Bulletin Extras
Local stories and or articles that are not available in any of the current printed versions of The Bishop's Bulletin.
Religious communities receive $25 million toward care of elderly members  
Wednesday, June 29, 2016  11:47 AM
Washington, D.C. - The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million in financial assistance to 401 religious communities to aid in the care of senior members. The funding is made possible by the Retirement Fund for Religious Collection, an annual, parish-based appeal benefiting nearly 33,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests.

The most recent collection was held in the majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2015 and raised nearly $30.7 million, marking the sixth time in the collection’s history that donations exceeded $30 million. Fifteen dioceses and one archdiocese had record-high contributions. In addition, the largest single bequest in the appeal’s history was received from the Estate of David and Philip Slesur and was designated through the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“Words cannot express our gratitude for the love, sacrifice and generosity these donations represent,” said Sister Susan Schorsten, a member of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary who was recently appointed as the interim executive director of the NRRO. “The annual assistance the collection furnishes helps religious communities across the country provide for the ongoing needs of aging members.”

The funding disbursed the week of June 20, known as Direct Care Assistance, represents the majority of financial support distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet such day-to-day expenses as prescription medications and nursing care. Additional allocations will be directed toward religious communities with the greatest needs and for ongoing education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery. Roughly 95 percent of donations aid elderly religious and their communities, while the remaining five percent are used for administration and promotion of the annual appeal.

The U.S. bishops launched the Retirement Fund for Religious collection in 1988 to address the profound deficit in retirement funding among the nation’s religious communities. Traditionally, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Today, many religious communities lack adequate retirement savings. At the same time, health-care costs have risen dramatically while the number of religious able to serve in compensated ministry has declined.

The NRRO coordinates the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities. The organization is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.

U.S./E.U. bishops: free trade requires regulatory framework and ethical principles  
Friday, June 17, 2016  3:35 PM
The Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the United States and the European Union adopted a common position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) prior to the 14th round of negotiations in July 2016.

For the first time in their histories, the United States’ Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) issued a common position on a social concern of importance to citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. The proposed “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” will have a direct impact on the lives of almost a billion people, not to mention the expected consequences of the new standards deriving from that agreement for third countries.

Following joint discussions in the summer of 2014 and a review by the USCCB committees on International Justice and Peace, and Domestic Justice and Human Development, the USCCB and COMECE collaborated in the development of a common statement on the free trade agreement that is under negotiation.

Given the highly polarized debate on the TTIP, the bishops offer a moral "toolbox" for evaluation of the agreement. They state their firm conviction that free trade can be truly beneficial and potentially contribute to a better future for all, provided that it promotes equitable access for all persons to the goods of this world and that it is structured in a way that helps to reduce inequality or injustice. As Pope Francis wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Cameron in the context of a G7 meeting: “The goal of economics and politics is to serve humanity, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable”(June 17, 2013).

To evaluate this agreement – with a thorough social and environmental analysis – the bishops offer nine ethical principles based on the Catholic Social Teaching. These principles include:
sustainability and precaution that imply that priority must be given to the prevention of harm to present or future generations rather than to the pursuit of profits.
the protection of workers and their families and the preservation of their just rights in compliance with internationally-agreed labor standards.
Sustainable Development, including assistance to poor countries, and Care for Creation that are not mutually exclusive but complementary. Trade agreements must give “ priority attention to protecting the environment and health of communities”.
Many people are concerned or feel excluded from the current negotiation process. Therefore, the bishops underline the principle of participation of citizens in decisions that impact their lives. They propose the creation of appropriate fora and mechanisms.
The joint declaration was signed by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, USCCB President, and Reinhard Cardinal Marx, COMECE President.

The full text of the joint statement can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/trade/comece-usccb-recommendations-on-ttip-negotiations-2016-06-14.cfm.

On World Refugee Day, USCCB migration chairman calls Catholics to remember refugees around the world  
Friday, June 17, 2016  3:04 PM
Washington, DC - In remarks in advance of World Refugee Day, celebrated June 20, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called upon Catholics to remember that there are many different types of refugees in the world.

Much of the world’s attention in recent years has been drawn to the Syrian refugee crisis and its widespread impact on the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, but Bishop Elizondo pointed out that the increase in migration from Central America of unaccompanied migrant children and families, many of whom would likely qualify as refugees, has been an ongoing concern for the Catholic Church and political leaders here in the United States for years. And these are not the only populations of concern.

“While these are both critical situations, it is crucial that we not forget the millions of other refugees and displaced persons all around the world who have been forced from their homes and been placed in precarious situations,” Bishop Elizondo said.

To further tell the refugee story, USCCB social media has been running a “Refugee Faces” feature on Facebook for the month of June at facebook.com/usccb.

USCCB Migration & Refugee Services is also hosting a Washington, DC community event at Busboys & Poets (625 Monroe Avenue NE) on June 20th from 6pm-8pm. This event is open to all, and food and drink will be available as refugees share their inspiring and heartbreaking personal stories and refugee resettlement experts explain both the resettlement process and how one can help.

