US Bishops Communications

WASHINGTON—As the U.S. House of Representatives appears poised to vote on the American Health Care Act (HB 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, stressed that remaining flaws in the bill will harm poor and vulnerable people and called on members to insist upon changes.

"It is deeply disappointing to many Americans that, in modifying the American Health Care Act to again attempt a vote, proponents of the bill left in place its serious flaws, including unacceptable modifications to Medicaid that will endanger coverage and affordability for millions of people, according to reports," said Bishop Dewane. "Sadly, some of the recently proposed amendments—especially those designed to give states flexibility—lack apparent safeguards to ensure quality of care. These additions could severely impact many people with pre-existing conditions while risking for others the loss of access to various essential coverages."

In an earlier letter sent to Representatives on March 17, Bishop Dewane had urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to correct provisions that would place a per capita cap on Medicaid funding to states, as well as to ensure adequate, quality coverage for those who are part of the recent Medicaid expansion, among other things. Bishop Dewane also called for conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery or coverage of health care services and against mandates like the contraception and sterilization regulatory requirement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The American Health Care Act includes some praiseworthy features, among them restricting funding which flows to abortion providers and prohibiting federal funding for abortion or the purchase of plans that cover it," noted Bishop Dewane. "But the AHCA, as it now stands, creates new and grave challenges for poor and vulnerable people, including immigrants. The House must not pass the legislation as it is. Members should insist on changes, especially for the sake of those who are struggling in our communities."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA), respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty, immigration.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Posted: April 27, 2017, 3:27 pm

WASHINGTON–Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the announcement by the Democratic National Committee's chair pledging support only for pro-abortion candidates. Calling the pledge "very disturbing," Cardinal Dolan urged party members to "challenge their leadership to recant this intolerant position."

Full statement follows:

"The recent pledge by the Democratic National Committee chair to support only candidates who embrace the radical unrestricted abortion license is very disturbing. The Democratic Party platform already endorses abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, even forcing taxpayers to fund it; and now the DNC says that to be a Democrat—indeed to be an American—requires supporting that extreme agenda.

True solidarity with pregnant women and their children transcends all party lines. Abortion doesn't empower women. Indeed, women deserve better than abortion.

In the name of diversity and inclusion, pro-life and pro-'choice' Democrats, alike, should challenge their leadership to recant this intolerant position."

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Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Democratic National Committee, DNC, pro-life, federal funding, abortion.

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Posted: April 26, 2017, 12:33 pm

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Venedykt (Valery) Aleksiychuk, M.S.U., as bishop of the Eparchy of St Nicholas in Chicago for Ukrainians, in Illinois. Prior to the appointment, Bishop Aleksiychuk was an auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Lviv, Ukraine.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, April 20, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Valery Aleksiychuk was born January 16, 1968, in Borshchivka, Ukraine. He pursued seminary studies and was ordained a priest on March 29, 1992. He was named auxiliary bishop of Lviv on August 3, 2010, and ordained a bishop on September 5, 2010.

The Eparchy of St Nicholas in Chicago for Ukrainians has been a sede vacante since August 2016; it has a population of about 11,000 Ukrainian Catholics. About 70 priests and deacons serve the eparchy in 46 parishes and mission stations in 16 states throughout the United States.

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Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk, Eparchy of St Nicholas in Chicago for Ukrainians, Eastern Rite, Byzantine-Slavonic, Ukrainian Catholics, eparchy, mission stations, Ukraine, Archeparchy of Lviv

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Norma Montenegro Flynn
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Posted: April 20, 2017, 8:26 am

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Martin Amos, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, and has named Monsignor Thomas R. Zinkula, to succeed him.  Monsignor Zinkula is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, currently serving as rector of St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College in Dubuque.  

Pope Francis has also named Father John P. Dolan as Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego. Father Dolan is a priest of the Diocese of San Diego where he currently serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish.  

The resignation and appointments were publicized in Washington, April 19, 2017, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate, Msgr. Thomas Zinkula, 60, was born April 19, 1957, in Mount Vernon, Iowa. He attended Catholic University in Washington, DC, where he earned a master's in Theology in 1990. In 1998, he received a licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul's University, Ottawa, Canada.  He also earned a law degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and he holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, economics and business from Cornell College in Mount Vernon. 

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1990, for the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Assignments after ordination included: assistant pastor, St. Columbkille, Dubuque, 1990-1993; assistant pastor at Joseph the Worker,  Dubuque, 1993-1996; a student of Canon Law at St. Paul University in Ottawa from 1996-1998; pastor of St. Joseph in Rickardsville and sacramental priest for the parishes of St. Francis in Balltown, and SS. Peter and Paul in Sherill from 1998-2002; judge at the Archdiocesan Tribunal from 1998-2000; judicial vicar, 2000-2010; pastor, Holy Ghost, Dubuque 2005-2011; episcopal vicar for the region of Cedar Rapids, 2012-2014; and rector of St. Pius X Seminary in Dubuque, 2014-present.

