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U.S. Bishops Establish New Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

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

"Recent events have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to inflict our nation. The establishment of this new ad hoc committee will be wholly dedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothers and sisters," says Cardinal DiNardo.    

Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been appointed by Cardinal DiNardo as Chairman of the committee. The membership of the committee will be finalized in the coming days and its mandate will be confirmed at the first meeting, expected very shortly.

"I look forward to working with my brother bishops as well as communities across the United States to listen to the needs of individuals who have suffered under the sin of racism and together find solutions to this epidemic of hate that has plagued our nation for far too long," says Bishop Murry. "Through Jesus' example of love and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what we have witnessed over the past weeks and months as a nation. Through listening, prayer and meaningful collaboration, I'm hopeful we can find lasting solutions and common ground where racism will no longer find a place in our hearts or in our society."

The new ad hoc committee has been formed upon the unanimous recommendation of the U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans. The establishment of the committee will also welcome and support the implementation of the pastoral letter on racism anticipated for release in 2018. The formation of the ad hoc committee also follows the conclusion of the work of the Peace in Our Communities Task Force. The Task Force was formed in July 2016 by then USCCB President, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in response to racially-related shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.

Almost 40 years ago, the Bishops of the United States wrote a Pastoral Letter on Racism. Among the many things, they discussed was the fact that "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, U.S. Bishops Executive Committee, USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans, Charlottesville, solutions, Peace in Communities Task Force, Pastoral Letter on Racism, human family, human dignity.

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WASHINGTON, August 23, 2017– Following is a statement from Cardinal DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, upon the establishment of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

In His Image

As Sacred Scripture teaches, each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). The mission of the Church is to teach and to witness to the intrinsic dignity of the human person. Marches by hate groups such as the KKK and Neo-Nazis are outrageous to the sensible mind and directly challenge the dignity of human life. It is time for us to recommit ourselves to eradicating racism.

Last week, after the evil events in Charlottesville, I convened various consultations with bodies of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Based on that consultation, I am today announcing the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. I am grateful to Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown for accepting the chairmanship of this Ad Hoc Committee.   Bishop Murry will speak more on the mandate of the Committee at the press event later today.

Prejudice can lurk unnoticed in the soul. Without prayerful reflection, it can feed on the fear of what is different. It can grow into overt racism. But self-reflection is not enough. It must lead to action. May the work of the USCCB serve as a call to conversion for those hiding behind white hoods and Nazi symbols. The vile chants of violence against African Americans and other people of color, the Jewish people, immigrants, and others offend our faith, but unite our resolve. Let us not allow the forces of hate to deny the intrinsic dignity of every human person. Let the nation and world see the one body of Christ move to the defense of our sisters and brothers who are threatened.

May today be a new beginning.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
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USCCB Migration Chairman Deeply Disappointed by Administration’s Decision to Terminate the Central American Minors Parole Program

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, expresses his opposition to the Administration's decision to end parole processing for individuals in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who apply to enter the U.S. through the Central American Minors (CAM) program. Bishop Vasquez, who is currently in El Salvador, says that the elimination of this program puts the lives of vulnerable children at risk for greater harm.

Bishop Vásquez' full statement follows:

"My brother bishops and I are deeply disappointed by the Administration's decision to terminate the critical parole option of the CAM program.  In terminating the parole option, the Administration has unnecessarily chosen to cut off proven and safe alternatives to irregular and dangerous migration for Central American children, including those previously approved for parole who are awaiting travel in their home countries. Pope Francis has called on us to protect migrant children, noting that "among migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group." We supported the CAM program, which included both refugee and parole options, precisely because it provided a legal and organized way for children to migrate to the United States and reunify with families. Terminating the parole program will neither promote safety for these children nor help our government regulate migration.

In El Salvador, we have seen first-hand the very real problems that these children face. The Church, with its global presence, learns of this violence and persecution every day, in migrant shelters and in repatriation centers. We know that children must be protected. They must be given the ability to remain in their home countries and find opportunities, but they must also be able to leave and migrate safely to find protection when there are no alternatives. The CAM parole program offered part of that solution - a legal way to migrate for the most vulnerable of children."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, MRS, Central American Minors program, CAM, violence, persecution, migrants, migrant children, parole program, migration.