Many Catholic dioceses around the country — including Arlington, Dallas, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Portland, Maine —are hosting their own events to mark World Refugee Day.

USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz sends letter To ecumenical Patriarch on eve of historic council  
Friday, June 17, 2016  3:01 PM
Washiongton , D.C. - USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, has sent a letter of greeting to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on the occasion of the convocation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.

Due to take place on the Greek island of Crete from June 18 to 27, the holding of the Council is the culmination of more than fifty years of preparation. “We are aware that over the past several decades an enormous effort has been made to convene this Council, and we rejoice with you that these efforts have reached fruition,” the Archbishop writes.

Noting that the work of the Council will have great importance also beyond the Orthodox Church, the USCCB President states that all Christians await new insights “that draw upon the rich and ancient Tradition that is yours.” He concludes with a re-affirmation of the need to work for Christian unity, and assures the Patriarch that “the Holy and Great Council will be very much in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.”

The full text of the letter is below.

Your All Holiness,

Gathered together in special assembly in Orange County, California, with my brother bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we turn our thoughts to Your All Holiness, the primates of the other Orthodox churches and the other bishops who will be participating in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on the island of Crete in just a few days' time. We are aware that over the past several decades an enormous effort has been made to convene this Council, and we rejoice with you that these efforts have reached fruition.

The topics that Your All Holiness and the other Orthodox bishops will be considering are of the greatest importance not only for the Orthodox Church but also for other Christians. All of us await Orthodox insights on these matters that draw upon the rich and ancient Tradition that is yours.

In particular, we look forward to new perspectives on the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Along with Pope Francis, it is our desire to deepen the fellowship that already exists between us, and to find new ways to work together for the benefit of our world that needs the Good News of Jesus Christ so much.

Along these lines, we were deeply moved by the recent images of Your All Holiness, Pope Francis, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece visiting the island of Lesbos to offer support and encouragement to the many refugees who have arrived there. Pope Francis has often observed that it is in caring for the needy together that ecumenism is most meaningful. We make our own your affirmation with the Pope and the Archbishop in the April 16 Common Declaration that "we firmly and wholeheartedly resolve to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians."

Your All Holiness can be sure that all the Orthodox bishops gathering together at the Holy and Great Council will be very much in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.

Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

USCCB subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approves over $4.1 Million in grants, including close to $390,000 to help rebuild Ecuador churches  
Friday, June 17, 2016  2:49 PM
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America approved funding for 265 pastoral projects, totaling $4.1 million. The funds will be disbursed as grants to aid the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Projects included training of lay catechists, youth ministry, evangelization, the formation of seminarians and religious and family ministry. The projects were approved at the Subcommittee’s meeting on June 11 in Huntington Beach, California.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Darien in Panama received a grant for the formation of lay pastoral agents. Currently, there are 10 missionary areas within the Vicariate with some 190 small communities who are served by 32 priests, religious (male and female) and some 330 lay volunteers. However, regular Mass attendance and participation in the catechetical and sacramental life of the Church is quite low. A limited number of roads makes travel to these communities difficult and regular visits are critical for the long-term inculturation of the Gospel. Nine workshops for about 40 agents will be held in 2016 and will cover topics such as biblical and liturgical formation, and cultural and spiritual values.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Collection for the Church in Latin America, a sign of our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S. auxiliary bishop of Seattle and Subcommittee chairman. “The fruits of this collection have been far reaching and have helped to strengthen the faith. The generosity of Catholics in the United States has helped fund many important projects that share our faith with those who long to experience it.”

Among the pastoral projects approved, the Subcommittee allocated over $365,000 for 41pastoral projects in Haiti and a little over $1 million to 3 reconstruction projects for the Church in Haiti. Funding for the reconstruction projects comes from the 2010 special collection for Haiti. All USCCB aid for reconstruction work in Haiti goes through the Partnership for Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti (PROCHE), an entity of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference.

In addition, the Subcommittee approved two special grants, totaling almost $390,000, to help rebuild churches damaged or destroyed by the April 16 earthquake in Ecuador. Two emergency grants, totaling $50,000, were approved immediately after the earthquake.

Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America. The collection is scheduled for the fourth Sunday in January, but some dioceses take it up on other dates. The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.

Pope Francis names Bishop Pazak as head of Phoenix Eparchy; Bishops Skurla, Warduni as Apostolic Administrators  
Tuesday, May 17, 2016  1:38 PM
Washington, DC - Pope Francis has named Bishop John Stephen Pazak, of the Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius, in Toronto, Canada, as bishop of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix, Arizona, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald Dino, 76, from the pastoral governance of that diocese.

John Stephen Pazak was born August 13, 1946, in Gary, Indiana. He was professed a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1965, and was ordained a priest in 1972. He was named Bishop of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto, Canada, in 2000, and ordained bishop in 2001.

Pope Francis also named Archbishop William Skurla of the Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburg, as apostolic administrator of the Byzantine Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, and accepted the resignation of Bishop John Kudrick.

Pope Francis also accepted the resignation of Bishop Sarhad Y. Jammo, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, San Diego, California, and appointed Bishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Babylon, as the apostolic administrator of the eparchy.

