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Declaración del Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos en relación a la muerte del Presidente George H.W. Bush

WASHINGTON— El Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Arzobispo de Galveston-Houston y Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, emitió un comunicado sobre el fallecimiento del Presidente George Herbert Walker Bush.

La declaración completa del Cardenal DiNardo es la siguiente:

“Nos unimos a las personas de todo el país al lamentar el fallecimiento del Presidente George H.W. Bush. Recordamos con gratitud a este gran hombre que pasó su vida desinteresadamente al servicio de su país. Con un compromiso inquebrantable de construir puentes de paz y garantizar las libertades de nuestra nación, también inspiró a muchos como un devoto esposo, padre y patriarca de la familia. En nombre de mis hermanos Obispos de Estados Unidos, oramos por el descanso del alma de nuestro cuadragésimo primer presidente al recordar una vida bien vivida. También ofrecemos nuestras más sinceras condolencias y oraciones por su familia afligida y por todos aquellos que lloran su muerte. Que encuentren paz y consuelo en el amor consolador de Jesucristo".
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Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Presidente George Herbert Walker Bush, Cuadragésimo Primer Presidente, Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo,

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Contactos de prensa:

Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement on the Death of President George H.W. Bush

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 the passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows: 

“We join with people across the nation as we mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush. We remember with gratitude this great man who spent his life selflessly in service of his country. With an unwavering commitment to building bridges of peace and ensuring our nation's freedoms, he also inspired many as a devoted husband, father and family patriarch.   

On behalf of my brother bishops of the United States, we pray for the repose of the soul of our forty-first president as we remember a life well lived.  

We also offer our deepest sympathy and prayers for his bereaved family and all those who mourn his passing. May you find peace and comfort in the consoling love of Jesus Christ.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, President George H.W. Bush, forty-first President, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
 

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


El Papa Francisco Nombra al Obispo Auxiliar de Austin como el Nuevo Obispo de Monterey

WASHINGTON— El Papa Francisco nombró al Obispo Auxiliar de Austin, TX, el Reverendísimo Daniel E. García, como el nuevo Obispo de Monterey, CA.  

El nombramiento fue publicado en Washington hoy martes 27 de noviembre de 2018 por el Arzobispo Christophe Pierre, Nuncio Apostólico en los Estados Unidos.

El Obispo García nació el 30 de agosto de 1960 en Cameron, Texas. Él obtuvo una Licenciatura en Artes en el Seminario de Saint Mary's en la Universidad de St. Thomas en 1984 y más tarde completó sus estudios de Maestría en Divinidad en Saint Mary's en 1988. En 2007, obtuvo una Maestría en Artes en Estudios Litúrgicos en la Escuela de Teología de Saint John.

El Reverendísimo García fue ordenado sacerdote para la Diócesis de Austin el 28 de mayo de 1988. Desde entonces, ha servido en las parroquias de St. Catherine de Siena, Cristo Rey, St. Louis y St. Vincent de Paul, todas en Austin. También sirvió tres años en la Arquidiócesis de Galveston-Houston en la parroquia St. Mary Magdalene en Humble, Texas. En la Diócesis de Austin, se ha desempeñado como decano y miembro de la Junta de Personal de los Sacerdotes, el Colegio de Consultores y la Comisión Litúrgica Diocesana, así como miembro y presidente del Consejo Presbiteral.

El 21 de enero de 2015, el Papa Francisco lo nombró Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de Austin, el primer obispo auxiliar en la historia de esa diócesis, así como Obispo Titular de Capsus. Fue ordenado obispo el 3 de marzo de 2015.

El obispo García se desempeña actualmente como Presidente del Subcomité de Adoración en Español de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB). También es miembro del Comité de Divina Adoración; del Comité de Comunicaciones y Consultor del Subcomité de Asuntos Hispanos de la USCCB.
El Obispo Daniel García ha sido nombrado Obispo de la Diócesis de Monterey luego de la muerte del obispo Richard García el 11 de julio de 2018, debido a complicaciones de la enfermedad de Alzheimer con la que había sido diagnosticado el pasado abril.
La Diócesis de Monterey abarca 21.916 millas cuadradas en California, con una población total de 1.048.237 personas, de las cuales 209.650 ó el 20 por ciento, son católicas.

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Palabras clave: Papa Francisco, Christophe Pierre, Nuncio Apostólico, Obispo Daniel D. García, Obispo Richard J. García, Diócesis de Monterey.

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Contactos de prensa:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 


Pope Francis Names Auxiliary Bishop to Lead Diocese of Monterey

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named the auxiliary bishop of Austin, the Most Reverend Daniel E. Garcia, as the new Bishop of Monterey.  

The appointment was publicized in Washington on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Garcia was born August 30, 1960 in Cameron, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary's Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in 1984. He completed his Master of Divinity studies at Saint Mary's in 1988. In 2007, he earned a Master of Arts in Liturgical Studies from the Saint John’s School of Theology.  