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U.S. Bishops Conference Chairman Statement in Response to Barcelona Terror Attack

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

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

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

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

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Oscan Cantu, terror attack, Barcelona, innocent civilians, terrorism, peace.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
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USCCB President and Domestic Justice Chairman Call for Prayer and Unity in Response to Deadly Charlottesville Attack

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, are calling on all people of goodwill to join in prayer and unity today in response to yesterday's violent protest and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Full statement follows:

 "As we learn more about the horrible events of yesterday, our prayer turns today, on the Lord's Day, to the people of Charlottesville who offered a counter example to the hate marching in the streets. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country. 

We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love's victory over every form of evil is assured.  At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives.  Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Charlottesville attack, racism, white supremacy, neo-nazism, violent ideology, witness, peace, good will.  

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Calls for Calm Amid Violent Protests in Charlottesville

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement in response to the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia that has left three dead and at least 19 injured.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"On behalf of the bishops of the United States, I join leaders from around the nation in condemning the violence and hatred that have now led to one death and multiple injuries in Charlottesville, Virginia. We offer our prayers for the family and loved ones of the person who was killed and for all those who have been injured. We join our voices to all those calling for calm.

The abhorrent acts of hatred on display in Charlottesville are an attack on the unity of our nation and therefore summon us all to fervent prayer and peaceful action. The bishops stand with all who are oppressed by evil ideology and entrust all who suffer to the prayers of St.Peter Claver as we approach his feast day. We also stand ready to work with all people of goodwill for an end to racial violence and for the building of peace in our communities.

Last year a Task Force of our Bishops Conference under Archbishop Wilton Gregory proposed prayers and resources to work for unity and harmony in our country and in our Church. I am encouraging the bishops to continue that work especially as the Feast of St. Peter Claver approaches."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Charlottesville attack, national unity. Evil ideology, St. Peter Claver, racial violence, peace, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, unity, harmony, country.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Nearly $1.4 million in funding approved for Church in Africa, Including Pastoral Care for Migrants and Youth Summer Vocations Camp

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

Projects approved to receive funding include:

  • In Angola, the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CEPAMI) is a commission under the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé that promotes the pastoral care of migrant communities. CEPAMI will provide training to about 40 leaders over two weeks. With this training, leaders will be able to assist, guide and organize the pastoral work for migrant communities in the 19 dioceses of Angola.

  • In West Africa, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Liberia will organize a summer camp for 100 youth from each of the three dioceses located in that country. Many of the youth are from poor families and have few resources. The country itself has suffered greatly from a 14 year civil war and the Ebola outbreak. This camp will provide a place for the children to stay, pray, receive basic catechism lessons and play together.

"Our brothers and sisters on the African continent often face challenges different from what we know in the United States, but we are united by the same faith," said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. "The generosity of Catholics in the United States to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa has supported these communities as they grow and strengthen their faith in the wake of wars, migration, and disease."

Additional areas of funding include seminarian and religious formation, evangelization, family ministries and lay leadership training.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, grants, training, pastoral care, Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa

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Pope Names Bishop Emmanuel Challita as Bishop of Chaldean Eparchy in San Diego; and Bishop Frank Kalabat of Detroit as Apostolic Administrator of Eparchy in Toronto, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, Bishop Emmanuel Challita, Chaldean Catholic, Eparchy of Mar Addai, Toronto, Bishop Frank Kalabat, Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, Detroit, Chaldean, Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle

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Pope Names Priest as New Auxiliary Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Andriy Rabiy as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. Father Rabiy, 41, currently serves as vicar general of the archeparchy and as pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, August 8, by Msgr. Walter Erbì, Chargé d' Affaires, at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.

Andriy Rabiy was born October 1, 1975 in Lviv, Ukraine. He pursued seminary studies at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest in 2001.

Bishop-elect Rabiy holds a bachelor degree in philosophy (1999) and a licentiate in Canon Law (2008) from Catholic University of America; and a master of divinity degree (2002), from the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington D.C.

After ordination, Bishop-elect Rabiy held pastoral assignments at St. Michael the Archangel parish, Hillsborough, New Jersey, and at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2002-2005. Other assignments after ordination include: pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, 2008-present; coordinator, Sexual Abuse Prevention and Youth Protection Office, 2008-2015; member, Administrative Board, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, 2008-present; vicar general, 2009-present; vice-chancellor, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial College of Consultors, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial Presbyteral Council, 2011-present.

The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and parts of eastern Pennsylvania. It has a total Catholic population of 13,051. Archbishop Stefan Sokora has been the archbishop since 2001. The archeparchy currently has another auxiliary bishop, Bishop John Bura.

