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Bishop Chairmen Call on U.S. Senate to Retain Longstanding, Bipartisan Pro-Life Policies 

WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, the chairman of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Appropriations released the text of several appropriations bills which, like their House counterparts, currently exclude several longstanding, bipartisan provisions like the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and would have the effect of forcing health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as forcing employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:   

"The bills released by the Senate Appropriations chairman this week represent a radical departure from the will of the American people and the principle of justice for all. By proposing to eliminate the Hyde and Weldon Amendments, among other longstanding, bipartisan pro-life provisions, the Senate is staking out an extreme position of forcing taxpayers to pay for the taking of innocent unborn human life and forcing health care providers to participate in this injustice.  

"We recognize and appreciate that these bills also include many life-affirming provisions that help vulnerable people, including pregnant moms, refugees, low-income families, and the elderly. The laudable concern and support these provisions represent must also extend to our vulnerable brothers and sisters in the womb.

“We reiterate the fact that funding the destruction of innocent unborn human lives, and forcing people to participate, are grave abuses of human rights. We call on the Senate to prevent this injustice by passing appropriations bills that fully support and protect human dignity and the most vulnerable among us.” 

The U.S. bishops have made previous statements on upholding the dignity of life in appropriations bills:

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

National Vocation Awareness Week Encourages Dioceses to Foster Vocations in Their Local Communities

WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 7-13, 2021. Dioceses across the U.S. will hold events to foster an appreciation for all vocations and pray specifically for those discerning a vocation to ordained ministry and consecrated life.

In his message for the 58th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis offered St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, as a model for vocational discernment. “Amid all these upheavals, [St. Joseph] found the courage to follow God’s will. So too in a vocation: God’s call always urges us to take a first step, to give ourselves, to press forward. There can be no faith without risk. Only by abandoning ourselves confidently to grace, setting aside our own programmes and comforts, can we truly say “yes” to God,” he said, and exhorted the Church to look to St. Joseph as an “outstanding example of acceptance of God’s plans.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations has encouraged dioceses to use National Vocation Awareness Week as a time for fostering vocations in their own local communities. “Studies of those recently ordained and religiously professed consistently show that the encouragement of the parish priest is the most influential factor in vocational discernment. But the accompaniment of the whole faith community is key for genuine vocational discernment – from one’s parents and family members, to the Catholic educators, as well as the vital role that youth ministers and fellow parishioners play as the early encounters for young people to the faith.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year to call attention to the importance of upholding vocations and praying for those discerning a religious vocation and celebrating those who were in ordained ministry and consecrated life. In 1997, the celebration was moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014, the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to influence youth and young adults by engaging Catholic schools and colleges.

Resources for dioceses to utilize during National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily aids, recommended reading and discernment tips, prayers of the faithful, and bulletin-ready quotes are available online.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

President of USCCB Welcomes the “Synod on Synodality” Convoked by Pope Francis as Diocesan Consultation and Dialogue Phase Begins

WASHINGTON – In May 2021, Pope Francis invited the global Catholic Church to gather and reflect on communion, participation, and mission within the Church. The two-year process of listening and dialogue is themed, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, & Mission being referred to as the “synod on synodality,” which the Holy Father officially opened with Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 10. This past weekend, dioceses throughout the world began the next phase of the synod which includes consultation and dialogue at the diocesan level. Using a preparatory document and questionnaire to guide the discussion from the Holy See’s synod office, this phase runs through April 2022.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed solidarity with Pope Francis and the universal Church on the embarkation of the synod saying, “The Holy Father has called for the local churches to hold inclusive consultations with the People of God as part of the synod. We face a challenge after over a year of being physically distanced within our communities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This synod is an opportunity to meet the immense and important request of the Holy Father to engage in dialogue to better understand our call to holiness and feel the responsibility to participate in the life of the Church.” He continued, “Outreach, communication, support, and encouragement are vital in order to be missionary disciples. As is with the nature of the synod, I hope we will learn as we ‘journey together,’ and I pray that the process will enrich and guide the future path of both the local Church as well as the universal Church over the course of the next two years, and beyond.”

In carrying out the synod here in the United States, Father Michael Fuller, interim general secretary for the USCCB has been leading the efforts of the Conference to share information with the U.S. bishops. Richard Coll, executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development was appointed as the bishops’ diocesan liaison. “The Conference’s role in supporting the local diocesan efforts of the synod includes sharing the resources prepared by the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome such as the Preparatory Document and Vademecum, as well as additional tools and tips,” he said. “I welcome the opportunity to be a resource to the diocesan representatives as they engage with their local faithful in this most important phase of the synod.”

