St. Mary's Malankara Catholic Church of Dallas

2650 E. SCYENE ROAD, MESQUITE, TEXAS 75181
 
Home >>> Latest News USCCB
USCCB Chairman and Catholic Relief Services Commend Congress for Advancing the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issue the following statement in response to today's action regarding the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR):

Full statement follows:

"We welcome Congressional reauthorization of PEPFAR, which has so far saved millions of lives, prevented millions of new infections and supported 6.4 million orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers around the world. The action on the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee paves the way for final passage and for another five years of U.S. leadership in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria and the protection and support of orphans and vulnerable children.

"Although we have principled concerns about certain aspects of PEPFAR and the Global Fund prevention activities that we find inconsistent with Catholic teaching and do not implement or advocate for those activities, overall PEPFAR is one of the most successful global health programs in history demonstrating U.S. leadership in saving lives and safeguarding human dignity of the most vulnerable people. Through the work of PEPFAR, in partnership with other governments and communities, the U.S. has changed the course of the AIDS pandemic globally. Since 2003 when it was first authorized, PEPFAR has received strong bipartisan support in Congress.

"The legislation also sets U.S. policy for the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Health programs supported by the Global Fund partnership have saved 27 million lives as of the end of 2017. Overall, the number of deaths caused by AIDS, TB and malaria each year has been reduced by one-third since 2002 in countries where the Global Fund invests.

"We greatly appreciate the leadership of Chairmen Royce, Smith and Corker, Ranking Members Engel, Bass and Menendez as well as Representatives Barbara Lee and Betty McCollum and Senator Cardin, for their work to ensure that children were not forgotten in this bill. Saving lives and protecting the future of vulnerable children is a proud U.S. legacy thanks to the U.S. Congress."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, orphans, vulnerable children, Global Fund

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes End to Death Penalty in Washington State

WASHINGTON—Following the Washington Supreme Court's ruling striking down the state death penalty statute, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the decision and reiterated the Church's call to end the death penalty. 

The full statement of Bishop Dewane follows: 

"The Washington Supreme Court is to be commended for its unanimous decision to strike down the state death penalty statute.  In his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis called for 'the global abolition of the death penalty,' as he explained, 'I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. . . . [A] just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.'   

"In the Court's opinion, the death penalty was deemed 'invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.' This echoes one of the reasons to oppose the death penalty that the bishops gave in their 2005 statement A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death: 

[The death penalty's] application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed. 

"We join the Catholic Bishops of Washington, the Washington State Catholic Conference, the Catholic Mobilizing Network, and all people of good will in welcoming this development and persevering in the work to end the death penalty."  

--- 

Keywords:  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, death penalty, Washington Supreme Court, Pope Francis, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, Washington State Catholic Conference, Catholic Mobilizing Network, rehabilitation

# # # 

Media Contact:  

Judy Keane  

202-541-3200
President of U.S. Bishops Conference and Chairman of USCCB Domestic Justice Committee Issue Statements on Hurricane Michael

ROME—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia.

Full statement of Cardinal DiNardo follows:

"In the wake of two powerful hurricanes, people across the southeast now face the long process of recovery. May God's mercy comfort family and friends who have lost loved ones and sustain those rebuilding their homes and businesses. Let us respond with prayer and personal generosity.

As a community of faith, we remain with our brothers and sisters throughout their journey. I am grateful for the way so many volunteer their time, make donations, and witness to the need long after the headlines fade. Your generosity reveals Christ is present.

Humanitarian needs still exist from previous hurricanes. New storms will bring new suffering. Together, we can help communities carry this cross. Thousands of parishes have taken up an Emergency Collection for 2018 Natural Disasters. You can also support relief efforts in the United States by visiting www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or internationally at www.crs.org.

Thank you and may God bless you in this time of great need."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Hurricane Michael, natural disasters, prayer

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice Florida, Chair of the of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has issued the following statement regarding Hurricane Michael's swath of deadly destruction which has devastated the Florida Panhandle, and parts of Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. In his statement, Bishop Dewane calls for prayers for all those who have been impacted, as well as prayers for the first responders and those who have been evacuated. Full statement from Bishop Dewane follows:

"Our nation is yet again facing the impact of a powerful and deadly hurricane. Our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Cuba have already felt Hurricane Michael's destruction, and we pray for their recovery efforts.

As Hurricane Michael has moved with deadly force through the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia; we lift up in prayer all of those who are impacted, asking almighty God to guide the steady hands of first responders and to widen the hearts of all who are able to be generous to neighbors facing danger, grief, or displacement of any kind due to the disaster.

While the fury of this storm season continues, I am reminded of the disciples' plea to Jesus as a violent storm threatened their lives: 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' (Mk 4, 38). At a time like this, when human lives are disrupted and the mystery of suffering becomes a painful reality for so many, we implore to the one who 'commands even the winds and the sea' (Lk 8, 25) to give them strength and protection.

Prayers and generosity are greatly needed at this time. With great faith and hope in the midst of this crisis may all our work and efforts go towards helping those in need. Last week, the day after tropical storm Michael was first monitored, the USCCB 'requested that dioceses across the country take up an emergency collection on behalf of those devastated by Hurricane Florence, as well as any forthcoming natural disasters this year.' The funds collected in this special appeal for 2018 Disasters will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church as they and their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs.

As the impact of Hurricane Michael becomes clearer, we will work closely with local dioceses, Catholic relief entities and with other organizations to assess the needs on the ground and offer assistance.

Let us join in prayer for all those who are in the path of Hurricane Michael. May God bless and protect you."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Hurricane Michael, Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services, devastation, assistance.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Washington.

The resignation was publicized in Washington, DC, October 12, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Cardinal Wuerl had presented his resignation almost three years ago, when he reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

In April,2008, Cardinal Wuerl hosted in Washington, Pope Benedict XVI and in September, 2015, Pope Francis for their first pastoral visits to the United States. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to help direct the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. Cardinal Wuerl was also appointed by Pope Francis as a member of both the 2014 and the 2015 Synods on the Family.