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Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, bishop-elect, Andriy Rabiy, auxiliary, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, Archbishop Stefan Sokora, Bishop John Bura

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New Bishop of Syro-Malankara Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace of the U.S. and Canada is Named; First Bishop of New Eparchy in Parassala, India also Named

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

The Holy Father has also given assent to the nomination of the Most Reverend Philipose Mar Stephanos Thattathil, up until now auxiliary bishop of Tiruvalla, India, as the next bishop of the Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace of the United States and Canada.

The appointments were publicized in Washington, August 5, by Msgr. Walter Erbi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in the United States.

Bishop Philipose Mar Stephanos was born May 9, 1952 in Pathanamthitta, India and was ordained to the priesthood on April 27, 1979. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Tiruvalla on January 25, 2010 and installed on February 9, 2010.

Bishop Eusebius was born June 6, 1961 and ordained a priest, December 29, 1986. He was ordained a bishop on September 21, 2010 at Saint Mary's Cathedral, Trivandrum and was installed as the first bishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Apostolic Exarchate in the USA. He was later appointed as the first bishop of the then newly established Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace for the Syro-Malaknara faithful in USA and Canada on December 18, 2015 and was installed as its bishop, January 23, 2016.

The Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary Queen of Peace is based in Elmont, New York and has around 11,500 members with 16 parishes in the United States and Canada.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is centered in southern Indian and has about 500,000 faithful. Parassala is located in the southern-most part of this region.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Most Reverend Thomas Mar Eusebius Naickamparambil, Most Reverend Philipose Mar Stephanos Thattathil, Monsignor Walter Erbi, Chargé d' Affaires, Apostolic Nunciature, Syro-Malankara Eparchy of Saint Mary, Queen of Peace, Syro-Malaknara Faithful, United States, Canada, Parassala, India.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
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RAISE Act Will Weaken Family Bonds and Impact Nation’s Ability to Respond to Those in Crisis says U.S. Catholic Bishops Chairman

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

"I express strong opposition to the RAISE Act, which was introduced today in the U.S. Senate by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA). Had this discriminatory legislation been in place generations ago, many of the very people who built and defended this nation would have been excluded.

The United States supports families and should not throw up obstacles to their unity. Unfortunately, the RAISE Act would have our nation turn its back on this long and storied tradition of welcoming families setting out to build a better life.

The RAISE Act would permanently cap the number of refugees allowed safe passage, thereby denying our country the necessary flexibility to respond to humanitarian crisis. As a Church, we believe the stronger the bonds of family, the greater a person's chance of succeeding in life. The RAISE Act imposes a definition of family that would weaken those bonds.

I urge the Senate to reject this measure and implore Congress and the President to work together in a bipartisan fashion to enact into law comprehensive immigration reform. I believe that such reform must recognize the many contributions that immigrants of all backgrounds have made to our nation, and must protect the lives and dignity of all, including the most vulnerable."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, RAISE Act, Bishop, U.S. Senate, Senator Tom Cotton (RAR), David Perdue (R-GA), legislation, families, refugees, safe passage, humanitarian crisis, Congress, President, comprehensive immigration reform, bipartisanship, immigrants, human dignity.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America Awards nearly $6 Million in Grants to Projects Including Pro-Life Centers, Hurricane Matthew Affected Areas

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded nearly $4 million in funding in the form of 244 grants to support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, and nearly $2 million in funding for continued reconstruction in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The grants were approved at the Subcommittee's meeting on June 12 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Projects that received funding include:

·         Argentina, GRAVIDA—Centro de Asistencia a la Vida Naciente: This network of diocesan centers in Argentina works to promote, care for, and defend life from the moment of conception and promotes the dignity of parenting. These centers are located in 21 dioceses across the country and care for pregnant women at risk of having an abortion as well as with men to help them understand the value of fatherhood. The centers provide education and formation about the dignity of human life and conduct solidarity and awareness campaigns.

·         Haiti, Catechetical Formation: This project will provide formation for 400 pastoral agents from four parishes that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The formation will be centered around the theme of the Christian family, and will take place over the course of three days. Seminars, workshops and group discussions will be facilitated, along with opportunities for prayer and daily Mass.

In addition, the first grant to help rebuild churches on the western part of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew was approved. More of these requests will be considered at future meetings of the Subcommittee.

