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U.S. and Canadian Catholic Bishops to Seek Intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, for Strength in Struggle Against COVID-19
Posted on 04/23/2020 11:53 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – As the world continues to face the ongoing effects of the global pandemic of the coronavirus, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in renewing the consecrations of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother.
Through a collective dedication or entrustment of a nation to Mary, an act of consecration is meant to be a reminder to the faithful of the Blessed Mother’s witness to the Gospel and to ask for her effective intercession before her Son on behalf of those in need. Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, promoted devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and placed the United States under her protection in a pastoral letter of 1792. The twenty-one bishops attending the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1846 determined to name the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of the United States, and Pope Pius IX approved this decision the following year. More recently, the dedication of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. in 1959 was the opportunity for the bishops to once again consecrate the nation to the Blessed Mother. Several popes have likewise consecrated the world to Mary on various occasions.
The consecration on May 1 follows a similar action of the bishops’ conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) who consecrated their nations to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter Sunday. The renewal of consecration planned in this country for May 1 does not change the designation of Mary as the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Rather, this prayer reaffirms and renews previous Marian entrustments, and unites us in solidarity with our Holy Father, who recently established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength.
“This will give the Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell, and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus,” said Archbishop Gomez in a letter to the U.S. bishops. Each year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. “This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” he continued.
Archbishop Gomez will lead a brief liturgy with the prayer of re-consecration on Friday, May 1 at 3:00 pm EDT and has invited the bishops to join in from their respective dioceses and asked them to extend the invitation to the faithful in their dioceses for their participation. A liturgy guide will be available to assist the faithful who may join in by tuning into the USCCB’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Canada, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mary Mother of the Church, Patroness of the United States, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Posted on 04/23/2020 05:53 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – The release of the study of the Ordination Class of 2020 reveals a great sign of life and hope in the Church in the United States, despite the midst of uncertainty in the world brought by the Coronavirus pandemic. At a moment when the faithful are prone to despair and struggle with the sadness of not having the sacraments available, and the public celebration of the Mass suspended, this profile of the 2020 Ordination Class is a ray of light. It is a tangible sign of God’s continued care for His Church. As a part of its mandate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations sponsors an annual survey, in conjunction with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), of the members of the current year’s Ordination Class. Each of the men to be ordained in the coming months shows the loving work of God to sustain His Church through the calling of new priests to minister His saving Sacraments and preach the Good News. The survey shows a wide variety of men from varied backgrounds who have all responded to God’s call to serve His people. Below is a summary of the results of the findings of the CARA study.
This year, 77% of the 448 identified members of the Ordination Class of 2020 responded to the survey. Of those responding, 82% will be ordained to the diocesan priesthood and 18% will be ordained to the priesthood for an institute of religious life or society of apostolic life. Some of the major findings of the report are:
• The average age of the Ordination Class of 2020 is 34 years old. On average, the respondents were 16 years old when they first considered the priesthood.
• Two-thirds of the respondents (67%) are Caucasian; one in six (16%) is Hispanic/Latino; one in ten (10%) is Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian; one in twenty (6%) is African/African American/black.
• The four most common countries of birth among those foreign-born are Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Colombia.
• Between 35% and 44% of all respondents attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling.
• Seven in ten respondents (72%) participated in Eucharistic Adoration on a regular basis before entering the seminary, a similar proportion (70%) prayed the rosary, more than two in five (44%) attended prayer group/Bible study, and two in five (38%) participated in high school retreats.
• Seven in ten respondents (73%) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Half (50%) served as lectors. Four in ten (40%) served as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
• Nine in ten respondents (89%) were encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life, most frequently a parish priest, friend, or another parishioner.
The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2020 can be found at http://cms.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/ordination-class/index.cfm.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop James F. Checchio, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA, vocations, discernment, priesthood, ordination, ministries.
Posted on 04/21/2020 01:48 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Robert W. Marshall, a priest of the Diocese of Memphis as the Bishop of Alexandria.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 21, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Alexandria has been a vacant see since March 2019.
Bishop-elect Marshall was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 17, 1959 and ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2000 for the Diocese of Memphis. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis (1977-1980) where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History. In 1983, he received a Juris Doctorate from the Humphreys School of Law at University of Memphis, and a Master of Divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 2000. Prior to entering seminary, Father Marshall worked as a civil attorney.
Father Marshall’s assignments in the Diocese of Memphis after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at Incarnation Church in Collierville (2000-2002); Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Humboldt and St. Matthew Parish in Milan (2002-2004); Pastor at Church of the Ascension in Memphis (2004-2012); Pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cordova (2012-2017); and Parochial Administrator at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis (2017-2019). Since 2019, Bishop-elect Marshall has served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Memphis and Pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The Diocese of Alexandria is comprised of 11,108 square miles in the State of Louisiana and has a total population of 389,837 of which 35,402 are Catholic.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Father Robert W. Marshall, Diocese of Alexandria, Diocese of Memphis.