The Cardinal was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1986, in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome. He served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington. His titular church in Rome is Saint Peter in Chains.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl was born November 12, 1940, in Pittsburgh, PA. He attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a bachelor's degree (1962) and master's degree (1963) in philosophy. He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and earned a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1967, also in Rome.

He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1966.

From 1981 to 1985, he was rector of Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh. On November 30, 1985 he was appointed titular Bishop of Rosemarkie and Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle. Pope John Paul ordained him a bishop on January 6, 1986. On February 12, 1988, he was installed as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He was appointed Archbishop of Washington on May 16, 2006.

He holds honorary degrees from eleven universities and is a Knight of Malta, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, and a fourth degree Knight of Columbus.

Cardinal Wuerl served previously as Chairman of the Doctrine Committee for the USCCB and has served on other various USCCB committees.

The Archdiocese of Washington is comprised of 2,104 square miles and has a total population of 2,867,377 million of which 630,823 or 22 percent, are Catholic.

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington, DC.

###
Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry calls for innovative growth, cooperation and on-going formation to enhance efficacy

WASHINGTON— On the Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of Catholic Campus Ministry in the United States, USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education has issued a report highlighting the key findings from the National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry. The Secretariat commissioned the study seeking to advance Catholic identity in higher education and to rejuvenate the vision of Catholic campus ministry nationally. 

Utilizing an innovative and collaborative process, the study brought together practioners from public, private and Catholic institutions, mission officers, faculty members, missionaries, bishops and stakeholders representing the breadth of Catholic campus ministry in the United States.  The effort was led by Barbara H. McCrabb, Assistant Director for Higher Education at the USCCB and Dr. Brian Starks, PhD, Associate Professor of Kennesaw State University.  

The national study considered the contemporary context for campus ministry as well as the formation and professional development of those who minister on campus. The report offers valuable insights into the landscape of Catholic campus ministry and the formation of those who serve as campus ministers or missionaries on campus. Key findings call for innovative growth, steadfast cooperation and on-going formation to enhance the efficacy of Catholic campus ministry, as explained in the report by Bishop John M. Quinn of Winona, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education. 

Based on the data gathered, the report offers practical suggestions to develop and enhance Catholic campus ministry. According to Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Episcopal Liaison for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, "the Church must be intentional and campus ministry must be accountable in every way possible to enrich the character and formation of the whole community; taking into account the ethnic, social and spiritual diversity of each campus and its surrounding community." He goes on to say, "Our ministry must center on people, for we are forming men and women to be people that reflect Christ to each other and to the world."  

The study had a 56% response rate among the 1,911 campus ministers across the country. The report and other support data can be found on the Secretariat of Catholic Education website: www.usccb.org/campus-ministry. 

--- 

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop John M. Quinn, Bishop Fernand Cheri, Barbara H. McCrabb, Dr. Brian Starks, Committee on Catholic Education, Campus Ministry, #CatholicCampusMinistry, #CatholicHigherEd, #HigherEdCatholics, @CCMACampusMinisters, @USCCBCatholicEd 

### 

Media Contact: 

Judy Keane 

202-541-3200 



President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Issues Letter Following Recent Natural Disasters in Indonesia

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter of solidarity to Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Archbishop of Jakarta in light of the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Indonesia. As of recent reports, those killed now number over 1,200 and over 50,000 displaced.

The full letter follows:

"May the Lord protect and assuage the grief of those affected by natural disaster in Indonesia.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the enormous twin tragedies that struck this past weekend, killing over 800 people on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Undoubtedly many are suffering injuries and thousands have been made homeless as the earthquakes and tidal wave devastated homes, schools, churches and other buildings. The fact that these natural disasters have come so soon after a large earthquake struck Lombok Island and surrounding areas in July 2018 means that emergency relief efforts have already been put to the test. I am pleased to learn that Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia, together with Caritas Indonesia, are on hand to assess conditions and provide humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible.

On behalf of my brother bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I want to assure you of our prayers and expressions of solidarity with the Church in Indonesia in this difficult time. I pray for the victims of these disasters and the survivors who are struggling to regain their lives. I join with the Holy Father in praying for consolation, healing, and protection for victims and their families as he said, 'May the Lord console them and sustain the efforts of those who are taking part in the relief efforts.'"

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Indonesia, Jakarta, earthquake, tsunami, Catholic Relief Services

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Welcomes Steps Holy See is Taking to Ensure Faithful are Protected from the Evil of Sexual Abuse

 ROME—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is welcoming the recent announcement by the Holy See outlining steps to ensure the faithful are protected by the evil of sexual assault. 

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:  

"On behalf of my brother bishops in the United States, I welcome the statement of October 6 from the Holy See which outlines additional steps Pope Francis is taking to ensure the faithful are protected from the evil of sexual assault. The Holy Father's 'pressing invitation to unite forces to fight the grave scourge of abuse within the Church and beyond' has been and will continue to be diligently accepted by the bishops of the United States.

"The truth will ensure terrible sins of the past are not repeated. The courage of abuse survivors who first brought the horrific truth of sexual abuse to light must continue to be matched by our courage as pastors to respond in justice. Pope Francis echoes the call of Christ to be with survivors in their time of need. Let us respond simply. 'Yes, Lord!'

"The bishops of the United States offer our prayers and solidarity for the Holy Father. We urge all in the Church, particularly the bishops, to reaffirm our communion with Pope Francis who is the visible guarantor of the communion of the Catholic church. We unite in prayer and service with His Holiness as he leads the Church to meet our brothers and sisters in their suffering. With a pastor's heart, the Holy Father calls us to a path of healing."

