News and Press

Information and Announcements About The Diocese

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

July 10, 2024
Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa Helps the Church Thrive
WASHINGTON — Across the continent of Africa, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa is supporting Catholic ministries in countries where the people are strong in faith and devotion, but lacking in resources due to poverty, political instability, and civil conflict.
 
The Fund was established by the bishops of the United States in the spirit of their 2001 statement, “A Call to Solidarity with Africa,” as a way to help the growing African Church thrive and adapt to the pastoral needs and challenges it faces. Catholics across the United States can answer this call to “Stand with Africa” by participating in their diocese’s annual collection for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.
 
“Globalization, climate change, and poverty deeply affect the lives of African men and women every day. But amidst rapid societal change, the Catholic Church remains constant, proclaiming the timeless and hopeful message of the Gospel,” said auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith of Portland in Oregon, and chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa enables the Church to support those who are in dire need of pastoral care and to inspire those whose faith and hope may be flagging.”
 
Catholics wishing to participate in this annual collection are invited to give through their parish collection or e-offertory program on the date scheduled by their diocese.  #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the Church in Africa program year-round.
 
The Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa awarded more than $2.1 million for 75 projects that were proposed by the bishops of Africa in 2023.
  • Grants are helping Kenyans and Ugandans recover spiritually from the COVID pandemic, which led to the disintegration of marriages and family violence.
  • In Cameroon, cited by human rights groups for appalling prison conditions, Catholic prison chaplains learned to document abuses and advocate for reform.
  • The sisters of the Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa received theological and practical training to apply Catholic social teaching to a broad range of threats to human life, from human trafficking to environmental degradation.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the public sector is plagued by rampant financial corruption, diocesan and parish staff studied proper church administration and financial stewardship.
  • In South Africa and Namibia, ethnic groups received hymnals in the Xhosa and Rumanyo languages and a Bible in the language of the Rukwangali people.
“The Church helps people to praise God in their own language because God came to us speaking our languages,” said Bishop Smith. “He wants to walk with everyone through whatever hardships or heartaches we suffer. That is the purpose of the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa. Gifts to this fund make God’s love tangible.”
 
 
July 10, 2024
Bishop Zaidan Condemns Targeting of Civilians in Gaza
WASHINGTON — Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, has  expressed his solidarity with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in condemning the targeting of civilians. The Latin Patriarchate released a statement expressing grave concern over news of raids that were launched at the Sacred Family School in Gaza, which also reportedly included civilian casualties and destruction.
 
As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Zaidan said: “The Sacred Family School has been a place of refuge for hundreds of civilians, and I join the Latin Patriarchate in condemning any targeting of civilians in the Sacred Family School in Gaza. I urge in strongest terms that civilians remain outside the sphere of combat, while also praying for peace and an immediate end to hostilities.”
 
July 9, 2024
USCCB Welcomes the Release of the Instrumentum Laboris
WASHINGTON — Earlier today, the Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod issued the Instrumentun Laboris for for the Second Session of the 2021-2024 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. This document will form the basis for the discernment and discussion for the participants of the second session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held this October.
  
Following the interim stage of the 2021-2024 Synod which consisted of local listening sessions held across the world followed by discernment from local bishops’ conferences, reports were shared with the Holy See earlier this year. The reports served as the basis for the Instumentum Laboris.
 
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, who has been shepherding the synodal process in the United States, welcomed the document saying, “The Instrumentum Laboris presents the delegates and the People of God with the occasion to reflect deeply upon the grace of our relationship to God, the Most Holy Trinity, and to one another as incorporated into Trinitarian life in Christ by the Spirit. These relations are practically lived out in our local communities and in the Universal Church and are at the service of the Mission. The quality of our relations, rooted in charity, their theological and practical shape at all levels, are at the heart of synodal discernment and renewal in the Church. This document’s primary purpose is to inform the ongoing discernment that will continue in Rome this October. I encourage everyone to read and discern this document within your community in conversation with the insights and fruits of earlier local, national, and continental Synodal consultations.”  
 
The Instrumentum Laboris consists of five sections. The Introduction, followed by a section dedicated to the Foundations of the understanding of synodality. Next are three closely interwoven parts: (I) Relationships that sustain the Church; (II) Paths that support the dynamism of relationships; and (III) Places or the concrete contexts of lived relationships. Each of these sections will be the subject of prayer, exchange and discernment in one of the modules that will mark the work of the Second Session. 
  
Begun in October 2021, the “Synod on Synodality” was extended by Pope Francis through October 2024, to allow for more time for reflection and discernment from both the local and universal Church. The first part of the Universal Phase of the Synod was held in October 2023; and the second will be October 2024. More information regarding the 2021-2024 Synod, including the U.S. National Synthesis, North American Final Document, and the US Synthesis for the Interim Stage, is available at usccb.org/synod.
 