"I am continually inspired by all of those who support the Collection for the Church in Latin America," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. "The generosity of Catholics across the United States makes a difference in the lives of countless people in Latin America and the Caribbean. This generosity reflects the love and compassion of God. I can see this especially in the response we received to help the victims of Hurricane Matthew. With that help, we not only fund pastoral projects, but help rebuild churches in some dioceses of Haiti."

Other areas of funding include lay leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry, and youth ministry. Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, taken in many dioceses across the U.S. on the fourth Sunday in January. The grants to Haiti are funded by the Special Collection for Haiti, which occurred after the 2010 earthquake. These reconstruction efforts are managed through the Partnership for Church Reconstruction in Haiti (PROCHE).

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Collection for the Church in Latin America as grants across Latin America and the Caribbean.  More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the many grants it funds, as well as resources to promote it across the country, can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.

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Keywords: Latin America, youth, clergy, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Latin America, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, catechesis, grants, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

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U.S. Bishops Chairman Responds to Defeat of GOP "Skinny Repeal” Bill

WASHINGTON—In response to last night's Senate vote on the "skinny repeal" bill, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has issued the following statement:

"Despite the Senate's decision not to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last night, the task of reforming the healthcare system still remains. The current healthcare system is not financially sustainable, lacks full Hyde protections and conscience rights, and is inaccessible to many immigrants. Inaction will result in harm for too many people.

A moment has opened for Congress, and indeed all Americans, to set aside party and personal political interest and pursue the common good of our nation and its people, especially the most vulnerable. In order to be just, any bill for consideration must:

  • Protect the Medicaid program from changes that would harm millions of struggling Americans.

  • Protect the safety net from any other changes that harm the poor, immigrants, or any others at the margins.

  • Address the real probability of collapsing insurance markets and the corresponding loss of genuine affordability for those with limited means. 

  • Provide full Hyde Amendment provisions and much-needed conscience protections.

Any final agreement that respects human life and dignity, honors conscience rights, and ensures that everyone can access health care that is comprehensive, high quality, and truly affordable deserves the support of all of us.

The greatness of our country is not measured by the well-being of the powerful but how we have cared for the 'least of these.'  Congress can and should pass health care legislation that lives up to that greatness."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, "skinny repeal" bill, Hyde Amendment, safety net, Medicaid, poor, immigrants, conscience rights, access, affordability, common good.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



U.S. Bishops Provide Aid to Education Center in Albania and Support for Those Affected by the War in Eastern Ukraine

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved over $4.8 million in funding for 206 projects in 22 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Projects approved for funding include:

·         The Don Bosco Center for Education in Albania, founded 21 years ago, provides cultural, social, and academic resources to over 1,000 children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. The center provides stability and aid to the rapidly growing population of people from rural areas moving into the city to find work. The center also offers elementary, middle and high school education and has a vocational training center, a youth center, and a day care center. The grant will assist with necessary updates to the building to welcome more children and provide a safe environment for them.

·         A grant to support seven priests, five hieromonks, and eight religious sisters that serve the parishes near the war zone in Eastern Ukraine. The armed conflict periodically reaches into that region making it a dangerous place to live. The priests and religious have remained there to offer pastoral and humanitarian aid to those in need. This grant will provide food, medicine and transportation costs to support the priests and sisters as they offer pastoral care and humanitarian aid to the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons in the region.

"As a family of faith, we stand with those who work tirelessly to build the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, who continue to face the challenge of overcoming decades of political and religious oppression," said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, "We look to those living in this region as an example of hope and perseverance and continue to support their efforts to renew their communities."

Other projects approved by the subcommittee include scholarships, church construction, outreach to the poor, and evangelization programs. Grants approved by the subcommittee support the Church in countries that were oppressed by communist rule.

Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different days. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on National Collections,

Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Eastern Europe, Albania, Ukraine, Don Bosco Center, youth, evangelization, pastoral care, humanitarian

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U.S. Bishops Chairman Appeals to Members of U.S. Senate to Work Together to Remedy Health Care to Serve the Common Good

WASHINGTON—In light of today's Senate Republican vote to address the healthcare law, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, is appealing to Senators on both sides to work together in the days ahead to advance changes that will serve the common good of all. 

Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:

"In the wake of a procedural vote today that opens debate on the amendment process to reform the Affordable Care Act, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) calls on members from both political parties to work together to advance changes that serve the common good. The health care reform proposals currently under consideration would harm millions of struggling Americans by leaving too many at risk of losing adequate health coverage and continue to exclude too many people, including immigrants. We are grateful for the efforts to include protections for the unborn, however, any final bill must include full Hyde Amendment provisions and add much-needed conscience protections. The current proposals are simply unacceptable as written, and any attempts to repeal the ACA without a concurrent replacement is also unacceptable.