---
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Holy See, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, sexual assault, abuse survivors, healing, solidarity

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


U.S. Bishops Chairman Expresses Deep Concern about Refugees Left in Harm’s Way Due to Lowest Ever Refugee Admissions Ceiling for 2019

WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump has issued the Presidential Determination (PD) for refugee admissions for fiscal year 2019, setting the level at 30,000 refugees. The PD will be the lowest refugee ceiling in the 38-year history of the resettlement program, with the average annual limit being 95,000 refugees.  Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration has offered the following statement regarding the PD.

Full statement follows:

"As Christians, we believe it is our duty to welcome and help those who are persecuted, including the vulnerable such as children and religious minorities. Resettlement in our country is a way through which we live out our Gospel call to welcome the persecuted into our communities--individuals and families with no viable options to stay where they are or return home. I am saddened by today's major reduction in resettlement to 30,000 refugees. I worry and pray for those refugees left in harm's way by this decision. We urge the Administration to diligently work to reach this year's Presidential Determination as we know that many in the world fleeing war, persecution and religious discrimination continue to desperately need our support. We pledge to work with the Administration to ensure that we reach that goal. We will continue to call for a higher refugee admissions level for next year. We can and must do more to assist those in need."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee on Migration, President Donald Trump, Presidential Determination, refugee, resettlement

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

 
Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities Introduces Respect Life Month with Theme and New, Year-Round Resources (English & Spanish)

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today for Respect Life Month. New resources have been developed around the theme "Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent" and are available at www.usccb.org/respectlife. Respect Life Sunday is October 7.

Cardinal Dolan's full statement in English and Spanish follows:

"My dear friends in Christ:

The month of October is annually observed by the Catholic Church in the United States as Respect Life Month. We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.

Yet this year, as we approach Respect Life Sunday on October 7, our hearts are heavy with revelations of how those who should be most trustworthy have not only failed in this regard but have inflicted immense evil. As USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed, 'the Body of Christ is lacerated.'

At such a time as this, we become even more aware of the need for messengers of God's love and instruments of His healing. We realize again, with renewed urgency, our personal call to help others encounter God's transforming, life-giving love and to defend the sanctity of every person's life, at every stage and in every circumstance.

This year's Respect Life theme is "Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent," highlighting our call to build a culture of life as missionary disciples. Drawing upon the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, this theme is briefly unpacked in a short reflection. I humbly invite you to read and reflect on it this Respect Life Month (www.usccb.org/respect-life-reflection). (There are also many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife that are available for use this month and throughout the year.)

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us, "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. …If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it" (1 Cor 12:12,26).

We are called and sent to be messengers of God's love, treating one another as cherished and chosen by Him. In doing so, we help build a culture that respects all human life. The Body of Christ needs you. The world needs you."

---

"Queridos amigos en Cristo:

Cada año, la Iglesia católica de Estados Unidos celebra el mes de octubre como el Mes Respetemos la Vida. Somos llamados a atesorar, defender y proteger a las personas más indefensas, desde el principio de la vida hasta el final, y en todas las etapas entre medio.

Sin embargo, este año, al acercarnos al Domingo Respetemos la Vida el 7 de octubre, tenemos el corazón abatido por las revelaciones de la manera en que quienes deberían ser más dignos de confianza no solo han fracasado en ese sentido, sino que han ocasionado un mal inmenso. El cardenal Daniel DiNardo, presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal de Estados Unidos, expresó: "el Cuerpo de Cristo está lacerado".

En un momento como este, tomamos aún más conciencia de la necesidad de ser mensajeros del amor de Dios e instrumentos de su sanidad. Nuevamente, descubrimos, con renovada urgencia, nuestro llamado personal a ayudar a otros a encontrarse con el amor de Dios, transformador y dador de vida, y a defender la santidad de la vida de todas las personas, en cada etapa y en todas las circunstancias.

El tema de este año para Respetemos la Vida es "Cada vida: atesorada, escogida, enviada" y destaca nuestro llamado a construir una cultura de vida como discípulos misioneros. Inspirado en la historia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y San Juan Diego, este tema se describe en una breve reflexión. Los invito humildemente a leer y reflexionar sobre este Mes Respetemos la Vida (http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2018/reflexion-respetemos-la-vida-2018-2019.cfm). (También hay muchos recursos más en www.usccb.org/respectlife que están disponibles para usarlos este mes y durante el año).

En su primera carta a los Corintios, San Pablo nos dice: "El cuerpo humano, aunque está formado por muchos miembros, es un solo cuerpo. Así también Cristo… Si un miembro del cuerpo sufre, todos los demás sufren también." (1 Cor 12,12.26).

Somos llamados y enviados a ser mensajeros del amor de Dios, tratándonos unos a otros como seres valorados y elegidos por Él. Al hacerlo, ayudamos a desarrollar una cultura que respeta toda la vida humana. El Cuerpo de Cristo los necesita. El mundo los necesita.

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York, pro-life, abortion, Respect Life Month, respect life, Our Lady of Guadalupe, U.S. bishops, women, pregnancy, healing after abortion, persons with disabilities, palliative care, assisted suicide, end of life care, elder care, contraception, missionary disciples, culture of life, prayer

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Bishops Conference Announces Emergency Collection for 2018 Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has requested that dioceses across the country take up an emergency collection on behalf of those devastated by Hurricane Florence, as well as any forthcoming natural disasters this year.

In a letter sent to bishops last week, Cardinal DiNardo wrote, in part:

"The traditional storm season has only just begun and already we have witnessed the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. Five days after land-fall, torrential rain was still falling, and catastrophic flooding is predicted. Already, thousands of homes, businesses, and churches have been severely damaged or destroyed."

"We offer our prayers to families who have lost loved ones or are among those injured. As is often the case, the poor are the hardest hit by these conditions, but many will have immense unmet needs. Staff of our Office for National Collections has been in touch with several bishops to learn about their situations and to offer our prayers and our desire to be of assistance in this time of need.

