls for reconsideration of end of COVID-relief talks
WASHINGTON — Following reports that President Trump has directed Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to cease negotiations on a COVID-relief package, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged reconsideration of the decision in light of the acute needs of millions of Americans for immediate assistance.

“Tens of millions of Americans urgently need help today.  They need help in getting enough food, paying the rent or mortgage, finding work, affording health care, and accessing good schools.  We have been imploring lawmakers since April to address these needs.

“Pope Francis, reflecting in his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti on the parable of the Good Samaritan, writes:

Now there are only two kinds of people: those who care for someone who is hurting and those who pass by; those who bend down to help and those who look the other way and hurry off. Here, all our distinctions, labels and masks fall away: it is the moment of truth. Will we bend down to touch and heal the wounds of others? Will we bend down and help another to get up? This is today’s challenge, and we should not be afraid to face it. In moments of crisis, decisions become urgent.[1]

“In this moment of crisis, let us build a society that bends down to help those in need. I ask the President to reverse his decision, and for all parties to return to negotiations as soon as possible.”

October 5, 2020
U.S. Bishops to Vote for Chairman of Eight Standing Committees
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for chairmen of eight standing committees before the 2020 General Assembly convenes virtually November 16-17.

In August, after consultation with the Holy See, the bishop-members of the USCCB voted to approve the convocation of this year’s November meeting in a virtual format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bishop-members voted to suspend the bylaws of the Conference to allow for paper, mail-in ballots for the election of the committee chairmen before the November meeting, with the results of the election to be announced during the meeting.

Since June, the Committee for Religious Liberty has had an acting chairman following the death of Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown who had been serving as chairman. At the conclusion of the bishops’ 2020 Fall General Assembly, the bishop elected to the Committee for Religious Liberty will assume the post of chairman, and the bishops elected for the remaining seven committees will serve for one year as chairmen-elect of the respective committees before beginning a three-year term as chairmen at the conclusion of the Fall General Assembly in 2021.

Nominees for chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and the chairman-elect of the Committees on Priorities and Plans, Catholic Education, Communications, Cultural Diversity in the Church, Doctrine, National Collections, and Pro-Life Activities are as follows (in alphabetical order):

For Chairman:

       • COMMITTEE FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
          Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York
          Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami

For Chairman-elect:

  • COMMITTEE ON PRIORITIES AND PLANS
    Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
    Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of Toledo
     
  • COMMITTEE ON CATHOLIC EDUCATION
    Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane
    Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta
     
  • COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS
    Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington
    Bishop Robert Reed of Boston
     
  • COMMITTEE ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE CHURCH
    Bishop Arturo Cepeda of Detroit
    Bishop Jorge Rodriguez-Novelo of Denver
     
  • COMMITTEE ON DOCTRINE
    Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria
    Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville
     
  • COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL COLLECTIONS
    Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City
    Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup
     
  • COMMITTEE ON PRO-LIFE ACTIVITIES
    Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver
    Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore
 
October 4, 2020
USCCB president offers Prayers for the Health of the President and First Lady
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement today offering prayers for the health of President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.
 
Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:
 
“I am praying for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. May God grant them full healing and may He keep their family safe and healthy. Let us keep praying for all who are suffering because of the novel coronavirus, especially the sick and dying and their families, and all those who have lost loved ones. May God give them hope and comfort, and may He bring an end to this pandemic.”
 
October 4, 2020
U.S. Bishop’s president welcomes Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Human Fraternity
WASHINGTON — Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement today welcoming Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship.
 
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
 
“On behalf of the Catholic Church in the United States, I welcome the Holy Father’s new encyclical letter on human fraternity. Like Laudato Si’ before it, Fratelli Tutti is an important contribution to the Church’s rich tradition of social doctrine.
 
“Pope Francis’ teaching here is profound and beautiful: God our Father has created every human being with equal sanctity and dignity, equal rights and duties, and our Creator calls us to form a single human family in which we live as brothers and sisters. 
 
“God’s plan for humanity, the Pope reminds us, has implications for every aspect of our lives — from how we treat one another in our personal relationships, to how we organize and operate our societies and economies.
 
“In analyzing conditions in the world today, the Holy Father provides us with a powerful and urgent vision for the moral renewal of politics and political and economic institutions from the local level to the global level, calling us to build a common future that truly serves the good of the human person.
 
“For the Church, the Pope is challenging us to overcome the individualism in our culture and to serve our neighbors in love, seeing Jesus Christ in every person, and seeking a society of justice and mercy, compassion and mutual concern.
 
“I pray that Catholics and all people of good will reflect on our Holy Father’s words here and enter into a new commitment to seek the unity of the human family.”

