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Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Bishops from Texas Dioceses Issue Statement on the Death of Jakelin Caal Maquin

WASHINGTON--On December 8, seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died in the custody of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She and her father had been apprehended the evening of December 6 in a remote stretch of the U.S./Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, along with Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso and Most Reverend Gerald Kicanas, Administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces, issued the following statement:

“We are extremely distressed at the news of seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin’s death shortly after crossing the U.S./Mexico border with her father and turning themselves into CBP in search of asylum in the United States. Our prayers and heart-felt condolences go out to Jakelin’s family. The death of a child is always a moment of great sadness, a jarring disruption of the natural order of life. From this tragedy, we must remember this profound human consequence of our failed immigration policies, including also that restrictions on the flow of asylum seekers at the border can push more families to seek entrance between ports of entry which place them at greater risk. Jakelin’s death is a tragic reminder of the desperate situation that many fleeing violence, persecution, and poverty face - both in their home countries and now at our border.

We welcome the investigation of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. We recognize the work and commitment of CBP officers to ensure our safety, but urge CBP leadership to critically review policies regarding the care of vulnerable populations in their custody. We pledge our assistance to help CBP do so.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, himself a child whose parents were told “there is no room,” we continue to recognize and affirm that seeking asylum and protection is legal. As a nation, we have the obligation to receive distraught individuals and families with welcome, compassion, and humane treatment. We must heed the words of Christ that “Whatsoever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Migration, Bishop Mark J. Seitz, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities Calls NIH’s Dr. Francis Collins Defense of Using Baby Body Parts from Abortions for Research “Deeply Disturbing”

WASHINGTON—Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently defended current NIH research that uses the body parts of babies destroyed by elective abortions and said that fetal tissue research “will continue to be the mainstay.”

Greg Schleppenbach, Associate Director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, responds with the following statement:

“Dr. Collins’ comments are deeply disturbing. Research using fetal tissue from aborted babies is unethical and should not continue under his leadership. The use of fetal remains procured from abortions can be interpreted as legitimizing abortion by saying it is an important source for research. It also requires close collaboration with the abortion industry. Every abortion stops a beating heart, unjustly denying a defenseless human being of her or his life. There is nothing pro-life about further violating these aborted babies by scavenging, even commodifying, their body parts for use in research. The remains of aborted babies are human remains and should be given the full respect they deserve. Millions of pro-life Americans find such research morally offensive and do not want their tax dollars to be used to pay for it.

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to both pursue excellence in research and to avoid violating the rights and dignity of nascent human beings. Dr. Collins can and should lead the NIH in a way that honors both ends, incentivizing research that all Americans can support.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, Greg Schleppenbach, Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health (NIH), elective abortions, research, fetal tissue, abortion industry, unethical, commodifying, human remains, tax dollars, pro-life, human life, human dignity, pro-life, human beings

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Thousands of U.S. Catholics Prepare for Launch of “9 Days for Life” Campaign on January 14th

WASHINGTON—On January 14, 2019, thousands of Catholics across the country will join in prayer for “9 Days for Life.” The prayer campaign, sponsored by the Committee on Pro Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, leads up to the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The novena and day of prayer are a time of recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.

The overarching intention of the novena is that all human life will be respected. Each day of the “9 Days for Life” novena highlights a related topic and provides a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions.

Participants can subscribe to receive the daily prayers at www.9daysforlife.com.

WHO:            Since 2013 over 100,000 Catholics have joined together to pray this annual novena for the respect of human life sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Through prayer and sacrifice, we can help build a culture of life.

 

WHEN:         9 Days for Life will run Thursday, January 14 – Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

 

WHAT:          9daysforlife.com is the dedicated website for joining the novena and for accessing resources. Participants can receive the novena by downloading the free 9 Days for Life app, or by subscribing to daily emails or text messages. (A printable version is also available online.) Those who join the campaign are invited to pray a multi-faceted novena that includes a new intention, brief reflection, related information, and suggested actions for each day.

 

WHERE:       For additional information and updates on ways to get involved, please visit 9daysforlife.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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About the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. This purpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to the episcopal conferences which are established all over the world for the same purpose. For more information, visit www.usccb.org and www.usccb.org/prolife. Follow the USCCB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

 

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Approve $1 Million in Funding for Leadership Development and Pastoral Support in Africa

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has approved 33 grants totaling $1 million in funding to support pastoral projects for episcopal conferences and dioceses across the African continent. The grants were approved at the Subcommittee's meeting on November 11 in Baltimore.

Projects slated to receive funding through the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa include the following:

● Strengthening the availability and accessibility of Natural Family Planning services in Uganda
● Creation of a continent-wide platform of Catholic student action movements, through the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM)
● Ongoing leadership and child-protection formation of local clergy in Zambia
● Integration of Catholic social teaching during priestly formation in the African Great Lakes region

"The Solidarity Fund enriches the Church in both Africa and the United States by building relationships of mutual solidarity through pastoral support for our sisters and brothers in Africa,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of the faithful who give generously to the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and who continue to pray for our universal Church."