As was made clear in the USCCB's letter of July 20, there is much work to be done to remedy the ACA's shortcomings. We call on the Senate to make changes in all of the areas mentioned above. In addition, current and impending barriers to access and affordability under the ACA must be removed, particularly for those most in need. Such changes can be made with narrower reforms that do not jeopardize the access to health care that millions currently receive."

Link to July 20 letter: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/letter-to-senate-on-affortable-care-act-2017-07-20.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Affordable Care Act (ACA), Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), procedural vote, Hyde Amendment, conscience rights, access, affordability, common good.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



USCCB Chairman Mourns for Migrants Involved in Texas Tragedy

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, has issued the following statement on San Antonio law enforcement's identification of a tractor trailer containing 39 people, including ten individuals who died due to heat exposure and asphyxiation.

Full statement follows:

My brother bishops and I are heartbroken by the news coming from San Antonio regarding individuals found dead in a crowded and overheated tractor trailer. I also note our continued concern and prayers for the several other individuals identified, including school-aged children, who are reported to have life-threatening injuries. The loss of lives is tragic and avoidable. We condemn this terrible human exploitation that occurred and continues to happen in our country. In a moment such as this, we reflect upon the words of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, "The defense of human beings knows no barriers: we are all united wanting to ensure a dignified life for every man, woman and child who is forced to abandon his or her own land."

We together mourn for the lives lost and offer our prayers for these individuals and their families.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee on Migration, migrants, tragedy, exploitation, Pope Francis, human life, dignity

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Jewish, Christian and Muslim National Religious Leaders Unite for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

WASHINGTON—In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, thirty-five Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious leaders agree that Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible. They believe, "based on the legitimate, long-standing aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for national self-determination and security, a two-state solution still represents the most realistic way to meet essential interests of both peoples and to resolve the conflict."

The letter includes the signatures of Bishop Oscar Cantú, of Las Cruses, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.

The statement by Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders points to the fact that, "despite deep distrust on both sides, recent polls among Israelis and Palestinians show that the majority still yearn for two states." The leaders believe, "pursing either side's version of a one-state solution would likely lead to more years of violent conflict."

The leaders are encouraged that, building on years of official and informal negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, "the basic parameters of a framework for a two-state solution are widely known." And they say, "combined with a broader regional framework such as the Arab Peace Initiative, the incentives for all sides to make the historic decision for a two-state peace agreement are monumental."

They believe that "achieving a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians would have substantial positive effects for the people of Israel and Palestine, the region, the United States' own interests, and our world." The religious leaders are united in pledging their "support for US efforts to achieve this goal."

The full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/nili-letter-to-president-on-israel-palestine-2017-07-19.cfm

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Keywords:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, President, President Donald J. Trump, religious leaders, Israelis, Palestinians, two-state solution, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus, Washington, D.C., Arab Peace Initiative, conflict, peace.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



U.S. Bishops Domestic Justice Chairman Exhorts Senate For More Reasonable Approach on Health Care

WASHINGTON—In light of uncertainty about how the Senate will proceed on health care in the coming days, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement.

"Before any legislation had been proposed, the bishops were clear that a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their wellbeing," wrote Dewane in the July 20 letter to the full Senate. "To end coverage for those who struggle every day without an adequate alternative in place would be devastating."

The Senate has been discussing various approaches for health care reform, including an ACA repeal approach that does not immediately decide upon a replacement plan. "The American Health Care Act legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Better Care Reconciliation Act from the Senate were seriously flawed, and would have harmed those most in need in unacceptable ways. In the face of difficulties passing these proposals, the appropriate response is not to create greater uncertainty, especially for those who can bear it least, by repealing the ACA without a replacement.

Bishop Dewane urged Congress "to address the ACA's moral deficiencies and challenges with long-term sustainability" by "more narrow reforms, and in a bipartisan way." Included in this would be extending full Hyde Amendment protections to the ACA, enacting laws that protect the conscience rights of all stakeholders in health care, protecting religious freedom, and passing legislation that begins to address barriers to access and affordability for the poor. The full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/letter-to-senate-on-affortable-care-act-2017-07-20.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Affordable Care Act, ACA, Better Care Reconciliation Act, BCRA., U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, health care reform, Hyde Amendment, conscience rights, religious freedom, affordability.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



V Encuentro’s Nuestra Alegría Viral Video Contest Winners Announced
WASHINGTON—The V Encuentro announced the winners of the Nuestra Alegría Viral Video Challenge via social media. Twenty-two groups of young Hispanic/Latino Catholics across the nation submitted entries for the viral video challenge representing 11 of the 14 episcopal regions in the United States and spanning 16 states.

