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Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs Statement on Pittsburgh Violence

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop chair of the Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released the following statement regarding the violence in Pittsburgh.

Full statement follows:

“Yesterday morning, death and violence entered a house of worship. The attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, is a cowardly act and to be condemned by all Americans. Those killed and injured represent the best of who we are: people of faith gathered to pray and celebrate the birth of a child and officers responding to the ensuring violence with no concern for their own safety.  

Anti-Semitism is to be condemned and has to be confronted by our nation. The Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters during this time of great distress. May God grant peace to the dead, healing to the injured, and comfort to the families of those hurt and killed and to all the Jewish Community.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph Bambera, Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, Tree of Life Synagogue, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, violence, Anti-Semitism, Jewish brothers and sisters, Jewish Community

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Issues Statement Following Shooting in Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting this morning at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for prayer and action to put an end to violence.

The full statement is as follows:

"This morning violence, once again, struck one of our communities, this time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is apparent at least eight souls lost their lives in a shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. To our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community, we stand with you. We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us. He begs us back to our common humanity as His sons and daughters.

I commend to our Lord the victims, including first responders, and for the consolation of their families. May Almighty God be with them and bring them comfort at this tragic time."


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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pittsburgh, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, gun violence, prayer, peace


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Media Contact:

Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Will Gather for Seven Days of Prayer and Reflection at Invitation of Pope Francis

WASHINGTON— At the invitation of Pope Francis, the Bishops of the United States will gather for a spiritual retreat set to take place at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The bishops will gather in prayer and unity for seven days, from January 2-8, as brothers in the Episcopacy.


“The Holy Father has kindly offered the preacher to the Papal Household, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., to serve as the retreat director as we come together to pray on the intense matters before us. For this, I am grateful,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I am also grateful to Cardinal Blase Cupich for his kind offer to use the campus of Mundelein Seminary as the location for this retreat.”


The announcement comes after Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo met with the Pope earlier this month as part of a regularly scheduled Curia visit. The retreat takes place as the U.S. bishops continue their work to address the current U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis. In September, the U.S. bishops Administrative Committee http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-152.cfm announced an action plan including a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse.


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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Mundelein Seminary, Archdiocese of Chicago, episcopacy, retreat, prayer, Office of Meetings and Events, USCCB General Secretariat


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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Release Report on Agencies Assisting Trump Administration with Family Reunification

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), released its report today, entitled Serving Separated and Reunited Families: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward to Promote Family Unity, which documents the work of Catholic and Lutheran agencies who assisted the Administration with reuniting separated families during the month of July. 

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a letter of introduction of the report states:  "I am proud of the response of USCCB/MRS, LIRS and of our Catholic (in particular CCUSA and the Catholic Charities network) and Lutheran partners around the country, including my brother bishops, to be able to work with the Administration to provide support to these vulnerable families." He further states: "USCCB/MRS (in collaboration with 75 Catholic Charities agencies) and LIRS continue to provide assistance including helping families comply with their immigration obligations. I believe the recommendations made [in this report] are important and should be seriously considered in order to avoid pain and suffering in the future caused by the separation of families." 

In July 2018, USCCB/MRS and LIRS assisted over 1200 families who were reunified after being separated due to the Administration's "Zero Tolerance" policy. The report highlights the work that was undertaken by Catholic and Lutheran partners on the ground and gives a unique data point regarding the separated and reunited families.   

Resources and information about family separation and the report are available on the Justice for Immigrants website www.justiceforimmigrants.org. Included is a backgrounder on family separation and information about the current release practices of immigrant families at the U.S./Mexico border and their immigration compliance requirements. 

The full text of the report can be found here.   

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Office of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Trump Administration, reunification, migrants, refugees, vulnerable families, family separation,

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200 


USCCB Chairman and Catholic Relief Services Commend Congress for Advancing the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issue the following statement in response to today's action regarding the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR):

Full statement follows:

"We welcome Congressional reauthorization of PEPFAR, which has so far saved millions of lives, prevented millions of new infections and supported 6.4 million orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers around the world. The action on the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee paves the way for final passage and for another five years of U.S. leadership in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria and the protection and support of orphans and vulnerable children.

"Although we have principled concerns about certain aspects of PEPFAR and the Global Fund prevention activities that we find inconsistent with Catholic teaching and do not implement or advocate for those activities, overall PEPFAR is one of the most successful global health programs in history demonstrating U.S. leadership in saving lives and safeguarding human dignity of the most vulnerable people. Through the work of PEPFAR, in partnership with other governments and communities, the U.S. has changed the course of the AIDS pandemic globally. Since 2003 when it was first authorized, PEPFAR has received strong bipartisan support in Congress.