In order to best share the many materials in an organized manner, the USCCB’s website will be updated regularly with highlights from the synod at the local level, as well as an ongoing effort to incorporate synodal lessons learned into the resources offered. The USCCB’s webpage on the synod may be found at: www.usccb.org/synod.

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Andrew Cozzens as Bishop of Crookston

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as Bishop of Crookston. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on October 18, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The biography for Bishop Cozzens may be found here.

The Diocese of Crookston is comprised of 17,210 square miles in the State of Minnesota and has a total population of 227,689 of which 34,875 are Catholic.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops to Meet in Baltimore Nov. 15-18; Will Address Action Items; Assembly to be Live-Streamed and Live-Tweeted

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2021 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15-18. This will be the first in-person meeting of the full body of bishops since November 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 2020 spring meeting was canceled, and the November 2020 fall meeting and June 2021 spring meeting were held in a virtual format.

The assembly will begin with an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The bishops will hear from Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB. The agenda includes a report to the bishops from the National Advisory Council, a group created by the USCCB comprised of religious and lay people primarily for consultation on Action Items and Information Reports before the Administrative Committee.

The meeting agenda is expected to include discussion and votes on a number of items including: the Eucharistic revival initiative and approval of a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024; an update of the “Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines”; a statement on the Eucharist, The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church; the proposal to add Saint Teresa of Calcutta on the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States as an optional memorial on September 5; the Resolution on Diocesan Financial Reporting; new English and Spanish versions of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults; a translation of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery Outside Mass; “National Statutes for the Catechumenate” in English and Spanish; and the USCCB’s 2022 budget.

During the assembly, the bishops will vote for a treasurer-elect for the Conference, as well as chairmen-elect of five Conference committees: Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations; Divine Worship; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth; and Migration. The bishops elected will serve for one year as treasurer-elect or chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the 2022 Fall General Assembly. There will also be votes for the election of board members for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and for the election of a new USCCB general secretary.

Also expected at the meeting will be a consultation of the bishops on causes of beatification and canonization for Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard and Servant of God Auguste Robert Pelafigue. Other items that will be presented and discussed include: the 2021-2023 Synod of Bishops; the work of Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC); the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; the Journeying Together intercultural dialogue and encounter process; the application and implementation of the Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life Ministry in the United States; the “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative.

Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes will be livestreamed at: www.usccb.org/meetings  and news updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to this page.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB21 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

One Hundred Incidents of Vandalism Reported at Catholic Sites in U.S. Since May 2020

WASHINGTON - In May of 2020, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty began tracking incidents of arson, vandalism, and other destruction at Catholic sites across the United States. October 10 marked the 100th incident: satanic and other hateful graffiti scrawled on the walls before Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:

“These incidents of vandalism have ranged from the tragic to the obscene, from the transparent to the inexplicable. There remains much we do not know about this phenomenon, but at a minimum, they underscore that our society is in sore need of God’s grace.

“In all cases, we must reach out to the perpetrators with prayer and forgiveness. True, where the motive was retribution for some past fault of ours, we must reconcile; where misunderstanding of our teachings has caused anger toward us, we must offer clarity; but this destruction must stop. This is not the way.

“We call on our elected officials to step forward and condemn these attacks. We thank our law enforcement for investigating these incidents and taking appropriate steps to prevent further harm. We appeal to community members for help as well. These are not mere property crimes – this is the degradation of visible representations of our Catholic faith. These are acts of hate.

The USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee for Domestic Justice and Human Development previously issued a statement on church vandalism on July 22, 2020.

The Committee for Religious Liberty’s “Beauty Heals” project, launched in response to the destruction of Catholic statues, features videos from various dioceses discussing the significance of sacred art.

The committees are advocating for increased funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Welcomes Refugee Admissions Target of 125,000

WASHINGTON - On October 8, the Biden Administration announced a Fiscal Year 2022 Presidential Determination (PD) of 125,000 refugees for resettlement through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This is the highest PD since 1993 and follows four consecutive years of historic lows. During the previous fiscal year, which ended on September 30, the U.S. resettled only 11,411 refugees out of a possible 62,500, the lowest number in the program’s history.

The USRAP was created in 1980, and it has received strong bipartisan support ever since. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is one of nine national resettlement agencies that partners with the U.S. government in this effort. The Catholic Church’s involvement in refugee resettlement stems from the Church’s social teaching on the common good and is consistent with its longstanding role in welcoming newcomers and supporting integration.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“The last few years have had a devastating impact on refugee resettlement, all while we witness the greatest forced migration crises in decades. We commend the Administration for seeking to reassert American leadership in this area, and we look forward to continued action in support of this goal. We also urge Congress to provide the resources necessary to not only rebuild the Refugee Admissions Program but sustain it for the next four decades and beyond.

