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MEDIA ADVISORY: U.S. Bishops Anti-Poverty Program Celebrating 50 Years of Advancing Equality in America

WASHINGTON – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Join CCHD for a virtual event on May 14-15, 2021, 2:00 p.m. EST to 5:00 p.m. EST to celebrate 5 decades of working to end poverty in the United States by partnering with initiatives aimed at confronting the root causes of economic injustice and breaking the cycle of poverty. Panel discussions will cover the current state of the Church, our society, and a look ahead to the next few decades of community transformation.

Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development said, “This is a time to reflect, remember, and celebrate the amazing work of the Church and everything we have done. Having this celebration during the pandemic, especially, reminds us of how important this work is even still; we’ve seen job loss and material impact of COVID, but we’ve also seen so much resilience, adaptability, and dedication to the communities we serve. This anniversary is a reminder that the work of CCHD has mattered and continues to matter.”

Event Speakers:

  • Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will give the keynote on Saturday, May 15, 2021
  • Cardinal Blase J Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago; Consultant, USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Co-Chair, National Dialogue Initiative with Muslims; Chair, USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe; Consultant, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism will give the keynote and opening prayer on Friday, May 14, 2021.
  • Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark; Member, USCCB’s Committee on National Collections and the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; Chair of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa
  • Msgr. Jeffry Burrill, S.T.L., General Secretary, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary-General, International Catholic Migration Commission, and former Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development
  • Gabby Trejo, Executive Director, Sacramento ACT (Area Congregations Together)
  • Sr. Julia Walsh, FSPA, Spiritual Director, Writer, Educator, and Catholic Campaign for Human Development Intern with the Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity in the Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Kimberly Mazyck, Senior Manager of Engagement and Educational Outreach at Catholic Charities USA
  • Juan F. Soto, Organizing Director of Gamaliel Network and Director of the Gamaliel of Metro Chicago

The panels will be moderated by:

  • Kerry Alys Robinson, Founding Executive Director and Partner for Global and National Initiatives, Leadership Roundtable
  • Anna Misleh Gordon, Project Manager for the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and former CCHD intern for the Diocese of Stockton, California

Most workshops and presentations at CCHD’s 50th Anniversary virtual event are open to media coverage. Journalists are invited to download a credential application form and submit it for review and approval. More information about CCHD and the 50th Anniversary is available online: PovertyUSA.org/CCHD50.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Renews Prayers for Israel and Palestine Amidst Recent Violence

WASHINGTON — In the midst of recent heightened violence in Jerusalem and Gaza, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace expressed renewed commitment to the people of the Holy Land and called for prayer.

Bishop Malloy’s statement follows:

“We are greatly saddened that simmering tensions erupted into violence in the Holy Land this week. It is a cycle we have unfortunately witnessed and spoken out against many times, but because of our great love in Christ Jesus, we remain ever present and close to the people of this land until the Peace of God reigns in its fullness forever.

“We call on all parties to cease the violence. The maiming and killing of one’s neighbor only serves to demonize one’s adversary and deepen passions that divide and destroy. The Holy Father reminded the world on Sunday, ‘Violence begets violence. Enough with the clashes.’

“The U.S. bishops have long called for upholding the Status Quo of the Holy Places, including the Al-Aqsa Compound, the site of much of this week’s violence. We affirm the need to adhere to international law in settling these disputes, rightly rooted in moral law, the rights of nations, and equal dignity of every people.

“We join with the Holy Father, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and other brethren who have called on the international community to intervene in the promotion of a just peace in the Holy City. We especially offer our prayers for all those who rightfully call the Holy Land home, as it is through them any lasting peace will come. May the primary adversaries in this conflict be given the guidance, strength, and courage that only comes from on High to build trust amidst those who are eager for belligerence. With our suffering Lord as our model, we renew our enduring commitment to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.”

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Catholic Communication Campaign: Keeping Up with Growing Needs for Church Communications

WASHINGTON - On the weekend of May 15-16, Catholics throughout the United States will be invited to help spread the good news of hope and mercy by giving to the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).

“Ever since Jesus told his disciples to take his message to all nations, the Church has done so using the best communications methods of the day,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign.