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Austin on May 28, 1988. Since then, he has served at the parishes of St. Catherine of Siena, Cristo Rey, St. Louis, and St. Vincent de Paul, all in Austin. He also served three years in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Humble, Texas. In the Diocese of Austin, he has served as a dean and as a member of the Priests' Personnel Board, the College of Consultors, and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, as well as a member and chairman of the Presbyteral Council.

On January 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed him as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, the first auxiliary bishop in the history of the diocese, as well as Titular Bishop of Capsus. He was ordained a bishop on March 3, 2015.

Bishop Garcia currently serves as Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Worship in Spanish. He is a member of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship and the USCCB Committee on Communications, as well as a consultant to the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

Bishop Daniel Garcia has been named bishop following the death of Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey on July 11, 2018, due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed with the disease in April 2018.

The Diocese of Monterey is comprised of 21,916 square miles in California with a total population of 1,048,237 of which 209,650 or 20 percent, are Catholic.  

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Daniel D. Garcia, Bishop Richard J. Garcia, Diocese of Monterey

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 


PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE ISSUES STATEMENT FOLLOWING DEADLY SHOOTING AT MERCY HOSPITAL IN CHICAGO

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting yesterday in Chicago, Illinois, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for prayers and steps to curb gun violence.

The full statement of Cardinal DiNardo follows:

"Yesterday, at a place which should be a center of healing, a police officer, a doctor and a pharmaceutical resident lost their lives in a senseless act of gun violence. The shooting was carried out at Mercy Hospital on the south side of Chicago. We entrust to Almighty God the victims and their loved ones and for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe. May her love and compassion embrace and bring comfort to those who sorrow.

Again, we must ask the question how a person capable of such violence was able to obtain a firearm to carry out this heinous act. In our desire to help promote a culture of life, we bishops will continue to ask that public policies be supported to enact reasonable gun measures to help curb this pervasive plague of gun violence. Our prayers are with the staff of Mercy Hospital and the people of the Archdiocese of Chicago as they continue God’s healing work.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Archdiocese of Chicago, violence, Mercy Hospital, prayers, healing
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Media Contact:  
Judy Keane  
202-541-3200

 


Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Announces Grant Recipients in Honor of National Bible Week

WASHINGTON— In honor of National Bible Week (November 18-24, 2018), the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) announces the awarding grants in the amount of $60,844 for three projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.
The three projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:
•   $1,240 to Robert D. Miller Il for travel and research related to his work on "Orality and Old Testament Law."

•   $42,000 to Ahida E. Pilarski and the Asociación Bíblica Argentina to support an international conference on the 80th anniversary of the journal Revista Biblica.

•   $17,604 to Olivier-Thomas Venard, O.P. and the Bible in Its Traditions Program to fund research apprenticeships for three students at the École biblique in Jerusalem."

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its active and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee comprises the membership of the CCD.
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Keywords: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Bible Week, Catholic biblical literacy, Catholic biblical interpretation, New American Bible (NAB), Catholic Biblical Association (CBA), Dei Verbum
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

 


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Makes Statement at Close of Public Sessions; Fall General Assembly, Baltimore Nov. 12-14

BALTIMORE—On the final day of the public sessions of the U.S. Bishops fall general assembly in Baltimore, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered the following remarks.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full address follows:

“Brothers, I opened the meeting expressing some disappointment. I end it with hope.

My hope is first of all grounded in Christ, who desires that the Church be purified and that our efforts bear fruit.

In late summer on your behalf, I expressed our renewed fraternal affection for our Holy Father. In September the Administrative Committee expressed for all of us our “love, obedience and loyalty” for Pope Francis. Now together with you today, gathered in Baltimore in Plenary Assembly, we the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pledge to His Holiness our loyalty and devotion in these difficult days. I am sure that, under the leadership of Pope Francis, the conversation that the global Church will have in February will help us eradicate the evil of sexual abuse from our Church. It will make our local efforts more global and the global perspective will help us here.

Brothers, you and the speakers we have heard from have given me direction and consensus. I will take it as a springboard for action. Listening is essential, but listening must inform decisive action. Let me take this moment to thank the many survivors and experts who have given us such good counsel and direction these last few days.

When the summer’s news first broke, we committed to three goals: to do what we could to get to the bottom of the Archbishop McCarrick situation; to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier; and, to develop a means of holding ourselves accountable that was genuinely independent, duly authorized, and had substantial lay involvement.