"Given the patterns of recent years, it is reasonable to expect much more unpredictable weather and an increasing number of natural disasters. Therefore, I suggest we take up a special collection for the humanitarian, long-term recovery, and Church needs arising from these storms. In anticipation of more disasters awaiting us this year, I ask that we make a special appeal for the ongoing disasters of 2018 and that we each take up the collection as soon as possible so that those most in need can receive assistance quickly."

Funds will be used in response to Hurricane Florence and any other natural disasters that occur this year. Initially, funds will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA as they reach out to provide humanitarian aid in the form of water, food, shelter, and medical care, as well as to their long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction. Also, funds will go to support the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' efforts to assist with pastoral and reconstruction aid to the Church. Humanitarian funds for any future disasters impacting communities outside the US may be shared with Catholic Relief Services for their response efforts.

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

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, charity, Hurricane Florence, national collection humanitarian aid, emergency relief

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


V Encuentro Delegates Charged with Building a Culture of Encounter that Rekindles Hope

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, Archbishop of San Antonio and chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement today following the close of the V National Encuentro that took place September 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.

Archbishop García-Siller's full statement follows:

Brothers and Sisters,

What a wonderful Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry we had in Grapevine, Texas, September 20-23! For us bishops it was both humbling and awe-inspiring to witness and participate in this grace-filled event that culminated a process of several years. Four days of prayer, sharing, listening, and learning revealed a people of God alive in the love of Jesus. The process now continues with the charge to take back to our communities and dioceses what we experienced at the National V Encuentro. 

Build "a culture of encounter that rekindles hope." With this call, Pope Francis welcomed the nearly 3,200 people from more than 160 dioceses and over 200 Catholic organizations from around the country to the V Encuentro. Following the Holy Father's video message, his Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, invited us to go forth out of our comfort zone and become leaven of communion. We, the delegates to the V Encuentro, bishops and people together, gratefully take this charge back to our communities filled with a missionary spirit.

The V Encuentro process, and specially the national gathering, will go down in history as a special moment of grace for the Church in the United States in these turbulent and difficult times. As Cardenal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops aptly put it in his welcoming remarks: "Amidst this darkness, the Encuentro is a light that shines and illuminates the way forward. The enthusiasm, the passion, the love, and the joy of the Encuentro process is a means of grace, a gift to us as we rebuild the Church."

A special highlight of the National V Encuentro was the participation of hundreds of young adults who brought us hope with their enthusiasm and courage, witness of faith and commitment to the Church. As the process of Encuentro continues, may we welcome their energy, their gifts and talents for the service of the entire Church.

This mountaintop experience of God's Providence, of the love of Christ for his Church, impels us and we are now readier to be the Church Christ wants us to be. Thousands of faithful have returned home to share their experience with those whose voices they represented and with everyone unable to attend. In this way, the Holy Spirit will multiply the graces of renewal and conversion.

I am grateful to all who made this V Encuentro possible, from the pastors and parish coordinators to the diocesan and regional teams. I am grateful for all the national organizations and sponsors that accompanied and supported us thus far. And I am grateful to my brother bishops who have accompanied their people in this process locally and at the National V Encuentro. I ask for your continued support and prayers as the process of the V Encuentro enters now a new phase of implementation.

Coming together across cultures and geographic regions, the Body of Christ draws strength from the diverse gifts of its individual members. In fidelity to Christ and in communion with the successor of Peter, open to the impulses of the Spirit and under the merciful gaze of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, let us use that strength to share the hope of the Gospel with all who are in need of God's love and mercy.

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, V Encuentro, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


National Vocation Awareness Week Encourages Young People to Encounter Christ’s Call
WASHINGTON—The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 4-10. This annual event is a special time for parishes in the U.S. to foster a culture of vocations for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life.

Pope Francis, in his message for the 2018 World Day of Vocations, emphasized that it is at the loving initiative of God, and by His personal encounter with each of us, that one is called. “Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us. He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”

National Vocation Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: "To what vocation in life is God calling me?" Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first week in November, special activities that focus on vocation awareness and provide opportunities for prayerful discernment.

Contemporary society is all too often saturated by constant activity and noise, so it is important this week to encourage young discerners to take time for silent, contemplative prayer. Results of studies conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), notes that 72% of those ordained to the Priesthood or solemnly professed within the last year cited participation in Eucharistic Adoration as a prayer experience that proved influential in their discernment. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations echoes this finding, stating: “Quiet reflection and prayer are essential elements for vocational discernment. It is in the interior depths of our heart where we hear the voice of Christ, where he speaks to us, and where he reveals his will for our lives.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. It was later moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.

More information and resources for National Vocation Awareness Week, including a prayer card, suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are available online at: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week.cfm


---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Pope Francis, vocations, National Vocation Awareness Week, priesthood, religious life, consecrated life, religious, vocation, Catholic education, ministry, prayer, Synod 2018, World Day of Vocations

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 


Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities Applauds Cancellation of FDA Fetal Tissue Contract, Urges Additional HHS Action

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today applauding initial steps taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to terminate a Food and Drug Administration contract to purchase aborted baby parts for research, but urging quick action to cease all funding for research using body parts from aborted babies.

Cardinal Dolan's full statement follows:

We applaud Secretary Azar and the Administration for cutting off ties to a company whose business is to procure aborted baby parts for research. Not only has this company been referred for criminal investigation by the House and Senate but using federal tax dollars for such purposes is unethical and unacceptable.