"The legislation also sets U.S. policy for the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Health programs supported by the Global Fund partnership have saved 27 million lives as of the end of 2017. Overall, the number of deaths caused by AIDS, TB and malaria each year has been reduced by one-third since 2002 in countries where the Global Fund invests.

"We greatly appreciate the leadership of Chairmen Royce, Smith and Corker, Ranking Members Engel, Bass and Menendez as well as Representatives Barbara Lee and Betty McCollum and Senator Cardin, for their work to ensure that children were not forgotten in this bill. Saving lives and protecting the future of vulnerable children is a proud U.S. legacy thanks to the U.S. Congress."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, orphans, vulnerable children, Global Fund

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes End to Death Penalty in Washington State

WASHINGTON—Following the Washington Supreme Court's ruling striking down the state death penalty statute, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the decision and reiterated the Church's call to end the death penalty. 

The full statement of Bishop Dewane follows: 

"The Washington Supreme Court is to be commended for its unanimous decision to strike down the state death penalty statute.  In his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis called for 'the global abolition of the death penalty,' as he explained, 'I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. . . . [A] just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.'   

"In the Court's opinion, the death penalty was deemed 'invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.' This echoes one of the reasons to oppose the death penalty that the bishops gave in their 2005 statement A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death: 

[The death penalty's] application is deeply flawed and can be irreversibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by factors such as race, the quality of legal representation, and where the crime was committed. 

"We join the Catholic Bishops of Washington, the Washington State Catholic Conference, the Catholic Mobilizing Network, and all people of good will in welcoming this development and persevering in the work to end the death penalty."  

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Keywords:  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, death penalty, Washington Supreme Court, Pope Francis, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, Washington State Catholic Conference, Catholic Mobilizing Network, rehabilitation

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Media Contact:  

Judy Keane  

202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops Conference and Chairman of USCCB Domestic Justice Committee Issue Statements on Hurricane Michael

ROME—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on the devastating impact of Hurricane Michael from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia.

Full statement of Cardinal DiNardo follows:

"In the wake of two powerful hurricanes, people across the southeast now face the long process of recovery. May God's mercy comfort family and friends who have lost loved ones and sustain those rebuilding their homes and businesses. Let us respond with prayer and personal generosity.

As a community of faith, we remain with our brothers and sisters throughout their journey. I am grateful for the way so many volunteer their time, make donations, and witness to the need long after the headlines fade. Your generosity reveals Christ is present.

Humanitarian needs still exist from previous hurricanes. New storms will bring new suffering. Together, we can help communities carry this cross. Thousands of parishes have taken up an Emergency Collection for 2018 Natural Disasters. You can also support relief efforts in the United States by visiting www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or internationally at www.crs.org.

Thank you and may God bless you in this time of great need."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Hurricane Michael, natural disasters, prayer

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice Florida, Chair of the of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has issued the following statement regarding Hurricane Michael's swath of deadly destruction which has devastated the Florida Panhandle, and parts of Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. In his statement, Bishop Dewane calls for prayers for all those who have been impacted, as well as prayers for the first responders and those who have been evacuated. Full statement from Bishop Dewane follows:

"Our nation is yet again facing the impact of a powerful and deadly hurricane. Our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Cuba have already felt Hurricane Michael's destruction, and we pray for their recovery efforts.

As Hurricane Michael has moved with deadly force through the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia; we lift up in prayer all of those who are impacted, asking almighty God to guide the steady hands of first responders and to widen the hearts of all who are able to be generous to neighbors facing danger, grief, or displacement of any kind due to the disaster.

While the fury of this storm season continues, I am reminded of the disciples' plea to Jesus as a violent storm threatened their lives: 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' (Mk 4, 38). At a time like this, when human lives are disrupted and the mystery of suffering becomes a painful reality for so many, we implore to the one who 'commands even the winds and the sea' (Lk 8, 25) to give them strength and protection.

Prayers and generosity are greatly needed at this time. With great faith and hope in the midst of this crisis may all our work and efforts go towards helping those in need. Last week, the day after tropical storm Michael was first monitored, the USCCB 'requested that dioceses across the country take up an emergency collection on behalf of those devastated by Hurricane Florence, as well as any forthcoming natural disasters this year.' The funds collected in this special appeal for 2018 Disasters will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church as they and their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs.

As the impact of Hurricane Michael becomes clearer, we will work closely with local dioceses, Catholic relief entities and with other organizations to assess the needs on the ground and offer assistance.

Let us join in prayer for all those who are in the path of Hurricane Michael. May God bless and protect you."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Hurricane Michael, Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services, devastation, assistance.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Washington.