Now, we are on course to accomplish these goals. That is the direction that you and the survivors of abuse across our country have given me for the February meeting in Rome. More than that, in the days prior to the meeting of episcopal conference presidents, the Task Force I established this week will convert that direction into specific action steps. Some of those actions steps include:

  • A process for investigating complaints against bishops reported through a third-party compliance hotline. We will complete a proposal for a single national lay commission and a proposal for a national network relying upon the established diocesan review boards, with their lay expertise, to be overseen by the metropolitan or senior suffragan.

  • Finalizing the Standards of Accountability for Bishops.

  • Finalizing the Protocol for Removed Bishops.

  • Studying national guidelines for the publication of lists of names of those clerics facing substantiated claims of abuse.

  • Supporting the fair and timely completion of the various investigations into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick and publication of their results. We are grateful for the Holy See’s Statement of October 6 in this regard.

We leave this place committed to taking the strongest possible actions at the earliest possible moment. We will do so in communion with the Universal Church. Moving forward in concert with the Church around the world will make the Church in the United States stronger, and will make the global Church stronger.  

But our hope for true and deep reform ultimately lies in more than excellent systems, as essential as these are. It requires holiness: the deeply held conviction of the truths of the Gospel, and the eager readiness to be transformed by those truths in all aspects of life.

As the nuncio reminded us on Monday, “if the Church is to reform herself and her structures, then the reform must spring from her mission of making known Christ, the Son of the Living God.” No system of governance or oversight, however excellent and necessary, suffices alone to make us, weak as we all are, able to live up to the high calling we have received in Christ.

We must recommit to holiness and to the mission of the Church.

Brothers, I have heard you today. I am confident that in unity with the Holy Father and in conversation with the Universal Church in February we will move forward.  

There is more to be done, but what we have done is a sign of hope.

Commending everything to the intercession of Our Lady, we pray together . . .

Hail Mary…"

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, 2018 Fall General Assembly

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


U.S. Bishops Approved “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism"

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved today, during its November General Assembly, the formal statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism." The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 241 to 3 with 1 abstention.

The USCCB Cultural Diversity in the Church Committee, chaired by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, of San Antonio, Texas, spearheaded the letter’s drafting and guided it through the voting process. Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, of Houma-Thibodaux, Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Chair of the Sub-committee on African American Affairs within the Cultural Diversity Committee, issued the following statement:

“The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years. Pastoral letters from the full body of bishops are rare, few and far between. But at key moments in history the bishops have come together for important pronouncements, paying attention to a particular issue and with the intention of offering a Christian response, full of hope, to the problems of our time. This is such a time.”

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in August 2017, the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism was created to address the evil of racism in our society and Church, to address the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions, and to support the implementation of the bishops’ pastoral letter on racism.

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is a Pastoral Letter from the full body of bishops to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill addressing the evil of racism.

The pastoral letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is above all a moral and theological problem that manifests institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism’s root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

"Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love," is not the first time the U.S. Bishops have spoken as a collectively on race issues in the United States, but it is the first time in almost 40 years.

In 1979, they approved "Brothers and Sisters to Us: A Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day." Among the many things, they discussed was the fact that "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father." The newly approved “Open Wide Our Hearts” continues the message that “Brothers and Sisters to Us” sought to convey.

The full text, as well as many accompanying pastoral resources, will be posted at http://www.usccb.org/racism. Resources will include a bulletin insert, homily help, prayer materials, background information on systemic racism, and activities for primary, secondary, and higher education classroom settings.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, The Enduring Call to Love, pastoral letter, 2018 Fall General Assembly

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


U.S. Bishops Conduct Canonical Consultation on Cause for Canonization of Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A.

BALTIMORE— At their annual fall Plenary Assembly in Baltimore, MD, the U.S Bishops participated in a consultation on the cause for sainthood of the Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman, F.S.P.A.

Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, the petitioner of the cause, facilitated the discussion. By a voice vote, the bishops indicated unanimous support for the advancement of the cause on the diocesan level.
 
A self-proclaimed, “old folks’ child,” Bowman, was the only child born to middle-aged parents, Dr. Theon Bowman, a physician and Mary Esther Bowman, a teacher. At birth she was given the name Bertha Elizabeth Bowman. She was born in 1937 and reared in Canton, Mississippi. As a child she converted to Catholicism through the inspiration of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity who were her teachers and pastors at Holy Child Jesus Church and School in Canton.
 
At an early age, Thea was exposed to the richness of her African-American culture and spirituality, most especially the history, stories, songs, prayers, customs and traditions. At the age of fifteen, she told her parents and friends she wanted to join the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and left the familiar Mississippi terrain to venture to the unfamiliar town of LaCrosse, Wisconsin where she would be the only African-American member of her religious community. At her religious profession, she was given the name, “Sister Mary Thea” in honor of the Blessed Mother and her father, Theon. Her name in religious life, Thea, literally means “God.” She was trained to become a teacher. She taught at all grade levels, eventually earning her doctorate and becoming a college professor of English and linguistics.
 
In 1984, Sister Thea faced devastating challenges: both her parents died, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sister Thea vowed to “live until I die” and continued her rigorous schedule of speaking engagements. Even when it became increasingly painful and difficult to travel as the cancer metastasized to her bones, she was undeterred from witnessing and sharing her boundless love for God and the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Donned in her customary African garb, Sister Thea would arrive in a wheel chair with no hair (due to the chemotherapy treatments) but always with her a joyful disposition and pleasant smile. She did not let the deterioration of her body keep her from one unprecedented event, an opportunity to address the U.S. Bishops at their annual June meeting held in 1989 at Seton Hall University in East Orange, NJ. Sister Thea spoke to the bishops as a sister having a “heart to heart” conversation with her brothers.
 
She explained what it meant to be African-American and Catholic. She enlightened the bishops on African-American history and spirituality. Sister Thea urged the bishops to continue to evangelize the African-American community, to promote inclusivity and full participation of African-Americans within Church leadership, and to understand the necessity and value of Catholic schools in the African- American community. At the end of her address, she invited the bishops to move together, cross arms and sing with her, “We Shall Overcome.” She seemingly touched the hearts of the bishops as evidenced by their thunderous applause and tears flowing from their eyes.
 
During her short lifetime (52 years), many people considered her a religious Sister undeniably close to God and who lovingly invited others to encounter the presence of God in their lives. She is acclaimed a “holy woman” in the hearts of those who knew and loved her and continue to seek her intercession for guidance and healing.
 
Today across the United States there are schools; an education foundation to assist needy students to attend Catholic universities; housing units for the poor and elderly, and a health clinic for the marginalized named in her honor. Books, articles, catechetical resources, visual media productions, a stage play, have been written documenting her exemplary life. Prayer cards, works of art, statues, and stained-glass windows bearing her image all attest to Sister Thea’s profound spiritual impact and example of holiness for the faithful.
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Sr. Thea Bowman, Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Committee on Canonical Affairs, Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Diocese of Jackson, canonical consultation, canonization, Cause for Canonization.
 
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200
 

 


U. S. Bishops Vote for Conference Treasurer-Elect, Chairmen of Two Committees, and Chairmen-Elect of Five Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathering in Baltimore for today's 2018 General Assembly have elected a new conference treasurer-elect along with a new chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education and Committee on National Collections, and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees.

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg has been elected as treasurer-elect for the USCCB on the ballot with 157 votes over Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, Archdiocese of Indianapolis, who received 87 votes.

Additionally, Bishop Michael C. Barber S.J. Diocese of Oakland, has been elected as chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education in a 142 to 103 vote over Bishop David J. Malloy, Diocese of Rockford.

Also, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Archdiocese of Anchorage, was also voted chairman of the Committee on National Collections in a 137 to 111 vote over Bishop Thomas A. Daly, Diocese of Spokane.  

The five chairmen-elect are:  

Bishop James F. Checchio, Diocese of Metuchen, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations in a 168 to 77 vote over Bishop Michael F. Olson, Diocese of Fort Worth.  

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Archdiocese of Hartford, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Divine Worship in a 132 to 113 vote over Bishop David L. Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City as chairman-elect of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development in a 140 to 105 vote over Archbishop John C. Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco was elected chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth after a tie vote of 125 votes with nominee Bishop John F. Doerfler of Marquette. Archbishop Cordileone was named chairman, per voting protocol, due to having been ordained a bishop longer.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Archdiocese of Washington as chairman-elect of the Committee on Migration in a 158 to 88 vote over Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Diocese of Lexington.  

The treasurer-elect and the five committee chairmen-elect will serve one year before beginning three-year terms at the conclusion of the bishops' 2019 Fall General Assembly.  

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Archdiocese of the Military Services, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Oscar A. Solis, Diocese of Salt Lake City, were also elected to the board of Catholic Relief Services.

The 2019 USCCB budget was also voted on by the U.S. Bishops and passed with 223 to 12 votes.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, November meeting, fall General Assembly, Baltimore, committees, elections, conference secretary, chairmen-elect  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Statement Regarding Their Deep Concern About Restricting Access to Asylum

Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Presidents of Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network Issued Statement Regarding Their Deep Concern About Restricting Access to Asylum

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sister Donna Markham, OP, Phd, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services issued an statement reiterating that it is not a crime to seek asylum and urging the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system.