“Early Christians pioneered new communications technology when they switched from scrolls to booklets. The founder of my own tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi, used the popular media of the middle ages when he spread the Gospel by entertaining in village squares. Today, our Catholic Communication Campaign enables the Church to continue promoting Jesus’ message of faith, hope, and healing through mass media.”

The CCC collection has both local and national impact: half of the gift stays in the donor’s diocese, supporting local projects to inspire, enlighten, and draw people closer to Jesus. The other half supports Catholic communication activities that are national in scope or that aid Catholic outreach in developing nations.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the “perfect storm” with increasing demand for support from the Catholic Communication Campaign while at the same time most parishioners were unable to attend Mass due to COVID-related restrictions the weekend of the collection. That situation resulted in a significant decline in giving to the CCC, which is trending down by more than half.

“We have seen the importance of staying spiritually connected in a time of physical distancing,” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “From local parishes streaming their Masses online for parishioners, to dioceses hosting special opportunities of prayer with their bishops in the midst of fear and uncertainty, the Catholic Communication Campaign provided crucial assistance throughout the COVID pandemic to keep our faith family connected. The CCC relies on the generosity of Catholics across the country to help us continue to spread the Good News, especially during these challenging times.”  

When limitations and restrictions on group gatherings prompted churches to close their doors, funds from the CCC collection enabled Catholic ministry to continue in places with little communication infrastructure. The USCCB used CCC funds to help dioceses and parishes livestream the Mass. The USCCB also launched its own redesigned, mobile-friendly website, where Catholics can find daily readings and reflections on Scripture.

COVID is not the only crisis to which this collection responds. Campaign funds have also enabled bishops to lead virtual roundtables on racism, gun control, and care for creation in order to engage the faithful on pertinent moral and social issues. The reach of the collection is far and wide – it is also helping the Archdiocese of Blantyre in Malawi launch a radio station to reach rural Catholics. A grant to Renew International, which produces small group study materials, will underwrite videos in which Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, explains Church teaching against the death penalty and proposes a better vision of criminal justice. Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, Inc., a Vatican-chartered organization that Pope John Paul II founded to promote Catholic social teaching, will use a CCC grant to improve its social media outreach and to produce animated videos on Catholic social principles.

Several recent grants highlight people whose ministry placed them on the path to sainthood. The forthcoming documentary “Mother Saints” will examine the lives of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), whose service to and advocacy for people on the peripheries still inspires the Church’s social ministry. Another documentary will tell the story of Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990), the granddaughter of a slave who became a joyous advocate for Jesus and for racial justice. In addition, a forthcoming film led by the Diocese of Savannah will share the moving story of the Five Georgia Martyrs who gave their lives in witness to the Christian faith as Franciscan missionaries in what is now Georgia.

“Gifts to this collection will bring the message of Jesus to your community and to communities on the other side of the world,” Archbishop Hartmayer said. “Please give generously, knowing that you are continuing the work of the apostles.”

Resources to promote the collection are on the USCCB’s website. You can learn more about the Catholic Communication Campaign at www.usccb.org/ccc.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Announces Grants Recipients for Projects that Support Catholic Biblical Literacy and Interpretation

WASHINGTON - This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $128,215 for eight projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

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 full 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.

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 eight projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:

  • $15,583 to Dr. Richard Ascough (Queen’s University School of Religion, Kingston, Ontario, Canada) for “Associations and Christ Groups under Roman Colonization: Assimilation and Resistance in the Western Provinces”
  • $14,000 to Dr. Marco Benini (The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.) for “Liturgical Hermeneutics of Sacred Scripture”
  • $20,000 to Dr. Giorgio Buccellati (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles) for “Cornerstone and Necromancy: Biblical Implications from the Excavations of a Third Millennium Hurrian City, Urkesh”
  • $25,000 to Dr. Michael Cover (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI) for “Texts of Turning: Representing Conversion in Early Judaism and the New Testament”
  • $22,000 to Dr. Andrew Davis (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chestnut Hill, MA) for “Calling Out from the Depths: A Curriculum for Catholic-Jewish Encounter with the Psalms”
  • $9,636 to Dr. Charles Hughes-Huff (Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, Rochester, NY) “Punishment and Holiness in the Priestly Literature”
  • $16,000 to Dr. Chris Keith (Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom) for “Jesus and John: The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”
  • $5,996 to Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA) for “Languaging Landscape: Entanglements of Identities and Borders in the Iron Age Shephelah”

Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Shrine in the Nation’s Capital to be Part of a Global Marathon of Prayer for an End to the COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has called for a “marathon” of prayer during the month of May to appeal for divine assistance in bringing about an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Marian shrines around the world have been chosen by the Holy See to lead the rosary each day of the month with specific prayer intentions focused on those impacted by the pandemic.

