Bulletin Extras
Local stories and or articles that are not available in any of the current printed versions of The Bishop's Bulletin.
New study on cultural diversity displays Catholic Church’s growing multicultural parish population  
Wednesday, November 16, 2016  10:10 AM
Over 6,300 US parishes now serve distinct ethnic and cultural groups
Multicultural and multiethnic communities trend likely to continue
Culturally diverse parishes are the fastest growing in the U.

Washington, D.C. - Culturally diverse parishes are the fastest growing type of parish in the United States, according to a report on Cultural Diversity in Catholic parishes, presented by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. The report was presented during the annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) conducted the two phase study, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Cultural Diversity. “The Catholic Church in the United States has always been a very diverse entity, but it is the first time that all available data was brought together to map this diversity nationwide in remarkable detail,” said Archbishop García-Siller. “It is also the first time that parish life was looked at from the point of view of the experience of diversity. Multicultural parishes are a growing phenomenon in the United States. This is what makes this study so fascinating and ground-breaking.”

The first phase identified the populations and parishes in the United States that are known to serve specific racial, ethnic, cultural, and/or linguistic groups communities using a variety of sources. In all, 6,332 (36 percent) of parishes were identified as multicultural or as serving particular groups of Catholics.

The recently concluded second phase consisted of in-pew surveys in multicultural parishes across the U.S. Over 11,100 adults completed the survey with topics ranging from race, primary language spoken at home, marital status, sacramental life, parishioner attitudes about cultural diversity, parish understanding of different cultures, welcoming of new parishioners, interacting with priests of different cultural backgrounds, staff reflection of cultural diversity of parishioners, tension between different cultural groups, among other topics. To facilitate and encourage participation, the study was translated into 20 languages at the request of the local pastors.

Some of the key findings, as they relate to religious practices include:

*The largest segment of parishioners in multicultural parishes (37 percent) are of the Post-Vatican II Generation (born 1961 to 1981), and are between the ages of 34 and 54.

*Those with school-age children in multicultural and ethnic communities are much more likely to enroll children in a Catholic school than the general Catholic population. Enrollment is most common among multi-racial and Vietnamese respondents, and is least common among foreign-born Hispanic or Latino parents.

*Regarding religious participation, 83 percent of respondents have received their First Communion and 77 percent have been confirmed.

*76 percent consider themselves “active Catholics.” Nine percent are “returned Catholics” who may have left the faith for a period of time and have now returned. Eight percent indicate they are “converts” to Catholicism. Two percent are “non-Catholics,” most often attending Mass with a Catholic relative. Five percent are “inactive Catholics.”

*67 percent of respondents are registered with their parish and 83 percent say this is their primary place of worship.

*U.S. born black or African American respondents are most likely to be personally involved in multiple ministries or activities (other than Mass attendance).

As they relate to the parish experience of diversity for each group, the findings are:

*Widespread majority agreement among all sub-groups that “having people of different cultural backgrounds enriches the parish.”

*Few feel like an outsider in their parish. The group most likely to do so are foreign-born Hispanic or Latino parishioners (36% agree).

*Many agree that they have a role in the “decision-making” of their parish. Those most likely to “strongly” disagree with this are Koreans (51%) and Hispanics or Latinos (28%).

*Foreign-born parishioners are more interested than U.S.-born parishioners to believe their parish should be providing pastoral care for refugees and immigrants.

CARA affirms that the study reveals some important trends, and provides the following conclusions:

*The Catholic Church in the United States is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the country and it will become even more diverse in the future.

*Parishes, schools and colleges, hospitals, charities, and other ministries need to adapt and prepare for this growing diversity.

*In the pews, many of those who are most comfortable with growing diversity are those who immigrated to the United States, though African American Catholics are one of the most likely to say they welcome diversity in the parish and that diversity enriches parish life.

*Those who are descendants of previous waves of immigration from Europe appear to be the least comfortable with diversity and less willing to engage in parish life beyond attending Mass.

Archbishop Garcia-Siller, asked the bishops to consider how the data speaks to their local realities and how these findings may affect the way local dioceses plan, set priorities and allocate resources for the continuation of the mission of the Church. He reminded them of Pope Francis’ call to a pastoral conversion and to put the entire church in a “permanent state of mission.”

The report is available at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/upload/Cultural-Diversity-Summary-Report-October-2016.pdf.

