St. Mary's Malankara Catholic Church of Dallas

2650 E. SCYENE ROAD, MESQUITE, TEXAS 75181
 
Home >>> Latest News USCCB
Pope Francis Names Auxiliary Bishop of the Military Services as Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has transferred Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Coyle of the Archdiocese for the Military Services to the office of auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on February 20, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Coyle was born on September 23, 1964 in Brooklyn, New York. He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Fordham University in 1986, and he attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, earning a master of divinity degree and master of arts degree in theology in 1991.

He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on May 25, 1991, by Bishop John R. McGann at St. Agnes Cathedral.

Bishop Coyle was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 3, 1988 and served 24.5 years on Active and Reserve Duty before his retirement from the Naval Reserve on January 1, 2013. As a Navy Reserve Chaplain, Fr. Coyle served as Associate Pastor at St. Dominic Church in Oyster Bay, NY (1991-1996) and St. Patrick's Church in Glen Cove, NY (1996-1999). He served as a Navy Reserve Chaplain from 1991-1999, and on Active Duty from 1999-2009. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa, Japan, from 1999-2000, during which time he was promoted to Lieutenant. He deployed to the Middle East (2000-2001) and served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2002-2003). In 2005, he was promoted to the rank of Commander, U.S. Navy. From 2007 to 2009, he served on the USS Dwight D. EISENHOWER (CVN69) Aircraft Carrier and deployed to the Middle East in 2009 for Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2008, he was named by Pope Benedict XVI a Chaplain to His Holiness, a recognition that carried the honorary title of Monsignor.

On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Coyle auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. His episcopal ordination took place in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, DC, on the Feast of Saint Mark, April 25, 2013.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY, comprises 1,198 square miles. It has a total population of 2,889,841 people of which 1,524,639, or 53 percent, are Catholic. Bishop John O. Barres is currently the fifth bishop of Rockville Centre.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Coyle, Archdiocese for the Military Services, Diocese of Rockville Centre


###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Bishop Conference President Reaction to Shooting at Florida High School

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for prayer and healing. 

The full statement is as follows:

"We are deeply saddened by the shootings in Broward County, Florida, and by the needless and tragic loss of life. May the mercy of God comfort the grieving families and sustain the wounded in their healing. Catholics and many other Christians have begun the journey of Lent today. I encourage us to unite our prayers and sacrifices for the healing and consolation of all those who have been affected by violence in these last weeks and for a conversion of heart, that our communities and nation will be marked by peace. I pray also for unity in seeking to build toward a society with fewer tragedies caused by senseless gun violence. Our hope is in the Lord, as he promised after his resurrection, 'behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age' (Mt. 28:20)."

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, Broward County, Lent, gun violence, prayer, peace

# # #

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops Conference Encourages Catholics to Join Pope Francis in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in the Congo, South Sudan, and the World on Feb. 23

WASHINGTON—The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, is encouraging Catholics across the nation to join with Pope Francis on Friday, February 23, for a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace. The day of prayer and fasting will focus on continued conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and other areas of the world.

Reflecting on the suffering caused by violent conflict, Pope Francis said, "Our heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry to Him in sorrow and anguish, who 'heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds' (Psalm 147:3). I make a heartfelt appeal so that we also listen to this cry and, each one of us in his/her own conscience before God, ask ourselves, 'What can I do for peace?'"

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called us to observe a special day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on Friday, February 23, as Lent begins, with a particular concern for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Tragically, violent conflict rages in both nations. South Sudan won its independence in 2011 only to find itself a victim to corruption and a bloody civil war. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the government fails to honor the constitution as the Catholic Church courageously promotes a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the ruling and opposition parties. In both countries, innocent families suffer.

Let us answer the Holy Father's call to pray and fast for peace, especially for the Church and peoples of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And let us turn our fasting into almsgiving and support the work of Catholic Relief Services in both countries.

May God bless South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and our world with peace."

To learn more about the special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace and for additional resources on how Catholics can respond, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/day-of-prayer-and-fasting-for-peace.cfm

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Holy Father, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Day of Prayer and Fasting, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, violent conflict, peaceful resolution, almsgiving, Catholic Relief Services.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Federal Budget Should Build Toward Common Good, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON— After the Trump Administration released its federal budget proposal, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and the Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed deep concerns about many of the priorities outlined in the blueprint, and called on Congress to "ensure a budget for our country that honors our obligations to build toward the common good."

The full statement follows:

"The federal budget is a moral document, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently urged our national leaders to consider important principles when deciding how to steward the finite resources entrusted to it by the American people. Budget decisions ought to be guided by moral criteria that safeguard human life and dignity, give central importance to 'the least of these,' and promote the well-being of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity. Our nation must never seek to balance the budget on the backs of the poor at home and abroad. 

Yesterday, President Trump unveiled a budget plan, 'Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,' that again calls for deep cuts to vital parts of government, including underfunding programs that serve the poor, diplomacy, and environmental stewardship. At the same time, the plan calls for increases in immigration enforcement spending and further increases in military spending, including on nuclear weapons. Prohibiting certain abortion providers from receiving federal funds and providing increased resources to combat opioid addiction is commendable. However, we urge Congress—and every American—to evaluate the Administration's budget blueprint in light of its impacts on those most in need, and work to ensure a budget for our country that honors our obligations to build toward the common good."

