Bulletin Extras
Local stories and or articles that are not available in any of the current printed versions of The Bishop's Bulletin.
Bishops call for prayer amidst ‘stark reality’ of religious persecution, violence  
Wednesday, March 11, 2015  2:49 PM
Washington, D.C. - People of all faiths are called to pray for victims of religious persecution and violence and work to protect the marginalized and persecuted around the world, according to a statement of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. bishops, approved March 10. The bishops said Lent is a time for prayerfully reflecting on suffering.

“Let us use this season to unite with our suffering brothers and sisters and pray for them and with them in a special way,” they said. “With hope, let us pray for the day when we can all share in the joy and lasting peace of Christ’s resurrection.”

The Administrative Committee is chaired by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The committee consists of the elected chairs of the 16 standing committees, the elected representatives of 15 geographic regions, the chairman of Catholic Relief Services and the elected officers of USCCB.

Full text of the statement follows:

STATEMENT ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION
ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
March 10, 2015

Upon learning of the death of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIL terrorists, Pope Francis called their murder a “testimony which cries out to be heard.” On behalf of America’s Catholic Bishops, we pause to listen and invite people of all faiths to join us in prayer for those facing the stark reality of religious persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere. The testimony of those 21 brave and courageous martyrs does not stand alone as thousands of families – Christian and other religions – find themselves fleeing from horrific violence.

We urge all people of goodwill to work toward protections of the marginalized and persecuted. In union with the local Churches and the Holy See, we call upon our nation to: work with the international community to intervene and protect the rights of religious minorities and civilians within the framework of international and humanitarian law; address political and economic exclusion that are exploited by extremists; and increase humanitarian and development assistance.

Lent is a season to meditate upon the Cross and unite ourselves even more closely with Christ’s suffering. Let us use this season to unite with our suffering brothers and sisters and pray for them and with them in a special way. With hope, let us pray for the day when we can all share in the joy and lasting peace of Christ’s resurrection.

Catholic Relief Services collection helps ‘Jesus in Disguise’  
Monday, March 09, 2015  12:17 PM
Washington, D.C. - The Catholic Relief Services Collection, scheduled to take place March 14-15 in many dioceses across the United States, aids more than 100 million people around the world including those affected by persecution, war and natural disasters, through the six worldwide agencies it supports. The collection’s theme “Help Jesus in Disguise,” provides an opportunity to echo the gospel call to assist and accompany the poor.

“The Catholic Relief Services Collection gives us a Lenten opportunity for global solidarity. We show our love of God and each other through caring for the poor and marginalized. This collection provides much-needed humanitarian aid, supports development projects that improve living conditions, and provides resources for immigrant and immigrant communities and advocacy programs,” said Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, chairman of the Committee on National Collections of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “This collection helps to alleviate suffering in incredibly meaningful ways.”

Funds from last year’s collection helped Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provide housing and protection for people whose lives have been disrupted by violence in Gaza, Jerusalem and the Kurdish region of Iraq. CRS has also introduced peacebuilding programs in South Sudan, and continues assisting in rebuilding efforts in communities struck by natural disasters in Haiti and the Philippines. CRS is a leading provider of services and expertise in agriculture, global health and emergency response and recovery.

In addition, USCCB’s Office of International Justice and Peace (IJP) and Catholic Relief Services worked with the Church in the Central African Republic to raise awareness and advocate for those afflicted by violence and conflict. As a result of their intervention, the United States committed $101 million for Africa Union Peacekeepers and $30 million for humanitarian assistance. The number of African Union Peacekeepers was increased from 1,200 to almost 6,000. Through projects like these, IJP and CRS help the Church to stop violence and seek assistance for those in need.

The Catholic Relief Services Collection funds six Catholic agencies: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. bishops; USCCB’s Department of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), which helps resettle refugees in the United States; USCCB’s Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, which provides outreach and pastoral care for ethnic and cultural groups; USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, which advocates for poor and vulnerable people and works for international justice and peace; Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which provides legal services for immigrants; and the Holy Father’s Relief Fund, which provides assistance to suffering people around the world.

More information on the Catholic Relief Services Collection and the projects it funds can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-relief-services-collection/


USCCB officials say Syrian refugee crisis at tipping point  
Monday, March 09, 2015  12:12 PM
Countries in region unable to handle flow, exerting more control of borders
Religious minorities at risk; Children disproportionately impacted
Syrians fleeing to Europe and beyond


Washington, D.C. - The Syrian refugee crisis ­–now totaling nearly 4 million refugees– has reached a “tipping point,” in which countries in the region are no longer able to handle the flow of refugees across their borders, warned U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officials who recently traveled to the Middle East.

