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U.S. Bishop Chairman Calls for Easter Response to Mass Shooting in Indianapolis

WASHINGTON — Following the mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“Tragically, we awoke to learn of another mass shooting today, this time in Indianapolis, that has reportedly left eight dead and several wounded. As we heard at Mass yesterday, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted’ (Ps. 34:19). We again need prayer and concrete acts of charity for the families, and for all victims of violent crime. 

“Again and again, we react in horror to these violent acts, but many cannot agree on how to stop them. The bishops continue to support a number of policy measures to try to reduce homicides and suicides.[1] In this Easter season, when we are reminded that there is always hope, even when we seem to be at a dead end, I would ask our political leaders, and all people of good will, once more to examine this issue and propose prudential solutions. It is good that President Biden and some leaders in Congress are drawing renewed attention to this. For a comprehensive and long-lasting path to peace, it will take bipartisan cooperation. In the spirit of Easter, let us pray for renewed reverence for the gift of life, and faith that by the grace of God, we can always begin again and work towards peace.”  

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

 

[1] See, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, “Responses to the Plague of Gun Violence,” Address to the General Assembly of Bishops in Baltimore (Nov. 11, 2019).  https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/violence/upload/Remarks-Bishop-Dewane-Responses-to-the-Plague-of-Gun-Violence-11-11-2019.pdf

 

Statement of the U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee Chairman on Biden Administration’s proposed rule on the Title X program

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a proposed rule to reverse “The Protect Life Rule,” a regulation issued by the Trump Administration in 2019 to clearly separate abortion from family planning in the federal Title X family planning program. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement expressing profound disappointment over this action:

“This policy change will allow the Title X program to become an indirect funding avenue for abortion providers. In spite of explicit prohibitions in Federal law and clear congressional intent that abortion may not be a part of this program, it has repeatedly been coopted by abortion supporters as a funding stream for organizations, programs, and facilities that directly promote and provide abortions.

“While the USCCB has always had strong objections to government promotion and funding of contraceptives, we have also long supported clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs and facilities where abortion is a method of family planning. This proposed rule is terrible policy; it would reintegrate abortion into what is supposed to be a pre-pregnancy family planning program. I strongly urge the Biden Administration to suspend this proposed rule and leave the Title X program as it was intended and authorized to be – a program entirely separate from abortion.”

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee Chairman on Chemical Abortion Pill Policy Change

WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that they will no longer be enforcing the “in-person dispensing requirement” for the chemical abortion pills during the remainder of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This requirement was put in place by public health officials over twenty years ago, under President Bill Clinton, as a necessary precondition to ensure that pregnant women do not have contraindications that would make the abortion pills even more unsafe and possibly deadly for the woman. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

“It is difficult to see the FDA’s decision to not enforce important safety protocols as anything other than callous capitulation to the requests of abortion activists without regard for the health and safety of the women involved. An in-person evaluation by a medical professional is necessary to accurately determine the age of the baby (abortion pills are only approved for use in the first 70 days), whether the pregnancy is ectopic (which the woman has no way of knowing on her own), and to test and treat for Rh-incompatibility between mother and baby. Without this information and proper treatment, a woman’s health, future fertility, and life are placed in serious jeopardy. With this decision, not only are women being sold the lie that abortion will solve their problems, but also that chemical abortion is a safe and easy way to go about it. By pushing women away from medical oversight, abortion advocates are luring women into isolated, unsafe, and medically unwise decisions. The inalienable dignity of women and their unborn children deserves so much more.”

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Catholics Can Now Support National Pastoral and Charitable Programs with #iGiveCatholic

WASHINGTON - Catholics can now support eight programs administered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through the online giving platform #iGiveCatholic Together.

The programs being supported provide material aid to people of all faiths and support Catholic ministries in regions where the Church cannot sustain itself. Annual national collections have been the primary source of funding for these vital programs since their inception. People can learn more about each of the eight programs at https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections.