Bishops approve canonical step for sainthood causes  
Wednesday, November 16, 2016  10:05 AM
Baltimore, MD - The U.S. bishops gathered at their annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore, have approved by a voice vote the canonical consultation of four causes for beatification and canonization: Julia Greeley, sought by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver; Sister Blandina Segale, S.C., sought by Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Fr. Patrick Ryan, sought by Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee; and Fr. Bernard Quinn, sought by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn.

Episcopal consultation is a step in the Catholic Church’s process toward declaring a person a saint.

Julia Greeley was born into slavery in Hannibal, Missouri, sometime between 1838-1848. At an early age, she suffered at the hands of a slave owner, who destroyed her right eye while beating her mother. She was freed by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and entered the Catholic Church while in Colorado, receiving the sacrament of baptism in 1880. As a lay Franciscan, closely affiliated with the Jesuits at her parish, she was actively involved in promoting the faith and devotion to the Sacred Heart. She became known by her acts of charity and mercy to those living on the margins of society, in spite of living in extreme poverty herself. Greeley died in 1918.

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. was born in 1850 in Cicagna, Italy. She and her family immigrated to the United States in 1854 and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her education and life was strongly influenced by the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She joined the latter community at 16. Sister Blandina was sent to work in schools, orphanages and hospitals in Trinidad and Cincinnati, Ohio; Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Pueblo, Colorado. She became a defender of the poor, the sick, the marginalized, Native Americans, and Mexican and Italian immigrants. She often visited jails and became involved in issues such as human trafficking and juvenile delinquency. She died in 1941, at 91 years old.

Father Patrick Ryan was born in 1845 in County Tipperary, Ireland. His family immigrated and settled in New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1869 in Nashville, Tennessee. Father Ryan was pastor of Saints Peter and Paul’s parish, for six years and during that time he became a shepherd who gave his life in ministering to his flock. In 1878, he died at 33 years old, when his community in Chattanooga was struck with a yellow fever epidemic that took the lives of hundreds. In the midst of the epidemic, Fr. Ryan is reported to have been seen going from house to house in the worst infected areas of the city to find what he could do for the sick and the needy. Besides ministering to the sick and dying during the epidemic, one of his greatest accomplishments was to open a private academy and a parish school under the direction of the Dominican Sisters.

Father Bernard Quinn was born in 1888 in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of poor Irish immigrants. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1912, and served as a priest in the Diocese of Brooklyn. There, he worked unceasingly to promote the faith, and priestly and religious vocations among African-Americans, and helped those in most need. In 1918 during World War I, he volunteered for military service and was assigned to France where her ministered to the sick and wounded soldiers in hospitals. Upon his return to Brooklyn, he reached out to African-American groups and established the St. Peter Claver Church in 1922, a ministry for black Catholics in the community. With the growth of homelessness among African-American children even prior to the 1929 Depression, Father Quinn founded an orphanage that was twice burned to the ground by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Putting his life at risk, he successfully built the orphanage for a third time. He went on to build a parish school, convent and parish center that welcomed everyone regardless of their race or religion. He went on to establish additional missions throughout Brooklyn.

More information on the sainthood process is available at: www.usccb.org/about/public-affairs/backgrounders/saints-backgrounder.cfm.

U.S. bishops discuss ways the Church in America can assist persecuted Christians in the Middle East during fall general assembly  
Wednesday, November 16, 2016  10:04 AM
Baltimore, MD - Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn introduced a discussion today, during the U.S. bishops’ fall General Assembly, on ways the Church in the United States can assist persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

“Although the vast majority of today's refugees are non­Christian; the vast majority of those who serve them are Christians, who continue to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth,” Bishop Mansour said. “Today Christians are more united than ever, through a common suffering, a common martyrdom, and a common assistance given to those in need.”

The efforts to improve assistance and support Christians in the Middle East cover three main focus areas: advocacy, humanitarian aid, and ecumenical support.

In the area of advocacy, the bishops urge the U.S. government to increase U.S. humanitarian aid and development assistance for refugees as well as internally displaced persons and those countries in the region hosting large refugee populations. The bishops also urge the U.S. Government to promote peace in the region and encourage the building of inclusive governments while working with other nations to stand against ISIS and hold them accountable for their genocidal acts.

Regarding humanitarian assistance, efforts include: developing a plan to assist Iraqi and Syrian Christians in the future in rebuilding churches, hospitals, schools, homes and livelihoods; the promotion of a linking (twinning) of parishes and dioceses between the U.S. and Churches in the Middle East; and continued funding efforts for various Catholic charities including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Knights of Columbus (K of C).

