WASHINGTON (August 3, 2011)—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring four refugees to attend the UNHCR Refugee Congress August 2-4, in Washington. Hailing from Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Bhutan, these refugees were successfully resettled to the United States by the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). They live now in places like Jackson, Mississippi; Charleston, West Virginia; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Chicago and, this week, they will have a chance to share their stories and experiences with other refugees and to participate in an advocacy day, August 4, on the Hill.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sharply criticized a new HHS “preventive services” mandate requiring private health plans to cover female surgical sterilization and all drugs and devices approved by the FDA as contraceptives, including drugs which can attack a developing unborn child before and after implantation in the mother’s womb.
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will celebrate a Memorial Mass, September 14, at noon, for the late Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Mass will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
WASHINGTON— The foreign assistance appropriations bill proposed by a House subcommittee “makes morally unacceptable, even deadly, cuts to poverty-focused humanitarian and development assistance,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee.
WASHINGTON—Currently 29,437 pilgrims from the United States are registered to attend World Youth Day (WYD), August 16-21, in Madrid. This is a record number for U.S. participation in a WYD outside of North America. These pilgrims will be joined by 64 U.S. bishops.
WASHINGTON—In a July 26 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, called on Congress to remember the human and moral dimensions of the ongoing budget and debt ceiling debate.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops offered prayers and solidarity with the bishops of Scandinavia after the bombings at government building in Oslo and shootings at a nearby youth camp in Utoya.
WASHINGTON—Eight U.S. prelates have been chosen as English-language catechists by the Pontifical Council for Laity, the Vatican’s official organism that convenes World Youth Day (WYD). The group includes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Archbishop Charles Chaput, newly appointed as archbishop of Philadelphia, as well as Bishops Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska, William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn. The group will be among 250 bishop-catechists from all over the world representing many different countries and languages.
The Apostolic Nunciature has made the following announcement: The Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio, underwent a delicate lung surgery two weeks ago. Unfortunately, there have been post-surgery complications.
WASHINGTON—Responding to a proposal from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that private health plans be required to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the U.S. bishops urged Congress to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179).
WASHINGTON—Religious leaders, including representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), met with President Barack Obama July 20 to urge the President and congressional leaders to protect programs for hungry and poor people in decisions surrounding the deficit and debt.
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, strongly opposed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of surgical sterilization and all FDA-approved birth control in private health insurance plans nationwide.
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Justin Rigali, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and named Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap, 66, to succeed him.
The pope also has accepted the resignation of Bishop J. Kevin Boland, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, and named Franciscan Father Gregory Hartmayer, O.F.M. Conv., 59, pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Little Springs, Georgia, to succeed him.
WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will host its first-ever Vocation Fair at a World Youth Day (WYD) on Wednesday, August 17. The Vocations Fair will be held at St. Francis Borgia Parish (Parroquia San Francisco de Borja) located just across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Madrid. The fair is co-sponsored by the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) and the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth.
WASHINGTON— For the first time ever, individuals can make a virtual pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) using a social media tool developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Communications Department. USCCB has created a Facebook application and a website for non-Facebook users (http://www.virtualworldyouthday.org/ ) where individuals can create an avatar and use it to participate in the virtual pilgrimage. The application can be added to any Facebook fan page. A Google map provides visuals of where pilgrims are coming from throughout the world and another shows the pilgrims on a detailed map of Madrid.
WASHINGTON—When South Sudan marks its independence and becomes the world’s newest nation July 9, Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, bishop emeritus of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, will be there to represent the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
WASHINGTON—Morally appropriate efforts must be made to reduce the nations’ deficit and debt but special care must be taken that the cuts don’t disproportionally affect the world’s poorest people, said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, in a July 5 letter to the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs as it prepares to mark up the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012.
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, SJ of Tyler, Texas, as bishop of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Bishop Corrada, 69, succeeds Bishop Ulises Aurelio Casiano Vargas.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved funding for 86 projects, worth over $2.1 million in grants, to aid the pastoral work of the Church in 20 countries throughout the hemisphere. The decision was made during the subcommittee’s meeting June 13, in Seattle.
WASHINGTON— Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has denounced the passage of a civil unions bill in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island legislature enacted a statute this week creating a new legal status deemed to be parallel to marriage, thus allowing two persons of the same sex to obtain all of the rights of spouses by forming what the new law designates to be a civil union. In response, Bishop Cordileone reiterated that “marriage, the communion of husband and wife, is a unique reality that has no true parallel. The exclusive and permanent bond of a man and woman joined in marriage offers to the couple and to society a preeminent value that should not be eclipsed by governmental attempts to redesign fundamental realities by legal dictate.”
WASHINGTON— Catholic bishops of the North and Central American region and the Caribbean, who are in charge of the pastoral care of migrants, gathered in San Jose, Costa Rica, June 1-3, 2011. A joint declaration after the meeting was made public June 30. The prelates, representing the bishops’ conferences of the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panamá, Honduras and Guatemala, as well as CELAM (Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America) and CARITAS International gathered to express solidarity and concern over the plight of immigrants in the Hemisphere. They were joined by religious and lay experts on issues of migration.
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, 73, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California. Bishop Robert F. Vasa, 60, up until now coadjutor bishop of the same diocese, succeeds him as bishop of Santa Rosa.
WASHINGTON—In response to last Friday’s enactment of a law redefining marriage in the State of New York, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, expressed “grave disappointment with the legislature’s abandonment of the common good.”