June 28, 2024
Archbishop Gudziak: Recognize the Inherent Dignity of Every Person
WASHINGTON — “Policies that criminalize homelessness are a direct contradiction of our call to shelter those experiencing homelessness and care for those in need,” Archbishop Borys Gudziak, responding to today’s Supreme Court decision in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Gloria Johnson, et al. The Court ruled it constitutional to arrest or fine individuals experiencing homelessness for resting or shielding themselves from the elements in a public place even when no safe shelter is available.

 
“Criminalizing homeless is not the response to caring for those in need. This decision fails to affirm the inherent dignity of a person, which is properly recognized by the constitution. Having to sleep in public with a blanket is the definition of being homeless. Ticketing and arresting people for it is a counterproductive approach to the problem of homelessness. Instead of punishing the most vulnerable among us, government should help provide shelter and economic and social programs that uphold and enhance the dignity of homeless persons. Such action would offer real opportunities for a better life and to remedy the deeper causes of homelessness.”
 
Archbishop Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief in this case and has long advocated for federal investments in safe, decent, and affordable housing along with homelessness services.
 
June 27, 2024
Emergency Medical Care for Women and Their Preborn Children Affirmed by Bishop Burbidge
WASHINGTON — “The Catholic faith and Catholic hospitals unequivocally allow for procedures that are necessary to save the life of a pregnant mother in a medical emergency, even when they tragically result in the unintended loss of her preborn child,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge explained in addressing Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
In dismissing Moyle v. United States without addressing the merits, the Court, for now, leaves in place a lower court ruling that the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) can in certain circumstances override state laws that protect preborn lives. Bishop Burbidge continued, “EMTALA was enacted to ensure access to emergency medical care for low-income persons, especially pregnant mothers, and the law expressly protects both the mother and her preborn child. Catholic hospitals have thus faithfully and effectively cared for patients under this law for decades, and we will work and pray to ensure that they remain free to do so. EMTALA should not be newly misconstrued to override state laws protecting life nor misunderstood to mandate the performance of direct abortions – which are always wrong – as opposed to morally acceptable procedures that are necessary to preserve a mother’s life but tragically would result in a loss of her child. We will continue to advocate for policies and practices that offer the best and most accessible care, especially in the most difficult of cases, to both women and preborn children.”
 
Bishop Burbidge of Arlington is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The USCCB joined an amicus curiae brief in this litigation which may be read here.
 
June 25, 2024
Pope Francis Appoints Father Scott Bullock as Bishop of Rapid City
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Reverend Scott E. Bullock, as Bishop of Rapid City. Bishop-elect Bullock is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and currently serves as pastor of Saint Edward Parish in Waterloo, Iowa. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
The following biographical information for Bishop-elect Bullock was drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
 
Father Bullock was born on October 26, 1963, in Royal Oak, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in engineering (1981) and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan (1985). He attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota where he studied pre-theology, and attended the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he earned a degree in sacred theology (1987-1991). He received a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (1997), and a master’s degree in english from Southern New Hampshire University (2015). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 1991, for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. 
 
Bishop-elect Bullock’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Saint Matthew parish in Cedar Rapids (1991-1994); associate pastor at Saint Edward parish in Waterloo (1994-1996); faculty member at Columbus High School in Waterloo (1994-1996); judge for the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Dubuque (1997-present); associate director of seminarians (1997-1998); sacramental priest for Saint Catherine parish (1997-2002); sacramental priest for Saint Donatus parish (1997-2002); director of seminarians (1998-2012); director of the recently ordained program (2001-2010); associate pastor of Saint Joseph parish in Bellevue (2002-2010); associate pastor of Saint Catherine parish in St. Catherine (2002-2010); associate pastor of Saint Donatus parish (2002-2010); rector of Saint Pius X Seminary in Dubuque (2003-2014); judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Dubuque (2010-2020); pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Dubuque (2011-2014); pastoral coordinator of Cedar Valley Catholic Schools in Waterloo (2014-present). Since 2014, Bishop-elect Bullock has served as pastor of Saint Edward parish in Dubuque.
 
The Diocese of Rapid City is comprised of 43,000 square miles in the state of South Dakota and has a total population of 230,087 of which 23,668, are Catholic.
 
June 25, 2024
Pope Francis Appoints Father Dennis Walsh as Bishop of Davenport
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Reverend Dennis G. Walsh, as Bishop of Davenport. Bishop-elect Walsh is a priest of the Diocese of Toledo, and currently serves as pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Delphos, Ohio. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
The following biographical information for Bishop-elect Walsh was drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
 
Father Walsh was born on July 16, 1965, in Lima, Ohio. He graduated from Saint Alphonsus College in Connecticut, with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s of divinity in theology from Washington Theological College in Washington, D.C. Bishop-elect Walsh entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.S.s.R), a religious order, on May 9, 1992. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 2000, and incardinated into the Diocese of Toledo on July 19, 2000.
 