Young people across the nation were invited to create their own movements and gestures to the official youth and young adult song, Nuestra Alegría, for the V Encuentro. This challenge was launched as a means to encourage the participation of young Hispanic Catholics.

The V Encuentro process is a priority activity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The national event will take place in Grapevine, Texas, September 20-23, 2018.

"Young people are at the heart of the V Encuentro process. It is wonderful to see their creativity and love for Christ and the Church in joyful motion," said Bishop Nelson Pérez, Bishop designate of Cleveland and chair of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. "I look forward to follow along with the movements as we sing Nuestra Alegria in the diocesan and regional encuentros, and at the National Encuentro."

The V Encuentro is a four-year process of missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and strengthening unity in the spirit of the New Evangelization. Its goal is to discern the ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence and strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the Church.

The first-place was awarded to St. Francis Borgia Deaf Center Youth Group in Chicago, whose members used sign language to express the lyrics of the song. As first-place winners they receive $1,000 and the honor of having the movements used in diocesan and regional Encuentros and at the national event.

Second place with a prize of $500 was awarded to Apóstoles De Ágape, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Miami, Florida; and the third-place prize of $250 was given to River Valley Millenials, Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, V Encuentro National Coordinator affirmed, "We are very grateful to all the groups that submitted their videos. Their joy, enthusiasm and creativity are the young face of the church today. Congratulation to the winners."

Four other groups received honorable mention:

·         Most Joyful: Escuela de Evangelización San Andrés Jóvenes, St. Francis de Sales, Holland, Michigan.
·         Best Use of Technology: Jóvenes de Coronado- Sacred Heart Church, Coronado, California.
·         Best Concept and Creativity: Cristo Joven- Sacred Heart, Washington, D.C.
·         Best Teamwork: Juventus- Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Voting for the Nuestra Alegría Viral Video Challenge took place from July 1-13, 2017 and a panel of judges from across the nation selected the winners after reviewing the videos on their 18 second submissions and evaluating that the movements and gestures reflected the meaning of the song. Catholics across the country also voted for their favorite groups via Facebook. Video submissions were very creative utilizing flags, drones, and banners. Some of the videos included children highlighting the importance of family to contestants.

All participants of the contest will receive a copy of the pocket book of the Gospels in September. Stories about the winners and other groups that participated in the challenge will be featured on the V Encuentro blog and social media accounts.  All video submissions are available at: https://vencuentro.org/na-videos/.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, ENAVE, V Encuentro, Hispanic Catholics, Latino, Bishop Nelson Pérez, Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, video, Strategic Plan, New Evangelization, Millennials


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USCCB MEDIA CONTACT:
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House Budget Resolution Places Poor in Jeopardy Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development expressed concern over the proposed U.S. House of Representatives budget resolution, which was voted out of Committee late yesterday. 

“The USCCB is closely monitoring the budget and appropriations process in Congress and is analyzing the proposed House budget resolution in more detail. It is clearly noted at the outset that the proposal assumes the harmful and unacceptable cuts to Medicaid from the American Health Care Act. Additionally, steady increases to military spending in the resolution are made possible by cutting critical resources for those in need over time, including potentially from important programs like SNAP that provide essential nutrition to millions of people. The bipartisan approach to discretionary spending in recent years, while imperfect, reflected a more balanced compromise given competing priorities. 

 A nation’s budget is a moral document. Reducing deficits through cuts for human needs—while simultaneously attempting a tax cut, as this proposal does—will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy. Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.” Previous letters from the USCCB on the federal budget can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/ 

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, budget resolution, American Health Care Act, Medicaid, military spending, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), military spending, tax cuts, deficit, poor, vulnerable. 

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



USCCB Chairman Expresses Ongoing Support for DACA; Calls on Administration and Congress to Ensure Permanent Protection for DACA Youth

WASHINGTON— Over 750,000 youth have received protection from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. While DACA provides no legal status, it does provide recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work opportunities in the United States.