October 1, 2020
USCCB education chairman decries exclusion in revised HEROES Act
WASHINGTON — As soon as today, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider House Democrats’ new COVID-19 aid package, the revised Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill includes $225 billion for education, including $182 billion for K-12 schools. However, the bill provides no equitable services for students in non-public schools and maintains language that prohibits any funds from being used to provide financial assistance to non-public school children. This has the effect of excluding virtually any aid to students, families, and teachers in non-public schools.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Catholic Education, made the following statement:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Americans, including those whose children are enrolled in Catholic and non-public schools. It is unconscionable that this latest aid proposal would exclude these American children and the schools they attend from emergency aid that would ease the financial burdens they have borne as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic’s economic devastation has already led to the closure of at least 150 Catholic schools, many in low-income areas that serve children of color. Congress and the White House must come together to support emergency aid that prioritizes the health and safety of all students, including non-public school children and the nearly two million students enrolled in Catholic schools.”

The USCCB supports robust education aid for all students and has asked the Congress to include the bipartisan School Choice Now proposal in any COVID aid package. School Choice Now would provide emergency tuition scholarships to hard-hit families. The USCCB has also advocated for equitable services for Catholic and other non-public schools. Non-public schools have had access to equitable services since 1965 and have been included in all recent federal emergency aid bills until now.

September 30, 2020
Virtual Rosary intends to unite Catholics in moment of prayer for America
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will host a virtual rosary event on October 7, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB has called for this moment of prayer with the intention of uniting Catholics across the country at this time when there is much unrest and uncertainty.

Archbishop Gomez has invited several bishops, representing the various geographical regions of the United States, to pray a part of the rosary and it will premiere on the USCCB’s YouTube channel and Facebook page on Wednesday, October 7, at 2:00 p.m. CT.

The faithful are encouraged to join in this prayerful moment of unity for our country, to seek healing and to ask Our Lady, on her feast, to pray for us and help lead us to Jesus, and encouraged to share where they are praying from, to post a photo of their rosary, and to leave a prayer intention for our country. The USCCB will be using the hashtag #RosaryForAmerica on its social media.

Social media graphics in both English and Spanish may be found on the USCCB’s web page: https://www.usccb.org/rosary-america.

September 28, 2020
Catholic leaders call on president, Congress to support additional COVID-19 relief
WASHINGTON — In light of the current needs affecting our nation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed a joint letter along with leaders of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, the National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic Relief Services, the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities urging immediate action to provide relief for those in need.

Their letter to President Trump and congressional leaders emphasized the great hardships caused by COVID-19. Our nation is suffering a profound crisis, the leaders say, with over 200,000 lives  lost and millions of Americans facing uncertainly about how to provide for their basic needs which include food, housing, healthcare, and education. The letter calls lawmakers to action, “For those in need here and abroad, as well as for the common good, our nation’s leaders must do more.”

Catholic ministries remain committed to providing aid, healthcare, education, and spiritual care, but the letter recognizes that “all this is not enough.” A new COVID-19 stimulus bill is needed to alleviate people’s suffering. Underscoring the urgency of their request, the letter implores our nation’s leaders to “put aside partisan politics and prioritize human life and the common good by expediting negotiations to ensure not another day is lost in providing security and hope to people in need at home and abroad.”

September 26, 2020
USCCB chair applauds president for ensuring legal protection for babies
WASHINGTON — Last night, President Trump released an executive order to ensure that federally-funded hospitals are aware of, and compliant with, current legal protections intended to ensure that babies born prematurely or with disabilities receive a medical assessment and appropriate care. The executive order also calls for more funding for research to improve outcomes for babies born prematurely or with disabilities.
 
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:
 
“We applaud this action by President Trump to ensure that babies born prematurely or with disabilities receive a basic medical assessment and appropriate care as required by our federal laws.  In addition to our laws, basic human rights demand that no baby born alive should be abandoned and left to die due to being disabled or premature.  Every human life, regardless of its stage of development or condition, is precious and irreplaceable and deserves a shot at life.”
 
September 24, 2020
USCCB Pro-Life Chair launches Respect Life Month
WASHINGTON — October is Respect Life Month, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued a statement encouraging Catholics to allow “the Gospel of Christ to touch and transform our own hearts and the decisions we make.”

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“As Catholics in the United States, we will soon mark our annual observance of October as Respect Life Month. It is a time to focus on God’s precious gift of human life and our responsibility to care for, protect, and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters.

“This year’s theme, ‘Live the Gospel of Life,’ was inspired by the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, The Gospel of Life. Pope John Paul’s masterfully articulated defense of the right to life for children in their mothers’ wombs, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the marginalized is more relevant today than ever before.

