Bulletin Extras
Local stories and or articles that are not available in any of the current printed versions of The Bishop's Bulletin.
USCCB’s Online Lenten Resources Help Catholics To Raise Up, Sacrifice and Offer  
Friday, February 13, 2015  1:34 PM
Washington, D.C. - A variety of resources to help Catholics observe Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, this year February 18, is being provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

With the theme “Raise Up. Sacrifice. Offer,” resources include video reflections on Lenten themes, a downloadable Lenten calendar with quotes from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent and other teachings and suggestions for taking an active approach to the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Catholics are encouraged to raise up the needs of the world in prayer, to sacrifice by giving up food and material wants, and to offer time, talent and treasure as good stewards of the God-given gifts.

The website (www.usccb.org/lent) also includes facts about saints whose feast days or memorials fall within Lent, a reflection on fasting and information on rediscovering the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

USCCB chairman responds to U.S. Supreme Court decision to take marriage cases  
Monday, January 19, 2015  11:33 AM
Washington, D.C. - The U. S. Supreme Court granted a request, January 16, to review the November 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding the constitutionality of marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded to the Court’s action saying, “A decision by the Supreme Court on whether a state may define marriage as the union of one man and one woman may be the most significant Court decision since the Court’s tragic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion a constitutional right.”

Archbishop Cordileone also noted, “It’s hard to imagine how the essential meaning of marriage as between the two sexes, understood in our nation for over two hundred years, and consistent with every society throughout all of human history, could be declared illegal. To those arguing for a constitutional redefinition of marriage, one must ask: when did the Constitution suddenly mandate a novel and unfounded definition of marriage? To ask such a question is not a judgment on anyone. It is a matter of justice and truth. The central issue at stake is: what is marriage? The answer is: a bond which unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children who come from their union. Only a man and a woman can unite their bodies in a way that creates a new human being. Marriage is thus a unique and beautiful reality which a society respects to its benefit or ignores to its peril.”

Archbishop Cordileone added, “Let us pray that the Supreme Court will be guided by right reason and render a true and just decision upholding the constitutionality of states to respect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the coming months.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, of Louisville, KY urges all to pray, act for human dignity in message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day  
Friday, January 16, 2015  2:19 PM
Washington, D.C. - Communities should strive to live the words of Martin Luther King Jr., to move “from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a message for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on January 19.

“Our communities will only reflect this dignity if we first turn to prayer to guide our actions toward ending years of isolation, disregard and conflict between neighbors,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “That which seems impossible can only be brought about through God and his powerful intervention in our hearts.”

The full text of Archbishop Kurtz’s message follows:

As our nation celebrates the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I am reminded of the timeless plea found in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail that we move “from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.” I am grateful for Dr. King’s words and actions and those of so many who worked for justice and helped to advance our country’s recognition of the dignity and equality of each person.

Continuing tensions and violence in our communities remind us that although significant progress has been made in erasing the stain of racism and the cycle of related violence, we still have much work to do. As we consider the gains of the past and the challenges before us, I urge each of us to pray for healing and peace as we work for ever greater communion. Every human life has profound dignity, rooted in our creation in the image of God. We are one family. Our communities will only reflect this dignity if we first turn to prayer to guide our actions toward ending years of isolation, disregard and conflict between neighbors. That which seems impossible can only be brought about through God and his powerful intervention in our hearts.

Dr. King reminded us of the power of prayer and action. I invite everyone, this day and every day, to implore God to make us his instruments in creating a more just society.

Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of [those] who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness.
Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words “division”, “hatred” and “war” be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that of...Peace...! Amen.
Pope Francis, excerpt from a prayer for peace for the Middle East, June 8, 2014

Collection for the Church in Latin America, opportunity to share faith  
Friday, January 16, 2015  2:12 PM
Washington, D.C. - The annual Collection for the Church in Latin America (CLA) is scheduled for the weekend of January 24-25, in parishes across the country. The collection supports pastoral projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that help Catholics to share their faith.