Posted on 04/17/2020 11:37 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Four bishop chairmen of committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have urged Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure that vaccines for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and chairman of the Committee on Doctrine; and Bishop John F. Doerfler of Marquette and chairman of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues, signed the letter to the FDA Commissioner. They were joined by the leaders of many healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations.
The letter expressed strong support for efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible, but also strongly urged that the federal government “ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”
The letter noted that “among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies.” Furthermore, “there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used,” the signers stated. “It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience.”
To view all of the signatories and to read the full text of the letter, click here.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop John F. Doerfler, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Diocese of Marquette, Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Committee on Doctrine; Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, vaccine, healthcare, pro-life, coronavirus, Covid-19.
Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson; Names Father Kevin Sweeney of Diocese of Brooklyn as Successor
Posted on 04/15/2020 11:43 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Paterson and has named Father Kevin J. Sweeney, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn as Bishop-elect of Paterson.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-elect Sweeney was born on January 17, 1970 in Elmhurst, New York and was ordained to the priesthood on June 28, 1997 for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Father Sweeney graduated from St. John’s University, Queens, New York in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts and received a Master of Divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York in 1997.
Father Sweeney's assignments in the Diocese of Brooklyn after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Jamaica (1997-2003); Coordinator of the Irish Apostolate (1999-2001); Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona (2003-2004); Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Brooklyn (2004-2010); Chaplain at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn (2005); Administrator at St. Michael Parish, Brooklyn (2010-2012); Spiritual Director at Jovenes de Valor (2010-2013). His service includes membership on the Seminary Admissions Board (2010-present); Presbyteral Council (2011-2016); Dean of the Brooklyn 8 Deanery (2013-present); Vocations Representative (2014-present); and the Priest Personnel Assignment Board (2017-present). Bishop-elect Sweeney, who speaks both English and Spanish, is currently Pastor of St. Michael Church in Brooklyn where he has served since March 2012.
The Diocese of Paterson is comprised of 1,214 square miles in the State of New Jersey and has a total population of 1,153,982 of which 430,000 are Catholic.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Father Kevin J. Sweeney, Diocese of Paterson, Diocese of Brooklyn.
USCCB President and Committee Chairman Call for Prayers, Hope, and Assistance Following Deadly Storms in the South
Posted on 04/13/2020 10:09 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued the following statement after severe weather killed at least 19 people in the South late Sunday into early Monday morning. In their statement, Archbishops Gomez and Coakley call for prayer and assistance for all those who were in the path of the storm, as well as hope in the good news of Easter.
Full statement from Archbishops Gomez and Coakley follows:
“This Easter Monday began with the sad news that storms swept through multiple states in the South overnight, killing at least 19 people at the time of this statement across Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. The weather also inflicted significant damage in Texas, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Many people have suffered damage or loss of their homes.
“In the midst of these tragedies, we must reach out and offer assistance to those affected, especially those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. This situation is made even more difficult by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We pray for those who are suffering, for those who have died, and for the first responders who are courageously offering help. We also pray for those who remain in the path of these storms and for their safety and well-being.
“In the Gospel this morning, we hear the Lord after his resurrection tell Mary Magdalene and the other women, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ (Mt. 28:10). The letter to the Hebrews describes the hope we have in God’s promise as ‘an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.’ (cf. Heb. 6:19). In the midst of disasters from weather and illness, we cling to this hope, that God can redeem our suffering and loss, that God is present to us even now, and that the Lord has conquered death for all time, inviting us to see him face to face in eternal life.”
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, severe weather, coronavirus, Covid-19, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Posted on 04/12/2020 01:58 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following Easter message.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
My dear brothers and sisters:
Christ is risen!
This is the joy of Easter. And what a gift it is to hear these words in this time of the coronavirus.
Jesus asked us to carry our cross with him during this long Lent. This has been a time when we confront the reality that our life is fragile. This has been a time for us to reflect on what really matters, and what makes life truly worth living.
As we stand in the joyful light of Easter, we know that our world is still darkened by loss and despair.
Jesus rises to tell us that his love is stronger than death!
He has passed through the valley of the shadow of death. And there is no evil that we should fear. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Christ is risen and we will rise with him! This is the promise of Easter. And God does not withdraw his promise, even when Easter comes during a pandemic.
So, let us stay close to Jesus.
And let us stay close to Mary our Blessed Mother. May she help us to always carry our cross with her Son, that we may be raised up with him and share in his Resurrection.
May you and your families have a blessed Easter season.
The video of Archbishop Gomez’s Easter message is also available: https://youtu.be/q13CLfJKPeg.