“These programs help those living on the margins of society and those who are spiritually isolated, said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. “The need is great because gifts to some of these programs plummeted by more than half in 2020 with the COVID pandemic. These programs rely on the modest gifts that make a tremendous impact in the lives of people who are hungry, persecuted, or in spiritual need.”

“#iGiveCatholic makes it simple to do what our Lord has told us to do: to love God and our neighbors,” Archbishop Etienne said. “Gifts to these USCCB programs are a tangible testimony of the love and mercy of Catholic people across the United States. Together, we are one Church with one mission.”

#iGiveCatholic is the nonprofit parent organization of #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, the U.S. Catholic Church’s Giving Day. The newly established #iGiveCatholic Together is a year-round platform to connect the generosity of faithful donors with ministries that impact our communities locally, nationally, and around the world.

#iGiveCatholic Together expands opportunities to give, supplementing the online and e-giving platforms of dioceses and parishes. “As a gesture of solidarity and support of the U.S. bishops’ efforts, #iGiveCatholic covered the costs associated with the development of program giving pages on the platform,” Archbishop Etienne shared. “The Committee on National Collections is tremendously grateful for this generosity and for #iGiveCatholic’s ongoing support of our efforts to engage Catholics in the outreach efforts of our Church.”

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Monsignor Kieran Harrington of Diocese of Brooklyn Named National Director of the National Pontifical Mission Societies

WASHINGTON – Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington of the Diocese of Brooklyn, has been named the new national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The appointment was made by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Monsignor Harrington succeeds Father Andrew Small, OMI, who is completing his second five-year term.

Monsignor Harrington has served as vicar for communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn since being appointed to the role in 2006 by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. In this role, Monsignor Harrington has been responsible for overseeing the diocesan public information office, government affairs and public policy office, NET, the cable station of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and The Tablet newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Monsignor Harrington is the rector of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Brooklyn and graduated with honors from St. John’s University with a degree in philosophy. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and a Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

“I am humbled by the trust placed in me to serve the Church in this most important area of missionary evangelization,” said Monsignor Harrington. “I look forward to working with the bishops and dioceses to support the pastoral work of the pontifical missions.”

Father Small warmly welcomed the news of Monsignor Harrington’s appointment, adding, “Having gotten to know Monsignor Kieran over the last ten years, I am delighted that someone of such ability and passion has been chosen as the next National Director of the Holy Father’s mission societies.”

The Pontifical Mission Societies are organizations that are under the direction of the Holy Father. Their purpose is the promotion of a universal missionary spirit among all baptized Catholics. There are four societies: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These four societies each received the title “pontifical” in 1922 to indicate their status as official instruments of the pope and of the universal Catholic Church. The national director heads the four societies in the United States and oversees the World Missions Sunday Collection, which is taken up on the third Sunday of October each year. For more information, please visit www.onefamilyinmission.org.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston and Appoints the Bishop Richard Pates as Apostolic Administrator

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner from the Office of Bishop of Crookston and has appointed Most Reverend Richard E. Pates as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Diocese of Crookston.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Diocese of Crookston is comprised of 17,210 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 277,689, of which 34,649 are Catholic.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Pope Francis Names Father Daniel Felton as Bishop of Duluth

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Daniel J. Felton as Bishop of Duluth. Bishop-elect Felton is a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and currently serves as a vicar general and moderator of the curia for Green Bay. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Duluth has been a vacant see since December 2019.

Father Felton was born February 5, 1955 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He attended St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Psychology (1977) and a Master’s degree in Theology at St. John University in Collegeville, Minnesota (1981). He received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Dogmatic Theology and a Master’s degree in Social Communications from the Gregorian University in Rome (1990). He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Green Bay on June 13, 1981.

Bishop-elect Felton’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Blessed Holy Innocents in Manitowoc (1981-1985); director of affiliate affairs for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in New York (1985-1987); correspondent for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in Rome (1987-1990); pastor of St. Raphael parish in Oshkosh (1990-2004); pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Manitowoc (2004-2011); and pastor of the combined parishes in Mackville, Greenville, and Freedom, Wisconsin (2011-2014). Since 2014, Father Felton has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Green Bay.