While we are grateful for this first step, it remains incumbent on the Administration to act quickly to cease all funding for research involving body parts from aborted babies. The question is not exclusively what is permitted by law, but what is right and just. For the federal government to create a demand for abortion and use these children's body parts for research is wrong. We look forward to receiving answers to the questions we and other pro-life organizations asked of Secretary Azar in our September 11, 2018 letter regarding the funding and use of fetal tissue from aborted babies. Under a pro-life Administration, there is simply no room for callously using aborted children to further a research goal. This must stop immediately. Our government should only use taxpayer dollars for ethical research. ----

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York, pro-life, HHS, abortion

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Statement in Response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Immigrants and Public Benefits

WASHINGTON--On September 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that dramatically alters certain longstanding government policies related to legal immigrants' access to essential safety net programs.  

Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chair of the Committee on Migration and Bishop of Austin, Texas, together with Bishop Frank Dewane, Chair of Committee on Domestic and Social Development and Bishop of Venice, Florida stated:  

"Yesterday's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking undercuts decades of administrative policies and guidelines on how immigrants are treated by the United States government. This further compounds strict eligibility guidelines already in place preventing many immigrants from receiving federal aid. While just beginning to review the Proposed Rule, upon initial analysis, it appears that this will be very harmful to families, raising fear among immigrant families already struggling to fulfill the American Dream. Further, it is likely to prevent families from accessing important medical and social services vital to public health and welfare." 

--- 

Keywords: Department of Homeland Security, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Migration, Diocese of Austin, domestic and social development, Bishop Frank Dewane, Diocese of Venice 

# # #  

Media Contact: 

Judy Keane 

202-541-3200


Domestic Justice Chairman Encourages Congressional Efforts to Address the Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON—As Congress considers a bipartisan bill that addresses several aspects of the opioid crisis, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, applauded Congressional efforts to address the crisis and encouraged lawmakers not to allow politics to delay their work.

Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:

"The opioid crisis has affected all corners of our country. Preliminary estimates by the Centers for Disease Control indicate that more than 72,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017, which is about one death every eight minutes. In the face of the staggering challenges in confronting this tragedy, it is encouraging that lawmakers in Congress appear to be making progress in bipartisan legislation that would address many issues related to the crisis."

"As Pope Francis has said, '[e]very drug addict has a unique personal story and must be listened to, understood, loved, and, insofar as possible, healed and purified. We cannot stoop to the injustice of categorizing drug addicts as if they were mere objects or broken machines; each person must be valued and appreciated in his or her dignity in order to enable them to be healed.' Congress should press on in its work for precisely these purposes.

"The Senate passed bill is but a first step in addressing several aspects of the opioid crisis, including support for increases in research, treatment, education, and security and law enforcement. As the midterm elections and the end of the year approach, it can be difficult to complete complex legislation during the remaining time. The opioid crisis, however, cannot wait until next year. Congress is to be applauded for the bipartisan efforts that have already occurred and should swiftly work through remaining obstacles to find effective solutions that can become law."

---

Keywords: opioid crisis, Bishop Dewane, Pope Francis, legislation, justice, peace, human development, Diocese of Venice

# # #

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Authority
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Administrative Committee has issued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abuse scandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us."

Turning to the Lord

"When each of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told:

'Keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to shepherd the Church of God.'

We, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame and sorrow. Some bishops, by their actions or their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and the Church as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate and sexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuine concern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers. For this, we again ask forgiveness from both the Lord and those who have been harmed. Turning to the Lord for strength, we must and will do better.

The Administrative Committee took the following actions within its authority:

1. Approved the establishment of a third-party reporting system that will receive confidentially, by phone and online, complaints of sexual abuse of minors by a bishop and sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with adults by a bishop and will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.

2. Instructed the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance to develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, including seminarians and priests.

3. Initiated the process of developing a Code of Conduct for bishops regarding the sexual abuse of a minor; sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with an adult; or negligence in the exercise of his office related to such cases.

4. Supported a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests, and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations. Such an investigation should rely upon lay experts in relevant fields, such as law enforcement and social services.

This is only a beginning. Consultation with a broad range of concerned parents, experts, and other laity along with clergy and religious will yield additional, specific measures to be taken to repair the scandal and restore justice. We humbly welcome and are grateful for the assistance of the whole people of God in holding us accountable.  

As these initiatives get underway, the Administrative Committee invites each of our brother bishops to join us in acts of prayer and penance. This is a time of deep examination of conscience for each bishop. We cannot content ourselves that our response to sexual assault within the Church has been sufficient. Scripture must be our guide forward, "be doers of the word and not hearers only" (James 1:22).

In all of this, we do not want anyone – ourselves included – to lose sight of those who have suffered from those who have acted or failed to act as the Gospel demanded. For survivors of sexual abuse, these days may re-open deep wounds. Support is available from the Church and within the community. Victims Assistance Coordinators are available in every diocese to help you find resources. We are grateful to hundreds of dedicated people who, since the adoption of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse.

To anyone who has been abused, never hesitate to also contact local law enforcement. If you don't feel comfortable for any reason with the Church providing help, your diocese can connect you with appropriate community services. With compassion and without judgement, the bishops of the United States pledge to heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us.

Acting in communion with the Holy Father, with whom we once again renew our love, obedience, and loyalty, we make our own the prayer of Pope Francis in his August 20 letter to the people of God, "May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Administrative Committee, Catholic Bishops, sexual abuse, abuse of minor, sexual harassment, civil authorities, third-party reporting, Canonical Affairs, Church Governance, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Code of Conduct, Victim Assistance Coordinators, Holy Father, Pope Francis, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3206


Bishop Vásquez, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Releases Statement on the Setting of the U.S. Refugee Limit for the Year 2019 (English & Spanish)

WASHINGTON—The United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, announced yesterday that the Administration will set the Presidential Determination, the level of refugees allowed into the United States, at 30,000 refugees for 2019. This is the lowest number set in the history of the U.S. refugee admissions program which was formally created in 1980.

