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U.S. Bishops to Vote for Chairman and Chairmen-elect of Six Standing Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 11-13, 2019

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, as well as for Chairman-elect of five standing committees during the 2019 General Assembly taking place November 11-13 in Baltimore, MD.

The five committee chairmen will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops' 2020 Fall General Assembly. The bishop elected for chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty fills the vacancy created earlier this year after the chairman stepped down for health reasons. At the conclusion of the bishops’ 2019 Fall General Assembly, the bishop elected to the Committee for Religious Liberty will assume the post of chairman. The bishops elected for the remaining five committees will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term.

As elections for president and vice president of the Conference are also taking place at this meeting, should any of the candidates for committee chairmanship be elected to fill to a higher office, the bishops’ Committee on Priorities and Plans will convene to nominate a new candidate for that committee.

Nominees for the Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, as well as the Chairman-elect of the Committees on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Evangelization and Catechesis, International Justice and Peace, and Protection of Children and Young People are as follows:

For Chairman:

1.  COMMITTEE FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami

For Chairman-elect:

2.  COMMITTEE ON CANONICAL AFFAIRS AND CHURCH GOVERNANCE
  Bishop Mark L. Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown
  Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee

3.  COMMITTEE ON ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
  Bishop Steven J. Lopes of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
  Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis

4.  COMMITTEE ON EVANGELIZATION AND CATECHESIS
  Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of St. Paul and Minneapolis
  Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane

5.  COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND PEACE
  Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford
  Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento

6.  COMMITTEE ON PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
  Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, elections, chairman, chairman-elect, ballot, vote, majority vote, committee, Religious Liberty, Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Evangelization and Catechesis, International Justice and Peace, Protection of Children and Young People, #USCCB19.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
[email protected]
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Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace raises concern and solicits prayer over renewed violence in northeast Syria

WASHINGTON— The Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement over renewed violence in northeast Syria:

“This past week has witnessed renewed military actions in Syria. It is estimated that over 100,000 people have already fled their homes in the past several days as a result. Unabated, such military actions will create further instability, violence, and hunger, exacerbating an already fragile humanitarian situation in northeast Syria and northern Iraq. The ancient Christians and other religious minorities who have called this region home for millennia are at-risk of being lost forever. I urge all regional and international actors in this complex conflict to renew themselves to peace over violence, and dialog over confrontation. And I invite all people of good will join me in beseeching our Lord, the Prince of Peace, for real solutions and stability and to prepare to meet the concrete needs of the new wave of refugees.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, Syria.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Chairmen of U.S. Bishops’ Committees Comment on Federal Study Released on Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws to Persons with Disabilities

WASHINGTON—Last week, the National Council on Disabilities (NCD) released a federal study revealing that assisted suicide laws are dangerous to people with disabilities. In its report, “The Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws,” NCD provides several policy recommendations including urging states to not legalize any form of assisted suicide or active euthanasia. The NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the president, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City in Kansas, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“We applaud the National Council on Disabilities for its critical research and report exposing serious risks of abuse, coercion and discrimination posed by assisted suicide laws, specifically for people with disabilities. Every suicide is a human tragedy, regardless of the age, incapacity, or social/economic status of the individual. The legalization of doctor-assisted suicide separates people into two groups: those whose lives we want to protect and those whose deaths we encourage. This is completely unjust and seriously undermines equal protection under the law. The human rights and intrinsic worth of a person do not change with the onset of age, illness, or disability. As Pope Francis said, “True compassion does not marginalize anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude – much less considers the disappearance of a person as a good thing.” We must do what we can to uphold the dignity of life, cherish the lives of all human beings, and work to prevent all suicides. We urge state and federal governments, health care providers, and associations to heed this report’s warnings and recommendations, especially its opposition to assisted suicide laws.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, assisted suicide, National Council on Disabilities, culture of life, pro-life, persons with disabilities.

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

 

National Vocation Awareness Week Highlights Vocation as Gift from God

WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 3-9, 2019. During this week, dioceses across the U.S. lead the effort in parishes and schools to uphold and encourage the fostering of vocations among the faithful and to pray for those currently discerning a call to marriage, ordained ministry, or consecrated life.