“Without more international support, we will find Syrians fleeing extremists being turned away and forced back to danger,” said Anastasia Brown, interim executive director for USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). “The global community, led by Europe and the United States, needs to increase its support in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”

A delegation of USCCB officials which visited the region in late 2014, released their report March 6. Entitled “Refuge and Hope in the Time of ISIS: The Urgent need for Protection, Humanitarian Support, and Durable Solutions in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece,” the report looks at the plight of Syrians in the three countries, a growing trek for Syrians attempting to reach Europe.

The report highlights the gaps Syrians face as they attempt to find protection, with many traveling through Greece and Bulgaria on their way to Europe. According to the United Nations, many more are taking dangerous sea journeys in boats to reach the continent.

At the same time, countries bordering Syria and Iraq are showing signs of strain and imposing new policies at their borders. In recent months, Jordan has exerted more control over its northern border, denying entry to some refugees from ISIS-controlled areas, while Lebanon has instituted a visa policy for Syrians seeking to enter their country. While Turkey has kept its border open, refugee interviews are being scheduled for 2022.

“It was apparent from our trip that the protection space in the region for Syrians is shrinking,” said Matt Wilch, refugee policy advisor for MRS/USCCB. “People are becoming more desperate and are attempting dangerous journeys to Europe and beyond.”

Of special note is the impact the crisis is having on children, who number as many as 2 million—half the total of Syrian refugees. Among those are unaccompanied children who, according to the delegation, have a special claim on protection.

“The number of unaccompanied children and other vulnerable children from Syria and elsewhere is rising, yet there are few protection mechanisms in place to identify and rescue them from harm,” said Nathalie Lummert, director of Special Programs for MRS/USCCB. “What we are seeing is an exodus of the next generation in Syria, with little hope for their future.”

The delegation also expressed grave concern for the plight of religious minorities, who are targets of extremists in the region. Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, along with Yazidis, are at risk of their lives.

“Without a dramatic response to this unprecedented humanitarian challenge, we will continue to see ongoing suffering and even death in this population, especially among the most vulnerable,” Brown said.

The delegation’s report lists several recommendations to address the crisis, including increased refugee assistance and resettlement. The full report is available at www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/upload/Refuge-and-Hope-in-the-Time-of-ISIS.pdf
 

Inclusion Act receives strong support from three USCCB chairmen  
Monday, March 09, 2015  11:23 AM
Religious liberty is important for all, including child welfare providers
Inclusion Act protects religious liberties and excludes no one
Parental choice in adoption is important and deserves protection

Washington, D.C. - Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gave strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015. The Act would forbid the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that, for religious or moral reasons, declines to provide a child welfare social service.

“Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children – the most vulnerable members of society,” wrote Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bill.

Highlighting the inclusivity of the legislation, the chairmen noted, “Rightly, the Inclusion Act protects the religious liberties and moral convictions of all child welfare providers. No providers are excluded by the Act.”

Some religious child welfare providers, including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The chairmen said, “The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importance of parental choice, the chairmen remarked, “Indeed, women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Rep-Kelly-Inclusion-Act-2015.pdf, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Sen-Enzi-Inclusion-Act-2015.pdf

A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Backgrounder-Inclusion-Act-2015.pdf


Open House planned at Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton  
Thursday, March 05, 2015  9:20 AM
Sunday, March 15 - The Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton invite you to an open house expressing our gratitude during this time designated by Pope Francis as the Year of Consecrated Life.

The event will be held Sunday, March 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the monastery.

There will be tours of Bishop Marty Chapel, the sisters' dining room, and Bishop Marty’s house, as well as time to visit with the sisters over home baked cookies in their chapter room.

You are also invited to join the sisters for Sunday Vespers at 4 p.m. in Bishop Marty Chapel.

No RSVP is needed, but if you have questions or want directions, call 605-668-6000.

Our website is www.yanktonbenedictines.org.


Bede Art Gallery at Mount Marty College, Yankton, presents ‘Story Tellers’ exhibition  
Thursday, March 05, 2015  9:16 AM
Mount Marty College’s Bede Art Gallery is hosting Connie Herring and her exhibit, “Story Tellers.”

The exhibit runs through March 27.

A reception and gallery talk for the artist is scheduled for March 27 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM and open to the public.

The gallery is located in Bede Hall across from Marian Auditorium. Free parking is available in the west parking lot.

Herring’s “Story Tellers” is an art installation involving ironing board sculptures, their covers, and a book of drawings on handmade paper. The ironing boards stand on end, or hang on the walls, each telling its own story of human spirit and myth. First inspired by the Gothic church window, Herring chose the ironing board because of its shape. My initial thought was to project the stories of nature on the boards, but as the project progressed other connections were discovered - other stories.

Herring comments, “My installations and sculptures are in constant search for the essence of life. They deal with the spirit and the relationships between all things. They search for quiet places.”