Bishop-elect Walsh’s assignments while he was with the Redemptorist religious order includes: parochial vicar at Saint Michael parish in Baltimore, Maryland (1992-1994) and Immaculate Conception parish in Bronx, New York (1994-1998); and secretariat of finance for the Baltimore Redemptorist Province (1995). His parish assignments after incardination into the Diocese of Toledo includes: associate pastor at Saint Mary parish in Sandusky (1998-2002); pastor at Saint John parish in Defiance (2002-2007); and pastor of Saint Patrick of Heatherdowns parish in Toledo (2007-2015). He has served as pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Church in Delphos, and Saint John the Baptist parish in Landeck since 2015, and he has also served as pastor of Saint Patrick parish in Spencerville since 2016. Father Walsh’s ministry also includes serving as a member of the Catholic Foundation Board (2008-2011, 2017-2019); member of the Diocese of Toledo’s Priests’ Retirement Fund Board (2010-2022); member of the diocesan Presbyteral Council (2015-2022); dean of the Saint Junipero Serra Deanery (2015-2021); trustee of the Diocese of Toledo Health Benefits Trust (2016-2022); trustee of the Diocese of Toledo Property and Casualty Trust (2016-2022); member of the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Toledo (2006-2016, 2017-present); and a member of the Diocesan Catholic Investment Trust Committee (2019-present).
 
The Diocese of Davenport is comprised of 11,438 square miles in the state of Iowa and has a total population of 787,159 of which 85,437, are Catholic.

 

June 20, 2024
Bishop Burbidge Reflects on Anniversary of Dobbs Decision
WASHINGTON — On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion in all 50 states. In advance of the anniversary of the Court’s landmark decision, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged the faithful to engage elected officials on life issues, and reflected on the power of the Eucharist to transform hearts and culture:

“This anniversary calls us to reflect on where we have been and where we are going,” Bishop Burbidge stated. “This fall, as many as ten additional states will have abortion referenda on their ballots, allowing voters to enshrine ‘abortion rights’ and override existing pro-life safeguards. At the same time, Congress has been promoting many pro-abortion policies while largely ignoring our calls to prioritize maternal health and support for children and families in need.”
 
“In the spirit of faithful citizenship, I urge Catholics to engage their elected officials on all issues endangering life,” he said. “As we navigate this shifting political landscape, I cannot help but think the Holy Spirit has inspired our National Eucharistic Revival for such a time as this. Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist has the power to transform our own hearts and the heart of our culture.”
 
Read Bishop Burbidge’s full statement here.
 
June 20, 2024
World Refugee Day 2024: Hope Emerges from Human Tragedy
WASHINGTON — On World Refugee Day (June 20), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joins with others around the world in honoring refugees and the communities that welcome them. This annual observation serves as a poignant reminder of the millions of individuals and families forcibly displaced from their homes and the importance of durable protection mechanisms, such as the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, underscored the importance of refugee protection for the Catholic Church:
 
“On World Refugee Day, we reflect on the urgent need to promote the dignity and rights of refugees, as well as the positive contributions they make to our communities. As Catholics, we are called by the Gospel and Church teaching to embrace our brothers and sisters fleeing for their lives, offering them compassion, support, and solidarity. For generations, Catholics across the United States have embodied this through their commitment to refugee resettlement. In these efforts, we witness the resiliency of refugees, and we recognize in them a hope for new life, which resonates in the heart of every Christian. May this work of welcome continue to inspire within us a deeper awareness of our own journey toward everlasting life.”
 
Through its Department of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), the USCCB is one of ten national resettlement agencies partnering with the federal government on USRAP. This is one of the ways in which the Catholic community in the United States answers Christ’s call to welcome the stranger and advances the Church’s concern for human life and dignity.
 
For more information on World Refugee Day, please visit the Justice for Immigrants website.
 
For more information on the USCCB’s work related to migration and refugee resettlement, visit www.usccb.org/migration.
 

June 18, 2024
Bishops Approve Guidelines for Pastoral Ministries with Youth and Young Adults
WASHINGTON — Last week at their annual June Plenary Assembly in Louisville, Ky., the bishops of the United States took up a vote on a national pastoral framework to guide ministries with youth and young adults. The document, “Listen, Teach, Send” is intended for use by pastors, ministry leaders, and families pastors.

While an overwhelming number of bishops voted in favor of approving the framework at the time of the vote during the plenary, the measure fell two votes short of meeting the threshold of two-thirds of the Conference membership to pass. Therefore, the bishops eligible to vote who were not present at the time the vote were contacted this week with the opportunity to cast their vote. As of the close of business on Monday, June 17, ten additional votes were secured for the measure to pass with 188 in favor of, 4 against, and 4 abstentions.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, chaired by Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, developed the framework in response to “Christus vivit,” issued by Pope Francis in 2019 following the Synod on Young People. The framework is the fruit of an extensive listening and dialogue process with youth, young adults, and ministry leaders, with care taken to address the realities impacting youth and young adults across the United States. 