Bishop-elect Felton’s pastoral ministry also includes assignments as a member of the college of consultors, the presbyteral council, the diocesan finance committee, and the personnel board. He has also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Duluth is comprised of 22,354 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 448,983 of which 46,763 are Catholic.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John O’Hara, 75, as Auxiliary Bishop of New York.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Situation at the U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON- The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries.

Their joint statement follows:

As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly, and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.

For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders, and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions.  “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”

Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.

We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit   to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons, and the clergy.

One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.

U.S. Bishops:

-Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville

Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration

-Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz

Bishop of El Paso

-Most Reverend James A. Tamayo

Bishop of Laredo

-Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger

Bishop of Tucson

-Most Reverend Daniel E. Flores

Bishop of Brownsville

-Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino

Bishop of Las Cruces

-Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy

Bishop of San Diego

-Most Reverend Michael J. Sis

Bishop of San Angelo

-Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS

Archbishop of San Antonio

Mexican Bishops:

-Monsignor José Guadalupe Torres Campos

Bishop of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

Encargado de la Dimensión Episcopal de Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (DEPMH)

-Monsignor Jesús José Herrera Quiñones

Bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua

-Monsignor Alonso Garza Treviño

Bishop of Piedras Negras, Coahuila

-Monsignor Enrique Sánchez Martínez

Bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

-Monsignor Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía

Bishop of Matamoros, Tamaulipas

-Monsignor Hilario González García

Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

 

USCCB Catholic Home Missions Appeal Strengthens the Church in the United States

WASHINGTON - Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supported ministry in U.S. dioceses and parishes that, even in the best of times, are challenged to sustain worship and outreach activities without financial help. These “home mission” dioceses rely on annual funding from this collection to help provide basic pastoral services.

This year’s Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be taken up in most parishes on April 25, 2021. Donations may also be made through parish e-offertory platforms, diocesan websites, or by mail. Because many parishioners were unable to attend Mass for most of last year due to COVID-related restrictions there was a significant decline in giving to the 2020 Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which is trending down by more than half.

“Grants may need to be cut by 10-15 percent,” said Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “Funded dioceses can hardly absorb such an additional loss of funding. I pray that parishioners will support the appeal when it is taken up in their parish. Your generosity is a tangible expression of unity in the Holy Spirit with our brothers and sisters in home mission dioceses.”

In the Diocese of Kalamazoo, migrant farmworkers who pick fruit such as apples, peaches, and berries in that area of Michigan have been essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their only visitors – apart from public health officials – have been pastoral ministers funded through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal.

“Thanks to you, the Church has offered them food, prayer, and hope. In the darkness of the pandemic, your support enabled Catholic parishes to be bright lights of charity and solidarity,” Bishop McKnight said. “Through your gifts to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, these workers have seen the face of Jesus through our Church.”

Currently, 87 dioceses and eparchies in the U.S. and its territories receive support through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. Due to poverty and a small, often scattered Catholic population, they cannot sustain ministries such as evangelization, religious education, seminary formation, or ministry to ethnic communities on their own. Dioceses funded through this appeal account for about 40 percent of all U.S. dioceses, from Alaska to the Mississippi Delta to the Virgin Islands and remote Pacific Islands.

In the Diocese of Fargo, gifts support the Young Disciples Apostolate, which trains young adult missionaries to run Catholic Vacation Bible Schools and youth ministry in isolated rural parishes of North Dakota. The children and teens, in turn, often evangelize their parents. Of the 220 missionaries trained by the program over 20 years, 17 are now priests, 25 are in seminary, 20 entered religious life, and many more are parish lay ministers.

The Syriac Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, home to many Catholic Iraqi refugees who fled anti-Christian persecution and arrived in the U.S. with nothing, could not survive without this collection.

“Your support . . . is more than just generosity, it is a witness of the faith, the Christian faith of the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Yousif Habash of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, which encompasses the entire United States. “I have never known any nation more generous than the American nation. With your support we have this wonderful witness that we are one Church, as we are one nation under God. We are one body of Jesus Christ.”

The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. To learn more about the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, visit www.usccb.org/home-missions.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200