In 2014, the collection provided over $6.6 million for 440 grants to aid pastoral work in the region. Projects included the formation of lay leaders, seminarians, men and women religious, the development of youth ministry groups and the support of evangelization and catechetical activities. The CLA Collection also provided assistance for Latin American families to attend the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

The 2015 Church in Latin America collection campaign continues to call Catholics to share their faith, particularly within their families and in society. “In Latin America, Christian values remain important and many families are wounded by anti-religious hostility from the surrounding environment and by challenging relationships within the family,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. “Yet throughout the hemisphere, the Church continues to point the way to Christ as the source of hope and healing, both within the family and in society, and CLA grants support the Church in these efforts.”

In Brazil, a grant of $30,000 will support the network of Women’s Help Centers (Centro de Apoyo a la Mujer). These centers reach out by phone and online to offer women facing an unexpected pregnancy support and information. To date, the center claims 177,000 lives saved through their outreach. In Cuba, several grants are supporting the ongoing activities of dioceses in the country. “Supporting the Church in Cuba has been a focus of the Subcommittee and we are now glad to see that the Church is recognized as a significant and meaningful player in Cuban society,” said Bishop Elizondo.

In many areas of Latin America, rural communities may become isolated from the life of society and the Church. In Chile, a grant for $25,000 will train 90 young people as missionaries. They will attend workshops and receive training to go out to 30 parishes across seven dioceses to build community and include the rural youth in the life of the Church.

“This collection offers an opportunity for all Catholics in the United States to show solidarity with the Church in Latin America and to share their faith with those who have fewer financial resources,” Bishop Elizondo said. “It’s important that we give pastors, lay ministers and catechists the tools they need so that Catholics in Latin America can face any challenge and deepen their faith.” Since the annual collection is the primary source of funding for CLA grants, parishioners in the U.S. play an important role in the life of the Church in Latin America through their generosity.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the Collection for the Church in Latin America as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information on the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the projects it funds can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/. Other resources including a new radio public service announcement on the Collection for the Church in Latin America featuring Bishop Elizondo can be downloaded at www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/collection/index.cfm.

Thousands to pray for end to abortion at national prayer vigil for life marking 42nd commemmoration of Roe v. Wade  
Friday, January 16, 2015  2:02 PM
Washington, D.C. - Over 10,000 pilgrims, many of them youth from schools around the nation, are expected to gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Wednesday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m., the eve of the annual March for Life. The vigil coincides with the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973, which legalized abortion nationwide. Since the decision was handed down, an estimated 56 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

“The 2015 National Prayer Vigil for Life takes place at the heart of the bishops’ 9 Days for Life novena calling for an end to abortion and other offenses against human dignity, as well as healing for our violence-wounded nation,” said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “It’s held on the eve of the single largest annual civil rights demonstration, the March for Life. Together we stand in solidarity with the unborn and pregnant women alike, working in peace toward the day when all vulnerable lives enjoy the full protection of the law.”

“That is why we march, and that is why we pray,” she added.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by fellow cardinals and many of the nation's bishops and priests. Following the Opening Mass, the Vigil will continue in the Crypt Church of the Basilica with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer according to the Byzantine Rite, and holy hours led by seminarians from across the country from midnight until 6 a.m.

That same evening, The Catholic University of America will host more than 1,000 pilgrims overnight.

On Thursday, January 22, the Basilica will host Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m. in the Crypt Church and the Closing Mass at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the USCCB, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America.

Media are welcome to attend the Mass and speak with and interview pilgrims.

Media should check in at the Basilica’s Great Upper Church Sacristy and present press credentials to Jacquelyn Hayes or a designated Basilica press representative to receive a press pass. Advance registration is preferred. Footage from the Mass may also be obtained by satellite feed courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). For coordinates, or to register, contact Jacquelyn Hayes, director of communications for the Basilica, at 202-281-0615 or jmh@bnsic.org.

For more details on the overnight National Prayer Vigil for Life and other Washington, DC, Roe v. Wade events, visit www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events. To participate in the 9 Days for Life novena, visit www.9daysforlife.com.