Bishop Barron cited the Emmaus story (Lk 24: 13-35) as the inspiration and guide to the development of the framework. “Jesus gave us a wonderful example of how to accompany youth and young adults on their paths of life through the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. This well-known and often cited biblical story has been emphasized by Pope Francis as a model for what happens in ministry work, and we also used it as our guide.

“Like the Lord on the road to Emmaus, we first listen to the stories, joys, and concerns of those we encounter along the way. We respond with dynamic, kerygmatic, and heartfelt teaching that shares the light of Christ and seeks to bring about a conversion of heart. And finally, we set the conditions in our ministries and families to send the young forth to follow God’s call for their lives, so that they might transform the world with love. This triptych of ‘listen, teach, and send’ serves as a solid foundation in our homes and churches from which we can build and engage young people.”

The primary audiences for the national framework are pastors, ministry leaders, and families. Two key goals are a revitalization of ministries with youth (teenagers) and young adults (those ages 18 to 30s) in Catholic faith communities and a renewal of intergenerational accompaniment in families.

In addition to the framework, the bishops also affirmed an introductory letter addressed directly to youth and young adults, assuring them of the love of God and the Church and encouraging them to engage more deeply with the Catholic faith.

The promulgation of “Listen, Teach, Send” comes on the fifth anniversary of Christus vivit, yet it is not the first time the U.S. bishops have spoken collectively on ministries with young people. Past documents addressing ministry with adolescents and/or youth have included: “A Vision for Youth Ministry” (1976); “Empowered by the Spirit” (1985) on college campus ministry; “Sons and Daughters of the Light” (1996) on ministry with young adults; and “Renewing the Vision” (1997). The USCCB also shared particular insights on pastoral juvenil hispana (Hispanic/Latino youth and young adult ministries) in “Missionary Disciples Going Forth with Joy: National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry” (2023).

The full text of Listen, Teach, Send, as well as many accompanying pastoral resources, will be posted to the USCCB website: https://www.usccb.org/topics/youth-and-young-adult-ministries. Resources will include bulletin inserts, prayer materials, webinars and workshops, background information on youth, young adults, and ministries with young people, and implementation guides for church and family settings.

 

June 18, 2024
Supreme Court Ruling Does Not Change Facts about Abortion Pills, says Bishop Burbidge
WASHINGTON — “The Court’s ruling late last week on procedural grounds does not change the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] repeatedly and unlawfully cut corners to put chemical abortion pills on the market and then to reduce the safety protocols around them – putting the health of women and girls at risk,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.
 
In its decision on Thursday, the Court determined that the pro-life health care professionals who brought the lawsuit did not have the legally required standing to challenge the FDA’s actions that have now made the abortion drug, mifepristone (previously known as RU-486), widely available.
 
Bishop Burbidge continued, “From my heart, I thank all of the faithful who joined Archbishop Broglio and myself in prayer regarding this important case. We will continue to pray, to advocate for the health and safety of women and the preborn, and to lovingly serve mothers in need so that they may feel prepared to welcome their children.”
 
The USCCB had joined an amicus curiae brief in the case in February. On the eve of oral arguments in March, Bishop Burbidge and Archbishop Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and president of the USCCB, offered a nationwide invitation to prayer for the case and for the lives of women and their children. For more information on chemical abortion (sometimes called “medical abortion” or “medication abortion” by its proponents), the USCCB has multiple fact sheets available online.
 
June 17, 2024
Annual Survey Provides Insight into State of Permanent Diaconate in the Church
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations has released its annual survey, A Portrait of the Permanent Diaconate in 2023: A Study for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since 2005, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University has conducted this survey which provides important statistics and forecasting trends on the state of the permanent diaconate in the Church in the United States. 
 
Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations expressed his gratitude for the service of permanent deacons in the Church: “An important part of the life of deacons has been their service of the poor or vulnerable by bringing them the love of Christ and guidance. The faithful and tireless witness of deacons is greatly appreciated, and it challenges each of us to strive to serve our neighbor better. I invite the faithful to pray and support deacons in their efforts to spread the Word of God and serve those who are many times the least, the last and the lost.” 
 