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

"The announcement of the Presidential Determination is deeply disturbing and leaves many human lives in danger. To cut off protection for many who are fleeing persecution, at a time of unprecedented global humanitarian need, contradicts who we are as a nation. Offering refuge to those fleeing violence, torture, or religious persecution is a cornerstone of our history. We as a country are blessed with vast resources making us capable of securely welcoming those fleeing harm. Closing our doors on those seeking such safety is not who we are as a people. In the coming days, we pray that Congress will have the opportunity to engage in the formal consultation process with the Administration that is required by law. During this mandatory consultation process, Congress should strongly urge the Administration to return to a refugee admission level that reflects local community response and support of refugees, global refugee protection needs, and our long history of compassionately welcoming refugees."

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Presidential Determination, Administration, Congress, global refugee protection, Diocese of Austin, refugees, migration, humanitarian need, community response
###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200 

WASHINGTON— El Secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, Michael Pompeo, anunció ayer que la Administración va a fijar la Determinación Presidencial, el número de refugiados permitidos en Estados Unidos, en 30.000 para el 2019. Éste es el número más bajo en la historia del programa de admisiones de refugiados, que fue formalmente creado en 1980.

El Reverendísimo Joe S. Vásquez, Obispo de Austin, Texas, y Presidente del Comité de Migración de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos emitió el siguiente comunicado:

"El anuncio de la Determinación Presidencial es profundamente inquietante y deja muchas vidas humanas en peligro. Cortar la protección para muchos que huyen de la persecución, en un momento sin precedentes de necesidad humanitaria mundial, contradice lo que somos nosotros como nación. Ofrecer refugio a aquellos que huyen de la violencia, la tortura y la persecución religiosa es una piedra angular de nuestra historia. Como país hemos sido bendecidos con abundantes recursos, lo que nos ha hecho capaces de dar la bienvenida a aquellos que huyen. Cerrar nuestras puertas a quienes buscan tal seguridad no es lo que somos como pueblo. En los próximos días, oramos para que el Congreso tenga la oportunidad de participar en el proceso de consulta formal con la Administración que exige la ley. Durante este proceso obligatorio de consulta, el Congreso debería urgir firmemente a la Administración a retornar al nivel de admisiones de refugiados que es consistente con la respuesta y respaldo de la comunidad local a los refugiados, las necesidades de protección global de refugiados y una larga historia de recibir compasivamente a los refugiados".

---

Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Obispo J. Vásquez, Comité de Migración, Determinación Presidencial, Administración, Congreso, protección global a los refugiados, Diócesis de Austin, refugiados, migración, necesidad humanitaria, respuesta comunitaria.

###

Contactos de prensa:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3202

Pope Francis Names Rev. Juan Miguel Betancourt, S.E.M.V., as Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Juan Miguel Betancourt, S.E.M.V. as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford. Father Betancourt is a member of the Institute of the Servants of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary (Esclavos de la Eucaristia y de Maria Virgen).

Father Betancourt entered the Institute Servants of the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary as a canonical postulant on January 1, 1992. He professed vows as a religious on October 7, 1994. He received his bachelor's in theological studies in May 2000 from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and earned a Master of Divinity in 2002. He also holds a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute (2005). He was ordained on April 21, 2001.

His assignments include: professor of sacred scripture at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico (2005-2006), professor of sacred scripture at Regina Cleri Major Seminary in Puerto Rico (2005-2006), assistant professor of sacred scripture at the Seminary of Saint Paul (2006-present), adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas (2006-present), local superior at the Casa de San Jose in Saint Paul, MN, (2006-present) and pastor of the churches of Saint James and Saint Francis de Sales in Saint Paul, MN (2006-present).

Father Betancourt is also a Board Member of the National Conference for Seminarians in Hispanic Ministry (2009-present) and a liaison for Foreign Seminarians at St. Paul Seminary (2008-present).

The Archdiocese of Hartford comprises 2,288 square miles. It has a total population of 1,938,914 people of which 538, 983, or 27 percent, are Catholic. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair is the current Archbishop of Hartford. 

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Rev. Juan Miguel Betancourt, Archdiocese of Hartford, Archbishop Leonard Blair

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200
AMENDED RELEASE: Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield; Archbishop Lori Instructed to Conduct Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Harassment

The following press release has been amended. Our initial release issued at 6am this morning was based on the entire notification we received from the Nunciature that did not include the additional information provided by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William E. Lori as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He will remain Archbishop of Baltimore. The Holy Father has additionally instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, September 13, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Bransfield was born September 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1971, where he earned a master's in Divinity. He also earned his Master's in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971 by Cardinal John Krol for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Assignments after ordination included: teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School. In 1980, Bishop Bransfield went on to serve as Assistant Director and Director of Liturgy, Director of Finance, and then Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (1990).

On December 9, 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed Bishop Bransfield the eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.  He was ordained a bishop on February 22, 2005.

Bishop Bransfield served as a member of the Communications Committee, the National Collections Committee, and Treasurer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is comprised of 24,282 square miles in the state of West Virginia and has a total population of 1,844,128 of which 77,874 or 4 percent, are Catholic.

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Michael Bransfield, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Archbishop William E. Lori, Baltimore.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement Following Meeting with Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY—Following a private audience with Pope Francis this morning in Vatican City, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement regarding the recent moral crisis in the American Catholic Church.

"We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience. We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States -- how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange.

As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God's mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps."

----

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Vatican City

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia and has appointed the Most Revered William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, as the Apostolic Administrator to serve until the appointment and installation of the new bishop. Bishop Bransfield has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, September 13, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Bransfield was born September 8, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1971, where he earned a master's in Divinity. He also earned his Master's in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 15, 1971 by Cardinal John Krol for service in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Assignments after ordination included: teacher, chaplain, and Chairman of the Religion Department at Lansdale Catholic High School. In 1980, Bishop Bransfield went on to serve as Assistant Director and Director of Liturgy, Director of Finance, and then Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (1990). 