Catholic Schools Week to be observed In dioceses across the country, January 25-31  
Thursday, January 15, 2015  3:26 PM
Washington, D.C. - National Catholic Schools Week 2015 will be observed in dioceses around the country January 25–31. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” focuses on the important academic, faith-building and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.

“Catholic schools are a vital aspect of the Church’s mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so an important aspect of our own teaching mission,” said Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, chairman of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Education. “Pope Francis has reminded us that the New Evangelization is not precisely about what we do and what programs we adopt; rather, it is about what God is doing, the graces we are being blessed with, and the Spirit that is always being poured-out over our ministry.”

About 2.1 million students are currently educated in nearly 6,600 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for the challenges of higher education and a competitive work environment. An estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school and 85 percent of Catholic school graduates attend college.

Archbishop Lucas also stressed the importance of reaching out to underserved populations.
“In these days of economic turmoil for so many families, a good education remains the single best way out of poverty for young people,” Archbishop Lucas said. “At the same time, we cannot forget, through the education and faith formation of children and youth, our Catholic schools are part of a solution to support families and to build productive lives for future generations.”

As part of this year’s activities, a live discussion on January 15 will address the importance of Catholic schools in the context of the New Evangelization, and will be available to diocesan and ministry groups through MyUSCCB. More information and registration instructions can be found at https://usccb.force.com/MN4__PublicEventRegistration?id=a11C0000006C7yzIAC. Social media messages with the hashtag #CSW15 are also encouraged during that week.

The observance of Catholic Schools Week began in 1974. Schools and parishes around the country will hold activities such as Masses, open houses, and pot luck gatherings to celebrate the communities they represent. Last year’s activities included nearly a thousand students who joined bishops, parents and teachers from Arizona dioceses in a rally at the state Capitol in Phoenix. Pastors from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, rang their church bells to mark National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools. And in Idaho, students from a school in Lewiston participated in a living rosary to pray for the nation.

More information on the Committee on Catholic Education and other resources are available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/ and www.ncea.org/our-services/catholic-schools-week.

Pope Names Franciscan Father Cheri Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans  
Thursday, January 15, 2015  2:48 PM
Washington, D.C. - Pope Francis has named Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri III, 62, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Bishop-elect Cheri is a member of the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor and currently serves as director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Illinois.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, January 12, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Fernand Cheri III was born January 28, 1952, in New Orleans. He studied at Notre Dame University, New Orleans, where he received a master’s of divinity in 1978, and at the Institute for Black Catholic Ministry at Xavier University, New Orleans. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans on May 20, 1978.

As a priest of the archdiocese, he served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes, New Orleans, and St. Joseph the Worker, Marrero, Louisiana, 1978-1984; pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, 1984-1985; pastor of St. Francis de Sales, New Orleans, 1985-1990; and administrator of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, New Orleans, 1990-1991.

In 1992, he entered the novitiate for the Order of Friars Minor, Sacred Heart Province, and made solemn profession in 1994. As a Franciscan, his assignments have included chaplain of Hales Franciscan High School, Chicago, 1994-1996; and pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nashville, Tennessee, 1996-2002. He was a member of the provincial council for the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart from 1999-2002.

From 2002-2007, he was assigned to St. Benedict the Black Friary in East St. Louis, Illinois, and taught high school in East St. Louis. He pursued continuing education from 2007-2008, and served as director of the Office of Friar Life in East St. Louis from 2008-2009, and as associate director of campus ministry at Xavier University, New Orleans, 2010-2011. Since 2011, he has served as director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, and as vicar of the Holy Cross Friary.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans comprises 4,208 square miles in the state of Louisiana and has a total population of 1,252,044 people, of which 500,818, or 40 percent, are Catholic. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond has headed the archdiocese since 2009. Its other auxiliary, Bishop Dominic Carmon, SVD, retired in 2006.