Bishop Amos was ordained a priest in 1968.  He served as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland in the state of Ohio from 2001 to 2006, and then as the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Davenport since 2006.

The Diocese of Davenport is comprised of 11,438 square miles in the state of Iowa and has a total population of 792,199 of which 97,202, or 12 percent, are Catholic.

Auxiliary bishop-designate, Father John Dolan was born in San Diego, June 8, 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood on July 1, 1989 for the Diocese of San Diego.

Fr. Dolan holds a Master of Arts degree in Liturgy from St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California.

Assignments after ordination included: parochial vicar, Saint Michael's Parish, San Diego from 1989-1991; associate pastor, Santa Sofia Parish, El Cajon, 1991-1992; director of vocations, 1992-1994; pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Oceanside, 1996-2001; pastor, St. Michael's Parish, San Diego, 2001-2002; pastor, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Chula Vista, 2002-2014; pastor, Saint Michael's Church, Poway, 2014-2016; episcopal vicar for the clergy and pastor, St. John the Evangelist Parish, San Diego 2016-present.

The Diocese of San Diego is comprised of 8,852 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 3,285,849 of which 1,012,486 or 30 percent are Catholic.  The Bishop of the San Diego Diocese is Robert W. McElroy.

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Keywords: bishop appointments, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, Bishop Martin Amos, Bishop-designate Thomas Zinkula, Archdiocese of Davenport, Iowa, Auxiliary bishop designate, Rev. John Dolan, Diocese of San Diego, Bishop Robert W. McElroy

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Posted: April 19, 2017, 8:38 am

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following Easter message as we celebrate the joy of Christ's Resurrection.

A video version of Cardinal DiNardo's Easter message is also available at:  https://www.facebook.com/usccb/videos/10154506949682285/

Full statement follows:

"Through Christ's passion, His burial in the tomb and His glorious resurrection, we come to realize the enormity of the Lord's sacrifice for us. We may feel unworthy of His love who paid so high a price for our salvation. Let us not be afraid. Let's allow ourselves to be taken – even seized – with Easter joy. As we proclaim on Easter Sunday, 'Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.'

In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, Jesus says the shepherd calls his own sheep by name, 'I am the Good Shepherd and I know mine.' In chapter 20, how much fear and doubt must have gripped Mary of Magdala as she stood by the tomb? There, it was Jesus who rescued Mary from her fears and darkness by calling her name. Listen carefully.  Mary thought she had discovered the Risen Lord, but it was the Risen Lord who discovered her. Jesus calls out to each of us by name today as He did the very first Easter Sunday. His promise fulfilled. His word brings life, 'I am the Good Shepherd and I know mine.'

Jesus waits for you and me, embracing us in our moments of greatest need and desire. Welcome the love of God into your life. Share it those around you, especially the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers. In this way, we proclaim with Mary, 'I have seen the Lord.' Sing joyfully, 'the Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.'  Happy Easter!"

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Keywords: Easter, Risen Christ, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Resurrection, Gospel of John, Good Shepherd, Mary of Magdala, Prince of Life, joy.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Posted: April 17, 2017, 8:44 am

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued a statement this morning in response to the scheduled executions of seven men in 11 days in Arkansas. The state is planning to begin the executions on Easter Monday. Bishop Dewane joins the Catholic community of Arkansas, and people of good will across the country and around the world, in urging Governor Hutchinson to reconsider this plan.

"This Easter, let us ask the Lord for the grace to infuse our justice with mercy. May those in Arkansas who hold the lives of these individuals on death row in their hands be moved by God's love, which is stronger than death, and abandon the current plans for execution," Bishop Dewane wrote in asking for commutation of the sentences of those scheduled to be executed to life imprisonment. 

In his statement, Bishop Dewane noted that Pope Francis called for "the global abolition of the death penalty," in his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, where the Holy Father said, "I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. . . . [A] just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation." The Catholic Bishops of the United States have echoed this call for many years, including in their 2005 statement A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death.

"It can be very difficult to think of mercy at a time when justice for unthinkable crimes seems to cry out for vengeance," Bishop Dewane commented, "[t]he harm and pain caused by terrible sin is real." Yet, he invoked Pope Francis' reflection that, "Jesus on the cross prayed for those who had crucified him: 'Father, forgive them, they know not what they do' (Lk. 23:34).  Mercy is the only way to overcome evil.  Justice is necessary, very much so, but by itself it is not enough. Justice and mercy must go together."

Bishop Dewane's full statement can be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/upload/Bishop-Dewane-Statement-on-Death-Penalty-in-Arkansas-2017-04-13.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson, death penalty, execution, justice, mercy, punishment, Congress, Pope Francis, human dignity, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, crime victims, solidarity, incarceration.

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Media Contact:
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Posted: April 13, 2017, 1:33 pm

WASHINGTON—The Vatican Television Center has released information for broadcasters regarding worldwide telecasts of the events presided over by Pope Francis on Good Friday and Easter. All times are UTC/GMT (Coordinated Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time).