Efforts in the area of ecumenical and interreligious support include: working ecumenically with interfaith partners to draw attention to the need for basic human rights, full citizenship rights and religious freedom for people in the Middle East; collaborating with human rights and refugee organizations to highlight the crisis and advocate for measures to alleviate suffering; and strengthening ecumenical and interreligious outreach to deepen witness and foster respect and support for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

The USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace coordinates and leads the U.S. bishops' advocacy for persecuted Christians and other minorities in cooperation with the Knights of Columbus, In Defense of Christians, and CRS.

“We are with you” say U.S. bishops in calling elected officials and Americans to work together to welcome refugees and immigrants without sacrificing core values, security  
Wednesday, November 16, 2016  9:51 AM
Baltimore, MD - On the first day of the Fall General Assembly, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his brother bishops to support a post-election statement given by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, Washington, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, repeating the words to our brothers and sisters who come to the country seeking a better life: "We are with you."

Below is the original statement issued November 11, and now supported by the body of bishops.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration:

We would first like to congratulate President-elect Donald J. Trump and give our support for all efforts to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us. I personally pledge my prayers for Mr. Trump, all elected officials, and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.

We believe the family unit is the cornerstone of society, so it is vital to protect the integrity of the family. For this reason, we are reminded that behind every "statistic" is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God. We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation. We will work to promote humane policies that protect refugees and immigrants' inherent dignity, keep families together, and honor and respect the laws of this nation.

Serving and welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. The Church will continue this life-saving tradition. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need to welcome refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more acute than ever and 80 of our dioceses across the country are eager to continue this wonderful act of accompaniment born of our Christian faith. We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need.

We pray for President -elect Trump and all leaders in public life, that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics and Americans remain a people of solidarity with others in need and a nation of hospitality which treats others as we would like to be treated.

Bishops vote on new USCCB/MRS chairman, extending retirement fund for religious, permanent subcommittee on the Church in Africa, at general assembly  
Wednesday, November 16, 2016  9:49 AM
Baltimore, MD - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted on a new MRS chairman and approved several items, including, establishing a permanent Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and extending the Retirement Fund for Religious Appeal, during their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15.

In November 2015, Archbishop Gomez was elected to chair the USCCB Committee on Migration for a term beginning this week. Since his election as USCCB vice-president prevents him from assuming leadership of the committee, the bishops elected a new chairman. Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, was elected chairman of the Committee on Migration in a 109-91 vote over Archbishop John C. Wester.

The bishops voted 155 in favor, 8 against and 1 abstaining, to approve a 10-year extension of the Retirement Fund for Religious Appeal. This annual collection was initiated to address the profound deficit in retirement funding among religious congregations in the United States. The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) coordinates the collection and distributes the proceeds to religious communities in need.

The bishops also approved establishing a permanent Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. The proposal received a vote of 164-26-12. The USCCB's Subcommittee on the Church in Africa works as part of the Committee on National Collections. It administers the voluntary Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and allocates the revenue received as grants to African episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa for programs that support the growth of the Church, especially in the areas of leadership training, church administration, evangelization, communications, justice and peace.

An expanded euchological formulary for the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was approved by a 107-47-10 vote. The expanded Mass formulary in honor of St. Kateri consists of entrance and Communion antiphons, a prayer over the offerings and a prayer after Communion. The formulary has been translated into Spanish.

The bishops voted 165-6-3 in favor of approval of the 2017 proposed budget, presented by the Committee on Budget and Finance.

Diocesan and eparchial bishops also considered a recommendation to adopt the revised diocesan assessment formula to be effective January 1, 2018. The USCCB by-laws require a two-thirds majority of all 197 eligible members to approve the revised diocesan assessment formula. In the initial vote, 107 or 65 percent of eligible bishops approved the assessment. The absent eligible members will be canvassed to determine the final vote.

Diocesan and eparchial bishops also considered a three percent increase in the diocesan assessment for 2018. The USCCB by-laws require a two-thirds majority of all 197 eligible members to approve a three percent increase in the diocesan assessment. In the initial vote, 100 or 60 percent of eligible bishops approved the assessment. The absent eligible members will be canvassed to determine the final vote.

The bishops also voted 211-3-2 to approve the renewal of a resolution on diocesan financial reporting for 2017 through 2021.

Domestic justice and human development chair lauds EPA’s focus on the good of people and the environment  
Tuesday, November 15, 2016  1:55 PM
Washington, D.C. - Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, lauded the spirit of the updated environmental justice plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), published in October of 2016.