On December 9, 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed Bishop Bransfield the eighth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia.  He was ordained a bishop on February 22, 2005.

Bishop Bransfield served as a member of the Communications Committee, the National Collections Committee, and Treasurer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is comprised of 24,282 square miles in the state of West Virginia and has a total population of 1,844,128 of which 77,874 or 4 percent, are Catholic.

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Michael Bransfield, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Archbishop William E. Lori, Baltimore.

###

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

WASHINGTON— El Papa Francisco aceptó la renuncia del Obispo Michael Bransfield del gobierno pastoral de la Diócesis de Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, y nombró al Reverendísimo William E. Lori, Arzobispo de Baltimore, como el Administrador Apostólico hasta el nombramiento e instalación del nuevo obispo. El obispo Bransfield alcanzó la edad de jubilación para los obispos que es de 75 años.

La renuncia y el nombramiento fueron publicados en Washington, hoy 13 de septiembre de 2018, por el Arzobispo Christophe Pierre, nuncio apostólico en los Estados Unidos.

El Obispo Bransfield nació el 8 de septiembre de 1943 en Filadelfia, Pensilvania. Se graduó del Seminario St. Charles Borromeo en 1971, donde obtuvo una maestría en Divinidad. También obtuvo su Maestría en Filosofía de la Universidad Católica de América.

Fue ordenado sacerdote el 15 de mayo de 1971 por el Cardenal John Krol para servir en la Arquidiócesis de Filadelfia.

Entre sus asignaciones después de la ordenación estuvieron: maestro, capellán y presidente del Departamento de Religión en Lansdale Catholic High School. Desde 1980, el Obispo Bransfield ejerció como Director Asistente, Director de Liturgia, Director de Finanzas y luego Rector de la Basílica del Santuario Nacional de la Inmaculada Concepción (1990).

El 9 de diciembre de 2004, el Papa San Juan Pablo II nombró al Obispo Bransfield como el octavo obispo de Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Fue ordenado en ese cargo el 22 de febrero de 2005.

El Obispo Bransfield fue miembro del Comité de Comunicaciones, del Comité Nacional de Colectas Nacionales y Tesorero de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos.

La Diócesis de Wheeling-Charleston está conformada por 24.282 millas cuadradas en el estado de West Virginia y tiene una población total de 1.844.128 personas de las cuales 77.874, lo que equivale al 4 por ciento, son católicas.

U.S. Bishops Conference Names Theresa Ridderhoff as Associate General Secretary Upon Retirement of Linda Hunt

WASHINGTON—Theresa Ridderhoff has been appointed as Associate General Secretary for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Ms. Ridderhoff is currently Executive Director of the USCCB Office of Human Resources. She has been appointed to the new role upon the retirement of Ms. Linda Hunt, who has served the conference for the past 22 years and as the USCCB's Associate General Secretary since 2011. Msgr. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment which will take effect at the end of the calendar year.

Ms. Ridderhoff will function as chief operations officer for the ongoing management of Conference administration. She will also join the USCCB Executive Leadership team in conducting the regular business of the General Secretariat and in collaboration with USCCB staff.

"I express my gratitude to Theresa for accepting this major responsibility in service to the Conference. Theresa brings many years of experience in both the for profit and not for profit worlds. During her time with the Conference, she also collaborated on major projects including in the General Secretariat and has always been an invaluable and dedicated partner in the significant work of the Conference staff," said Msgr. Bransfield. 

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Stonehill College, Theresa went on to receive a Master of Arts in Education (in Instructional Technology) and a Certificate in Human Resource Management, both from George Mason University. She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute and the SHRM-SCP from the Society for Human Resources Management. Before joining the Conference, Theresa served at Sallie Mae most recently as Senior Director of Human Resources. Additionally, she has worked as a human resource consultant and in retail training and management. Theresa joined the Conference in 2011 and has served successfully since then in the important position of Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources. She is a practicing Catholic, married for 18 years, and is the mother of two sons.  She regularly volunteers at her parish in Petersville, Maryland, and in local community organizations.    

"The successful and effective fulfillment of the mission of the USCCB depends greatly on the high caliber of persons that serve the Church and bishops through their work as Conference staff. I count among them as an esteemed colleague Ms. Linda Hunt, Associate General Secretary, who informed me earlier this year of her intention to retire at the end of this calendar year," said Msgr. Bransfield. "For more than two decades, Linda has devoted countless hours of dedicated service to the work of the USCCB and for this, we are deeply grateful."

Ms. Hunt began her tenure with us the USCCB as Associate Director of the Office of Human Resources followed by her subsequent appointment as Director two years later. In 2010, Linda began service in the General Secretariat as Associate General Secretary. Her love of the Church, her leadership in the area of management and operations, and her professional and friendly interaction with us all, will be sorely missed.

----

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Monsignor Brian Bransfield; Theresa Ridderhoff, Linda Hunt, Associate General Secretary, chief operations officer, Conference administration, USCCB Executive Leadership, General Secretariat.

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Labor Day Statement Calls for Just Wages for a Flourishing Society

WASHINGTON—In his 2018 Labor Day statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, calls for all persons to work together for just wages, which are necessary for families to flourish. A just wage is one that "not only provides for workers' financial well-being, but fosters their social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions as individuals and members of society."

The full statement is available in English is at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/labor-employment/labor-day-statement-2018.cfm

A Spanish translation of the statement is available at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/labor-employment/labor-day-statement-2018-spanish.cfm

---

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Labor Day, Labor Day statement, solidarity, work, labor, poverty, union, human dignity, Pope Francis, workers,

# ##

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200
Statement from the National Review Board Calls for Lay Leadership Amid Sexual Abuse Crisis

WASHINGTON—The National Review Board (NRB) has issued the following in response to the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report and recent allegations against Archbishop McCarrick. In the statement, the NRB calls for a lay-lead investigation into all allegations of sexual misconduct within the Church as well as strengthening  the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  Established in 2002, the purpose of the National Review Board is to work collaboratively with the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church.