The appointments were publicized in Washington, May 7, by Msgr. Walter Erbì, chargé d' affaires of the Nunciature of the United States.

Both, the Byzantine Eparchy of Parma and the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, are now sede vacante until new bishops are appointed.

The Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix includes 2,706 persons and embraces all Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite Catholics in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.

USCCB President reacts to Supreme Court HHS mandate decision  
Tuesday, May 17, 2016  12:11 PM
Washington, DC - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, in which Catholic and other religious organizations are challenging the HHS mandate requiring them to facilitate health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions.

The Court unanimously vacated the decisions before it, remanding the cases to the lower courts with instructions to afford the parties the opportunity to work out an alternative approach to the mandate. In the meantime, the Court forbade the government from imposing taxes or penalties on the organizations for failure to provide the required “notice” and “certification” or otherwise to trigger the “accommodation.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered the following statement in response:

I am encouraged by today’s unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. It wipes away the bad decisions that so many of our charitable ministries were appealing, it maintains hope that we might resolve this dispute finally and favorably sometime in the future, and in the meantime, it prevents the Administration from issuing crippling fines against those who object.

I take this occasion to reiterate the unity and resolve that the bishops of the United States have expressed repeatedly in opposition to the HHS mandate, such as in their Special Message from 2013 and their statement “United for Religious Freedom” from 2012. I also recall the encouragement that we have received from Pope Francis in this regard during his recent apostolic visit to the United States, first by his remarks at the White House, and then by his personal visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Speaking about religious liberty from the White House in September, Pope Francis said “that freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”

In light of this, USCCB will continue its opposition to the HHS mandate in all three branches of government. We are grateful to the Supreme Court for the opportunity to continue that effort. We remain convinced that, as a nation, we do not wish to push people of faith and their ministries out of charitable work – under threat of severe government fines – or leave freedom of religion protected only in private worship.

National Cancer Survivor Day celebration to be held at Lakeview Lawn Bowling Greens  
Tuesday, May 17, 2016  12:10 PM
Avera Cancer Institute Mitchell invites all cancer survivors and their families to the annual National Cancer Survivors Day event on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lakeview Lawn Bowling Greens.

Enjoy a free meal provided by the Avera Queen of Peace Foundation, the opportunity for fellowship, and a chance to try lawn bowling.

“From the moment you hear a diagnosis of cancer, you become a survivor. In celebration of the strength, courage, and spirit of cancer patients, we invite them and their loved ones to join us,” said Kathleen Naegele, DO.

For more information, call the Avera Cancer Institute in Mitchell at 995-5756.

The Lakeview Lawn Bowling Greens are located at 3300 N. Ohlman St. in Mitchell.

USCCB chairmen respond to administration’s new guidance letter on Title IX application  
Monday, May 16, 2016  10:47 AM
Washington, DC - Two Committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement in response to guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education entitled “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students”:

The Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Especially at a young age and in schools, it is important that our children understand the depth of God’s love for them and their intrinsic worth and beauty. Children should always be and feel safe and secure and know they are loved.

The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats “a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex” is deeply disturbing. The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created” (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

As Pope Francis has recently indicated, “‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated’” (AL, no. 56, emphasis added). We pray that the government make room for more just and compassionate approaches and policies in this sensitive area, in order to serve the good of all students and parents, as well as the common good. We will be studying the guidance further to understand the full extent of its implications.

The statement was issued by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Archbishop George Lucas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.

Pope Francis names Texas priest as Bishop of Tulsa, accepts resignation of Bishop Edward Slattery  
Friday, May 13, 2016  2:08 PM
Washington, DC- Pope Francis has named Father David Konderla, 55, as bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Edward Slattery, 75, from the pastoral governance of that diocese. Father Konderla is a priest of the Diocese of Austin, Texas.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 13, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

David Konderla was born June 3, 1960, in Bryan, Texas. He attended the Holy Trinity Seminary of the University of Dallas, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in history. He also pursued studies at St. Mary’s Seminary of St. Thomas University, Houston, earning a master’s degree in divinity. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Austin on June 3, 1995.

Assignments after ordination included parochial vicar, St. Louis Catholic Church, Austin, Texas, 1995-1997; parochial vicar, St. Luke Catholic Church, Temple, Texas, 1997; parochial vicar, St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M, College Station, Texas, 1997-2001; vocations director, Diocese of Austin, 2001-2005; pastor and director of Campus Ministry, St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, 2005- present.

Other diocesan assignments include: member, priests’ personnel board, 2004-2011; member, vocations team, 2006; member, presbyteral council (2008-present) and interim presbyteral council (2010); member, College of Consultors, Austin, Texas.

Bishop Edward J. Slattery was born August 11, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, and was ordained a priest of Chicago, Illinois, on April 26, 1966. Pope John Paul II named him bishop of Tulsa on November 11, 1993. He was ordained a bishop on January 6, 1994 and was installed six days later.

The Diocese of Tulsa covers 26,417 square miles in the state of Oklahoma. It has a total population of 1,650,000 of which 64,658 or four percent, are Catholic.

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