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Trump Administration, U.S. Congress, budget plan, human life, dignity, military spending, federal funding, abortion, opioid addiction, common good.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


U.S. Bishops Chairmen Commend Provisions in Budget Act that Ensure Houses of Worship Can Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance

WASHINGTON–This morning, the Bipartisan Budget Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The bill includes the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which codifies fair and equal treatment for houses of worship damaged in natural disasters by enabling them to seek assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, praised Congress for including disaster relief fairness provisions in the Act:

"When hurricanes and other natural disasters strike, houses of worship are on the front lines of rebuilding efforts. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are vital to their communities, and they, like other important community institutions, need help recovering from the impacts of natural disasters. We applaud Congress for including provisions in the Budget Act that direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make disaster relief assistance available to houses of worship on the same terms as other nonprofit entities. These provisions ensure that houses of worship are treated fairly. That's good not only for houses of worship but for the communities that depend on them."

Links to letters of support for the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-of-Support-to-House-for-Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-of-2017.pdf

www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-of-Support-to-Senate-for-Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-of-2017.pdf 

A backgrounder is available at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-2017-Fact-Sheet.pdf    

---
Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Joseph Bambera, USCCB, Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, Bipartisan Budget Act, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, religious liberty, religious freedom, houses of worship, disaster relief

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Praises Trump Administration for Implementation of Expanded Mexico City Policy

WASHINGTON–Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, thanked and praised the Trump Administration following release of its six-month report showing early signs of successful implementation of an expanded Mexico City Policy aptly renamed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.

"As Chairman of the United States Bishops' Committee, I again applaud this Administration for restoring our foreign assistance to its rightful goals of promoting health and human rights. Abortion undermines basic human rights, certainly for the child, and it also can wound the mother emotionally and physically. U.S. tax dollars have no business going to organizations that are unwilling to pursue health outcomes for every person and instead insist on promoting and imposing their abortion ideology on women and children. The six-month report just released by the Trump Administration provides early evidence that the vast majority of NGOs—729 out of 733—are willing and able to comply with this policy and that compliance does not appear to undermine delivery of appropriate health services."

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Trump Administration, Mexico City Policy, Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, foreign aid, child, abortion, health, human rights, U.S. tax dollars, basic human rights. 

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



USCCB Launches New Mobile Responsive ForYourMarriage.org Website  

WASHINGTON—In conjunction with the start of National Marriage Week USA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is pleased to announce the launch of a new mobile responsive ForYourMarriage.org website on February 7, 2018.

Originally launched in 2007, ForYourMarriage.org is an initiative of the USCCB that began as the communications component of the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. It continues to play a key role in advancing the USCCB's priority on marriage and family.

Thanks to a grant received from the Catholic Communication Campaign, the new website, developed in collaboration with Crosby Communications and Marketing, includes updated content, graphics, and a new section dedicated to marriage and family ministry leaders.

"I hope this new platform will reach many more people with the message of God's plan for marriage and be a source of support to husbands and wives at every stage of their vocational journey," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

ForYourMarriage.org offers numerous resources on the meaning and beauty of marriage in God's plan and provides support to couples at every stage of their journey. There are sections dedicated to dating, marriage preparation, mixed marriages, parenting and family, natural family planning, the stages of marriage, among others. A marriage resource section offers daily marriage tips, marriage help and support links, and solutions to common challenges. Finally, questions specific to planning a Catholic wedding as well as related Church documents and teachings are available on the website.

Along with these resources, the website features couples who write about their real-life experiences as engaged, newlyweds, or seasoned couples with weekly blog posts. Feature articles include book reviews, reports on current events and research related to marriage, and recent teachings about marriage and family life from the Holy Father.

Other websites hosted by the USCCB and dedicated to promoting marriage include PorTuMatrimonio.org and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org.

---
Keywords: marriage, family, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, Marriage Unique for a Reason

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



U.S. Bishops Conference Offers Audio Recordings of Scripture, Daily Reflections, Downloadable Calendar to Help Catholics Observe Lent

WASHINGTON—A variety of resources to help Catholics observe Lent, which this year begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, are being provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

With the theme "Raise Up, Sacrifice, Offer," resources include a new set of daily suggestions for reading, reflection, prayer and action, in addition to the traditional downloadable reflection calendar available in years past. The downloadable Lent calendar with quotes from Pope Francis, Scripture, and Church fathers, is available in both English and Spanish. The daily suggestions and downloadable calendar offer teachings and suggestions for taking an active approach to the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

The website www.usccb.org/lent, also includes facts about saints whose feast days or memorials fall within Lent, a reflection on fasting, information on rediscovering the Sacrament of Penance, and a section on Holy Week observances. The USCCB has also created an accompanying video reflecting on Lent for sharing on social media.  