The installation is flexible and changes with each site. It can fit small and large spaces depending on the number of boards installed and their positioning. The installation also continues to grow as new boards are added, and drawings are completed.

The Bede Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. For more information on the Bede Art Gallery please visit www.mtmc.edu/arts/bede.aspx or contact Director, David Kahle, at 605-668-1574 or david.kahle@mtmc.edu.

Mount Marty College, located in Yankton, South Dakota, is a Catholic, Benedictine, coeducational institute of higher learning founded in 1936 by the Sisters of Saint Benedict of Yankton, South Dakota. In keeping with the Benedictine tradition, the college exists as a community of learners. Primary emphasis is placed on the development of each person as a complete human being with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills, and a composite of moral, spiritual, and social values. With an enrollment of over 1,100 students at all three locations and approximately 600 students located on the Yankton campus, Mount Marty College is the region’s premier institution for higher learning. To learn more about Mount Marty College visit www.mtmc.edu. 

Love and Life Unlimited conference planned for Omaha  
Wednesday, March 04, 2015  1:16 PM
April 13-17 - The Love & Life Unlimited Conference, sponsored by Pope Paul VI Institute, will be held in Omaha from April 13-17.

This is a conference to promote, proclaim, and ponder the Catholic vision of reproductive health care.

Preregistration is required.

Contact the Pope Paul VI Institute Education Department at 402-505-8943 or eduassist1@popepaulvi.com.
 

Cathedral of Saint Joseph Parish hosting annual Palm Sunday dinner  
Wednesday, March 04, 2015  12:33 PM
Sunday, March 29 - The Cathedral of Saint Joseph Parish will host its annual Palm Sunday dinner from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the parish hall.

Roast beef dinner catered by Tony's will be offered.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (5-11).

If unable to attend take outs will be available.

Pope Francis names San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy new Bishop of San Diego  
Tuesday, March 03, 2015  2:35 PM
Washington, D.C. - Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Robert W. McElroy, 61, bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. Bishop McElroy has served as an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco since 2010. He succeeds the late Bishop Cirilo Flores, who died September 6, 2014.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, March 3, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Robert Walter McElroy was born February 5, 1954. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1975, a master’s degree in American history from Stanford University in 1976, and a master of divinity degree from St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, California, in 1979. He was ordained a priest for the San Francisco Archdiocese April 12, 1980, and named a monsignor in 1996.

Following ordination, he was parochial vicar of St. Cecilia Church in San Francisco, 1980-1982; and secretary to Archbishop John R. Quinn, 1982-1985. He studied for a licentiate in sacred theology at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California, in 1985; and for a doctorate in sacred theology at the Gregorian University, Rome, 1985-1986. He studied for a doctorate in history at Stanford from 1986-1989.

From 1989-1995, he was parochial vicar at St. Pius Church, and was vicar general for the San Francisco Archdiocese, 1995-1997. From 1997-2010, he was pastor of St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo, California. He was appointed a bishop by Pope Benedict XVI on July 6, 2010, and consecrated on September 7 of that year.

He is author of “The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray,” Paulist Press, 1989; and “Morality and American Foreign Policy: The Role of Ethics in International Affairs,” Princeton University Press, 1992. He also has been published in journals and America magazine.

The Diocese of San Diego covers 8,852 square miles in Southern California and has a total population of 3,236,492 people, of whom 998,127, or 31 percent, are Catholic.


Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, urge protection for programs serving the poor and vulnerable in federal budget  
Tuesday, March 03, 2015  2:32 PM
Washington, D,C. - Decisions around the 2016 budget resolution should be measured against whether they protect human life and dignity, the poor and vulnerable and the common good, particularly workers and their families, said two U.S. bishops in a letter, February 27, to every member of Congress.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, wrote, “The moral measure of the federal budget is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless, or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources.”

Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Cantú chair the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Committee on International Justice and Peace, respectively.

The bishops expressed support for reduction of future unsustainable deficits and their impact on the economy, but said a just framework for a federal budget cannot rely on “disproportionate cuts in essential service to poor persons.” The bishops noted how Budget Control Act caps and sequestration have limited many domestic and international poverty-focused programs and cautioned lawmakers against using the reconciliation process to achieve savings by cutting health care, nutrition and other programs.

“As pastors, we see every day the human consequences of budget choices. Our Catholic community defends the unborn, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, educates the young, and cares for the sick, both at home and abroad. We help poor families rise above crushing poverty, resettle refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, and reach out to communities devastated by wars, natural disasters and famines. In much of this work, we are partners with government, and our combined resources allow us to reach further and help more,” the bishops wrote.

The full text of the letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/letter-to-congress-from-archbishop-wenski-bishop-cantu-on-federal-budget-fy-2016-02-27-2015.cfm


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