The survey utilized contact information from the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) and was sent to the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in the Latin and Eastern Rite (arch)dioceses and eparchies. In total, CARA received responses from 128 of the 185 (arch)dioceses/eparchies whose bishops are members of the USCCB and have an active Office of Deacons, for a 69% response rate. 
  • The estimated number of permanent deacons in active ministry was 13,718 in 2023, roughly 69% of all permanent deacons in the Latin Church. 
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago had the greatest number of permanent deacons (827) followed by Galveston-Houston (346), New York (357), and Joliet in Illinois (307). 
  • There were 587 men ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2023. Since 2014, the estimated number of ordinations averaged 613. 
  • Most active deacons are between 60-69 years old (42%) followed by deacons 70 and older (36%). 
  • Most permanent deacons are Caucasian/white (73%) followed by Hispanic/Latino (20%), Asian/Pacific Islander (3%), African American/black (3%), and Native American/other (1%). 
  • Active permanent deacons most commonly serve in a parish ministerial position, such as a DRE or youth minister (23%), followed by a parish non-ministerial position, such as administration or business (20%), diocesan non-ministerial positions (12%). Additionally, 9% were entrusted with the pastoral care of one or more parishes, 8% serve in prison ministry and hospital ministry. 
The full survey conducted by CARA may be accessed here.
 
June 14, 2024
Recap of U.S. Bishops’ Spring Plenary in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered this week for their Spring Plenary Assembly in Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout the gathering, the bishops spent time in prayer and fraternal dialogue with one another.
 
The public portion of the assembly began with the bishops sending prayers and a message to the Holy Father, followed by an address by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the USCCB, also addressed the bishops.
 
The bishops received updates on the following topics: the 2021-2024 Synod on Synodality; the bishops’ national mental health campaign; the National Eucharistic Revival and the National Eucharistic Congress; the Religious Worker Visa Program, and the National Review Board.
 
During their meeting, the bishops held a consultation on advancing the cause for beatification and canonization for Adele Brise, a lay woman who taught and catechized to children in Wisconsin and founded the Sisters of Good Help, a community of lay women. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.
 
The bishops discussed and voted on three action items related to liturgical texts pertaining to the Liturgy of the Hours, presented by the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship:
  • The bishops voted 177 votes in favor, 3 votes against, and 1 abstention to approve the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) Supplementary Texts to the Liturgy of the Hours. The approval of this requires a two-thirds vote of the Latin Church members, with subsequent confirmatio from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
  • The bishops voted 180 in favor, 2 votes against, and 0 abstentions to approve the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) Additional Texts for the Liturgy of the Hours. The approval of this requires a two-thirds vote of the Latin Church members, with subsequent confirmatio and recognitio by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
  • The bishops voted 178 in favor, 4 votes against, and 0 abstentions to approve the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) Gray Book of the 2021 Roman Missal-Liturgy of the Hours Supplement. The approval of this requires a two-thirds vote of the Latin Church members, with subsequent confirmatio by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
They also reviewed, discussed, and voted on two sets of guidelines to assist with specific ministries:
  • Listen, Teach, Send: A National Pastoral Framework for Ministries with Youth and Young Adults,” presented by the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth is a guiding document for use by pastors, ministry leaders, and families in an effort to revitalize ministries with youth and young adults. While an overwhelming number of bishops voted in favor of approving the framework, it was two votes short of meeting the threshold of two-thirds of the Conference membership to pass. The bishops eligible to vote who were not present at the time the vote was taken will be contacted and given the opportunity to cast their vote next week.
  • Keeping Christ’s Promise: A Pastoral Framework for Indigenous Ministry, a plan to assist dioceses and Catholic Native communities in their ministry. The bishops voted 181 in favor, 2 against, and 3 abstentions to approve the framework, which is intended to assist dioceses and local Catholic Native communities to develop their own pastoral plans that are sensitive to the vast cultural differences among the various communities.
The Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis provided an update on the Task Force for a National Directory for Instituted Ministries. They put forth two votes before the body that required a simple majority vote of bishops present:
  • A friendly amendment to allow the presentation of an interim document on the catechist: the bishops voted 136 in favor, 22 against, and 14 abstentions to pass.
  • Writing of a National Directory on Instituted Ministry: the bishops voted 156 in favor, 8 against, and 11 abstentions to pass.
Prior to the public sessions, the bishops spent time reflecting on positioning the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) for the future. For a half-century, grants made possible through the annual CCHD collection have gone to help community organizations working to empower people striving to overcome poverty. While the bishops met behind closed doors in an executive session, Archbishop Broglio provided an update at a press event without breaking the confidentiality of the bishops’ discussion saying simply: “The bishops had a good discussion, including time to share in small groups. The CCHD subcommittee will take this feedback and discern the best way to incorporate it into the future work of the CCHD. In all these discussions, the bishops’ ongoing commitment to the vital work of fighting poverty was clear.”
 
News updates, texts of addresses and presentations, and other materials from the 2024 spring plenary are posted to: www.usccb.org/meetings.
 
June 14, 2024
U.S. Bishops Approve New Guidelines for Pastoral Ministry with Native Peoples
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At their annual June Plenary Assembly, the Catholic bishops of the United States approved a national pastoral framework to guide dioceses and those engaged in ministry with Native and Indigenous peoples. The document, Keeping Christ’s Sacred Promise: Pastoral Framework for Indigenous Ministry, intended for use by dioceses, Catholic Native organizations, schools, missions, and parishes, was approved by the full body of bishops in a vote of 181 to 2 with 3 abstentions.
 