In response to the recent petition to the U.S. Department of Justice to terminate DACA, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chair of the Migration Committee and Bishop of Austin, Texas, expressed support for DACA once again, stating:

"The Catholic Bishops have long supported DACA youth and continue to do so. DACA youth are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. The dignity of every human being, particularly that of our children and youth, must be protected.

I urge the Administration to continue administering the DACA program and to publicly ensure that DACA youth are not priorities for deportation.

However, DACA is not a permanent solution; for this reason, I also call on Congress to work in an expeditious and bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for DACA youth as soon as possible. My brother bishops and I pledge continuing efforts to help find a humane and permanent resolution that protects DACA youth. Additionally, I note the moral urgency for comprehensive immigration reform that is just and compassionate. The bishops will advocate for these reforms as we truly believe they will advance the common good.

Lastly, to DACA youth and their families, please know that the Catholic Church stands in solidarity with you. We recognize your intrinsic value as children of God. We understand the anxiety and fear you face and we appreciate and applaud the daily contributions you make with your families, to local communities and parishes, and to our country. We support you on your journey to reach your God-given potential."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Migration Committee, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Catholic bishops, economy, veterans, academia, human dignity, children, youth, families.  

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Chairmen Condemn Today’s Attack in The Old City of Jerusalem

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with Bishop Oscar Cantú, of Las Cruces, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, of Springfield, Chair of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, have issued the following statement on today's attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. The deadly attack took place early this morning by the Lions' Gate in the Old City walls, next to what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary and Jews call the Temple Mount. 

Full statement follows:

On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we condemn in the strongest possible terms today's attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a particular desecration to carry out armed attacks in and around sites holy to Muslims and Jews in a city that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. We mourn for the lives lost and deplore the heightened tensions that such an attack can spawn.  It was encouraging that both President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack.  The path to peace, for which both Israelis and Palestinians yearn, cannot be paved with violence.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Rev. Oscar Cantú
Bishop of Las Cruces
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace

Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski
Bishop of Springfield
Chairman, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, Old City Jerusalem, Temple Mount, Noble Sanctuary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Mahmoud Abbas, Israelis, Palestinians, peace.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



U.S. Bishops Chairman Urges Administration to Raise Cap on Refugee Admissions

WASHINGTON—This week, U.S. refugee admissions reached the historically low cap of 50,000 refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States for Fiscal Year 2017, as set forth by the Administration's March 6th Executive Order 13780. Executive Order 13780 altered the initial Fiscal Year 2017 Presidential Determination which authorized the resettlement of 110,000 refugees into the United States. Currently there are approximately 22.5 million refugees seeking protection globally.

The following is a statement in response to the resettlement cap from Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration:

"I note with sadness that the new U.S. refugee admissions cap of 50,000 individuals has been reached this week. While certain refugees who have 'bona fide relationships' will still be allowed to arrive, I remain deeply concerned about the human consequences of this limitation and its impact on vulnerable refugees such as unaccompanied refugee children, elderly and infirm refugees, and religious minorities. Now, these vulnerable populations will not be able to access needed protection and will continue to face danger and exploitation. Pope Francis reminds us that 'refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.' We must be mindful that every refugee is more than just a number, they are a child of God.

Looking forward, my brother bishops and I urge the Administration to allow 75,000 refugees to arrive to our country in the next fiscal year. As I stated in March 2017, in relation to this particular Executive Order, 'Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation.' We firmly believe that as a nation the United States has the good will, character, leadership, and resources to help more vulnerable people seek refuge.  Most importantly, the Church will continue to serve and stand in solidarity with refugees, welcoming and accompanying them on their journey to protection and safety."

The full letter from March 17 can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-048.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee on Migration, U.S. refugee admissions, Executive Order, Pope Francis, refugee resettlement, accompaniment. 

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



Revised Senate Health Care Reform Bill Still “Unacceptable,” Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, reacted strongly to the revised Senate health reform bill, the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" (BCRA).

"The USCCB is reviewing carefully the health care bill introduced by Senate leadership earlier today. On an initial read, we do not see enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable. We recognize the incremental improvement in funding the fight against opioid addiction, for instance, but more is needed to honor our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters living in poverty and to ensure that essential protections for the unborn remain in the bill."

In an earlier letter concerning the draft of the BCRA that was introduced in draft format on June 22, 2017, Bishop Dewane had warned that, "[t]he BCRA's restructuring of Medicaid will adversely impact those already in deep health poverty. At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a 'per capita cap' on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable."