“Whether fleeing war, natural disaster, or persecution, the positive contributions of refugees to our society have been well documented. First and foremost, however, we recognize them as vulnerable members of the same human family to which we ourselves belong.

“In a special way, we as Catholics are called to this ministry of welcome and encounter, through which we express the fullness of the Church’s universality. The bishops of the United States pledge our continued commitment to this work, and we praise the many Catholic organizations, communities, and persons dedicated to what Pope Francis has referred to as ‘a new “frontier” for mission, a privileged opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ and the Gospel message at home, and to bear concrete witness to the Christian faith in a spirit of charity.’”

In May, Bishop Dorsonville called 125,000 refugee admissions “a figure more consistent with our values and capabilities as a nation.” For more information about refugees, the USRAP, and the Church’s work on this issue, please visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi 
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Invite Young People to Join Celebration for World Youth Day 2023

WASHINGTON - Lisbon, Portugal will be the host of the next international World Youth Day (WYD), from August 1 to 6, 2023. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas, the USCCB’s episcopal liaison to World Youth Day, released a statement expressing solidarity with Pope Francis and the universal Church as anticipation builds for the major international event.

“We are overjoyed to now have the dates we can look forward to when millions of people will come together and join the Holy Father for World Youth Day in Lisbon in August 2023.

“We hope that many from the U.S. will participate, and we invite all youth and young adults – in fact, every person age 16 to 35 in the United States – to join us. Whether you plan to travel to Lisbon, participate through digital media, or join your peers at one of many local celebrations taking place in dioceses across the country, we want you to be part of this moment in the life of the Church.

“It is providential that the WYD Mass with the Holy Father will take place on the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 2023. The experience of Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration was a pivotal moment of transformation for them.  We hope that WYD will have a similar impact on young people today, no matter where or how they make this pilgrimage to celebrate this special international festival of faith.”

Since 1985, the international World Youth Day has been held every two to three years in a different country and is intended to draw together youth and young adults, ages 16 to 35, from every continent for a worldwide pilgrimage and festival of faith along with the Holy Father. The Lisbon WYD gathering was originally scheduled to take place in the summer of 2022; however, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis extended the preparatory period to August 2023.

The USCCB will be developing materials and supporting local communities in the coming months before WYD 2023. More details can be found online at: https://www.usccb.org/topics/world-youth-day.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on Rescinding of “Protect Life Rule”

WASHINGTON – The Biden Administration has published a new rule rescinding the “Protect Life Rule” governing the Title X family planning program. That rule had the commendable effect of ensuring compliance with federal law by stipulating that Title X projects may not share office space or financing with abortion facilities and are not required to refer for abortion. The rescission becomes effective on November 8. 

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:  

The Catholic bishops have grave concerns about government promotion of contraceptives. At the same time, we have long supported efforts to ensure that abortion is kept physically and financially separate from family planning under Title X.

“Title X was intended and authorized to be a program entirely separate from abortion and it plainly states that ‘the funds authorized under this legislation [shall] be used only to support preventive family planning services, population research, infertility services, and other related medical, informational, and educational activities’ (emphasis added). 

“Abortion is not family planning. Abortion takes the life of an already-conceived and growing child. The violence of abortion wounds countless women physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The Administration is wrong to allow taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers who participate in a pre-pregnancy program specifically designed to exclude abortion.”

In January, Archbishop Naumann issued a statement reacting to the White House’s decision to rescind the Title X Rule: U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on White House Action to Rescind Title X Rule | USCCB.

The USCCB filed comments to the proposed rule: 2021.title-X-comments-final (usccb.org).

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops to Vote for Treasurer-elect and for Chairmen-elect of Five Standing Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 15-18, 2021

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the conference’s treasurer-elect as well as chairmen-elect for five standing committees during the 2021 General Assembly taking place November 15-18 in Baltimore.

Each bishop elected will serve for one year as the treasurer-elect or as chairman-elect of the respective committee before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2022 Fall General Assembly.

The following bishops were nominated:

USCCB TREASURER-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Bishop James F. Checchio
  • Archbishop Paul D. Etienne

CHAIRMAN-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON CLERGY, CONSECRATED LIFE, AND VOCATIONS

  • Bishop Earl A. Boyea
  • Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila

CHAIRMAN-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON DIVINE WORSHIP

  • Bishop Steven J. Lopes
  • Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski

CHAIRMAN-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON DOMESTIC JUSTICE AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

  • Archbishop Borys Gudziak
  • Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki

CHAIRMAN-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON LAITY, MARRIAGE, FAMILY LIFE, AND YOUTH

  • Bishop Robert Barron
  • Bishop Edward J. Burns

CHAIRMAN-ELECT, COMMITTEE ON MIGRATION

  • Bishop Mark J. Seitz
  • Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski
     

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200