The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, Solidarity Fund, Committee on National Collections, Natural Family Planning, Uganda, Zambia, Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa, Madagascar.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Approve $4 Million in Grants to the Church in Latin America, Including Funding for Youth Ministry, Catechesis and Natural Disaster Recovery Assistance

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded over $3.2 milllion in funding for 173 grants to support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, and nearly $800,000 toward seven grants for recovery and reconstruction projects in areas devastated by earthquakes in Haiti and Mexico and Hurricanes Matthew, Maria, and Irma. The grants were approved at the Subcommittee's meeting on November 10, 2018, in Baltimore.

The Subcommittee approved funding for several projects in many countries of the region. For example, projects supporting lay formation and leadership were funded in Cuba and Ecuador; evangelization and catechesis projects were supported in Uruguay and El Salvador. Other projects were funded to support to indigenous populations in Brazil and Venezuela.

The Subcommittee also approved grants to support youth ministry and travel for delegates from various Latin American countries, including Haiti, Peru and Cuba, to participate in World Youth Day in Panama City, Panama, January 22-27, 2019.

“The Collection for the Church in America has an immeasurable impact on people throughout the region, particularly among the most vulnerable,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Chairman for the Committee on National Collections. “I sincerely thank the Catholics of the United States for their generosity to, and solidarity with, our sisters and brothers in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Pastoral grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, taken in many dioceses across the United States on the fourth Sunday in January. The emergency and reconstruction grants were awarded from various special collections called by the USCCB.

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. It allocates revenue received from the Collection for the Church in Latin America as grants across Latin America and the Caribbean. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the many grants it funds, the latest list of the approved projects, as well as resources to promote it across the country, can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, Caribbean, Haiti, Mexico, Hurricanes Matthew, Maria, Irma, Peru, Cuba, World Youth Day, Panama.
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Approve $4 Million in Aid for Ministries in Central and Eastern Europe

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved $4 million in funding for 143 projects at the Subcommittee's meeting on November 11, 2018, in Baltimore.

Central and Eastern Europe projects receiving funding include:

● Charitable support for single mothers in areas of Armenia experiencing high emigration rates of men. Through Armenian Caritas, mothers and children in need will receive food, hygienic items, school supplies, fuel, medicine, and other necessities.
● The construction of a rehabilitation center in Georgia to provide services to children, people with disabilities, and others living in poverty. The center, which will be managed by the Georgian branches of the Camillians and the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Christiana, will offer rehabilitation, mental health, and speech therapy services to the people of South Georgia and northern Armenia.
● Financial support to help young people from Latvia participate in World Youth Day in Panama City, Panama, in January 2019.
● Translation of Papal encyclicals and other important Catholic social teaching documents into modern Ukrainian, many for the first time. The translated documents will be published in both printed and electronic format and presented through a series of workshops in different areas of Ukraine.
● Support for the development of the most rapidly growing seminary in Eastern Europe in Kyiv, Ukraine, where the number of seminarians has increased from 39 to 79 in the last five years.

“Our support for the Catholics of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union helps rebuild and restore the faith where people continue to feel the repercussions of decades of communism and oppression,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Chairman of the Committee on National Collections.

The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Central and Eastern Europe funds projects in 28 countries to build the pastoral capacity of the Church in these places. The funds collected in the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe are used to support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects.

Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different dates. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Armenia, Armenian Caritas, Camillians, Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Christiana, Ukraine, World Youth Day, Papal encyclicals.
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Approve $9.5 Million in Grants to U.S. Mission Dioceses and Eparchies, Including Funding for Youth Ministry, Seminarian Formation and Outreach to Migrants

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions approved $9.5 million in grants to assist 79 dioceses and eparchies at the subcommittee's meeting October 9-10, in Spokane, Washington.

“Many dioceses and eparchies throughout the United States cannot provide basic pastoral services without outside assistance. Through the generosity of Catholics to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, we can help strengthen the Church here at home,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Chairman for the Committee on National Collections.

Subcommittee grants assist dioceses and eparchies that would otherwise struggle due to difficult geography, impoverished populations, and limited resources. Catholic Home Missions funding supports various pastoral programs, including religious education and youth ministry, priestly and religious formation, prison ministries, and lay ministry training.

Projects approved for funding include the following:

● Migrant Ministry in the Diocese of Stockton, California, to provide pastoral care and evangelization to thousands of farmworkers and their families.
● Seminarian Education and Formation in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, to develop vocations, provide personal assistance with discernment, and support current seminarians as they prepare for ordained ministry.
● Mission and Ministry Fund in the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, to help rural and mountain parishes develop their missionary presence and action in Appalachian Kentucky.
● Young Adult Ministry/Community College Outreach in the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, to extend outreach ministries to young people between the ages of 18-39 through events, mission trips, and other programs for prayer and fellowship.
● Manua Mission in the Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, American Samoa, to provide missionary services and pastoral support to children and families who are isolated from the main island of Tutuila and live in the outlying islands of Manua.