In his message for the 2019 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that unlike a secular career, a vocation is a gift born from God’s own initiative: “The Lord’s call is not an intrusion of God into our freedom; it is not a ‘cage’ or burden to be borne. On the contrary, it is the loving initiative whereby God encounters us and invites us to be a part of a great undertaking.”

Whereas choosing a career requires much “doing” – such as the accomplishment of various tasks and goals – vocational discernment requires much “being.” At its core, vocational discernment is a process of self-discovery. Assisted by divine grace, each person is invited by the Lord to receive the gift of a specific vocation whereby they manifest God’s love in a particular way to the outside world. In the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, the husband and wife image the Trinity by their communion of love that produces new life; in ordained ministry, priests and deacons are called to minister in the person of Christ, the High Priest and Servant; and in consecrated life, each member is called to bear Christ’s love through a particular charism.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Newark, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, echoed Pope Francis's definition of vocation as a gift. “Discerning a vocation is not the same as completing a checklist. It is a process of learning how to receive the greatest gift God could offer us – the gift of living in accordance with our true identity as a son or daughter of God.” For those currently discerning a vocation, Cardinal Tobin suggested that one always stay close to the Blessed Mother. “Entrust your vocation to Mary, the Mother of all Vocations. She will always direct you to her Son and intercede for you along the path the Lord has for you.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. In 1997, the celebration was moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014, the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively.

More resources for National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily aids, recommended reading and discernment tips, prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are available online at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Pope Francis, vocations, National Vocation Awareness Week, priesthood, religious life, consecrated life, marriage, religious, vocation, Catholic education, ministry, prayer, World Day of Vocations.
 
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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop John Jenik, Names New Auxiliary Bishops for Archdiocese of New York

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Msgr. Gerardo Colacicco and the Rev. Msgr. Edmund Whalen as Auxiliary Bishops-elect of New York.

Monsignor Colacicco is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and currently serves as Pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish in Millbrook, NY. Monsignor Whalen is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and currently serves as Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese. The appointments were publicized today in Washington, D.C, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Monsignor Gerardo Colacicco was born September 19, 1955 in Poughkeepsie, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (1978) from Marist College, NY. He attended St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, NY, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on November 6, 1982. He received a Licentiate of Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1992.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Good Shepherd Parish, Rhinebeck, NY (1982-1984), Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Scarsdale, NY (1984-1987), St. Denis-St. Columba Parish, Hopewell, NY (1987-1989), and Priest-Secretary to Cardinal John O’Connor (1989).

Monsignor Colaccico also served as Judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal (1992-1996; 2007-2010). He was Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Newburgh, NY (1996-2002) and St. Columba Parish, Hopewell, NY (2002-2014). In 2014, he served as Administrator at St. Joseph, Millbrook, NY, and from 2015 to present he has been Pastor at St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish, Millbrook, NY.

Monsignor Edmund Whalen was born July 6, 1958 in Staten Island, NY. He was ordained a priest on June 23, 1984 for the Archdiocese of New York. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (1980) from Cathedral College, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1984) from Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1984), a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (1986), and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology (1995) from Academia Alphonsiana.

Assignments after ordination include: North American College, Rome, Graduates Studies (1984 and 1992); Parochial Vicar at Resurrection Church, Rye, NY (1985); Faculty at Monsignor Farrell High School (1987) and Secretary to Cardinal John O’Connor (1990). Monsignor Whalen also served as Vice-Rector at St. Joseph Seminary (1995), Rector at St. John Neumann Residence (1998), and was also Pastor at St. Benedict Parish, Bronx, NY (2001) and St. Joseph-St. Thomas Parish, Staten Island, NY. From 2010-2018, he served as Principal at Msgr. Farrell High School.  

At the same time, the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John Jenik from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of New York.  

The Archdiocese of New York is comprised of 4,683 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 6,183,764 of which 2,782,694 are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the current archbishop of New York.

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Keywords: Bishops appointment, Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop-elect Gerardo Colacicco, Bishop-elect Edmund Whalen, Bishop John Jenik, Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi
or
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USCCB President and Vice President Candidate List Released; Elections to take place at November General Assembly in Baltimore

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will elect their next president and vice president at the upcoming general assembly, which meets November 11-13 in Baltimore. Each office is elected from a slate of 10 candidates who have been nominated by their fellow bishops.

The slate of candidates for president and vice president are as follows (in alphabetical order):

•   Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Military Services
•   Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport
•   Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City
•   Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco
•   Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville
•   Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
•   Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee
•   Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois
•   Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend
•   Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit

The president and vice president are elected to three-year terms, which begin at the conclusion of the meeting. At that time, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, will complete their terms as president and vice president, respectively.

The by-laws of the USCCB provide that the first election is that of the president by simple majority vote of members present and voting. Following the election of the president, the vice-president is elected from the remaining nine candidates. In either election, if a candidate does not receive more than half of the votes cast on the first ballot, a second vote is taken. If a third round of voting is necessary, that ballot is a run-off between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.  

During the meeting, the bishops will also vote for new chairmen of six committees: Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Committee for Religious Liberty.

Coverage of the bishops' meeting taking place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be November 11-13 and there will be media conferences after all open sessions. Reporters interested in covering the meeting must register before October 25 and submit a letter of assignment from their editor/producer. Due to enhanced security, on-site credentialing will not be available.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, elections, president, vice president, ballot, vote, majority vote, committee, #USCCB19.

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

 

USCCB Chairmen Issue Statement on Supreme Court Cases on Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law

                       WASHINGTON— Bishop chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commented on three cases argued before the Supreme Court today – Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. These cases present the question whether the prohibition on employment discrimination based on “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination, respectively.

Bishop Robert J. McManus, of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley, of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, issued the following statement:

“Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding the meaning of the word ‘sex’ in federal law. Words matter; and ‘sex’ should not be redefined to include sexual inclinations or conduct, nor to promulgate the view that sexual identity is solely a social construct rather than a natural or biological fact. The Supreme Court affirmed that sex is an ‘immutable characteristic’ in the course of establishing constitutional protections for women against sex discrimination in the 1970s. Such protection is no less essential today. Title VII helps ensure the dignified treatment of all persons, and we as Catholics both share and work toward that goal. Redefining ‘sex’ in law would not only be an interpretive leap away from the language and intent of Title VII, it would attempt to redefine a fundamental element of humanity that is the basis of the family, and would threaten religious liberty.”

On August 23, the USCCB filed amicus curiae briefs in the cases, available at http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Bostock-8-23-19.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Harris-8-23-19.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, religious freedom, religious liberty, Title VII, nondiscrimination, Supreme Court.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
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Pope Francis Appoints Reverend Austin A. Vetter as Bishop of the Diocese of Helena

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Austin A. Vetter of the Diocese of Bismarck as the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Helena. The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, on October 8, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Father Vetter was born September 13, 1967 in Linton, ND. He attended North Dakota State University (1985-1989) and pursued seminary studies at Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo, ND (1986-1989). In 1992 he received a bachelors in sacred theology (STB) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Bismarck on June 29, 1993.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck, ND (1993-1996); part-time instructor, St. Mary Central High School, Bismarck, ND (1994-1999); parochial administrator and pastor, St. Martin parish, Center, ND (1996-1999); episcopal vicar for the permanent diaconate (1999-2002); pastor, St. Patrick parish, Dickinson, ND (1999-2008); pastor, St. Leo parish, Minot, ND (2008-2012); director of continuing education for clergy (2008-2012); director of spiritual formation, Pontifical North American College (2012-2018); rector-pastor, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck, ND (2018-present).

The Diocese of Helena is comprised of 51,922 square miles and has a total population of 612,419, of which 45,400 are Catholic.   

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Austin A. Vetter, Diocese of Helena, Montana, Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
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USCCB Approves Revised Certification Standards and Competencies for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association

WASHINGTON – At its recent biannual meeting, theSubcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to approve revised standards and competencies for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA). The newly approved standards will be the basis by which CCMA can offer multiple pathways to certification for lay ecclesial ministers, consecrated laity, priests, and deacons who serve in the role of Catholic campus minister at colleges and universities throughout the country.

In granting approval, the subcommittee indicated that the revised standards conform to best practices for ministerial formation and that the CCMA is equipped to both promote and implement the process for certification outlined in their certification handbook.

Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service, praised the comprehensive effort involved in achieving this milestone. “The leadership of CCMA has worked diligently to develop newly revised certification standards that aid in the preparation of those ministering in our colleges and universities. Campus ministry requires competent and well-formed ministers grounded in human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral abilities. CCMA’s certification standards and procedures encourage those competencies.”

The recently approved CCMA standards reflect the best practices for ministry formation that are highlighted in the 2005 statement Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry and rooted in Empowered by the Spirit, the 1985 U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter on campus ministry. The working groups and committees accounted for changes in the landscape of Catholic campus ministry, and considered trends documented in the 2017A National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry.

Certification is a formal process through which the CCMA is able to evaluate key skills of a campus minister based on the four dimensions of ministry formation identified in Co-Workers: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. The evaluation is based on the candidate’s own assessment, and those of his or her peers within the CCMA. Certification for specialized ministry roles is strongly encouraged, as it facilitates life-long growth for the minister and is an important accomplishment which may be used by an (arch)bishop or his delegate to affirm the professional competence of a minister, or to authorize him or her for particular service in the Church. Additionally, certification is a valuable credential that Catholic colleges and universities may consider when seeking qualified candidates for campus ministry positions.

Three distinct committees of the CCMA collaborated over a period of two years, to complete the revised standards and certification procedures. “We believe that the diligent work of the committees collaborating and consulting in this process has contributed to the success of this revision,” said Michael St. Pierre, Ed.D., Executive Director of the CCMA.

“The revision process engaged campus ministers who serve in the field and dialogue with other professional associations such as the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC). The CCMA’s process brought fruitful conversation about ministerial preparedness and the complexity of campus ministry in its many forms,” said Barbara McCrabb, Assistant Director for Higher Education for the USCCB. “The CCMA has articulated the need for a high standard of pastoral practice in the university environment. In doing so, they have set a course for formation and life-long learning as missionary disciples,” she added.

The approval of these revised standards by the subcommittee continues a long-standing relationship of the CCMA with the USCCB, dating back to 1986 and the subcommittee’s predecessor body, the USCCB Commission on Certification and Accreditation (CCA). For more information on the work of the subcommittee, and a list of arch/dioceses and national organizations with approved certification standards, please visit www.usccb.org/certification.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service, Ecclesial Ministry, Lay Ecclesial Ministry, standards, campus ministry, Catholic Campus Ministry Association, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Higher Education

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
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President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement on Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter Reflecting on the Word of God

WASHINGTON - Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement on Holy Father’s Apostolic letter reflecting on the Word of God.  

The full statement follows:

“We welcome Pope Francis’ Apostolic letter motu proprio, Aperuit Illis, reflecting on the Word of God. The Holy Father reminds us that the Word of God is ‘performative’ and that Christians should linger over and study the Word of God as revealed in Sacred Scripture.

It is my hope that the words of the Holy Father will encourage all the faithful to know the Lord better through prayerful reading and study of the Scriptures. Pope Francis emphasizes that through the Word of God and the sacrifice of the Mass we grow closer to Jesus and each other as the Body of Christ.

The Holy Father has now designated the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time as the Sunday of the Word of God. By naming a special Sunday to commemorate the ‘unbreakable bond between sacred Scripture and the Eucharist,’ the Holy Father allows us to remember that it is through the Word of God that we encounter its author and learn of the ‘merciful love of the Father who calls his children to live in love.’”  

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Holy Father, Pope Francis, Apostolic Letter, Word of God, motu propio, Aperuit Illis, Body of Christ

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
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