Catholic News

USCCB News News from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • Bishop Chairmen Call on U.S. Senate to Retain Longstanding, Bipartisan Pro-Life Policies 
    by PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE on October 22, 2021 at 8:30 am

    WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, the chairman of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Appropriations releases the text of several appropriations bills which, like their Houston 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 pray 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 sister 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: U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Call on House of Representatives to Retain Longstanding, Bipartisan Pro-Life Policies, June 28, 2021 Bishop Chairmen Respond to Extreme Abortion Push in Appropriations Bill, July 13, 2021 U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to House Vote to Force Taxpayers to Fund Elective Abortions, July 29, 2021 ### 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
    by PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE on October 20, 2021 at 8:30 am

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

  • National Vocation Awareness Week Encourages Dioceses to Foster Vocations in Their Local Communities
    by PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE on October 20, 2021 at 8:30 am

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

  • Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Andrew Cozzens as Bishop of Crookston
    by PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE on October 18, 2021 at 8:30 am

    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. ### 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
    by PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE on October 15, 2021 at 8:30 am

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