“Last November, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed that ‘the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.’ While we noted not to ‘dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty,’ we renewed our commitment to protect the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to live.   

“This past January, I shared with Pope Francis that the bishops of the United States had been criticized by some for identifying the protection of the unborn as a preeminent priority. The Holy Father expressed his support for our efforts observing that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter. Pope Francis also said that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue, it is first and foremost a human rights issue. 

The Gospel of Life provides a blueprint for building a culture of life and civilization of love. The important work of transforming our culture begins by allowing the Gospel of Christ to touch and transform our own hearts and the decisions we make. May we strive to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps, caring for the most vulnerable among us. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may Our Lord grant us the grace to live courageously and faithfully his Gospel of life.”

New parish resources have been developed around the theme of “Living the Gospel of Life” and are available at www.respectlife.org. Respect Life Sunday falls on October 4.

September 18, 2020
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Bevard of Saint Thomas diocese
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Herbert A. Bevard, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. At the same time, he has appointed the Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory of Washington as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands is comprised of the Islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Saint John, and Water Island, and has a total population of 110,000 of which 30,000 are Catholic.

September 11, 2020
Pope Francis names three new auxiliary bishops of Chicago
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Jeffrey S. Grob, Rev. Kevin M. Birmingham, and Rev. Robert J. Lombardo, C.F.R. as Auxiliary Bishops of Chicago.
 
Father Jeffrey S. Grob has been appointed as Titular Bishop of Abora and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago; Father Kevin M. Birmingham has been appointed as Titular Bishop of Dolia and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago; and Father Robert J. Lombardo, C.F.R. (Franciscan Friars of the Renewal), has been appointed as Titular Bishop of Munaziana and Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. The appointments were publicized today in Washington, D.C. by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
The Archdiocese of Chicago is comprised of 1,411 square miles in the state of Illinois and has a total population of 5,900,365 of which 2,183,000 are Catholic. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich is the current archbishop of Chicago.
 

September 7, 2020
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop-elect Michel Mulloy of the Diocese of Duluth.

The resignation was publicized in Washington, D.C. on September 7, 2020 by Monsignor Dennis Kuruppassery, chargé d’affaires ad interim at the apostolic nunciature in Washington in the temporary absence of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

September 3, 2020
USCCB President Announces Emergency Collection in Wake of Hurricane and Wildfire 
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  (USCCB), has requested that bishops across the country consider taking up a voluntary special collection for the humanitarian, long-term recovery, and Church needs arising from the increasing number of natural disasters in the United States.

In his letter sent to bishops, Archbishop Gomez wrote, in part, “The traditional storm season has only just begun and already we have witnessed the devastating impact of Hurricane Laura and the California wildfires. Thousands of homes, businesses, and churches have been severely damaged or destroyed, and the impacts will be long-lasting.”

“We offer our prayers to families who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses. Archbishop Etienne, the chairman of our Committee on National Collections, has been in touch with several bishops to learn about their situations and to offer our prayers and our desire to be of assistance in this time of need.”

“The funds collected in this special appeal will become part of the Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund and will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church, as they and their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs for such necessities as water, food, shelter, and medical care, and aid in long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church. Funds will be used in response to Hurricane Laura and any other disasters that occur and will be distributed where they are most needed. However, if such purpose(s) become unnecessary, impractical or impossible to fill, USCCB may use such contributions for other emergency disaster relief where it is most needed as determined by the Committee on National Collections using its emergency response protocol.”

Archbishop Gomez acknowledged the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on parish and diocesan activities and its challenging impact on fundraising, but also expressed hope in the generosity of the faithful and their care for those in need.

More information about the Office of National Collections and its support of emergency relief efforts can be found at https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections.

August 28, 2020
U.S. bishops vote to hold November meeting virtually
WASHINGTON — Each November, the bishops of the United States gather for their General Assembly in Baltimore. Earlier this month after consultation with the Holy See, the bishop-members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to approve the convocation of this annual November meeting in a virtual format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a vote of 219 to 5 (1 abstaining), the bishops decided to meet in a virtual format rather than the usual in person meeting. The agenda will be finalized by the Administrative Committee of the USCCB, set to meet in mid-September.

Earlier this year, the Administrative Committee voted to cancel their Spring Assembly out of concern for the health, well-being, and safety of the bishops, staff, observers, guests, affiliates, volunteers, contractors, and media involved with the general meetings in the wake of the novel coronavirus. It marked the first cancellation of a plenary assembly in the Conference’s history.

The bylaws of the Conference state that a plenary assembly is to be convened at least once a year, and conducting the November meeting in virtual format fulfills this requirement. More information will be made available as the details of the virtual meeting are finalized and will be posted to https://www.usccb.org/meetings.