The EPA’s plan, entitled Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda (“EJ 2020”), builds on a previous effort by the agency in 2014. The updated version seeks to “integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency’s programs, strengthen EPA’s collaboration with partners, and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities.”

“The concern for the good of people, especially the poor and vulnerable communities, is one of the central messages in Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment,” said Archbishop Wenski. “We welcome efforts by the EPA that recognize what the Pope calls ‘integral ecology,’ where respect for human life and wellbeing go hand in hand with environmental protection.”

Published in 2014, Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical Laudato si’ has garnered worldwide attention and made an important impact on environmental action across the globe. The encyclical touches on environmental justice issues, such as respect for tribal communities, the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, the emphasis on caring for the poor and the invitation to dialogue within a culture of encounter.

The full text of Laudato si’ and resources about the encyclical are available online at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/index.cfm.

U.S. bishops to launch nationwide consultation and missionary effort with Latino Catholics  
Tuesday, November 15, 2016  1:52 PM
Fifth National Encuentro to focus on Latino youth and families
Four-year process to identify over 20,000 emerging Hispanic Catholic leaders nationwide
Consultation to involve more than 1 million Catholics from all walks of life

Baltimore, MD - Catholic dioceses around the country will soon be involved in an intensive consultation and missionary effort called the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry. Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis, the theme of the V Encuentro is Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love. The main goal of the V Encuentro is to discern ways for the Church in the United States to better respond to the ever-growing Hispanic presence, and to help Hispanics Catholics to strengthen their Christian identity and their response as missionary disciples for the entire Church.

The Encuentro starts at the grass-roots level and calls for the development of resources and initiatives to better serve the fast-growing Hispanic population in dioceses, parishes, ecclesial movements, and other Catholic organizations and institutions while at the same time promoting the development of Latino leadership within the Church.

“The Fifth Encuentro is a time of grace”, said Bishop Nelson Pérez, auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, New York, and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. “It is a great opportunity for the Church to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters with Christ’s message of hope and love. It is a time to listen, a time to develop meaningful relationships, a time learn and bear abundant fruits, and a time to rejoice in God’s love.”

Bishop Perez’s report on the V Encuentro to the Fall General Assembly of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, November 15, serves as the official launching of this wide-ranging USCCB initiative, which will start in parishes and dioceses across the country during early 2017 and continue for several years. After the parish, diocesan and regional phases of consultation, reflection and missionary activity are concluded, the process will reach its zenith at the National V Encuentro gathering to be celebrated in late September of 2018 in the Fort Worth area, with approximately 3,000 delegates from participating dioceses across the country. After that, a time for reflection on the findings, identification of good ministerial practices and implementation strategies at the local level will follow.

More than one million Catholics are expected to directly participate in the process at different stages and many more will be touched by the missionary activity of the participants. Over 150 U.S. dioceses have already formed local teams in preparation for the V Encuentro process and numerous others are expected to designate them soon.

“I have been formed by the process of Encuentro as a pastor and as a bishop”, said Bishop Perez. “I participated in the Third National Encuentro in the 80’s, and was very active in its implementation as a pastor. Today I have the blessing of being a part of the V Encuentro as a bishop and look forward to the many fruits it will bring to dioceses and parishes across the country.”

The V Encuentro will especially engage Latino young people and families, and invite them to share their gifts and talents with people in their parishes and in society.

“Hispanics/Latinos are a great gift to the church and society in the Unites States. The V Encuentro is designed to engage, embrace and empower that gift”, said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, which is responsible for this initiative on behalf of the U.S. bishops.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) estimates that 30.5 million Hispanics/Latinos in the United States self-identify as Catholic. Currently, approximately 60% of U.S. Catholics under the age 18 are of Hispanic/Latino heritage.

Pope Francis names Cardinal-Designate Joseph W. Tobin as new Archbishop of Newark; accepts resignation of Archbishop Myers  
Tuesday, November 15, 2016  1:35 PM
Washington, D.C. - Pope Francis has named Cardinal-designate, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, of Indianapolis, Indiana, as Archbishop of Newark; and has accepted the resignation of Archbishop John J. Myers from the pastoral governance of the archdiocese.

The appointment was made public in Washington,  by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop Tobin was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 3, 1952. He attended Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in New York (1977-1979) and holds master degrees in religious education (1977) and divinity (1979), as well as a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (1975). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 1,1978 as a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists).