The full National Review Board statement follows:

"While the policies and procedures that have been implemented by the Church since 2002 to address the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy have resulted in a significant decrease of such abuse, the revelations of horrific incidents of abuse in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, along with the abuse perpetrated by Archbishop McCarrick point to a systemic problem within the Church that can no longer be ignored or tolerated by the episcopacy in the United States.  The National Review Board has for several years expressed its concern that bishops not become complacent in their response to sexual abuse by the clergy. The recent revelations make it clear that the problem is much deeper.  We are saddened, angry, and hurt by what we have learned in the past few weeks. The evil of the crimes that have been perpetrated reaching into the highest levels of the hierarchy will not be stemmed simply by the creation of new committees, policies, or procedures. What needs to happen is a genuine change in the Church's culture, specifically among the bishops themselves. This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur. Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable.  The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire Body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.

"The National Review Board firmly believes, as has been expressed by several bishops in recent days, that the episcopacy needs to be held accountable for these past actions, and in the future, for being complicit, either directly or indirectly, in the sexual abuse of the vulnerable. Holding bishops accountable will require an independent review into the actions of the bishop when an allegation comes to light. The only way to ensure the independence of such a review is to entrust this to the laity, as recently suggested by Cardinal DiNardo. The NRB, composed exclusively of lay members, would be the logical group to be involved in this task. Establishing an anonymous whistleblower policy, as is found in corporations, higher education and other institutions in both the public and private sector, that would be independent of the hierarchy with participation by the laity, perhaps the NRB, who would report allegations to the local bishop, local law enforcement, the nuncio and Rome, needs to be established immediately. Another problem that needs to be addressed is the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter has been helpful in the Church's response to sexual abuse by the clergy.  However, the Charter should be understood as a living document that is in constant need of revision based on what we have learned and experienced over the years, as well as current new realities. The members of the NRB have on numerous occasions pointed out the weaknesses in the Charter given its deliberate ambiguity and its lack of inclusion of bishops. During the most recent revision process of the Charter, many of the recommendations made by the NRB to strengthen the Charter were not incorporated for a variety of reasons. These recommendations need to be re-considered in light of the current situation, as well as the inclusion of bishops in the Charter. The NRB also believes that the statement of Episcopal Commitment is ineffective and needs to be revised into a meaningful, actionable commitment. In particular, the notion of "fraternal correction" must outline concrete steps that will be taken when a bishop is alleged to have committed sexual abuse or has failed to respond immediately and without hesitation when a cleric is accused of sexual abuse. To ensure that bishops undertake their obligation to act decisively when they have knowledge of incidences of sexual abuse committed by the clergy or their brother bishops, there must be substantive formation of newly appointed bishops on their responsibility as moral leaders within the Church, especially in responding to sexual abuse, something which is currently lacking.

"Since its creation in the Charter, the NRB has sought to provide its advice to the bishops to assist them in addressing the sexual abuse of minors. We will continue to work with the bishops, particularly in responding to Cardinal DiNardo's request for the NRB's assistance in the proposed investigation he has called for regarding recent revelations. In the coming weeks, the NRB will consider what recommendations to make to the bishops in light of that request. We recognize that the overwhelming majority of our current bishops have, and continue to, take the sexual abuse of minors seriously and who act accordingly by adhering to the Charter, some even going beyond these basic requirements. However, every time one bishop fails to act, the entire episcopate is tainted. It is time for the laity to assume courageous leadership to help the Church respond and to heal and for the bishops to listen carefully to our recommendations. We need not only to pray for the Church and most especially for the victims/survivors and their families who have been wounded by this terrible scourge, but we must take concrete action to address the systemic problems underlying the problem of sexual abuse in the Church."    

More information on the National Review Board can be found at: www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/the-national-review-board.cfm

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report, sexual abuse, clergyman, U.S. bishops, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, prevention, accompaniment, accountability, justice.

###


Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Renews Commitment for Greater Effectiveness and Transparency in Disciplining Bishops

 WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued the following statement.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"In communion with the Holy Father, I join the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in taking upon ourselves his exhortation, 'this open wound [of abuse] challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.'

"On August 1st, I promised that USCCB would exercise the full extent of its authority, and would advocate before those with greater authority, to pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. On August 16th, I called for an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth.  Yesterday, I convened our Executive Committee once again, and it reaffirmed the call for a prompt and thorough examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement.

"The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.

"I am eager for an audience with the Holy Father to earn his support for our plan of action. That plan includes more detailed proposals to: seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops. Inspired by his recent letter to the people of God, and his motu proprio of two years ago, As a Loving Mother, I am confident Pope Francis shares our desire for greater effectiveness and transparency in the matter of disciplining bishops. We renew our fraternal affection for the Holy Father in these difficult days.

"To the survivors of abuse and the families who have lost a loved one to abuse, I am sorry. You are no longer alone. Since 2002, hundreds of professionally trained staff across the country have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse.  Nationwide, the Church has a zero-tolerance policy toward priests and deacons who abuse, safe environment training, background checks for those working around children, victim assistance coordinators, prompt reporting to civil authorities, and lay review boards in dioceses.

"In other ways, we have failed you. This is especially true for adults being sexually harassed by those in positions of power, and for any abuse or harassment perpetrated by a bishop. We will do better. The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the Church's firm foundation is Jesus Christ. The failures of men cannot diminish the light of the Gospel. Lord, by the help of your mercy, show us the way to salvation."

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Pope Francis, Executive Committee, Archbishop McCarrick, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Visitation, national lay commission, independent authority, motu proprio, As a Loving Mother, clergy sex abuse, survivors, zero-tolerance, safe environment, victim assistance coordinators, civil authorities, truth, justice

###

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200