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday on February 14, and concludes at sunset on Holy Thursday, March 29. At that time, the Paschal Triduum begins. The three days of the Triduum last from sunset on Holy Thursday to sunset on Easter Sunday, which will be celebrated on April 1.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Daily Reflections, Scripture, Pope Francis, Church fathers, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, Sacrament of Penance, Holy Week, Holy Thursday, Paschal Triduum, Easter Sunday.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking to be Observed February 8th

WASHINGTON—The International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking will be observed on February 8th. Designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General as a time of remembrance for victims and survivors of forced labor and commercial sex trafficking, the day coincides with the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita.

With an estimated over 25 million women, children, and men trapped in modern-day slavery, February 8th offers an opportunity to educate communities of faith about the prevalence of trafficking and to pray for its victims, who are often "hidden in plain sight". Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, notes "through prayer we grow in solidarity with those that have suffered this affront to human dignity. We demonstrate to survivors that they are not alone."

In honor of this important day, the USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, and Trinity Washington University will host an Inter-Religious Prayer Service to remember victims and survivors of human trafficking, and to reflect on how we can unite against modern-day slavery. The service will take place on February 8th at 6:30 PM at the Chapel of Trinity University (125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC). To rsvp  for an evening of prayer with representatives from the world's major religions, see Inter-Religious Service.

For help in hosting an awareness event or prayer service locally, visit Become a Shepherd for downloadable resources.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, St. Josephine Bakhita, human trafficking, anti-trafficking, forced labor, modern-day slavery

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Collection for Church in Central and Eastern Europe Takes Place on Ash Wednesday, February 14; More Than $9.1 Million Awarded in 2017 Will Fund 318 Projects
WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe will be held in most parishes on Ash Wednesday, February 14.

The collection supports pastoral, evangelization, and construction projects, as well as educational scholarships in Central and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Other areas of funding include lay and religious formation, poverty outreach, and communications.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe awarded over $9.1 million in grants last year for 318 projects in support of the Church in formerly communist countries of the region.

"For decades, our brothers and sisters in Central and Eastern Europe faced a test of faith as they suffered religious and political persecution under oppressive regimes," said Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and chairman of the Subcommittee. "We rely on US Catholics' generosity to this collection to support these communities as they rebuild their faith and continue to be modern witnesses of the Gospel message."

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 what it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee. Shareable resources to promote it can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee/collection.

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, religious persecution, political persecution, solidarity, faith communities, Gospel message, evangelization, education, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, poverty, outreach, reconstruction, national collection

###

Media Contact
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Father Joel Konzen, S.M, as a new auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia. Father Konzen is a member of the Society of Mary (Marists) and currently serves as the principal of Marist School in Atlanta.  

The appointment was publicized in Washington on February 5, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Joel Konzen was born on November 6, 1950, in Oak Harbor, Ohio, in the Diocese of Toledo. He attended St Meinrad College, Indiana, from 1968-1972, earning a bachelor's degree in English. At Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans he earned a master's degree in Divinity (1972-1974), and at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he earned a master's degree in Systematic Theology in 1978 and a master's degree in Educational Administration in 1991.

In 1974, at Notre Dame, he entered the Society of Mary novitiate (Washington, DC) and took first vows as a Marist in 1975. He was ordained a priest in 1979 in New Orleans.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar, St. Edmond Parish, Lafayette, LA, 1979-1980; director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Marist School, Atlanta, GA, 1980-1982; principal, Marist School, Atlanta, GA, 1982-1988; president, Marist School, Atlanta, GA, 1988-1989; Vicar Provincial, Marist Center, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992; president/principal, St. Michael's Academy, Austin, TX, 1992-1997; vicar provincial, Marist Center, Washington, D.C., 1997-1999; principal, Marist School, Atlanta, GA, 1999-present. Fr. Konzen received the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Catholic Secondary Schools Department Educational Excellence Award in 2015.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA, comprises 21,445 square miles. It has a total population of 7,256,925 people of which 1,050,000, or 14 percent, are Catholic. 

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Reverend Joel Konzen, Archdiocese of Atlanta

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Francis J. Christian of Manchester

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Francis Joseph Christian, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, for reasons of age. He has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

Bishop Christian's retirement was publicized in Washington, February 1, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Francis J. Christian was born October 8, 1942 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He attended St. Anselm College, Manchester, St. Paul Seminary, Ottawa, and the American College in Louvain, Belgium, earning his bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1964, his master's degree in Theology in 1968, and a doctoral degree in Religious Studies with a specialization in Moral Theology in 1975.

He was ordained a priest by Bishop Ernest J. Primeau, the sixth bishop of Manchester, for the Diocese of Manchester on June 29, 1968, at St. Patrick Church, Jaffrey, NH. 

Assignments after ordination include: assistant pastor, Our Lady of Mercy, Merrimack, 1968-1971; assistant pastor, St. Joseph Cathedral, Manchester, 1971-1972; post graduate student, Louvain, Ph.D. in Moral Theology, 1972-1975; Vice Chancellor, Diocese of Manchester, 1975-1977; Chancellor, Diocese of Manchester, 1977-1986; Secretary for Administrative/Canonical Affairs, 1986-1996. In 1986, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Christian a prelate of honor, which includes the title "Monsignor."

On April 2, 1996, Pope John Paul II appointed then-Monsignor Francis Christian as Auxiliary Bishop of Manchester and Titular Bishop of Quincy. He was ordained a bishop on May 14, 1996 at St. Joseph Cathedral by Bishop Leo E. O'Neil. 

The Diocese of Manchester comprises 9,305 square miles. It has a total population of 1,334,795 people of which 254,594, or 19 percent, are Catholic.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Francis J. Christian, Diocese of Manchester, Bishop 

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


New Poverty USA and PobrezaUSA Websites Help Catholics Encounter, Learn and Act to Address Poverty

WASHINGTON—Catholics can encounter, learn and act to address poverty in the United States through two new websites from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). PovertyUSA.org and its Spanish mirror site, PobrezaUSA.org, were launched today, the last day of Poverty Awareness Month (January). The mobile-friendly sites offer tools and resources to help Catholics put faith in action by working to address poverty. Resources include an interactive map with state and county level poverty statistics, learning activities about poverty, prayer materials, and multimedia. The sites also feature stories of hope about how communities are working to address poverty locally, and an interactive map to find community organizations funded by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

"As disciples of Christ, we are invited to encounter those in our communities who experience poverty," said Bishop David P. Talley of Alexandria, chair of the CCHD Subcommittee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "Poverty in the United States is a reality. We must work together to put faith in action to work towards policies in our local communities, and nationally, that can help address it."

Nearly 41 million people live in poverty in the United States, including 15 million children. The poverty threshold is $24,600 for a family of four and $12,200 for a single person.

Catholics can join the conversation about poverty in our communities on social media at www.facebook.com/povertyusa and twitter.com/endpovertyusa.

PovertyUSA.org and PobrezaUSA.org are an initiative of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the USCCB that works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities, and by helping Catholics encounter, learn and act to address the causes of poverty.

---
Keywords: Poverty USA, PobrezaUSA, website, Facebook, Twitter, poverty, statistics, map, resources, stories, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCHD

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


National Marriage Week USA, World Marriage Day Promote Gift of Marriage as School of Life and Love

WASHINGTON—National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities "to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family," wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to his brother bishops.

February 7-14 marks the annual celebration of National Marriage Week USA. World Marriage Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of February. This year, World Marriage Day is Sunday, February 11, coinciding with the World Day of the Sick.

The USCCB offers resources to the faithful for the promotion and defense of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman through its dedicated websites ForYourMarriage.org, PorTuMatrimonio.org, and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org. Additional resources specifically for the celebration of National Marriage Week, including a homily resource, bulletin insert, poster, and prayer intentions, can be found on the USCCB website: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/national-marriage-week.cfm.

Starting February 7, a daily virtual marriage retreat for couples will be made available on the ForYourMarriage.org website and via the For Your Marriage social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. The seven-day retreat will focus on the theme "Marriage: School of Life and Love." A rosary for engaged and married couples and for families in need of healing will be live-streamed from the chapel at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC via the USCCB Facebook page and Twitter feed on Friday, February 9 at 3:00 pm EST.

A wide array of prayer cards, books and pamphlets on marriage and family can be ordered online through the USCCB store.

National Marriage Week USA, launched in 2010, is part of an international event seeking to mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses in a common purpose to strengthen marriage in communities and influence the culture. For information and resources, visit: NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org. World Marriage Day was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

---
Keywords: Archbishop Charles Chaput, National Marriage Week USA, World Marriage Sunday, marriage, family, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, Marriage Unique for a Reason

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Bishops’ Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Seeks “Bridges, Not Walls”

WASHINGTON—Ten bishops made a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land on January 18 - 27, 2018. In reflections issued at the conclusion of the Pilgrimage, they noted the "many walls and some bridges" they encountered as they "sought out those on the peripheries." The visit, had as its theme, "Bridges, Not Walls," to help connect the bishops' domestic experiences of walls on the U.S. southern border to the reality of walls in the Holy Land. 

They offer a number of reflections regarding their visit, including:

In Sderot, the city that has suffered the most from rocket attacks by Hamas, the bishops noted "they encountered the real fears of Israelis who grieve for the loss of lives," and also expressed great concern for their children who are "regularly required to practice air raid drills."

In addition to visiting Jerusalem, Nazareth, and many holy sites, where they celebrated daily Eucharist, the bishops traveled to Gaza and Jiffna in the Palestinian Territories to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist with "small, vibrant Christian communities."

They traveled extensively in the West Bank, including to Hebron, Susya and Bethlehem, witnessing firsthand the "stark reminders of the Israeli occupation—check-points that inhibit movement, confiscations of Palestinian lands, expansion of Israeli settlements, and a security barrier whose route cuts deep into the West Bank, which together with Israeli-only bypass roads, strangles natural urban growth and divides the Palestinian Territories into non-contiguous cantons."

The bishops also urge the U.S. government not to cut badly needed humanitarian and development assistance. They had met with families in Gaza and the West Bank who depend on aid for basic necessities, health care and education.

The bishops also express a particular concern for the dramatic decline of the Christian presence throughout the Holy Land, but also noted there are reasons for hope. In particular, they pointed to schools sponsored by the Church where persons of different religions study together, health ministries that serve the most vulnerable, and relief and development agencies doing heroic work.

The Pilgrimage for Peace was originally proposed by Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, when he was Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, with the support of Bishop Nelson Jesus Perez of Cleveland, Chairman of the Sub-committee on Hispanic Affairs. Catholic Relief Services and the Holy Land Incoming Tour Operators Association partnered with the USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace in planning the Pilgrimage.

Calling for an end to violence and the occupation, the bishops are asking "Catholics to pray for the peoples of the Holy Land, to come on Pilgrimage to both the Holy Sites and the local Christian community, and to urge our nation's leaders to support policies that promote justice and peace."

The other bishops who participated were Bishop José Arturo Cepeda of Detroit, Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, MSpS, of Seattle, Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estévez of St. Augustine, Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa of Fresno, Bishop Rutilio del Riego of San Bernardino, Bishop Alberto Rojas of Chicago, and Bishop Plácido Rodriguez of Lubbock.

The full text of the statement can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/bridges-not-wall-reflections-bishops-pilgrimage-holy-land-01-18-27-2018.cfm.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pilgrimage, Holy Land, reflections, bridges, walls, peripheries, southern border West Bank, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, holy sites, Hebron, Susya, Bethlehem, Sderot, humanitarian assistance, rocket attacks, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jiffna, Palestinian Territories, justice, peace.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Praises Path to Citizenship for Dreamers; Remains Deeply Troubled About Proposal’s Impact on Family Unity

WASHINGTON—In response to the White House framework on immigration released on January 26th, Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, stated the following:

"We welcome the Administration's proposal to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers. However, the proposed cuts to family immigration and elimination of protections to unaccompanied children are deeply troubling. Family immigration is part of the bedrock of our country and of our Church. Pope Francis states: 'the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.' Upholding and protecting the family unit, regardless of its national origins, is vital to our faith. Additionally, in searching for a solution for Dreamers, we must not turn our backs on the vulnerable. We should not, for example, barter the well-being of unaccompanied children for the well-being of the Dreamers. We know them all to be children of God who need our compassion and mercy.

We urge a bipartisan solution forward that is narrowly-tailored. Time is of the essence. Every day we experience the human consequences of delayed action in the form of young people losing their livelihood and their hope. As pastors and leaders of the Church, we see this fear and sadness in our parishes and as such, continue to call for immediate action. Elected officials must show leadership to quickly enact legislation that provides for our security and is humane, proportionate and just."

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, USCCB Committee on Migration, White House, Dreamers, family immigration, Pope Francis, unaccompanied minors, family unit, vulnerable, bipartisan solution, family unity

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200



Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Calls Senate Failure to Pass Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “Appalling”

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities called the Senate's failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act "appalling". The bill proposes to ban abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.

"The U.S. Senate's failure to adopt the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, prohibiting abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization, is appalling. Abortions performed in the second half of pregnancy usually involve brutally dismembering a defenseless unborn child, while also posing serious dangers to his or her mother. The Senate's rejection of this common-sense legislation is radically out of step with most Americans. Opinion polls consistently show that a strong majority of the public opposes late-term abortions—including those who self-identify as 'pro-choice'. Furthermore, the United States is currently one of only seven countries that allows abortions beyond 20-weeks. The other six are North Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada and the Netherlands. The Senate must rethink its extreme stance on late-term abortions. I call upon the public to tell the Senate that this vote is absolutely unacceptable."

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), U.S. House of Representatives, Congress, abortion, late-term abortion, viability, Roe v. Wade, fetal organ harvesting, civil rights, pro-life, 20-week abortion ban

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to Convene Historic Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry in September; Registration Opens February 20

WASHINGTON—Registration for the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro) will launch on February 20, 2018. In September, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will convene a historic ecclesial gathering of 3,000 Hispanic/Latino Ministry leaders/delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities and Catholic organizations from across the country. The delegates representing more than165 dioceses were selected among nearly 250,000 people that participated in the local process over the past year. Over 100 bishops are expected to lead diocesan delegations.

The goal of the V Encuentro is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence, and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples.

A priority activity of the USCCB's Strategic Plan for 2017-2020, the V Encuentro is a four-year process of evangelization, mission and consultation under the theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God's Love inspired by Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). The process of Encuentro has been the catalyst for developing ministries among Hispanics/Latinos during the past fifty years.

Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, National Coordinator for the V Encuentro said, "The National Encuentro is the summit experience which comes at the midpoint of the 4-year process. One of the most important outcomes of the V National Encuentro is the discernment of priorities and recommendations that will guide Hispanic Ministry in the United States for the next ten to fifteen years."

The National Encuentro will be held in Grapevine, Texas, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center from September 20-23, 2018. This is an invitation-only event for diocesan delegates and other participants 18 years and older. Individuals will not be able to register separately.

Information to obtain media credentials to cover this event will be available at a future date. For more details regarding the V National Encuentro visit: www.vencuentro.org.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, Evangelii Gaudium, missionary disciples, Church in the United States, Catholic Leaders, Hispanic Catholics, Grapevine, Texas

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


World Day for Consecrated Life to be Celebrated Friday, February 2; Coincides with Release of 2017 Profession Class Survey

WASHINGTON—As the Catholic Church prepares to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) is releasing the results of a survey taken of the most recent Profession Class of 2017 conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The survey results have been released to coincide with the annual celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life, which will be celebrated in the Church on Friday, February 2, 2018 and in parishes on the weekend of February 3-4, 2018.