The resignation was publicized in Washington, DC, October 12, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Cardinal Wuerl had presented his resignation almost three years ago, when he reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

In April,2008, Cardinal Wuerl hosted in Washington, Pope Benedict XVI and in September, 2015, Pope Francis for their first pastoral visits to the United States. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to help direct the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. Cardinal Wuerl was also appointed by Pope Francis as a member of both the 2014 and the 2015 Synods on the Family.

The Cardinal was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1986, in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome. He served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington. His titular church in Rome is Saint Peter in Chains.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl was born November 12, 1940, in Pittsburgh, PA. He attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a bachelor's degree (1962) and master's degree (1963) in philosophy. He continued his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and earned a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1967, also in Rome.

He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1966.

From 1981 to 1985, he was rector of Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh. On November 30, 1985 he was appointed titular Bishop of Rosemarkie and Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle. Pope John Paul ordained him a bishop on January 6, 1986. On February 12, 1988, he was installed as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He was appointed Archbishop of Washington on May 16, 2006.

He holds honorary degrees from eleven universities and is a Knight of Malta, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, and a fourth degree Knight of Columbus.

Cardinal Wuerl served previously as Chairman of the Doctrine Committee for the USCCB and has served on other various USCCB committees.

The Archdiocese of Washington is comprised of 2,104 square miles and has a total population of 2,867,377 million of which 630,823 or 22 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington, DC.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry calls for innovative growth, cooperation and on-going formation to enhance efficacy

WASHINGTON— On the Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of Catholic Campus Ministry in the United States, USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education has issued a report highlighting the key findings from the National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry. The Secretariat commissioned the study seeking to advance Catholic identity in higher education and to rejuvenate the vision of Catholic campus ministry nationally. 

Utilizing an innovative and collaborative process, the study brought together practioners from public, private and Catholic institutions, mission officers, faculty members, missionaries, bishops and stakeholders representing the breadth of Catholic campus ministry in the United States.  The effort was led by Barbara H. McCrabb, Assistant Director for Higher Education at the USCCB and Dr. Brian Starks, PhD, Associate Professor of Kennesaw State University.  

The national study considered the contemporary context for campus ministry as well as the formation and professional development of those who minister on campus. The report offers valuable insights into the landscape of Catholic campus ministry and the formation of those who serve as campus ministers or missionaries on campus. Key findings call for innovative growth, steadfast cooperation and on-going formation to enhance the efficacy of Catholic campus ministry, as explained in the report by Bishop John M. Quinn of Winona, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education. 

Based on the data gathered, the report offers practical suggestions to develop and enhance Catholic campus ministry. According to Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Episcopal Liaison for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, "the Church must be intentional and campus ministry must be accountable in every way possible to enrich the character and formation of the whole community; taking into account the ethnic, social and spiritual diversity of each campus and its surrounding community." He goes on to say, "Our ministry must center on people, for we are forming men and women to be people that reflect Christ to each other and to the world."  

The study had a 56% response rate among the 1,911 campus ministers across the country. The report and other support data can be found on the Secretariat of Catholic Education website: www.usccb.org/campus-ministry. 

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop John M. Quinn, Bishop Fernand Cheri, Barbara H. McCrabb, Dr. Brian Starks, Committee on Catholic Education, Campus Ministry, #CatholicCampusMinistry, #CatholicHigherEd, #HigherEdCatholics, @CCMACampusMinisters, @USCCBCatholicEd 

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Media Contact: 

Judy Keane 

202-541-3200 


President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Issues Letter Following Recent Natural Disasters in Indonesia

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter of solidarity to Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Archbishop of Jakarta in light of the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Indonesia. As of recent reports, those killed now number over 1,200 and over 50,000 displaced.

The full letter follows:

"May the Lord protect and assuage the grief of those affected by natural disaster in Indonesia.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the enormous twin tragedies that struck this past weekend, killing over 800 people on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Undoubtedly many are suffering injuries and thousands have been made homeless as the earthquakes and tidal wave devastated homes, schools, churches and other buildings. The fact that these natural disasters have come so soon after a large earthquake struck Lombok Island and surrounding areas in July 2018 means that emergency relief efforts have already been put to the test. I am pleased to learn that Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia, together with Caritas Indonesia, are on hand to assess conditions and provide humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible.

On behalf of my brother bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I want to assure you of our prayers and expressions of solidarity with the Church in Indonesia in this difficult time. I pray for the victims of these disasters and the survivors who are struggling to regain their lives. I join with the Holy Father in praying for consolation, healing, and protection for victims and their families as he said, 'May the Lord console them and sustain the efforts of those who are taking part in the relief efforts.'"

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Indonesia, Jakarta, earthquake, tsunami, Catholic Relief Services

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200