In the United States, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. has been asked to lead the rosary on Monday, May 17. Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, archbishop of Washington, will lead the recitation of the rosary at 12:00 PM ET that day for the special intention of world leaders and the heads of international organizations as they continue to work to combat the pandemic.

The faithful are invited to join online, and the prayer will be livestreamed on the shrine’s website at: www.nationalshrine.org/mass. In addition, the national shrine will accommodate 1,000 people while maintaining appropriate social distancing in its Great Upper Church; those wishing to attend in person are invited to register at: www.nationalshrine.org/mass-registration.

This month-long initiative of prayer is being organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The shrines chosen for each day of prayer reflect the global reach and diversity of the Catholic Church as each prays in their local language.

For more information on this worldwide effort, please visit: http://www.pcpne.va/content/pcpne/en/news/2021-04-23.html.

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi


Series of Webinars Launched by USCCB to Uphold the Fruitful Work of Lay Ecclesial Ministers in the Church

WASHINGTON – In the ongoing effort to affirm and exemplify the contributions of lay ecclesial ministers in the Catholic Church, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a series of webinars and testimonial videos.

Entitled “Co-Workers: Bishops and Lay Ecclesial Ministers in Conversation,” the series is co-hosted by the USCCB’s Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth (LMFLY) and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and is open to all pastoral leaders in the Church.

Several webinars have already been recorded and the series continues on May 17 with a segment featuring Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, accompanied by Matt Davis and Marisally Santiago, two lay leaders who work with the archbishop in Philadelphia.

Previous installments in this series are available for viewing and as additional segments are produced will be available on the USCCB website at: https://www.usccb.org/committees/laity-marriage-family-life-youth/lay-ecclesial-ministry.

  • Archbishop Alexander K. Sample of Portland in Oregon with Julie Onderko (January 2021)
  • Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend with Esther Terry (February 2021)
  • Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, of Pensacola-Tallahassee with Sharmane Adams and Chris Benzinger (March 2021)
  • Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa with Dr. Richard Meloche, Adam Minihan, and Dr. Christine Myers (April 2021)

With this series, the LMFLY Secretariat hopes to uphold the work of lay ecclesial ministers, and also recognize and speak to some of the challenges they experience in their ministry, including the COVID pandemic, the economy, and the impact it has on all those who minister in the Church. To learn more about the role of the laity in the Church visit:  https://www.usccb.org/committees/laity-marriage-family-life-youth/laity.


Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Welcomes Revised Refugee Admissions Cap

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the Biden Administration announced that it will increase the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States during the current fiscal year to 62,500. In response to Monday’s announcement, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“As a nation of immigrants, we have a moral obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world who are in need. The updated refugee admissions cap is a step in the right direction to help those who need it most. We were pleased with the Administration’s previous decision to reinstate the regional allocation framework, but this increase was a crucial step toward rebuilding the crippled Refugee Admissions Program. We view this number as a stepping stone toward the Administration’s stated goal of 125,000 admissions, a figure more consistent with our values and capabilities as a nation.

“For decades, the United States has been a leader in refugee resettlement. We are in the midst of the greatest forced displacement crisis of our lifetime and know that there are more than 26 million refugees worldwide and more than 47 million people who are internally displaced. It is imperative that we act now to ensure the safety of these individuals and their families. The Catholic Church teaches that every person is created in God’s image and must be valued, protected, and respected for the inherent dignity that he or she possesses. It is more important now than ever that our country continue to lead as we address this humanitarian emergency.”