Commenting on the World Day for Consecrated Life, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark and Chair of the USCCB's Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations states: "For twenty-one years, the Church has designated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Candlemas Day, as an appropriate moment to thank God for the gift of consecrated life. Jesus is manifest as 'light of revelation for the Gentiles' and 'glory for God's people, Israel.' Consecrated men and women reflect this light as witnesses of Jesus in a world that is often shrouded in shadow. They are the glory of God's people. We pray for the perseverance of consecrated men and women and ask God to continue enriching the Church with their unique vocation."

The survey polled women and men religious who professed perpetual vows in 2017 in a religious congregation, province, or monastery based in the U.S. CARA received a response from 600 of 768 major superiors for an overall response rate of 78 percent among religious institutes.

Of these 216 identified women and men religious, a total of 100 sisters and nuns and 51 brothers and priests responded to the survey. These 51 men may include some brothers who intend to pursue studies leading to priestly ordination. This represents a response rate of 73 percent of the 208 potential members of the Profession Class of 2017 that were reported to CARA by major superiors.

Some of the major findings of the report are:

  • Nearly nine in ten or 86 percent of responding religious regularly participated in some type of private prayer activity before they entered their religious institute. About two-thirds participated in Eucharistic Adoration, prayed the rosary, or attended retreats before entering. Nearly six in ten participated in spiritual direction before entering.
  • Most religious did not report that educational debt delayed their application for entrance to their institute. Among the 4 percent who did report having educational debt, however, they averaged about 4 years of delay while they paid down an average of $29,100 in educational debt.
  • The average age of responding religious is 41. Half of the responding religious are age 36 or younger. The youngest is 24 and the oldest is 86.
  • Two-thirds of responding religious (64 percent) identify as white, more than one in six (18 percent) identifies as Asian, and more than one in ten (11 percent) identifies as Hispanic.
  • Most responding religious (67 percent) were born in the U.S. Of those born outside the United States, the most common country of origin is Vietnam.
  • Among those identifying as Hispanic/Latino almost six in ten (62 percent) are foreign born. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian seven in ten are predominantly foreign born. Nearly all identifying as Caucasian/White (94 percent) are U.S. born.
  • One-half of responding religious attended a Catholic elementary school, more than four in ten (44 percent) attended a Catholic high school, and a near equal proportion (43 percent) attended a Catholic college before entering their religious institute.
  • On average, responding religious report that they were 19 years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life, but half were 18 or younger when they first did so.

  • Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) responding religious report that someone encouraged them to consider a vocation to religious life.

  • Over four in ten reports that a parish priest (43 percent) encouraged their vocation.
  • Half say they were encouraged to consider a vocation by a religious sister or brother. Women religious were more likely than men religious to do so.
  • Over four in ten (41 percent) report that they were encouraged to consider a vocation by their friends.

The entire survey and press release, General Intercessions and a bulletin quote for the World Day for Consecrated Life, as well as more information on the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations can be found at www.usccb.org/consecratedlife.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, World Day for Consecrated Life, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Religious Vocations, Presentation of the Lord, Profession Class of 2017, Candlemas Day, Clergy, Vocations, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), religious congregations, province, monastery, sisters, nuns, brothers, priests, Eucharistic Adoration, rosary, survey, Catholic education, Hispanic/Latino, vocations

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Young Adult Delegates Named for Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome; Synod will Focus on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment

WASHINGTON—Three young adult delegates were discerned by the USCCB to represent the United States of America at the March 2018 Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome. The United States will participate in a special Pre-Synod Gathering in March 2018 in Rome, a milestone on the way to the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

The young adults are:  

  • Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, originally from northern California, is a Brother of the Christian Schools in the Lasallian District of San Francisco-New Orleans, currently serving as a religion teacher at Cathedral High School-El Paso, Texas.
  • Nick López, originally from San Antonio, currently serves as the director of campus ministry for the University of Dallas. He is also a guest columnist for the Catholic News Service column, In Light of Faith, focused on millennials.
  • Katie Prejean McGrady, of the Diocese of Lake Charles in Louisiana, is a wife, new mother, youth minister, and a popular speaker who has been working with many youth and young adult communities across the country.

This spring gathering, from March 19 to 25, 2018, has been convened by the Holy Father Pope Francis, along with the Office for the Synod of Bishops, as a way to listen directly to the voices of young adults around the world in advance of the 2018 Ordinary Synod (which will take place in October 2018 at the Vatican). The Holy See has also received input on the Synod topic through a questionnaire sent through episcopal conferences and movements, which was sent to Rome in October 2017, and an online survey for young people that was open from June to December 2017.

These individuals were chosen by the USCCB because they have both local and national connections to the life of the Church. Not only are they young adults, but they work with other young people, representing the cultural and vocational diversity of the Church in the U.S.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, commented on the upcoming Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome, saying, "We are delighted that Br. Javier, Nick, and Katie have accepted the invitation to represent the youth and young adults of the United States at this important gathering in Rome. We hope that all Catholics will join us in praying for them and for all the young delegates from around the world, participating in the Pre-Synod Conference. Their coming together is a wonderful opportunity for the Church, to hear the perspective of young people pertaining to the key themes which will be discussed in the 2018 Synod of Bishops: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment."