On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation (https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-addressing-mass-migration-southern-border-united-states/?utm_source=link) barring people arriving to the U.S./Mexico border from receiving U.S. asylum unless they request it at a U.S. port of entry, a direct contradiction of existing U.S. asylum law (see https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-1687.html#0-0-0-192)

The full statement follows:

“While our teaching acknowledges the right of each nation to regulate its borders, we find this action deeply concerning. It will restrict and slow access to protection for hundreds of children and families fleeing violence in Central America, potentially leaving them in unsafe conditions in Mexico or in indefinite detention situations at the U.S./Mexico border. We reiterate that it is not a crime to seek asylum and this right to seek refuge is codified in our laws and in our values. We urge the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system, while assuring access to protection for vulnerable children and families. The Catholic Church will continue to serve, accompany and assist all those who flee persecution, regardless of where they seek such protection and where they are from.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services, Sister Donna Markham, Catholic Charities USA, Jeanne Atkinson, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, migrants, asylum, immigration.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


Ecumenical and Interfaith Leaders Ask Congress to Repeal the “Parking Lot Tax”

WASHINGTON— Today, leaders of diverse faiths and religious nonprofits asked Congress to repeal a recent change to the Internal Revenue Code in Section 512(a)(7) that threatens to tax nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship—for the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to their employees. Many have referred to this provision as the “parking lot tax”.

Leaders representing a broad range of institutions, including houses of worship, primary and secondary education, higher education, and faith-based nonprofit organizations sent a letter to House and Senate chairmen and ranking members.

The letter states: “We write with serious concerns about how a little-noticed provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would tax parking and transit benefits provided by nonprofit organizations and churches. Unless repealed, this provision will require tens of thousands of houses of worship to file tax returns for the first time in our nation’s history and will impose a new tax burden on houses of worship and nonprofit organizations.”

The letter continues: “Perhaps worst of all, this provision will hopelessly entangle the IRS with houses of worship, simply because these houses of worship allow their clergy to park in their parking lots. For good reasons grounded in the First Amendment, houses of worship are not required to file tax returns each year. This policy allows houses of worship to operate independently from the government and shields houses of worship from government interference and intrusive public inspection into their internal, constitutionally protected operations, as nonprofit tax returns are available to the public.”

Signatories from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Jewish Federations of North America, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Agudath Israel of America, Islamic Relief USA, Indian American Muslim Council, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, The Episcopal Church, National Association of Evangelicals, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, Catholic Charities USA, and many other organizations concerned about this new tax joined Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank R. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in signing the letter.

A link to the letter can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-on-Parking-Lot-Tax-November-13-2018.pdf
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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Frank Dewane, USCCB, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, parking lot tax, Section 512(a)(7), First Amendment
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


National Review Board Urges Need to Broaden the Scope of the Charter to Include Bishops; Lay Panel Urges Reform to Improve Transparency and Enhance Accountability

BALTIMORE—On Tuesday, November 13, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' independent lay advisory panel on the protection of children and young people delivered a special report to the body of U.S. bishops regarding the abuse crisis in the Church. In an address to the bishops who have gathered in Baltimore for the annual fall general assembly, National Review Board Chairman Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D., outlined key reforms and urged action. The report calls for broadening the scope of the Charter on the Protection of Children and Young People to include bishops; the publication of complete lists of credibly accused clergy in all dioceses; improving the audit process; and enhancing accountability for bishops regarding cases of abuse.

You can find the full report here: www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/upload/National-Review-Board-Special-Report-to-the-Body-of-Bishops-November-2018.pdf
 
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Review Board, Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D., National Review Board, lay advisory panel, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, General Assembly, reform, action, accountability.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
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President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Delivers Opening Address at Start of 2018 General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 12-14

Baltimore—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the body of bishops at the opening sessions today in Baltimore for the General Assembly taking place in Baltimore.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full address follows:

“Saint Augustine wrote, ‘In order that weakness might become strong, strength became weak.’ My dear brothers, in light of this morning’s news, the nature of my address changes. We remain committed to the specific program of greater episcopal accountability that we will discuss these days. Consultations will take place. Votes will not this week. But we will prepare ourselves to move forward.

Allow me to now address the survivors of abuse directly.  

Where I have not been watchful or alert to your needs, wherever I have failed, I am deeply sorry. The command of our Lord and Savior was clear. ‘What I say to you, I say to all: watch!’ In our weakness, we fell asleep. Now, we must humbly beg God’s strength for the vigil ahead.

St Augustine also warned that there are two extremes we all can fall into – despair or presumption.

We, and the faithful, can fall into despair – believing that there is no hope for the Church or good change in the Church. We can also believe there no hope for healing of these sins. But we must always remember there is a thing called trusting faith and it leads us on our current journey. This trusting faith provides us roots for a living memory. Our people need this living memory of hope.
We must also remember the other extreme: presumption. We can be lulled into inactivity by presuming that this will blow over, that things simply return to normal on their own. Some would say this is entirely a crisis of the past. It is not. We must never victimize survivors over again by demanding they heal on our timeline. It is true to say the vast majority of abuse cases occurred decades ago. But the pain is daily.  

The number of new allegations today are a small fraction of what they were. But Jesus poses a question, ‘what man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the 99 in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?’ In justice, we must search for every child of God whose innocence is lost to a horrific predator at any time, decades ago or this very day.