Posted on 04/10/2020 08:27 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops led the nation in a moment of prayer on Good Friday for an end of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus together offered a special moment of unity for the faithful during a time when communities throughout the U.S. and worldwide are physically unable to congregate for Holy Week and Easter because of COVID-19.
Prepared text of Archbishop Gomez’s homily:
My dear brothers and sisters,
We stand today at the foot of the cross with Mary, our Blessed Mother, and we look upon her Son, crucified. And we ask God: Why did he have to die? Couldn’t there be some other way?
Today we are also asking God: Why this coronavirus? Why have you allowed this disease and death to descend on our world?
We know that Jesus on the cross is the only answer. In the heart of Christ — wounded by the soldier’s spear, pierced by our sins — we see how much God loves the world. We see how precious we are in our Father’s eyes.
As we just heard in our Gospel reading: Out of his heart flowed blood and water — blood that redeems us from sin and death; water that washes away our shame and makes all things new.
Brothers and sisters, as we stand today at the foot of his cross, in the midst of this pandemic, Jesus is calling us to trust in his Sacred Heart.
Let’s pray often to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!
God will provide! We know that. He has a plan of a plan of love for his creation, a plan of goodness and mercy for every nation and for every heart.
Jesus does not die for no reason. Good Friday is “good” because it opens the way to Easter Sunday.
God gave his own Son for us. So, we know that he will deliver us from this evil of the coronavirus. The cross shows us that his love for us is stronger than death.
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the moment of Christian witness.
Jesus has opened his heart for us. He has given his life out of love for us. Now he calls us to entrust our lives to him — our whole heart, our whole mind; all our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions.
In this moment, Jesus is inviting every one of us in the Church to take up our cross and to follow him along the path of humble love, the path of reverence for God and service to our neighbors.
God’s mercies are not spent! Faith, hope, and charity have not died!
We are witnessing this in a beautiful way every day during this pandemic — in our hospitals and homes, in our parishes and ministries, in every quiet, unseen act of self-sacrifice and service in our families and communities.
This is what God wants us to learn in this time of worldwide crisis — that we are one family, one Body united in the blood and water that flows from the heart of Christ, joined together in a beautiful, supernatural solidarity of compassion.
Let us love one another, joining our sufferings to the heart of Christ, open for us on the cross. Let us sacrifice for one another, take care of one another, forgive one another.
Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!
May our Blessed Mother Mary intercede for us in her sorrows today.
May she help us to be meek and humble of heart, and to persevere in this Good Friday of disease and death, to hasten to the Easter morning of the resurrection.
U.S. Bishops’ Chairman of International Justice and Peace Committee Shares Solidarity with Pope Francis Calling for Cessation of Hostilities and Greater Humanitarian Access
Posted on 04/8/2020 13:00 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, has issued the following statement calling for cessation of hostilities and greater humanitarian access.
Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:
“In the context of the global scope and scale of the COVID-19 virus crisis, Pope Francis during his Angelus message on Sunday, March 29 called for a global cease fire in all hostilities. His plea seeks to allow for a deepening of the fraternal bonds of the human family in search for not just a momentary but a lasting peace.
“Over a billion people on our planet live without access to the basic necessities of life. Over 70 million are displaced who already live amidst violent conflict and persecution. The unfolding global health pandemic and subsequent economic crisis only exacerbate their intolerable suffering. As chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, I join my prayers to those of the Holy Father. May God’s grace open the hearts of combatants throughout the world so that they realize their shared frail humanity and allow a cessation of hostilities to come to pass. With such cessation, corridors of humanitarian assistance can be established and strengthened to allow relief to reach those in greatest need.
“May God use even the difficulties of this moment to bring about peace and solidarity in the world.”
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee of International Justice and Peace.
Posted on 04/8/2020 10:21 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) were scheduled to gather for their Spring General Assembly in Detroit, June 10-12. Given the current situation with the Coronavirus that has been classified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, the Administrative Committee of the USCCB voted earlier this week to cancel the June assembly.
In announcing the decision, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB said, “The Administrative Committee made this very difficult decision with consideration of multiple factors, but most importantly the health, well-being and safety of the hundreds of bishops, staff, observers, guests, affiliates, volunteers, contractors and media involved with the general meetings. Additionally, even if the numerous temporary restrictions on public gatherings resulting from conditions associated with COVID-19 are lessened by June, the priority for the physical and pastoral presence of the bishop in his See will be acute to tend to the faithful.”
This marks the first cancellation of a plenary assembly in the Conference’s history. The bylaws of the Conference state that a plenary assembly is to be convened at least once a year. As such, the November general assembly meeting in Baltimore (scheduled for November 16-19) would fulfill this requirement.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez, June meeting, Spring General Assembly, Fall General Assembly, Detroit, Baltimore, #USCCB20.