This will be the first time that Br. Javier Hansen will be traveling to Rome. "I believe I offer the perspective of many young religious in this country and those who are currently discerning religious life," says Br. Javier. "I not only will represent the people of my generation but also the young people I interact with every day in the classroom."

Katie Prejean McGrady says it is a great privilege to attend the gathering. "It is easily one of the greatest honors of my life," says Katie. "While there, I am greatly looking forward to the chance to learn through dialogue and discussion, how other countries uniquely lead young people into an authentic and personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and to bring this information home to share with our bishops, priests, and lay men and women working in ministry."

Nick Lopez says the gathering for him will also be an opportunity to present the needs of his American and Latino brothers and sisters, "In particular, I hope to be able to offer some successes and viewpoints from my life as a minister, including interfaith relations, integrating popular culture effectively in ministry, and the Latino/Hispanic American experience."

In addition to the in-person meeting of delegates, the Holy See will be inviting young people from around the world to participate in the Pre-Synod Gathering digitally via social media. With this opportunity, more youth and young adult voices can contribute to the dialogue. Details on how young people can engage the process in this manner will be available in the coming months.

The official Vatican website for the Synod, which is inclusive of this Pre-Synod Gathering, is http://www.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/en.html (this links to the English language version).  The official USCCB web page for the Synod is www.usccb.org/synod-2018.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Pre-Synod gathering, Rome, Vatican, Holy See, Young People, Faith, Vocational Discernment, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin C.Ss.R., Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, Katie Prejean McGrady, Nick López, youth, young adults

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Media Advisory: 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering Seeks to Bring Voice of Faith to Public Square

The 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and 16 collaborating organizations, attracts more than 500 participants from around the country and seeks to equip Catholic leaders to bring the voice of faith to the public square. This year's theme is "Building Community: A Call to the Common Good." Participants will focus on issues such as racism, the environment and immigration.

When: February 3-6, 2018.

Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW, Washington DC, 20008.

Speakers to include:

  • Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, will address the ramifications of racism in society and the Church, followed by a panel discussion of community leaders.
  • Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America, will deliver a Keynote Presentation on "Where is your brother?"
  • A Plenary and Dialogue on "Moving from a Throwaway Culture to a Culture of Encounter" will include Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA; Dr. Maryann Cusimano-Love, Professor, The Catholic University of America; and others.
  • Mauricio López, Executive Secretary of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), will deliver a Plenary Presentation on "Solidarity in Our Common Home," in anticipation of the 2019 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon announced recently by Pope Francis. This will be followed by a panel discussion of indigenous leaders including Mary Louise Worthy, Chief, Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC; Jacques Bahati, Africa Faith and Justice Network; Adelson Da Silva, Indigenous Leader, Brazil; and Haszel Dallana Contreras, Pastoral Agent, Colombia.

Joining the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in organizing the Gathering are numerous other USCCB departments and national Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and others.

Press release available at: www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-249.cfm.

Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Reporters interested in covering the gathering can download a credential application form and submit it by email.

More information is available online: www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org/.

---
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Social Ministry Gathering; Bishop George V. Murry; Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo; Subcommittee for the Church in Latin America, Catholic Relief Services, CRS, Catholic Charities USA, CCUSA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; racial unrest, racism, immigration, restorative justice, Ferguson, environment, migration policy, V Encuentro, nuclear threat, opioid abuse, affordable housing


###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops Conference Response to Kentucky High School Shooting

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on today's shootings at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. The shooting has left up to two dead and more than a dozen others injured.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Over the past two days in Kentucky and Texas, we have witnessed painful reminders of how gun violence can tragically alter the lives of those so precious to us – our school children. We pray for eternal rest for those who have died. Let us pray, too, for the families, teachers and friends who must now endure the suffering of losing those dearest to them. We stand in solidarity with the children who face a long road of recovery from serious injuries. May they find comfort in a loving community. As Christians, we experience this pain as if it were our own. Let us reach out in compassion to assist the grieving and may we move forward in greater resolve to treat one another as children of God, so that unthinkable acts like this become more and more rare and love more and more present in the world."

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, gun violence, school shooting, Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, solidarity, compassion, love.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Catholic Schools Week 2018, January 28-February 3, to Focus on “spiritual, academic and societal contributions” of Catholic Schools

WASHINGTON—National Catholic Schools Week 2018 (CSW) will be observed in dioceses around the country January 28–February 3. This year's theme, "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.," focuses on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.

As Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education said, "Catholic schools provide an invaluable service to young people, their families, and our nation by helping to form women and men with the sharp intellects, broad perspectives and big hearts who bring their best to communities near and far. Jesus Christ came to change hearts and to serve – one person at a time – and so Catholic schools invite students to encounter Christ, to be changed by Him, and love God by serving others with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength."