Bishops’ Conferences call human dignity basis for peace in the Holy Land  
Thursday, January 15, 2015  9:58 AM
Washington, D.C. - The path to peace in the Holy Land requires respect for the human rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians, said bishops from Europe, South Africa and North America, gathered in the Holy Land to pray for peace, January 15. The Co-Ordination of Episcopal Conference in Support of the Church of the Holy Land has met every January since 1998 to pray and act in solidarity with the Christian community in the Holy Land.

“After the failed negotiations and ensuing violence of 2014, we urge public officials to be creative, to take new approaches, to build bridges, not walls,” the bishops wrote in a statement signed by the 16 gathered representatives. “We must humanize the conflict by fostering more interaction between Israelis and Palestinians. Peace will only come when all parties respect the fact that the Holy Land is sacred to three faiths and home to two peoples.”

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, represented the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the gathering, which toured areas including Gaza and the Cremisan Valley.

“Many tens of thousands of families in Gaza lack adequate shelter. In the latest freezing weather, at least two infants died of exposure,” the bishops wrote. “The continuing blockade dramatically impedes rebuilding and contributes to desperation that undermines Israelis’ legitimate hope for security. It also creates intolerable levels of unemployment and pushes ordinary people into deeper poverty.”

The bishops cited the Cremisan Valley as a microcosm of the land conflict between Israel and Palestine and noted Pope Francis’ January 12 address to the Vatican Diplomatic Corps, in which he expressed “confident hope that negotiations between the two parties will once more resume, for the sake of ending violence and reaching a solution which can enable Palestinians and Israelis alike to live at last in peace within clearly established and internationally recognized borders, thus implementing the ‘two state solution’.”

Full text of the statement is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/church-in-the-holy-land-coordination-statement-2015-01-15.cfm

Bishop Oscar Cantú reiterates bishops’ support for dialogue over Iran’s nuclear program, urges patience  
Wednesday, January 14, 2015  3:11 PM
Washington, D.C. - Congress should avoid measures that jeopardize the prospects of a diplomatic solution over Iran’s nuclear program, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In his January 13 letter, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, reiterated his committee’s support for the United States and its P5 + 1 partners in their ongoing dialogue with Iran.

“Our Committee urges Congress not to take any actions that could undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multi-party agreement more difficult to achieve,” wrote Bishop Cantú. “Given the long history of acrimonious and tense relations, it is vital to continue to foster an environment in which all parties can build mutual confidence and trust in order to work towards a final accord that enhances genuine peace.”

Bishop Cantú noted Pope Francis’ expression of support for the negotiations the day before, as well as the Vatican’s statement affirmation of diplomacy in the matter from September 2013.

Full text of the letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/iran/upload/letter-to-congressional-leaders-from-bishop-cantu-on-iran-negotiations-2015-01-13.pdf

Pope Francis names Omaha pastor as Bishop of Grand Island, Nebraska  
Wednesday, January 14, 2015  11:34 AM
Washington, D.C. - Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Joseph G. Hanefeldt, 56, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha, Nebraska, bishop of Grand Island, Nebraska, and accepted the resignation of Bishop William J. Dendinger, 75, from pastoral governance of the diocese.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, January 14, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Joseph G. Hanefeldt was born April 25, 1958, in Creighton, Nebraska. He attended St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1976-1980, and pursued his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome from 1980-1984. He studied sacramental theology at the University of St. Anselm in Rome from 1983-1984. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha on July 14, 1984.

Following ordination, he served as parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish in West Point, Nebraska, 1984-1988, and St. Joan of Arc Parish in Omaha, 1988-1992. From 1992-1995, he served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Omaha and as moderator of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. He also served as director of the diocesan Pro-Life Office from 1991-2005. He served as pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Omaha, 1995-2007.

From 2007-2009, he was spiritual director of the Pontifical North American College in Rome. From 2009-2012, he served as director of the spiritual formation program at the Pontifical North American College. In December 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named him a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor. He has served as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Omaha since 2012.

William J. Dendinger was born in 1939 and ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1965. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Grand Island in 2004.

The Diocese of Grand Island comprises 40,000 square miles in the State of Nebraska and has a total population of 307,587 people, of which 45,744, or 15 percent, are Catholic.

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