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Posted on 09/23/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON - A historic, exploratory, ecumenical dialogue between representatives of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met September 14-16 in Washington. The meeting was convened because of initial discussions between the Rev. Dr. Harold D. Hunter, International Pentecostal Holiness Church liaison to the Greater Christian Community and member of PCCNA Christian Unity Commission Steering Committee, and Rev. Walter F. Kedjierski, Ph.D., executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the USCCB out of a shared desire to explore together a theological understanding of rituals and ordinances/sacraments. This was the first time the scholars representing the two groups met at a national level for a theological dialogue in what is expected to be a three-year exploratory dialogue that could lead to further dialogues exploring areas of convergence in the future.
At the first meeting, the theme of “Initiation” was discussed as scholarly papers were presented for discussion and reflection by those in attendance. Subsequent engagement of the two groups will focus on the themes of “Healing” and “Vocation.”
Presenters of the scholarly works at the meeting were as follows:
- Rev. Dr. Frederick L. Ware, associate dean, Howard University School of Divinity, Initiation (Water Baptism) in North American Pentecostalism
- Dr. Kimberly Belcher, Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Initiation from the Roman Catholic Perspective
Those in attendance at the meeting facilitated by Dr. Hunter and Rev. Kedjierski were:
- Rev. Dr. Tammy Dunahoo, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
- Rev. Dr. David Han, dean, Pentecostal School of Theology
- Dr. Martin Mittelstadt, Evangel University
- Rev. Dr. Leonardo Gajardo, St. Paul Catholic Community
- Rev. Andrew V. Menke, executive director, Secretariat for Divine Worship, USCCB
- Dr. Andrew Prevot, Department of Theology, Boston College
- Mr. Nathan Smith, Glenmary Home Missioners (in attendance as a meeting observer)
The first meeting was hosted by the USCCB at the Washington Retreat House. The attendees alternated in leading morning and evening prayers and had the opportunity to visit the , the , and . The next meeting will be hosted by PCCNA at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and is scheduled for September 14-16, 2022.
The PCCNA represents 40 million Christians through its member denominations and organizations serving in Canada, the United States, and Mexico (). The USCCB is the assembly of the hierarchy of Catholic bishops who jointly exercise pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ( ). The provisional dialogue is sponsored by the PCCNA’s Christian Unity Commission and the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
(202) 541-3200, @email
Rev. Kay Horner
Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America
(423) 790-0757, @email
U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman and President of Catholic Charities USA Urge Humane Treatment of Haitians, Other Migrants
Posted on 09/22/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Over the last several weeks, there has been a substantial increase in the number of migrants present in the Del Rio Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, roughly 145 miles west of San Antonio. The majority of these individuals are Haitian nationals, many of whom have been living in or traveling through Latin America for varying periods of time after fleeing widespread violence, political turmoil, natural disasters, and economic stagnation in their native Haiti. Conditions in Central and South America—including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—have forced migration northward to the United States. Recent videos and first-hand accounts from southern Mexico have depicted harrowing instances of mistreatment and abuse of migrants, particularly Haitians. Conditions for migrants in Del Rio have been grim, with daily temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and limited access to basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has responded to this situation by increasing personnel in the region, closing the Del Rio Port of Entry, and accelerating the removal of these migrants from the United States. This includes operating multiple deportation flights to Haiti, which remains crippled by the recent assassination of its president, a major earthquake, Tropical Storm Grace, and other challenges. It was these conditions in Haiti that led DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to recently for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allowing certain Haitians present in the United States since at least July 29, 2021, to remain and work in the United States for a period of eighteen months. Moreover, federal authorities continue to use Title 42 of the U.S. Code and expedited removal to quickly expel migrants, largely avoiding due process.
In response to these events, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, issued the following joint statement:
“Policies such as Title 42 and expedited removal all too often deny the reality of forced migration, disregard the responsibilities enshrined in domestic and international law, and undermine the vulnerability of those against whom they are applied. These are not hallmarks of a ‘fair, orderly, and humane’ immigration system.
“As a Church at the service of all God’s people, we embrace Christ’s call to welcome the newcomer and accompany them wherever they may be. During this National Migration Week—through which we prepare to join the Universal Church in marking the World Day for Migrants and Refugees—we are especially mindful of that obligation and saddened to see such a disregard for human dignity. After all, it is in the face of each migrant that we see the face of Christ.
“We call on the U.S. government to reassess its treatment of migrants in Del Rio and elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially Haitians, who face life-threatening conditions if returned to Haiti and possible discrimination if expelled to third countries. In addition to those services and works provided by many Catholic institutions, we offer our prayers for these migrants and all those seeking safety, security, and the opportunity to flourish in accordance with their God-given dignity.”
Last month, Pope Francis to take a shared interest in the plight of the Haitian people and join in solidarity to alleviate the consequences of recent events. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, released statements following and , conveying the prayers and support of the U.S. bishops for the Church and people of Haiti. Archbishop Gomez also to consider taking up a special collection in their dioceses to assist with immediate emergency needs and long-term rebuilding and recovery efforts in Haiti.