The document was presented to the body of bishops for the vote by Bishop Chad Zielinski of New Ulm, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. “The framework encourages bishops, dioceses and local Catholic Indigenous communities to work together, using the framework as a reference while developing their own local pastoral plans that are sensitive to the vast cultural differences among the various Native and Indigenous Tribes,” said Bishop Zielinski. “It covers a broad range of issues and concerns such as missionary discipleship, evangelization, the role of catechesis, sacramental and liturgical questions, youth and young adult ministries, and social justice issues. And it also addresses difficult topics such as reconciliation for any mistreatment and wrongs done during the boarding school period,” he continued.
 
After a dialogue with Native Catholic leaders in 2019, the subcommittee responded to the needs raised by developing a framework to guide Native and Indigenous communities in revitalizing pastoral ministry. The pastoral framework is the result of extensive consultation and dialogue over the last several years by the subcommittee with the leadership of Catholic Native groups.
 
The full text of Keeping Christ’s Sacred Promise: A Pastoral Framework for Indigenous Ministry is currently posted here, and the formatted version will be posted to the USCCB’s website on the page of the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs shortly: https://www.usccb.org/committees/native-american-affairs.
 
June 14, 2024
U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of a Cause of Beatification and Canonization for Lay Woman
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At their annual June Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on a possible cause of beatification and canonization for Adele Brise. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops expressed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.
 
The following brief biography of Adele Brise was drawn from information provided by the Diocese of Green Bay:
 
Adele Brise was born on January 30, 1831, in Dion-le-Val, Belgium, to Lambert and Catherine Brise. Despite losing sight in one eye from a childhood accident, she was known for her cheerful demeanor. Adele pledged to the Blessed Virgin Mary to become a religious sister after her first Holy Communion, a goal that continued even after her family immigrated to the United States in 1855. Settling in Wisconsin, Adele remained committed to her religious calling.
 
In 1859, Adele experienced several apparitions of a woman dressed in white whom she later identified as Mary, the Queen of Heaven. She instructed Adele to become a teacher of religion. Adele began a door-to-door ministry, eventually founding a community of laywomen known as the Sisters of Good Help. They chose to live following the Franciscan way of life, without taking formal vows and focusing on religious education. The community faced many challenges, including the Peshtigo fire of 1871, which threatened their chapel and school. Historically considered one of the deadliest forest fires, these buildings were spared and considered by many to be a miraculous and divine response to prayers.
 
Adele continued her mission tirelessly, teaching and catechizing children, and creating a lasting impact on her community until her death on July 5, 1896. Her legacy of devout service is summarized by the inscription on her headstone: “Sacred Cross, Under thy Shadow I Rest and Hope.”
 
The Marian apparitions experienced by Adele in 1859 were given formal and official approval by Bishop Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay in December 2010, and the site of the apparitions was designated as a national shrine by the U.S. bishops in 2015, today known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion.
  
May 28, 2024 
U.S. Bishops Release National Synthesis for the Interim Stage of 2021-2024 Synod
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued the National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Interim Stage. The synthesis marks the completion of the Interim Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.  
 
Following the conclusion of the First Session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod in October 2023, the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops invited episcopal conferences to engage in a listening process in response to the synthesis report A Synodal Church in Mission.   
 
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, has been leading the synod process for the Conference and shepherded the preparation of the synthesis. “Participation in this Interim Stage has been an opportunity to deepen our ongoing formation in synodality and in the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “It is with deep gratitude that I share this synthesis which now becomes part of our ongoing record of theological and pastoral reflection together.” 
 
The USCCB invited dioceses and eparchies to hold two to three listening sessions during Lent and submit a three-to-five-page document to the U.S. Synod Team. Additionally, the U.S. Synod Team created three working groups on participation in Church life, social justice, and vocations, bringing bishops, USCCB staff, diocesan synod leaders, theologians, experts, and pastoral ministers. The resulting diocesan and working group reports served as the source material for this synthesis, submitted to the Holy See earlier this month.   
 
The National Synthesis for the Interim Stage will, along with the contributions of episcopal conferences worldwide, form the basis of the work to be engaged by the Catholic Church until the Second Session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod in October 2024.  
 
Bishop Flores expressed, “This document reflects the sense that there exists among Catholics in the United States a deep desire to rebuild and strengthen our communion as the Body of Christ.  Rebuilding trust where it is frayed involves practicing the humanly graceful art of listening to each other and speaking together. The more we do this, the more we realize that it is the Lord who never fails us.”  
 
The National Synthesis for the Interim Stage is available in English and Spanish. More information about the 2021-2024 Synod is available at usccb.org/synod. 
 