Healing can come, if there is forgiveness. ‘How many there are who know that they have sinned against their brother or sister and yet are unwilling to say: forgive me.’ Let us not only be willing but also ready and eager to ask for forgiveness. To the survivors I have let down by what I have failed to do, please forgive me. To those who have lost faith in the Church, please forgive us for our failures.

Combatting the evil of sexual assault within the Church will require all our spiritual and physical resources. We must draw near to Christ in all sorrow, humility and contrition, to better hear his voice and discern his will. It is only after listening we can carry out the changes needed. The changes that the People of God rightly demand.  

Our work must honor the ongoing work of so many across the country to protect children and others from the fear of violation. Tens of thousands of people – including clergy, religious, and laity -- working or volunteering at Catholic ministries submit themselves to extensive safe environment training and background checks. Hundreds of parents, social workers, law enforcement and other professionals serve on review boards to ensure an impartial review of all allegations. Victim’s assistance coordinators stand ready in every diocese to assist survivors of abuse. And since 2002, our priests and others serving the Church work under a policy of zero tolerance after an allegation of abusing a child is admitted to or proven.  

Brother bishops, to exempt ourselves from these high standards of accountability is unacceptable and cannot stand. In fact, we, as successors to the apostles, must hold ourselves to the highest possible standard. Doing anything less insults those working to protect and heal from the scourge of abuse.  

As, however, the events of this year have so clearly revealed, we must expand our understanding of protection and vigilance. Sexual misconduct must be more intensely dealt with in our dioceses and in our policies. The sense of justice founded on the people’s genuine instinct of faith will hold us accountable.

The Church founded by Jesus Christ is one of hope and life. My dear brother bishops, we must take every precaution that our example not lead a single person away from the Lord. Whether we will be remembered as guardians of the abused or the abuser will be determined by our actions beginning this week. Let us draw near to Christ today, sacrifice to Him our own ambitions, and humbly submit ourselves totally to what He demands of us in love and justice.

The Church has always been and will always be the Body of Christ — His Church. He merely asks us to serve as best we can. And where we fail, let us submit to the Holy Father and to one another in a spirit of fraternal correction.

I quoted St. Augustine at the beginning of this talk. He also writes, ‘for on whatever place one has fallen, on that place he must find support that he may rise again.’ Brothers, we have fallen into a place of great weakness. We need to pray and act right now in this very place to begin rising to a new integrity.

We must always remember that in order for us, who are weak, to become strong, Christ became weak. ‘Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.’ Through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, may we become strong – not for own consolation, but to better serve our sisters and brothers.

Let us, then, be an example of how the sinner humbles himself before the Lord so that he may receive God’s mercy. In this way, we can begin to clean and heal the lacerations in the Body of Christ. May God bless you.”
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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, General Assembly, Baltimore

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
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U.S. Bishops to Vote for Chairman of Committee on National Collections at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 12-14

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections during the General Assembly taking place Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore, Maryland. The nominees are Archbishop Paul D Etienne of the Archdiocese of Anchorage and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of the Diocese of Spokane. 

The U.S. Bishops will also vote for the USCCB’s treasurer-elect, chairman of the catholic education committee, and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees. The five committee chairmen will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops' 2019 Fall General Assembly.

Nominees for the Conference Treasurer, Chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education, and Chairman-elect of each committee are as follows:

http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-174.cfm

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting, Fall General Assembly, Baltimore, committees, elections

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
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Bishops Applaud Final Rules Providing Expanded Moral and Religious Exemptions to HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON–The final rules announced Wednesday by the federal government regarding the HHS mandate “allow people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based schools, and others to live out their faith in daily life,” according to leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, are applauding the Trump Administration’s decision to finalize regulations providing expanded religious and moral exemptions from the mandate requiring health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions.

Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Kurtz offered the following joint statement in response:

“We are grateful for the Administration’s decision to finalize common-sense regulations that allow those with sincerely held religious or moral convictions opposing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception to exclude such drugs and devices from their health plans. These final regulations restore free exercise rights in accordance with the First Amendment and long-standing statutory protections for religious freedom. The regulations allow people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based schools, and others to live out their faith in daily life and to continue to serve others, without fear of punishing fines from the federal government.”

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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS mandate, Little Sisters of the Poor, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, contraception, religious liberty, religious freedom

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

 


President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement Following Deadly Shooting in California

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting early this morning in Thousand Oaks, California, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for the enactment of reasonable measures to end gun violence.

The full statement of Cardinal DiNardo follows:

"Many of us learned at dawn today that at least a dozen people died early this morning in a shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA, outside of Los Angeles. Early reports indicate that the bar was filled with college students, and among the dead are a law enforcement officer as well as the shooter himself.