Posted on 09/22/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement on the passing of Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, bishop emeritus of Cleveland.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
“His Excellency, Anthony M. Pilla, bishop emeritus of Cleveland, passed away yesterday at the age of 88. He led the bishops’ conference in the 1990s as president, and those who worked with him have expressed that his deep love for the Church was evident through his faithful commitment and desire for unity within the Church which he expressed through his pastoral leadership of the Conference. I offer my prayers and sympathy to Bishop Pilla’s family, friends, and the many people whose lives he touched through his ministry over the years as a priest, and then bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.”
or Miguel Guilarte
Posted on 09/20/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—National Migration Week 2021 starts today and will conclude on September 26 in solidarity with the Holy See’s observation of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) on September 26.
The theme for this year’s WDMR is “Towards an Ever Wider ‘We’,” which Pope Francis drew from his encyclical . He emphasized in his that such a focus calls on us to ensure that “we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’” (Fratelli tutti, no. 35) and this universal “us” must become a reality first of all within the Church, which is called to cultivate communion in diversity. In general, National Migration Week is meant to emphasize the ways in which the migration question is important for the Catholic Church in the United States.
“The migration story is one of compassion, welcome, and unity,” said Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “It is about opening our hearts to others, and at this critical juncture we do not have to look far to see its practical application or find those with a need to migrate. The Holy Father calls us to embrace and express the Church’s catholicity—her universality—‘according to the will and grace of the Lord who promised to be with us always, until the end of the age.’ Let us, the Catholics of the United States, join together to answer his call and be especially mindful of it during this upcoming week.”
In previous years, National Migration Week was observed in January, but it was changed recently by the USCCB to align with the Vatican’s observation of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download on the .
Posted on 09/17/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce advanced portions of the reconciliation bill without removing abortion funding provisions or including the Hyde Amendment to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement following markup of the Build Back Better Act by the two House committees.
“Catholic bishops have been strong advocates for proposals at both the federal and state level that ensure all people will have access to affordable healthcare, including Medicaid expansion proposals. We are encouraged by several healthcare provisions in portions of the Build Back Better Act that will improve healthcare coverage for those in need, including enhanced postpartum coverage and other investments to address the high rates of preventable maternal deaths in the United States, expanded access to in-home care for family members, support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and pre-release Medicaid coverage for returning citizens.
“However, the legislative text advanced by the two House committees also funds abortion, the deliberate destruction of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters - those in the womb. This cannot be included. Congress can, and must, turn back from including taxpayer funding of abortion, in the Build Back Better Act. We urge all members of Congress and the Administration to work in good faith to advance important and life-saving healthcare provisions without forcing Americans to pay for the deliberate destruction of unborn human life.”
On September 7, five USCCB chairmen wrote to Congress outlining their priorities for the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Reconciliation bill. In this letter, the bishops reiterated that if this bill expands taxpayer funding of abortion the USCCB would oppose it.
Below are the letters that USCCB has sent to Congress on Budget Reconciliation:
- Letter to Congress on Federal Budget Reconciliation,
- Letter from Bishop Dorsonville to House Judiciary on Immigration Provisions in the Build Back Better Act,
- Letter from Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Naumann to House Energy and Commerce Committee on Healthcare Provisions in the Build Back Better Act,
U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Commends Inclusion of Legalization Provisions in House Judiciary Committee Reconciliation Measure
Posted on 09/15/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—On September 13, 2021, the House Committee on the Judiciary approved language to be included in the forthcoming budget reconciliation bill that, if enacted, would provide legalization with a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries, undocumented agricultural workers, and other undocumented essential workers. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will need to incorporate these provisions into the budget reconciliation bill and both chambers will need to pass the bill before these provisions can become law. This action by the Judiciary Committee follows a sent last week by five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which outlines the USCCB’s broad range of priorities for the full reconciliation bill, as well as a sent earlier this week by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in which he endorses the Judiciary Committee provisions.
In response to the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the legalization provisions, Bishop Dorsonville issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that the House Committee on the Judiciary has taken this important step, setting up an opportunity for many undocumented persons to receive legal status and a pathway to citizenship. Undoubtedly, Catholic social teaching will be implicated by many aspects of this budget reconciliation bill, but this is a welcome milestone for many families and the common good.
“For decades, the bishops of the United States have been proponents of such reforms, which promote integration and family unity. We cannot persist in relegating these members of our society to the margins, especially when we simultaneously depend on so many of them for our collective wellbeing.
“As we continue to work toward a more comprehensive reform of our immigration system—one that acknowledges and respects the God-given dignity of every person—we welcome this crucial step. We call on both the House and Senate to include these provisions in the final reconciliation bill and for Congress to pass a bill that helps all those on the margins of our society, strengthens families, protects religious freedom, promotes care for creation, and respects the rights and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.”
Posted on 09/10/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The full text of Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:
"As we remember the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, our hearts are with all those who lost loved ones on that day. We pray for the innocent lives that were lost, and we pray for those who grieve, and for the many who still bear the wounds from these attacks, physical, emotional and spiritual.