The Subcommittee’s grants are funded by donations to an annual collection, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. The national date for the annual appeal is the fourth Sunday in April.
More information on Catholic Home Missions can be found online at www.usccb.org/home-missions.

 

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, Spokane, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, Migrant Ministry, Diocese of Stockton, Seminarian Education and Formation, Diocese of Amarillo, Mission and Ministry Fund, Diocese of Lexington, Young Adult Ministry/Community College Outreach, Diocese of Dodge City, Manua Mission, Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, American Samoa.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Applauds Enactment of Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act

WASHINGTON—Today, after more than two years of hard work and bipartisan cooperation in the US Congress, the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) applauds the enactment of the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390).

This critical legislation will direct humanitarian relief to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria and hold ISIS perpetrators accountable.

“Today is a signal of hope for the critically vulnerable of this region. We thank Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), the bill’s author, and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), its lead cosponsor, and President Donald Trump for signing it into law,” says Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

“Less than 200,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from 1.4 million in 2002 and 500,000 in 2013, before ISIS swept through the region on its genocidal campaign. Many of the remaining Christians in Iraq are displaced, mostly in Erbil in the Kurdistan region, and need desperate assistance to return to their homes and stay in Iraq. After the ISIS invasion, 60,000 Yazidis fled to Europe, and of the 550,000 Yazidis still in Iraq, 280,000 remain displaced and only 20 percent have been able to return to their historic homeland of Sinjar, according to the Yazdi organization Yazda.

The Catholic Church has consistently raised its voice in support of the most vulnerable who are facing persecution and displacement in the Middle East and around the world. Pope Francis has denounced the persecution, torture and killing of Christians in the Middle East, calling it a "form of genocide" that must end, and lamenting the wider conflicts that have put so many in danger. USCCB has joined with Pope Francis in condemning the actions of those who would persecute others solely for reasons of their faith and ethnicity.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., President Donald J. Trump, Chris Smith (R-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Committee on International Justice and Peace, genocide, Iraq, Syria, Christians, ISIS, Erbil, Yazidis, persecution, displacement, conflict, fait, ethnicity, humanitarian relief

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Presidentes de Comités de la USCCB reciben con agrado las modificaciones al "impuesto de estacionamiento" pero buscan la derogación completa por parte del Congreso

WASHINGTON— La guía promulgada ayer por el Departamento del Tesoro es un "esfuerzo para aliviar el 'impuesto de estacionamiento’”, pero “se necesita un alivio total por parte del Congreso", según expresaron el Arzobispo Joseph E. Kurtz de Louisville, Presidente del Comité de Libertad Religiosa de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB) y el Obispo Frank J. Dewane, de Venice, Presidente del Comité de Justicia Doméstica y Desarrollo Humano de USCCB.  

La declaración conjunta del Arzobispo Kurtz y el Obispo Dewane es la siguiente:

"Apreciamos el esfuerzo de la Administración para aliviar el 'impuesto de estacionamiento' al permitir que los empleadores, incluidas muchas organizaciones sin fines de lucro, reduzcan retroactivamente sus gastos de estacionamiento no deducibles. Pero se necesita un alivio total del Congreso para revocar este impuesto injusto. Como nosotros, junto con muchos líderes ecuménicos e interreligiosos, expresamos en una carta conjunta enviada al Congreso el mes pasado: ‘A menos que sea revocada, esta disposición requerirá que decenas de miles de casas de adoración presenten las declaraciones de impuestos por primera vez en la historia de nuestra nación e impondrá una nueva carga impositiva a los lugares de culto y las organizaciones sin fines de lucro’”.

La carta conjunta del 13 de noviembre se puede encontrar aquí: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-on-Parking-Lot-Tax-November-13-2018.pdf

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Palabras clave: Arzobispo Joseph Kurtz, Obispo Frank Dewane, Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, impuesto de estacionamiento, Departamento del Tesoro, libertad religiosa.

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Contactos de prensa:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 

Bishop Chairmen Express Relief at Modifications to “Parking Lot Tax” But Seek Full Repeal

WASHINGTON–The guidance promulgated yesterday by the Treasury Department is an “effort to alleviate the ‘parking lot tax,’” but “full relief is needed from Congress,” according to Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Archbishop Kurtz and Bishop Dewane offered the following joint statement in response:

“We appreciate the Administration’s effort to alleviate the ‘parking lot tax’ by allowing employers, including many non-profits, to retroactively reduce their nondeductible parking expenses. But full relief is needed from Congress to fix this unjust tax. As we, along with many ecumenical and interreligious leaders, noted in a coalition letter to Congress last month: ‘Unless repealed, this provision will require tens of thousands of houses of worship to file tax returns for the first time in our nation’s history and will impose a new tax burden on houses of worship and nonprofit organizations.’”

The November 13 coalition letter can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-on-Parking-Lot-Tax-November-13-2018.pdf

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Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Frank Dewane, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, parking lot tax, Treasury Department, religious liberty, religious freedom

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200