The full letter from June 27 can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/senate-discussion-letter-health-care-reform-2017-06-27.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Better Care Reconciliation Act, BCRA, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Affordable Care Act, respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty, immigration, conscience.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



National Religious Retirement Office Distributes $25 Million to Support Elderly Religious

WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million to 390 religious communities across the United States. The funding is provided by donations to the Retirement Fund for Religious collection. The annual, parish-based appeal is held in most U.S. Catholic parishes each December and benefits more than 32,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests. The most recent collection raised nearly $30.7 million and marked the second year in a row that contributions exceeded $30 million.

"We are overwhelmed by the generous support for senior religious and their communities," said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, NRRO executive director. "We are equally moved by our donors' ongoing gratitude for the ministry of religious, past and present."

The funding disbursed the week of June 19 is known as Direct Care Assistance and represents the majority of financial assistance distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet such day-to-day expenses as prescription medications and nursing care. Additional funding will be allocated through other NRRO programs in the coming months.

Catholic bishops of the U.S. launched the Retirement Fund for Religious in 1988 to address the significant lack of retirement funding among the nation's religious communities. Traditionally, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Today, many religious communities lack adequate retirement savings.

Despite ongoing generosity to the annual appeal, hundreds of religious communities struggle to provide for older members. Recognizing the ongoing need, U.S. bishops voted to renew the collection, which was previously set to end this year.

The NRRO coordinates the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities. It also offers educational programming, services and resources that enable religious communities to evaluate and prepare for long-term retirement needs. The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.

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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops

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MEDIA CONTACT:
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Pope Francis Names Auxiliary Bishop Nelson Perez as New Bishop of Cleveland; Pope also Names Father Andrew Bellisario as New Bishop of Juneau

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Nelson Perez, up until now Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, as the new bishop of Cleveland. Pope Francis has also named Father Andrew Bellisario as the new bishop of Juneau, Alaska.

The appointments were publicized in Washington, July 11,2017, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Nelson Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre, was born June 16, 1961, in Miami, Florida, and ordained a priest for the Philadelphia Archdiocese on May 20, 1989.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Montclair State University and master of divinity and master of arts degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia.  In 1998, he was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor. In 2009, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Benedict XVI.    

Assignments after ordination included parochial vicar, St. Ambrose Parish, Philadelphia, (1989-1993); director of the Archdiocesan (Hispanic) Institute for Evangelization, (1993-2002); pastor, St. William Parish, Philadelphia, (2002-2009); and pastor, St. Agnes Parish, West Chester, Pennsylvania, (2009-2012). He also served as assistant director of the Archdiocesan Office for Hispanic Catholics, (1990-1993), and served on the archdiocesan Council of Priests, (2003-2005).

Bishop Perez is a current member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and is also Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

On June 8, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Perez an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He was ordained as bishop on July 25, 2012.

Father Andrew Bellisario was born in Los Angeles on December 19, 1955. Father Bellisario is a member of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers and Brothers) founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in 1625.

Bishop-elect Bellisario began Vincentian novitiate studies in Santa Barbara in 1975 at St. Mary's Seminary and professed final vows at St. Mary's Seminary in Perryville, Missouri in 1978. He was ordained a priest in Los Angeles on June 16, 1984.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from St. Mary's Seminary in Perryville in 1980 and later earned a master of divinity degree from DeAndreis Seminary in Lemont, Illinois in 1984. 

Assignments after ordination included dean of students, St. Vincent's Seminary, Montebello, California (1984-1986); parochial vicar, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Montebello (1986-1989); administrator, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Montebello (1989-1990); pastor, St. Vincent DePaul Church, Huntington Beach (1990-1995); pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Patterson (1995-1998); provincial treasurer/consultor, DePaul Center Resident, Montebello ((1996-2002); Director, DePaul Evangelization Center, Montebello (1998-2002); superior, DePaul Center Residents, Montebello (2001-2002); provincial, Province Leadership, Montebello (2002-2010); director, Daughters of Charity, Los Altos (2003-2015); pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, Anchorage (2014-present); superior, International Missions in Alaska (2015-present).

The diocese of Cleveland comprises 3,414 square miles and has a total population of approximately 2,774,113 people of which 682,948 or 24 percent. are Catholic.

The diocese of Juneau comprises 37,566 square miles and has a total population of approximately 75,000 people of which 10,000 or 13 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, auxiliary bishop Nelson Perez, diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, Father Andrew Bellisario, diocese of Juneau, Alaska.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



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