May 21, 2024
Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Joseph Williams as Coadjutor Bishop of Camden
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Joseph A. Williams, auxiliary bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as Coadjutor Bishop of Camden.
 
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan is the current bishop of Camden, and the appointment as coadjutor bishop confers on Bishop Williams the right of succession for the Diocese of Camden.
 
Bishop Williams’ biography may be found here.
 
The Diocese of Camden is comprised of 2,691 square miles in the State of New Jersey and has a total population of 1,365,458 of which 311,489, are Catholic.
 
May 18, 2024
Pope Francis Sends Cardinal Tagle as Special Envoy to National Eucharistic Congress
WASHINGTON — As the Catholic Church in the United States prepares to celebrate its first National Eucharistic Congress in over half a century, Pope Francis will send His Eminence Luis Cardinal Tagle as his special envoy. His Eminence currently serves as Pro-Prefect of the Section for the First Evangelization and New Particular Churches of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Evangelization. Cardinal Tagle will celebrate the closing Mass of the 10th National Eucharistic Congress being held July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the appointment by Pope Francis “a gift to the Eucharistic Congress.” Archbishop Broglio said Cardinal Tagle’s “deep passion for apostolic mission rooted in the Eucharist is sure to have an inspirational impact for everyone attending the Congress,” adding that the Cardinal knows the United States well, having earned a doctorate in theology at The Catholic University of America in 1991.
 
Looking to bring the Catholic Church together for a national celebration of the mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, the bishops of the United States approved the National Eucharistic Congress as a milestone moment in the three-year National Eucharistic Revival with the vision that it would flow into the final year of the Revival, the Year of Missionary Sending. “The Congress will give public witness to the Church’s core identity rooted in the Eucharist, and we pray that it will inspire a renewed sense of mission as we live out the gifts of unity and charity.  May it be the catalyst for a continued deepening of our faith in the Real Presence,” said Archbishop Broglio.
 
For more information on the Eucharistic Revival, Pilgrimage, and Congress, please visit https://www.eucharisticrevival.org.
  
May 7, 2024
Pope Francis Appoints Father Beckman as Bishop of Knoxville
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Reverend James Mark Beckman, as Bishop of Knoxville. Bishop-elect Beckman is a priest of the Diocese of Nashville, and currently serves as pastor of Saint Henry parish in Nashville, Tennessee. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
The following biographical information for Bishop-elect Beckman was drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
 
Father Beckman was born on October 19, 1962, in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He graduated from Saint Ambrose College Seminary in Davenport, Iowa, with a bachelor’s degree in history (1984). He attended The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium where he earned a master’s degree in religious studies (1984-1989). He was ordained to the priesthood on July 13, 1990, for the Diocese of Nashville. 
 
Bishop-elect Beckman’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Nashville (1990-1991); teacher, (1990-1996), and then associate principal for pastoral affairs at Father Ryan High School in Nashville (1991-1996); pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Springfield (1996-2002); administrator at Saint Michael Mission parish in Cedar Hill (1996-2002); and pastor at Saint Matthew parish in Franklin (2002-2015). Since 2015, Bishop-elect Beckman has served as pastor of Saint Henry parish in Nashville.
 
Bishop-elect Beckman’s additional service for the Diocese of Nashville has included: member of the presbyteral council (1993-2003; 2008-2013); member of the diocesan clergy personnel board (1995-2000); director of the diocesan youth office (1996-2002); priests’ vocation advisory council (1998-2000); member of the college of consultors (1993-2003, 2008-2013); dean of the northwest deanery (2001-2002) and central deanery (2008-2013); chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Council #11925 (2003-2011); state chaplain for the Knights of Columbus (2004-2005); chair of the priest personnel board (2018-present).
 
The Diocese of Knoxville is comprised of 14,242 square miles in the state of Tennessee and has a total population of 2,538,487, of which 71,274 are Catholic.
 
May 6, 2024
Pope Francis Appoints Monsignor McDermott as Bishop of Burlington
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor John J. McDermott, as Bishop of Burlington. Bishop-elect McDermott is a priest of the Diocese of Burlington, and currently serves as the Diocesan Administrator. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 6, 2024, by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
The following biographical information for Bishop-elect McDermott was drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
 
Monsignor McDermott was born March 19, 1963, in New Jersey. He attended Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina. Bishop-elect McDermott earned a master’s in divinity and a master’s degree in theology and scripture from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as well as a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (2004). Monsignor McDermott was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Burlington on June 3, 1989.
 
Bishop-elect McDermott’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saint Augustine parish in Montpelier (1989-1992); parochial vicar at Saint Mark parish in Burlington, and chaplain at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington (1992-1996); pastor at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish, and chaplain at Middlebury College in Middlebury (1996-2001); and the Catholic Center at the University of Vermont-Burlington (2001-2015). Since 2015, Bishop-elect McDermott has served as the administrator of Christ the King-Saint Anthony parish in Burlington.
 