"It was a dark day of destruction and death, but we remember also the heroes — first-responders, firefighters, police, emergency medical and rescue teams. Many gave their lives in the service of their neighbors. This violence, borne of the worst evil in the human heart, also brought out the best in our humanity. We think today of the courage and generosity of countless ordinary people and the spirit of unity and authentic patriotism we saw in the days after these attacks.
"We honor the dead by the way we live. And today we pray for a new spirit of national pride and unity. May God inspire in all of us to seek fellowship, reconciliation, and common purpose.
"We ask God to bring comfort to those who mourn and peace to every heart that is consumed by hatred, and may he bring peace to our troubled world.
"We entrust our prayers and our nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the mother of each one of us."
President of U.S. Bishops Conference Announces Emergency Collection for Natural Disasters in Wake of Hurricane Ida
Posted on 09/9/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to consider taking up a voluntary special collection in their dioceses for the Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund. Donations to the special collection will assist with the humanitarian, long-term recovery, and significant Church needs stemming from Hurricane Ida which made landfall in the Gulf Coast and made its way inland as a tropical storm, causing damage across several states. Archbishop Gomez’s request follows another request he made several weeks ago to the bishops where he asked them to consider a voluntary special collection for Haiti in the aftermath of the August 14 earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace.
In his letter sent to bishops, Archbishop Gomez detailed that the funds collected in this special appeal would be used to support the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church, as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services. These official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church along with their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs and recovery efforts.
“Funds will be used in response to the hurricane and the impact of subsequent flooding and tornados and any other disasters that occur and will be distributed where they are most needed. However, if such purpose(s) become unnecessary, impractical, or impossible to fill, USCCB may use such contributions for other emergency disaster relief where it is most needed as determined by the Committee on National Collections using its emergency response protocol,” he said in his letter.
Recognizing the financial challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on parish and diocesan activities, but also acknowledging the great need for supporting the recovery efforts from the natural disasters that have hit the dioceses, Archbishop Gomez expressed hope in the generosity of the faithful and their care for those in need.
More information about the Office of National Collections and its support of emergency relief efforts can be found at https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections.
USCCB Releases Updated Edition of National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States
Posted on 09/9/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released the second edition of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. First promulgated in November 2004, the directory outlines the guidelines and directives to be used by dioceses in preparing or updating a diaconate program and formulating policies for the ministry and life of .
According to the from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, there are 18,075 permanent deacons in the United States; it is also reported that 97 percent of the world’s permanent deacons . The updated directory reflects on the wisdom gleaned from a broad spectrum of deacons and their formators. With a focus on the identity of the deacon as a “living icon of Christ the Servant within the Church,” and a minister of Word, Liturgy, and Charity in the community, the new edition reflects poignantly on fifty years since the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the United States. Developed by the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), the second edition includes norms that will take effect on June 9, 2022.
In a recent in Rome, Pope Francis described the spirituality of deacons as “availability inside and openness outside…available inside, from the heart, ready to say ‘yes,’ docile, without making one’s life revolve around one’s own agenda; and open outside, looking at everyone, especially those who are left out, those who feel excluded.” The Holy Father reminded those present that the Church should have “a heart that burns with love and serves with humility and joy.”
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations expressed gratitude for the update of the document. “I am grateful for the good work of the CCLV committee that has led to the publication of the updated National Directory. This document will serve as an instrumental resource for dioceses as they work to strengthen their permanent diaconate programs. It is my hope that permanent deacons and those who accompany them will be encouraged by the new edition of the Directory and be inspired to continue in their faithful service to the Church in imitation of Christ the Servant.”
The National Directory, 2nd edition is available for purchase on the USCCB store: .
Posted on 09/9/2021 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement on supporting pregnant and new mothers.
Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
“As chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to echo the words of the Texas Catholic bishops who expressed gratitude for the growing network of support for pregnant mothers and their families in Texas. Recently, the Texas legislature increased support for low-income mothers by 25 percent through their Alternatives to Abortion program, in addition to expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers.
“Another new Texas law, which has elicited far more controversy, seeks to use civil rather than criminal law to protect the lives of vulnerable children in the womb. Tragically, the President, Speaker of the House, and other public officials have responded with statements that ignore our nation’s sacred interest to protect the life and health of both mothers and their unborn children, instead responding with radical pledges to mobilize the full force of the federal government to block all efforts to protect the life of the child in the womb. And they seek to enshrine into federal law the failed policy of Roe v. Wade, which pits the welfare of mothers against their children.
“As Catholics, we are committed to working and praying for the conversion of minds and hearts so all people will respect the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Our national outreach, Walking with Moms in Need, helps parishes to identify and help provide the full range of needs for mothers and their unborn children, not only during pregnancy, but for years to come. We stand with Pope Francis, who reminds us that killing a child is never a solution to a problem. We advocate for surrounding both mother and her child with love and practical support as the humane response to a difficult pregnancy.”
To learn more about the Walking with Moms in Need nationwide initiative to serve pregnant and parenting mothers, please visit www.walkingwithmoms.com.