We must bring this tragedy to the Lord in prayer. This new incident of gun violence strikes just as the funerals are barely complete from the last mass shooting. More innocent lives are lost because of one individual and his ability to procure weapons and commit violence. The bishops continue to ask that public policies be supported that would enact reasonable gun measures to help curb this mad loss of life.

Only love can truly defeat evil. Love begets love, and peace begets peace, but anger, hatred and violence breed more of the same. Today we pray for the victims and their loved ones and all those impacted by this senseless violence. Let us pray that "In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace." Lk. 1:78-79.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president, violence,

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Media Contact:  

Judy Keane  

202-541-3200

 


Annual Collection Helps Religious Communities Address Retirement Shortfall

WASHINGTON—The Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held in most U.S. Catholic parishes on December 8-9. Now in its 31st year, the collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO). Proceeds are distributed to eligible religious communities to help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses for senior members. Some 31,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests benefit.

Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the national collection in 1988 to help address the significant lack of retirement funding among U.S. religious congregations. Almost 94 percent of donations directly support senior religious and their congregations.

Donations to the 2017 appeal totaled just over $28 million, and the NRRO distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities across the country. Communities utilize these funds to bolster retirement savings and to subsidize necessities such as prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for communities with critical needs and for resources on retirement planning and eldercare.

“Since the collection began, Catholics have donated $844 million to help religious communities care for aging members,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director. “We are humbled and profoundly grateful for this generosity.”

Despite ongoing support for the national appeal, the need remains profound. For each of the last 10 years, the total cost of care for senior women and men religious has exceeded $1 billion. At the same time, most religious communities lack adequate retirement savings because older members served for little to no pay. Historically low compensation also impacts current income. Based on NRRO data, the average annual Social Security benefit for a religious is just $6,453.45.

In addition to direct financial aid, collection proceeds underwrite efforts to help religious communities prepare for long-term needs. Special programming offers fiscal and one-on-one support to communities with critical funding shortages. Partnerships with various organizations maximize the impact of donations by furnishing tools for enhancing eldercare and stretching retirement dollars. For example, in conjunction with the Avila Institute for Gerontology, the NRRO offers a free webinar series on senior-related topics. In 2017, funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation underwrote the creation of online videos to promote effective property planning.

“Thanks to the annual appeal, we are able to offer an array of resources to help religious communities meet immediate needs, enhance eldercare, and plan for the future,” said Sister Still.

More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.

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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops, Sister Stephanie Still, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Collection

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
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2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection to be held on World Day of the Poor

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be held in most parishes the weekend of November 17-18 to coincide with the Second World Day of the Poor.  

Nearly 40 million people live in poverty in the United States. This collection supports the work of groups that allow low-income people to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Projects supported by CCHD include expanding access to affordable housing, developing worker-owned businesses and protecting worker rights, and reforming the immigration system.
 
In his statement for this year’s celebration of the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis called on the faithful to “make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor, to experience this World Day as a privileged moment of new evangelization.”
 
“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is one of the many ways that the Church hears the cry of the poor and recognizes their needs. This collection empowers low-income people to work to break the cycle of poverty in their communities, helping them to live life anew in dignity,” said Bishop David P. Talley of Alexandria chairman of the CCHD Subcommittee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
 
CCHD is the official domestic anti-poverty program of the US Catholic bishops. This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s community and economic development grants and education programs aimed at fostering hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects.
 
Easy-to-use resources for the collection can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/collection/collection-resources.cfm
 
Additional resources to learn about poverty in the United States can be found at https://povertyusa.org/. Materials include Poverty Facts, a Poverty Map, and Stories of Hope from groups supported through the annual collection. A pastoral aid for the second World Day of the Poor is also available on the USCCB website.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Campaign, Human Development, Pope Francis, World Day of the Poor, Bishop David P. Talley, poverty.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 


U.S. Bishops To Meet Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore; Will Address Abuse Crisis and Action Items; Assembly to be Live Streamed, Live Tweeted, Carried Via Satellite

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2018 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 12-14.  

The assembly will begin with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB and also an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The body of bishops will then adjourn to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer. This will be followed by a Mass celebrated Monday evening at the site of the assembly.  

During the assembly the bishops will discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis, including those approved for the agenda at the September meeting of the Administrative Committee, such as a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse. The bishops will also hear reports from the National Advisory Council and National Review Board.  

The assembly will also vote on the Pastoral Letter Against Racism and will also hear a report on the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. The bishops will also vote on the 2019 budget.

The bishops will also vote for a Conference Treasurer-elect, new chairmen of the Committee on Catholic Education, and new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees: Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, Committee on Divine Worship, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and the Committee on Migration.

There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization for Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA.

Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes as well as portions of the day of spiritual discernment will be available via livestream at: http://www.usccb.org/live

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to this page: www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB18 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

Media outlets interested in taking the meeting's satellite feed may request coordinates by email. Live stream and satellite feed is expected to run Monday, 12, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, November 13, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern and Wednesday, November 14, 11a.m.-6p.m. The assembly will be live streamed on the Internet and will be available via satellite for broadcasters wishing to air it. The live stream will be available at: http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/usccb-general-assembly-live-stream.cfm.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, #usccb18, live stream.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane  
202-541-3200


U. S. Bishops to Vote for Conference Treasurer-Elect, Chairman and Chairmen-Elect of Five Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 12-14

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the conference treasurer-elect, chairman of the catholic education committee, and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees at the upcoming annual 2018 General Assembly taking place November 12-14 in Baltimore, Maryland. The five committee chairmen will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops' 2019 Fall General Assembly.

Nominees for the Conference Treasurer, Chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education, and Chairman-elect of each committee are as follows:

Conference Treasurer-elect:

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

For Chairman:

Committee on Catholic Education:

Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland

Bishop David J. Malloy, Diocese of Rockford

For Chairman-elect:

Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations:

Bishop James F. Checchio, Diocese of Metuchen

Bishop Michael F. Olson, Diocese of Fort Worth

Committee on Divine Worship:

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Archdiocese of Hartford

Bishop David L. Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay

Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development:

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Archbishop John C. Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth:

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Bishop John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette

Committee on Migration:

Bishop Mario E Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Archdiocese of Washington

Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Diocese of Lexington

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting, Fall General Assembly, Baltimore, committees, elections, conference secretary, committee chairmen-elect

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Presidents of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA Issued Statement Urging Humane Action Towards Those Seeking Protection

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham OP PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement urging all people of goodwill to speak and act with compassion towards those migrating north and seeking refuge from violence and poverty.

The full statement follows:

“As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America. While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely, and provide due process.

We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely.

Furthermore, we strongly advocate for continued U.S. investments to address the underlying causes of violence and lack of opportunity in Central America. Our presence throughout the Americas has convinced us that migration is a regional issue that requires a comprehensive, regional solution. An enforcement-only approach does not address nor solve the larger root causes that cause people to flee their countries in search of protection.

As Christians, we must answer the call to act with compassion towards those in need and to work together to find humane solutions that honor the rule of law and respect the dignity of human life.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services, Sister Donna Markham, Catholic Charities USA, migrants, asylum, Immigration, Central America.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

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Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs Statement on Pittsburgh Violence

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop chair of the Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released the following statement regarding the violence in Pittsburgh.

Full statement follows:

“Yesterday morning, death and violence entered a house of worship. The attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, is a cowardly act and to be condemned by all Americans. Those killed and injured represent the best of who we are: people of faith gathered to pray and celebrate the birth of a child and officers responding to the ensuring violence with no concern for their own safety.  

Anti-Semitism is to be condemned and has to be confronted by our nation. The Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters during this time of great distress. May God grant peace to the dead, healing to the injured, and comfort to the families of those hurt and killed and to all the Jewish Community.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph Bambera, Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, Tree of Life Synagogue, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, violence, Anti-Semitism, Jewish brothers and sisters, Jewish Community

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
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President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Issues Statement Following Shooting in Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting this morning at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for prayer and action to put an end to violence.

The full statement is as follows:

"This morning violence, once again, struck one of our communities, this time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is apparent at least eight souls lost their lives in a shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. To our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community, we stand with you. We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us. He begs us back to our common humanity as His sons and daughters.

I commend to our Lord the victims, including first responders, and for the consolation of their families. May Almighty God be with them and bring them comfort at this tragic time."


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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pittsburgh, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, gun violence, prayer, peace


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Media Contact:

Judy Keane
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U.S. Bishops Will Gather for Seven Days of Prayer and Reflection at Invitation of Pope Francis

WASHINGTON— At the invitation of Pope Francis, the Bishops of the United States will gather for a spiritual retreat set to take place at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The bishops will gather in prayer and unity for seven days, from January 2-8, as brothers in the Episcopacy.


“The Holy Father has kindly offered the preacher to the Papal Household, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., to serve as the retreat director as we come together to pray on the intense matters before us. For this, I am grateful,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I am also grateful to Cardinal Blase Cupich for his kind offer to use the campus of Mundelein Seminary as the location for this retreat.”


The announcement comes after Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo met with the Pope earlier this month as part of a regularly scheduled Curia visit. The retreat takes place as the U.S. bishops continue their work to address the current U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis. In September, the U.S. bishops Administrative Committee http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-152.cfm announced an action plan including a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse.


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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Mundelein Seminary, Archdiocese of Chicago, episcopacy, retreat, prayer, Office of Meetings and Events, USCCB General Secretariat


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Judy Keane
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