After ordination he served in several roles including: associate pastor, Holy Redeemer Parish (1979-1984), in Detroit with a principal responsibility of pastoral service to the Hispanic community. He also served as retreat preacher for Cursillos de Cristiandad and in youth ministry. Other responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Detroit included episcopal vicar (1980-86), member of the presbyteral council (1985-90), and official in the metropolitan tribunal (1980-90). From 1984 to1990, he served as pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish, and as pastor at St. Alphonsus Parish, in Chicago (1990 to 1991).

On August 2, 2010, he was named by Pope Benedict XVI as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. On October 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Indianapolis. He was installed as the sixth Archbishop of Indianapolis on December 3, 2012.

Archbishop John J. Myers, 75, was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois on December 17, 1966. On July 24, 2001 he was appointed the fifth Archbishop of Newark. He was installed as archbishop on October 9, 2001.

The diocese of Newark comprises 513 square miles in the state of New Jersey. It has a total population of 2,859,850 people of whom 1,220,143, or 42 percent, are Catholic.

Cardinal DiNardo elected USCCB president of U.S. Bishops, Archbishop Gomez elected vice president.  
Tuesday, November 15, 2016  12:21 PM
Baltimore, MD -  Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during today’s annual fall General Assembly in Baltimore. Cardinal DiNardo has served as vice president of the USCCB since 2013. Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected as USCCB vice president.

Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez are elected to three-year terms and succeed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Cardinal DiNardo, respectively. The new president and vice president terms begin at the conclusion of the General Assembly on November 15.

Cardinal DiNardo was elected president on the first ballot with 113 votes. Archbishop Gomez was elected vice president on the third ballot by 131-84 in a runoff vote against Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans.

The president and vice president are elected by a simple majority from a slate of 10 nominees. If no president or vice president is chosen after the second round of voting, a third ballot is a run-off between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.

Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977. He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop, of Galveston-Houston. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas. Archbishop Gomez was born December 26, 1951, in Monterrey, Mexico. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1978. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Denver in 2001, and in 2004, he was appointed archbishop of San Antonio. He was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles in 2010, and was installed as archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011.

The bishops also chose the chairmen-elect of five committees and new members of the board of Catholic Relief Services, (CRS). The bishops elected are:

Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, chairman-elect of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance in a 111-89 vote over Bishop David M. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, chairman-elect of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in a 115-90 vote over Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California.

Bishop Robert E. Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, chairman-elect of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis in a 122-90 vote over Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services, chairman-elect of the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a 127-88 vote over Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego.

Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, chairman-elect of the Committee on Protection of Children and Young People in a 128-86 vote over Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington.

Each bishop elected will serve for one year as secretary-elect or chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term.

Bishops elected to the CRS board were: Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Gregory Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; and Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In November 2015, Archbishop Gomez was elected to chair the Committee on Migration for a term beginning this week. Since his election as USCCB vice-president prevents him from assuming leadership of the committee, the bishops will elect a new chairman at a later time.

Bishops vote on 2017-2020 strategic plan, encountering the mercy of Christ and accompanying His people with joy, at general assembly  
Tuesday, November 15, 2016  11:24 AM
Baltimore, MD - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have approved their 2017-2020 strategic plan, during their annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 15.

The bishops approved the four year plan with 199 votes in favor, 4 against, and 2 abstaining.

Under the theme, Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People with Joy, the strategic plan is a shared framework that brings together the diverse work of the USCCB, approved by the bishops, with the goal of offering a sustained and compelling witness to the power of Christ’s love in the world. “Through this work, we will encounter our brothers and sisters wherever they may be along life’s journey, offer them love and support, and in turn, meet Jesus himself who will fortify each one of us for our own journey,” reads the report.

The strategic plan includes the collective work of 16 standing committees, 18 subcommittees and one ad-hoc committee; and it lays the groundwork for more than 740 individual projects of the USCCB for the next planning cycle. Activities include social media and awareness projects, the 2017 National Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Florida, and the 2018 V Encuentro on Hispanic Latino Ministry.

The plan is centered on five strategic priorities approved by the full body of bishops a year ago, and are aimed at encountering those in need, bringing them hope, and nurturing them spiritually and physically. These 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.

The identified priorities are also an invitation to diocesan and parish leaders into the collective work of the bishops at the national level. “Where there are opportunities at all levels of the Church to work together, the strategic plan will truly find its deepest meaning,” reads the report. “So too, the identified priorities are an invitation to the broader people of God, whose generosity and prayer give lifeblood to the apostolic life of the Conference and the Church.”

The 2017-2020 strategic plan will go into effect January 2017.

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