One way Catholic school students have been challenged to "learn, serve, lead and succeed" this academic year has been through the National Catholic Educational Association's (NCEA) "Student to Student" campaign. In August, NCEA began a national campaign that invited Catholic school families to donate at least $1 toward the "Student to Student: A Catholic School Response to Hurricane Harvey" campaign to help those Catholic school communities hardest hit by the events in the United States, the Caribbean and U.S. territories. The campaign was eventually renamed "Student to Student: A Catholic School Response to Hurricane Relief 2017" to include those that followed Harvey and the wildfires in the west. As of last month, 826 Catholic schools from across the country donated more than $600,000 to this solidarity effort. 300 students at Lumen Christi High School in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, for example, put on a taco lunch and raised more than $900. NCEA has begun the process of disbursing funds to Catholic arch/dioceses affected by recent natural disasters, beginning with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Nearly 1.9 million students are currently educated in 6,429 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for higher education, a competitive work environment, and most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society. "Since their founding in our country, Catholic schools have provided a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. We have always sought to welcome families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity," Bishop Murry said.

The observance of CSW began in 1974. Schools and parishes around the country will hold activities such as Masses, open houses, and pot luck gatherings to celebrate the communities they represent. The week also highlights the educational and community successes of Catholic schools nationwide. Ninety nine percent of students graduate from high school and 86 percent of Catholic school graduates attend college.  This percentage has been consistent over the past 20 years.

More information on the Committee on Catholic Education and other resources are available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/ and www.NCEA.org/csw. Catholic Schools Week can also be followed on Twitter @USCCBCatholicEd, @NCEATalk, and throughout social media via #CSW18.

---
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop George Murry, National Catholic Schools Week, National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic schools, learning, education, college, Committee on Catholic Education

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Collection for the Church in Latin America to be held January 27-28

WASHINGTON—The annual Collection for the Church in Latin America will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of January 27-28. For more than 50 years, the collection has been a sign of solidary between the Churches of the United States and those in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2017, the collection approved nearly $7.2 million dollars in grants to support the Church in Latin America and Caribbean.

"Through this collection, Catholics across the United States put their faith into action and build community with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and Caribbean," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. "Support to this collection is an act of the compassion that our faith calls us to."

The collection supports the work of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America by funding grants for a variety of pastoral efforts such as lay leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry and youth ministry. All of these efforts help Catholics share their faith.

Shareable resources can be found at: www.usccb.org/latin-america/collection.

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. Additional resources to learn about the collection and the projects it supports include an interactive map, a video on the history of the collection, and an annual report. The home page for the collection is www.usccb.org/latin-america.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S, Church in Latin America, Subcommittee on Church in Latin America, leadership training, seminarian formation, religious formation, prison ministry, youth ministry, national collections

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton; Names Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Stockton, California, and has named Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as his successor, up until now the Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento. 

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, January 23, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta was born on March 21, 1953 in Dos Palos, California. He attended St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, 1980-1987, receiving a bachelor's degree and master of divinity degree. 

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Fresno, California, on September 12, 1987. Parish assignments included: Parochial vicar, St. Anthony, Atwater (1987-1989); administrator of the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Laton (1989-1992); and pastor of Our Lady of Miracles, Gustine (1994); as well as administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hilmar (1994). 

Since 1996, he has served on the board of trustees, priest's retirement board and personnel board. Since 1999, his duties have included vicar general, moderator of the curia, board of consultors, vicar of clergy, director of continuing formation of the clergy, director of the Propagation of the Faith, director of pastoral support of the priests sensitive claims board, member of the diocesan finance council, and supervisor of the safe environment program. 

He was named a chaplain to his holiness (monsignor) in 2002 and a prelate of honor in 2009. Upon the death of Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno on Dec. 5, 2010, Bishop Cotta was elected by the Diocesan College of Consultors as the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Fresno. He served as administrator from Dec. 7, 2010 until Feb. 1, 2012, when Bishop Armando Ochoa assumed leadership of the Diocese of Fresno. 

On January 24, 2014 Pope Francis appointed Cotta as the fifth Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, and he was ordained a bishop on March 25, 2014. 

Bishop Stephen Blaire was born December 22, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo in 1967, where he earned a master's in Theology. He also has graduate degrees in Education and Secondary School Administration. 

He was ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1967 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

Assignments after ordination included: associate pastor, St. Luke's Church, 1967-1972; teacher/administrator, Alemany High School, 1972-1976; Vice Principal, Bishop Amat High School, 1976-1977; principal, Bishop Alemany High School, 1977-1986; Moderator of the Curia/Chancellor, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1986-1994; vicar general, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1990-1996. 

On May 31, 1990, he ordained as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Lamzella by Cardinal Roger Mahony. On January 19, 1999, he was appointed Bishop of Stockton by Pope John Paul II and was installed as the fifth Bishop of Stockton March 16, 1999 at the Cathedral of the Annunciation. 

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishops Blaire has served as the chairman of the Pastoral Practices Committee and as a member of the Committee for Ecu-menical and Interreligious Affairs. Bishop Blaire has also served locally as president of the Cali-fornia Catholic Conference. In 2009, he was elected chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development. 

The Diocese of Stockton is comprised of 9,938 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,376,940 of which 298,061 or 22 percent, are Catholic. 

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Diocese of Stockton, Diocese of Sacramento

### 

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200