Bishop-elect McDermott’s priestly ministry has included service on a number of committees and boards, including the diocesan finance council, the diocesan administrative board, and the board of trustees for St. Michael’s College in Colchester. He has also served the Diocese of Burlington as vice chancellor (2004-2005); chancellor (2005-2006); vicar general and moderator of the curia (2006-present); apostolic administrator during sede vacante (2014); and diocesan administrator during sede vacante (2023).
 
The Diocese of Burlington is comprised of 9,135 square miles in the state of Vermont and has a total population of 645,570 of which 100,000 are Catholic.
    
April 19, 2024
Bishop Rhoades: No Employer Should be Forced to Participate in Abortion
WASHINGTON — “No employer should be forced to participate in an employee’s decision to end the life of their child,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty said today, in response to newly released regulations by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The regulations implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which itself provides helpful accommodations to pregnant women in the workplace. The EEOC, however, has defied Congress’s intent and added a mandate for employers, including religious employers, to provide accommodations, such as leave time, for abortion.
 
Said Bishop Rhoades, “The bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, as written, is a pro-life law that protects the security and physical health of pregnant mothers and their preborn children. It is indefensible for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to twist the law in a way that violates the consciences of pro-life employers by making them facilitate abortions. No employer should be forced to participate in an employee’s decision to end the life of their child.”

The USCCB submitted formal comments to the EEOC in September 2023 (available here) when the federal agency proposed these regulations.
 
 
March 8, 2024
Bishop Burbidge speaks out on IVF issues
WASHINGTON — Each person’s life is a unique gift and has immeasurable value from the moment of conception, said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, and it is for that precise reason that the Catholic Church cannot condone procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) that result in a loss of life at a massive scale. In response to the growing attention to assisted reproductive technologies, Bishop Burbidge, as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, spoke about the gift of life.

Recognizing the desire to have children is good and given the challenges many couples face, Bishop Burbidge called for greater focus on ethical treatments addressing the root causes of infertility. Additionally, other approaches that may be sought by some couples seeking to expand their families, such as foster care and adoption, should be offered more support. The chairman’s full statement follows: 

“The national conversation in the news about laws related to in vitro fertilization and other technologies creates an opportunity and a necessity to speak about protecting the gift of life itself. Each of our lives has immeasurable value from the moment of conception. In this way, we know that the deeply-rooted desire to bring about new life by having children is good. As priests and bishops, we grieve with and accompany in hope and love the increasing number of families suffering with an experience of infertility. We also encourage restorative, often-overlooked, treatments that can help to address the root causes of infertility.

“It is precisely because each person’s life is a unique gift that we cannot condone procedures that violate the right to life or the integrity of the family. Certain practices like IVF do both, and they are often not effective even for their own purposes.

“Children have a right to be born to their married mother and father, through a personal act of self-giving love. IVF, however well-intended, breaches this bond and these rights and, instead, treats human beings like products or property. This is all the more true in situations involving anonymous donors or surrogacy. This of course does not mean that our brothers and sisters who were conceived by IVF are somehow ‘less than’ anyone else. Every person has immeasurable value regardless of how he or she was conceived – and that applies, absolutely, to all children created through IVF, the majority of whom have not been and may never be born.

“The fact is that, in the IVF industry, many embryos are never transferred to a mother’s womb, but are destroyed or indefinitely frozen, and, of those who are transferred, only a fraction survive to be eventually born. All told, there are millions of human beings who have been killed or potentially permanently frozen by this industry. This cannot be the answer to the very real cross of fertility challenges. In efforts to bring about new life, we cannot turn our face from the many more lives that are cut short and extinguished in the process.”

Bishop Burbidge was joined by three other bishop chairmen in a letter to the U.S. Senate on February 28, opposing the Access to Family Building Act and similar legislation that would greatly widen the use of various problematic assisted reproductive technologies nationwide. For more on infertility, including ethical restorative reproductive medicine and research, see https://www.usccb.org/topics/natural-family-planning/infertility.

LAKE CHARLES — Tickets are on sale now for Veritas! Early Bird pricing of $30 is available through August 31.
 
This year's theme is "The Life of Virtue" featuring keynote speaker Father Aquinas Guilbeau, OP, a native of Louisiana and current Vice President of Mission and Ministry for the Catholic University of America. His namesake, St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote extensively and insightfully on the concept of human nature and the virtues.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Rev. Michael J. Barras, 76, on Friday, July 12, at 2 p.m. from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Lake Charles at the corner of Bilbo and Kirby streets.  The Most Reverend Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles,will be the Main Celebrant with Reverend Whitney Miller giving the Homily. Father Barras, a retired priest of the Diocese of Lake Charles, died on Sunday, July 7.