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Catholics Encouraged to Mark National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea, May 22

WASHINGTON – Bishop Brendan J. Cahill of Victoria, Texas, and episcopal promoter of Stella Maris in the United States, is encouraging dioceses to mark the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Mariners and People of the Sea on May 22. The day is intended to remember the men and women seafarers, and for Masses celebrated on that day, priests are encouraged to use the text for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea.

National Maritime Day is also commemorated on May 22 as an opportunity to recognize the hardworking men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine, seafarers, fishers, port personnel, and all who work or travel on the high seas for the vital services they provide in support of our nation’s economic well-being and national security.

To mark National Maritime Day, the national Stella Maris office will be hosting the virtual prayer service on Thursday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the service will be streamed virtually; please register here. Across the world, seafarers have often been trapped on ships at sea and unable to return home because of the ongoing health crisis, and there have also been many crews at home unable to work due to the restrictions of the pandemic and are unable to support their families. A significant number are suffering from depression, suicides are on the rise, and many are working extended hours beyond what is typically considered safe, or being forced to work without contracts.

Many seafarers are Catholic Christians and largely a migrant population in the world. Because of the nature of their work, they are not always a visible community presence.

In over 50 ports, there are more than 100 Stella Maris chaplains, maritime deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers who minister to seafarers. They welcome, network, and reach out to seafarers, fishermen and women, their families, and all who work or travel on the seas. Through the celebration of the Eucharist and the Word of God, the chaplaincy team helps seafarers discover the loving presence of God in an often challenging world. Their continued presence is a clear indication of their dedication to this vital pastoral ministry and love for the people of the sea.

More information is available at: http://www.usccb.org/stellamaris

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs; Appoints Father James Golka of Diocese of Grand Island as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and has appointed Father James R. Golka, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island as Bishop-elect of Colorado Springs. Bishop-elect Golka currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, Nebraska. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Golka was born September 22, 1966 in Grand Island, Nebraska. He attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology (1985-1989). He served as a Jesuit lay missionary volunteer for the Native American Missions in South Dakota (1989-1990) before entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota where he received a Master of Divinity in 1994. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1994 for the Diocese of Grand Island.

Bishop-elect Golka’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at St. James parish in Kearney (1994-2000), associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Alliance (2000-2001); pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Scottsbluff (2001-2006); and pastor of St. Patrick’s parish and president of St. Patrick’s School in North Platte (2006-2016). Since 2016, he has served as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island and vicar general since 2018.

Bishop-elect Golka’s pastoral ministry also includes service as a member of the diocesan College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, and the Personnel Board. He has also served as the director of Higher Ground, a diocesan summer retreat experience for youth, as well as a pilgrimage director for Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Bishop-elect Golka speaks both English and Spanish.

The Diocese of Colorado Springs is comprised of 15,493 square miles in the state of Colorado and has a total population of 1,169,053 of which 187,048 are Catholic.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington; Appoints Monsignor William Koenig of Diocese of Rockville Centre as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop W. Francis Malooly, 77, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wilmington and has appointed Monsignor William E. Koenig, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre as Bishop-elect of Wilmington. Bishop-elect Koenig currently serves as vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Monsignor Koenig was born August 17, 1956 in Queens, New York. He attended Cathedral College in Douglaston, New York (1975-1979) and received a Master’s degree in Divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York (1979-1983) and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University in Bronx, New York (1994). He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on May 14, 1983.

Bishop-elect Koenig’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Edward the Confessor parish in Syosset (1983-1986); parochial vicar at St. James parish in Setauket (1986-1989); director of vocations (1989-1996) and director of the Office of Ministry to Priests (1990-1996) for the Diocese of Rockville Centre; parochial vicar at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre (1996-2000); pastor of St. William the Abbot parish in Seaford (2000-2009); and rector of St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre (2009-2020). Since 2020, Monsignor Koenig has served as the vicar for clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Bishop-elect Koenig’s pastoral ministry also includes service as a member of the diocesan priest personnel board since 2019. In 2007, Monsignor Koenig was named Chaplain to His Holiness, with title of Monsignor.

The Diocese of Wilmington is comprised of 1,932 square miles in the state of Delaware and 3,375 square miles in the state of Maryland and has a total population of 1,490,342 of which 246,999 are Catholic.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte