Bulletin Extras
Local stories and or articles that are not available in any of the current printed versions of The Bishop's Bulletin.
U.S. Bishops to meet November 14-16 in Baltimore; address from Archbishop Kurtz, election of new USCCB president, report from Peace in Our Communities task force.  
Monday, October 17, 2016  12:19 PM
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will meet November 14-16, in Baltimore for their fall general assembly. During the assembly, the bishops will elect a new president, vice president, and five committee chairs. In addition, they will discuss and vote on the Conference’s strategic plan for 2017-2020, and will receive a report and recommendations on promoting peace in violence-stricken communities.

The bishops will hear from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, as he gives his final address as USCCB president upon completion of his three-year term

The bishops will also vote for new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB 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, and the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.

Additionally, the bishops will discuss and vote on the Conference’s 2017-2020 strategic plan, Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy, to support the five priorities approved last November. The priorities are:

Evangelization: Open wide the doors to Christ through missionary discipleship and personal encounter.

Family and marriage: Encourage and heal families; inspire Catholics to embrace the sacrament of matrimony.

Human life and dignity: Uphold the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death with special concern for the poor and vulnerable.

Vocations and ongoing formation: Encourage vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and provide meaningful ongoing formation to clergy, religious and lay ministers.

Religious freedom: Promote and defend the freedom to serve, witness and worship, in the U.S. and abroad.

Several reports will also be given including an update from the USCCB Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities.

An update will also be given on planning preparations for the upcoming Convocation of Catholic Leaders, The Joy of the Gospel in America. The Convocation is scheduled to take place July 1-4, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

The November fall general assembly will take place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel.

U. S. Bishops to vote for chairmen-elect of five committees at fall general assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 14-16.  
Monday, October 17, 2016  12:16 PM
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the chairman-elect of five standing committees at the upcoming annual 2016 General Assembly taking place November, 14-16 in Baltimore, Maryland. Each bishop elected will serve for one year as chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2017 Fall General Assembly.

Nominees for Chairman-elect of each committee are as follows:

Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance
Bishop Robert P. Deeley
Bishop David M. Malloy

Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Bishop Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop Michael C. Barber

Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis
Bishop Robert E. Barron
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano

Committee on International Justice and Peace
Bishop Robert W. McElroy
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio

Committee on Protection of Children and Young People
Bishop Timothy L. Doherty
Bishop Joseph J. Tyson
Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be Monday, November 14, and Tuesday, November 15. Media conferences will follow the close of each open session. Reporters interested in covering the meeting can download a credential application form at: www.usccb.org/about/media-relations/upload/application-news-media-credentials.pdf . Please submit credential form by November 4. You can submit your form via email to USCCB Media Relations, fax (202) 541-3173, or mail:

November Meeting Credentials
Office of Media Relations
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194

The Value of the Most Holy Rosary for the Family  
Sunday, October 02, 2016  11:16 AM
 The family benefits immeasurably when it recites together the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Almighty God is praised, Our Lady is venerated, the needs of the family are presented and the members of the family prayerfully experience the bond of charity that unites them.
By praying the Most Holy Rosary the family comes to know who the Ever-Virgin is and her mission as well as why the family should recite the Most Holy Rosary.

Our Lady’s Person and Mission

Chosen by God. The Lord Himself selected Mary to become the Mother of God. When the Almighty “predestined” the Son of God to become man, He chose Mary of Nazareth to be His Mother.

Mother of God. During the Church’s Third General Council held in AD 431 at Ephesus, the Church solemnly declared Mary to be the Theotokos (“Mother of God”). The Second Person (Jesus Christ) of the Most Blessed Trinity became man when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Our Lady’s virginal womb.

Queen of the Angels. Although Mary did not bring forth the angels from her womb as she did Jesus, she cooperated with Jesus in giving grace to souls. The Angels were aided by her participation in God’s work.

Mother of Human Beings. Our Lady is our mother in the “order of grace” because she has communicated to us the grace that makes us holy sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ the Son of the Father, temples of the Holy Spirit, and sons and daughters of Mary.

Intimate Participant on Calvary with Christ in His Sacrifice and Mediatrix. Our Lady cooperated with Jesus as He sacrificed Himself to His Beloved Father for us! Mary lovingly consented to her Son’s Death. The Church honors her as the Co-Redemptrix because she took part with Jesus in our Redemption, and as the Mediatrix because it is through her, now in Heaven, that grace comes to us.

Sinless Disciple of the Lord. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception maintains that Mary never contracted Original Sin. Furthermore, she never committed any “actual” sins, whether mortal or venial. She was exempt from concupiscence (“the tendency to sin”) and the slightest moral imperfection or willful transgression of God’s law.

Perpetual Virgin. The Church has taught for centuries that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the Birth of the Savior. Both Sacred Scripture (Isaiah 7:14) and the Apostolic Tradition express this unchangeable truth. Our Lady is the only woman venerated as both “Virgin” and “Mother.”

Wife of Saint Joseph. Mary and Joseph were really married in the sight of God. That Mary and Joseph never participated in the marital embrace does not mean that their union was invalid. They freely renounced the exercise of this right.

Daughter of the Father and Temple of the Holy Spirit. As the Mother of the Redeemer, Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. She is the Daughter of the Father Who created her from nothing and the Temple of the Holy Spirit Who sanctified her by filling her with His life.

Heart Pure and Immaculate. In her Heart, Mary sought after and served God, even unto her total surrender on Calvary. She has a pure and sinless Heart that always preferred God and His Will.

Assumed into Heaven and Crowned. On November 1, 1950, Venerable Pius XII defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary, upon the completion of her earthly existence, was assumed body and soul by the Almighty into Paradise. Crowned as Queen of Heaven and earth, Our Lady prays for us near her Divine Son.

Mother of the Church. The Servant of God Paul VI (1963-1978), on November 21, 1964 in his concluding address to the Bishops gathered in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City at the third session of the Second Vatican Council, declared: “. . for the glory of the Blessed Virgin and our consolation, we declare most holy Mary Mother of the Church, that is of the whole Christian people, both faithful and pastors, who call her a most loving Mother.”

Why Should the Family Pray the Most Holy Rosary?

By way of the Most Holy Rosary, the family adores God the Father, Who constantly extends His unfathomable mercy; the Son, Who lives in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Apostolic Tradition and is present in a most unique way in the Most Blessed Sacrament; the Holy Spirit, Who transmits the important truth of how to embrace good fully and avoid evil.

Through the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary, the family answers the urgent summons of Our Lady of Fatima who, during 1917, appeared to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, encouraging them to pray the Most Holy Rosary daily for “the end of the War” (World War I). Today, there are plenty of other wars as well as the cause to protect human life that elicits earnest prayers. The family’s prayer list never ends. Our Blessed Mother uses the prayers of the family for much good.

Indeed, the Most Holy Rosary helps the family to pray for all the intentions lodged deep in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Pure Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Furthermore, the Most Holy Rosary unites the family to all the holy men and women, boys and girls who are reciting (and who have recited) this prayer that Blessed John Paul II hailed as his “favorite.”

Imagine the Poor Souls in Purgatory who look to the family for help as they continue onward to the Everlasting Kingdom.

Imagine the Saints in Heaven who have achieved their goal of perfect union with Jesus in Paradise and who attentively await the family’s arrival.

Imagine the Faithful here on earth who are convinced of the intercessory power of Our Blessed Lady and recognize her God-given ability to change hearts and minds.

The Rosary helps the family to remember always its strong solidarity especially with all the Christians in Heaven, Purgatory and on earth who have recourse to the Madonna through the recitation of her Most Holy Rosary.

The Most Holy Rosary is an inestimable treasure for the family. May the family understand it better and pray it more!

USCCB migration and refugee services releases refugee report ahead of U.N. refugee summit  
Monday, September 19, 2016  2:35 PM
Washington, DC -  As the United Nations General Assembly holds its refugee summit in New York, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Migration & Refugee Services has released a report assessing the refugee crisis in Southeast Asia.

While the Syrian and Central American migration situations have recently been in the spotlight, Burma /Myanmar’s decades-long refugee crisis prompted a trip to the region also including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. The USCCB Migration & Refugee Services delegation met with unaccompanied children, refugees, victims of human trafficking, local governments, Catholic and faith-based non-governmental organizations, and community leaders to better understand the humanitarian crisis and what can be done.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, who led the delegation said, “This trip was eye-opening for me. I join my brother bishops in the Burma region and elsewhere to pray for peace and continued reform and rebuilding in the country. I pray for continued protection, humanitarian assistance, and pursuit of durable solutions for all those who are displaced.”

The report comes at an important time for Burma, after six decades of being ruled by a military regime. Burma now has a democratically elected government. Some of the findings throughout the region include:

A special focus is needed on the Rohingya refugees challenge. Most of them suffer the vulnerabilities of being forcibly displaced, being stateless and thus targets of human rights violations and discrimination, and being victims of human smuggling or trafficking. Yet their plight is not addressed by either the national election or by the ethnic negotiations with the government.

There is a disturbing pattern of human trafficking of refugees and migrant workers throughout the region. In the last three years, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 170,000 people –Bangladeshis and Rakhine State Muslims from Bangladesh and Myanmar– have resorted to dangerous sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea at the hands of human smugglers and traffickers.

Those seeking refuge in temporary shelters in Thailand continue to experience a reduction in humanitarian support, including reduced food rations. Urban refugees in Malaysia also have serious humanitarian and protection concerns.

Increased numbers of Pakistani Christians seeking refuge in Thailand and Malaysia, who now constitute some 40 percent of all UNHCR refugees in Bangkok, are also in dire need of protection and durable solutions, as are Montagnard Christians from Vietnam who have fled to Thailand. Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians who have fled to Malaysia are additionally experiencing difficulty finding protection and building new lives. And Indonesia has become a collection area for refugees who were turned away from seeking refuge in Australia.

The U.N. General Assembly and the U.S. co-sponsored Leaders’ Refugee Summit take place September 19-20. The report and the summits are focusing on the need for shared responsibility by the international community to address this unprecedented crisis and the hope for all refugees to someday return to their homelands.

The group’s findings and recommendations are detailed in Moment of Decision: Seeking Durable Solutions in Southeast Asia, which can be found at: www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/fact-finding-mission-reports/upload/Moment-of-Decision.pdf.

USCCB committee chairs reaffirm the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage  
Friday, September 16, 2016  3:14 PM
Washington, DC - Two USCCB committee chairmen have issued a joint statement reaffirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage “as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman [and] cannot change.”

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, issued the following statement:

God’s Plan Doesn’t Change

Joint Statement from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

As pastors of the Church it is timely to reaffirm the Church’s authoritative teaching about marriage as it comes to us from God as the author of creation and of revelation. The Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman cannot change.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, hearkening back to the timeless words of the Book of Genesis: “‘The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.’ The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator” (CCC, no. 1603). And despite so many various cultural changes and understandings, this “order of creation persists...” (no. 1608).

This teaching was repeated by the Holy Father in his Encyclical “On the Care for Our Common Home” (Laudato Si’), where Pope Francis encourages all of us to work together on respecting the gift of nature, the gift of God’s creation. In particular, Pope Francis calls attention to “the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature…” (LS, no. 155). We cause great harm to ourselves, to each other, and to the world when we ignore the moral law given to us by God and inscribed in our very nature. The goodness and beautiful diversity of God’s creation does not include those things that are consequences of our sins.

The attempt to redefine the essential meaning of marriage is acting against the Creator. It cannot be morally justified, “for he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away” (Ps 148:5b-6). Therefore, as a community and a nation, we cannot make progress in human development if we “think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole” (Amoris Laetitia, no. 52).

May all of us work together for the common good, which includes the responsibility to protect, preserve, and strengthen marriage.

Worldwide Day of Prayer for sexual abuse survivors is set  
Friday, September 16, 2016  10:47 AM
Washington, DC - Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed Pope Francis’ call for a World Day of Prayer for Victims of Sexual Abuse and highlighted the efforts in dioceses across the country guided by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Full statement follows.

A statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

With a pastor’s heart, Pope Francis renewed the call of the universal Church to pray for, help heal and proactively protect children from the terrible sin of sexual abuse. For whenever we have failed to protect our children from predators, we beg God’s forgiveness. For wherever we have failed to support victims of sexual abuse, we beg their forgiveness. We have learned from the pain of such moments to motivate a rigorous prevention program.

That is why, in the United States, dioceses and parishes across the country have found grace in the very types of reconciliation services proposed by the worldwide day of prayer. Likewise, our painful experience resulted in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. We are grateful to the Holy Father for calling for the day of prayer. This universal expression of healing and sorrow, joined by our brothers and sisters around the world, will be a powerful reminder that no survivor should walk the path toward healing alone.

Earlier this week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee met to begin preparing our support for the Holy Father’s effort. It is a moment to renew our commitment and ensure we remain vigilant against the scourge of sexual abuse. Let us pray that we may never become complacent in our prayer and protection. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, notify law enforcement and please know there is a victim assistance coordinator in every U.S. diocese ready to help. They are trained and ready to receive your call.

USCCB religious liberty chairman responds to statement of chairman of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights  
Tuesday, September 13, 2016  5:01 PM
Washington, DC - Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, responded to a statement issued last week by the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights upon the issuance of its report on “Peaceful Coexistence.”

Archbishop Lori’s statement follows:

Faith and the Full Promise of America

A Statement from Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

For the current Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, religious liberty is reduced to “nothing except hypocrisy,” and religion is being used as a “weapon… by those seeking to deny others equality.” He makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era. These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work.

People of faith have often been the ones to carry the full promise of America to the most forgotten peripheries when other segments of society judged it too costly. Men and women of faith were many in number during the most powerful marches of the civil rights era. Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel? In places like St. Louis, Catholic schools were integrated seven years before the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Jesus taught us to serve and not to count the cost.

Our record is not perfect. We could have always done more. Nevertheless, we have long taught that the one God, maker of heaven and earth, calls each and every individual into being, loves every individual, and commands believers to love and show mercy to every individual. The idea of equality, which the Chairman treats as a kind of talisman, is incomprehensible apart from the very faith that he seeks to cut off from mainstream society.

Today, Catholic priests, religious and laity can be found walking the neighborhood streets of our most struggling communities in places abandoned by a “throwaway culture” that has too often determined that quick profits matter more than communities. We are there offering education, health care, social services, and hope, working to serve as the “field hospital” Pope Francis has called us to be. We wish we were there in even greater numbers, but we are there to humbly offer the full promise of America to all. Rest assured, if people of faith continue to be marginalized, it is the poor and vulnerable, not the Chairman and his friends, who will suffer.

Catholic social service workers, volunteers and pastors don’t count the cost in financial terms or even in personal safety. But, we must count the cost to our own faith and morality. We do not seek to impose our morality on anyone, but neither can we sacrifice it in our own lives and work. The vast majority of those who speak up for religious liberty are merely asking for the freedom to serve others as our faith asks of us. We ask that the work of our institutions be carried out by
people who believe in our mission and respect a Christian witness. This is no different from a tobacco control organization not wishing to hire an advocate for smoking or a civil rights organization not wanting to hire someone with a history of racism or an animal rights group wishing to hire only vegetarians.

In a pluralistic society, there will be institutions with views at odds with popular opinion. The Chairman’s statement suggests that the USCCR does not see the United States as a pluralistic society. We respect those who disagree with what we teach. Can they respect us? We advocate for the dignity of all persons, a dignity that includes a life free from violence and persecution and that includes fair access to good jobs and safe housing. People of faith are a source of American strength. An inclusive and religiously diverse society should make room for them.

Third African National Eucharistic Congress to be held in Washington, August 5-7.  
Wednesday, July 27, 2016  2:52 PM
Washington, D.C. - The Third African National Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in Washington, August 5-7,will highlight the gifts, contributions, challenges and evangelization opportunities of African immigrant families in the Catholic Church in the United States.

The gathering brings together African Catholic ministry leaders from around the country, and takes place every five years. This year’s theme is “Responding to the New Evangelization: The African Catholic Family, A Gift to the Church in America.”

Highlights of the three-day event include a keynote address by Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on African American Affairs. A special workshop on the Zairean Rite, an African Catholic rite, will be directed by Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, Congo. The workshop will be followed by a practical demonstration of the rite during Saturday’s liturgical celebration presided by Cardinal Mosengwo. The closing Mass will be presided by Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, and a member of the USCCB Subcommittee on African American Affairs. Sessions will address issues such as youth and young adults, living among different cultures, and an awards ceremony for the best youth essay.

The Third African National Eucharistic Congress will be held at Catholic University of America, Pryzbyla Hall. The event is organized by the USCCB’s Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in collaboration with the National Association of African Catholics in the United States (NAACUS), and the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States (ACCCRUS).

More information, including registration, schedule and speakers, can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/ethnic-ministries/african-national-eucharistic-congress.cfm

USCCB president offers prayers, support after church attack, killing of priest in France  
Wednesday, July 27, 2016  2:44 PM
Washington, D.C. - Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed prayers and support after the latest terrorist attack on a Catholic parish in Normandy, France, that left a priest dead and another person seriously injured.

According to reports, the attack took place while Father Jacques Hamel was celebrating Mass, he and five other people were taken hostages inside the church.

Full statement follows.

Attack on Our Catholic Church in Normandy

A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic faithful around the world experienced the shock and sadness of this morning’s barbaric attack on Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France, as if the loss was in our very own parish. We pray for Father Hamel and his parishioners knowing, as St. Paul stated regarding the Body of Christ, “if one suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (1 Cor 12:26)

The Holy Mass is the most sacred and joyful act we, as Catholics, celebrate. Never are we closer to our Lord Jesus Christ than we are when we receive the Eucharist. No act of desecration – no matter how vile – can obscure the merciful presence of God.

Jesus calls us to be sisters and brothers, to strive to care for one another, and always to reject the evil that seeks to divide us. We give thanks to God for the unforgettable witness of the faithful this morning at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

USCCB president calls for dialogue, peace in the midst of violence  
Monday, July 18, 2016  2:26 PM
Washington, D.C. - Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement in relation to the July 17 fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

Full statement follows.

“Stop, no more of this!” (LK 22:51)

A Statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

I offer my prayers for the officers and families affected by the horrible shooting in Baton Rouge. We find ourselves amid a prolonged prayer of lament as we join to console the grieving and support the suffering. People are suffering because their uniform is blue, suffering because their skin is black and suffering simply because of their station in life.

The temptation to respond to violence with violence is strong. Even St. Peter himself lashed out upon the arrest of our beloved Savior. Jesus’ response was clear. “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (MT 26:52). As followers of Christ, let us always embrace love and ask ourselves how we can best invite all people of good will to live with us in peace.

The reasons for so much suffering are complex and varied. As a society, we must come together to address the lingering evil of racism, the need to safeguard our citizens from the present danger of extremism and the overall breakdown of civility. As a Church, we will seek out ways to foster this life-saving dialogue. Answers will not come easily nor as quickly as we need. We must continue searching and listening until they do.

As we seek a dialogue that cultivates a true respect for every human being, we should also seek ways, large and small, to be a sign of hope in the everyday routines of life. The next time you are pulled over by a police officer or walk past one on the street, thank him or her for their service. For those in law enforcement, the next time you make a traffic stop, thank the person for their time. The task of building a society upon the strong foundation of love begins with each one of us every day. 

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