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed standards for mercury and air toxics produced by power plants, according to a June 20 comment filed with the Environmental Protection Agency, by Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “Such standards should protect the health and welfare of all people, especially the most vulnerable members of our society, including unborn and other young children, from harmful exposure to toxic air pollution emitted from power plants,” said Bishop Blaire.
WASHINGTON—The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation held its 80th meeting at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood, New York, June 6-8. The members reviewed major events in the lives of their churches, and heard presentations on the role of the laity in the Church and intermediate levels of ecclesial authority.
In remarks made in commemoration of the United Nation’s World Refugee Day June 20, Ambassador Johnny Young, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the United States to maintain its role as a global leader in refugee protection. “Without U.S. leadership, the situation for the world’s 15 million refugees would be much worse,” Ambassador Young said. “We must remain committed to refugee protection and to the U.S. refugee program, which saves thousands of lives each year.”
BELLEVUE, Washington—Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Divine Worship, announced that diocesan bishops may permit the gradual introduction of the musical settings of the people’s parts of the Mass from the new Roman Missal in September. Primarily this affects the the Gloria, the Holy, Holy, Holy and the Memorial Acclamations.
BELLEVUE, Wash.—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) today voted to approve several of the agenda items at their Spring General Assembly in Bellevue, Washington, including a statement on physician assisted suicide, the Spanish translation of the USA Propers and Adaptations to the Roman Missal, and a ten-year review of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People at its Spring General Assembly in Seattle on June 16. The revisions passed with 187 bishops voting in favor, 5 bishops opposed and 4 abstaining. The Charter was adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 in response to the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by clerics. It was revised previously in 2005.
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a policy statement on physician-assisted suicide at its Spring General Assembly in Seattle on June 16. The statement, To Live Each Day with Dignity, passed with a vote of 191-1. It marks the first time the full body of bishops has issued a statement devoted to this issue. The full text of the statement will be available online at www.usccb.org/toliveeachday, along with fact sheets and articles on the issue, relevant Church documents, and prayers for use with those who are ill.
WASHINGTON – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage has released the second of five videos for the promotion and protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Entitled Made for Life, the newly released video features real married couples reflecting on topics related to the gift of children, the indispensible place of fathers and mothers, and sexual difference.
WASHINGTON—The Peter’s Pence Collection will be taken up in most Catholic parishes the weekend of June 25-26. This year’s theme, “Cast the peace of Christ upon the world,” focuses on the relationship between solidarity and peace. The theme draws inspiration from the Gospel of John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” and from Pope Benedict XVI’s beginning-of-year message where he said, that “it is necessary above all that every person be motivated by the authentic spirit of peace, to be implored ever anew in prayer and to be lived in daily relations in every environment” (Homily, Vatican Basilica, January 1, 2011).
WASHINGTON–Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Nicholas J. Samra, 66, retired auxiliary bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, as Bishop of the same Eparchy, and Father Robert Rabbat, 51, up until now rector of the Annunciation Melkite Cathedral in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, as Bishop of the Melkite Eparchy of Saint Michael in Sydney, Australia.
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI has named two Chicago pastors, Father Alberto Rojas, 46, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, and Father Andrew Wypych, 56, pastor of St. Francis Borgia Parish, as auxiliary bishops of Chicago. The appointments were publicized in Washington, June 13, by Msgr. Jean-François Lantheaume, chargé d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States.
WASHINGTON (June 9, 2011)—U.S. pilgrims attending World Youth Day (WYD) Madrid 2011 will have the added benefit of a youth facility providing English-language programming. Called "Love and Life: A Home for English-Speaking Pilgrims,” the center will be located at Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes, the city's premiere civic and sports arena. A Mass specifically for U.S. pilgrims is scheduled at the facility the morning of Saturday, August 20, with over 60 U.S. bishops expected to participate and concelebrate.
WASHINGTON (June 1, 2011)—Deacon Bernard V. Nojadera, of the Diocese of San Jose, California, and director of the diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, has been named head of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.
WASHINGTON (June 1, 2011)—The U.S. bishops will debate and vote on a document on physician-assisted suicide at their Spring General Assembly, June 15-17, in Seattle. The document, To Live Each Day with Dignity, will be the first statement on assisted suicide by the full body of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
WASHINGTON (May 27, 2011)—“Principles of Interpretation of Scripture with a Special Focus on the Figure of Moses” was the focus of the West Coast consultation between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and three Muslim organizations from the Sunni and Shi’a traditions. The twelfth annual meeting of the dialogue took place in Orange, California on May 24-25. Bishop Carlos Sevilla of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington, and Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Ph.D., of the Islamic Society of Orange County, presided.
WASHINGTON (May 26, 2011)—Catholics worldwide are asked to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination to the priesthood with sixty hours of Eucharistic prayer for vocations.
The pope will celebrate his anniversary June 29, the Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul. In honor of his anniversary, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy suggested Catholic clergy and faithful be invited to participate in Eucharistic Adoration with the intention of praying for the sanctification of the clergy and for the gift of new and holy priestly vocations.
WASHINGTON (May 26, 2011)—Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Robert D. Gruss, 55, rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa, as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, and Father Donald J. Hying, 47, rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, as an auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee.
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2011)—The U.S. bishops will vote on revisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People at their meeting in Seattle, June 15-17.
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2011)—A media expert, a businesswoman/talk show host and a pediatrician have been named to the National Review Board for four-year terms, 2011-2015, beginning in June.
The mission of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is to support the ministry of bishops with an emphasis on evangelization, by which the bishops exercise in a communal and collegial manner certain pastoral functions entrusted to them by the Lord Jesus of sanctifying, teaching, and governing.
This mission calls the Conference to