″  Good Friday, April 14, 19.15-21.00 hours, Way of the Cross presided over by Pope Francis at the Colosseum.

″  Sunday April 16, 08:00-10:30 hours, Easter Sunday Mass presided over by Pope Francis immediately followed by the Message and Blessing "Urbi et Orbi" (To the City and to the World) from St. Peter's Square.

Information about satellite distribution in the United States will be available on Eurovision World Feed at www.eurovision.net/wf/worldfeeds.php.  For further inquiries contact worldtelecast@ctv.va. The U.S. Domestic satellite coordinate is Galaxy @.  For the latest updates, visit http://www.ctv.va/content/ctv/it/worldtelecast/mondovisione-aprile-2017.html

Audio commentaries from the Vatican in English, Spanish and French are available on satellite audio channels. The commentaries begin about 10 minutes before the start of each celebration.  Audio commentaries in other languages are provided by Vatican Radio via ISDN. Availability is limited and must be requested ahead from the International Relations Office of Vatican Radio relint@vatiradio.va or by telephone: +39 06 698 83945.  They will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis.  

All additional inquiries should be made to Vatican Television Center (CTV) at worldtelecast@ctv.va or by telephone +39 06 698 85300, fax: +39 06 698 85665.

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Keywords: Vatican, Holy See, Pope Francis, Pontifical Council for Social Communications, PCCS, Good Friday, Way of the Cross, Colosseum, St. Peter's Square, broadcast telecast, satellite information, Vatican Television Center, Holy Week, Easter.

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MEDIA CONTACT ONLY:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Posted: April 11, 2017, 10:27 am

WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017. The Act would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that, for religious or moral reasons, declines to provide a child welfare social service.

"Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children," wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bill.

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

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

The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Rep-Kelly-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Sen-Enzi-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf

A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Backgrounder-Inclusion-Act-2017.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, federal court, marriage, adoptions, Archbishop William Lori, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Frank Dewane, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, religious freedom, religious liberty, House of Representatives, Senate, Congress

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Posted: April 10, 2017, 12:26 pm

WASHINGTON—A married couple in their golden years, a couple inspired by their late daughter's legacy, and a salesman who heard Jesus' call to conversion on a stranger's porch, are among the thousands who will be welcomed into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil, April 15, in parishes across the United States. All have participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), a process of conversion and study in the Catholic faith for catechumens and candidates coming into full communion with the Church.

Catechumens, who have never been baptized, will receive baptism, confirmation and first Communion at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. Candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition whose baptism is recognized by the Catholic Church, will enter the Church through a profession of faith and reception of confirmation and the Eucharist.

In the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 175 catechumens and 249 candidates will receive the sacraments. Among them, Mac, 90, and Barb Harless, 85, who will join the Church this Easter after finding their parish, St. John Paul II Church in Cedar Springs, a source of prayer, peace and hope during Barb's battle with cancer.

In the Diocese of Rochester, New York, the RCIA involvement of Dan and Michaela Cady –along with their sons Aidan, 15, Solas, 12, and Merritt, 10 – was spurred by a family tragedy. Two years ago their daughter and sister Kennis, then 12, died suddenly. "It just turned our heads about life," Dan Cady said. He added that his family was grateful for the support it received from the staff of St. Jerome Parish in East Rochester, and from there opted to pursue RCIA. As the Cadys advance on their faith journey, Dan said he's confident his daughter is watching over them: "We would like to think it's orchestrated by her," he said. Some of the family members will receive the sacraments this year, and others next year.

While in Orlando, Florida, Jarrid Perusse of Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo said he, "got saved on a porch" during a summer internship as a door-to-door salesman. He realized that God was reaching out to him, and "it was my turn to start reaching back," he said.

About 60 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers for 2017 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, will welcome 1,756 catechumens and 938 candidates; while the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston reports 1,667 catechumens and 708 candidates; and the Archdiocese of Washington reports 483 catechumens and 698 candidates.

Other archdioceses report the following totals: Archdiocese of Seattle: 679 catechumens and 409 candidates; Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: 201 catechumens, 623 candidates; Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 235 catechumens, 322 candidates; Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky: 227 catechumens, 279 candidates; Archdiocese of Oklahoma City reports 290 catechumens, 368 candidates; Archdiocese of San Francisco: 174 catechumens, 207 candidates; Archdiocese of Newark: 499 catechumens, 693 candidates; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa: 63 catechumens, 94 candidates; Archdiocese of Miami: 524 catechumens, 214 candidates; Archdiocese of Atlanta: 722 catechumens and 1,170 candidates.

In California, the Diocese of Stockton will welcome 284 candidates and 532 catechumens; Diocese of Oakland reports 176 catechumens and 376 candidates; the Diocese of San Diego reports 333 catechumens and 635 candidates; and the Diocese of Fresno will welcome 593 catechumens and 56 candidates; the Diocese of San Jose reports 496 catechumens and candidates.

In Florida, the Diocese of St. Petersburg reports 456 catechumens and 514 candidates; the Diocese of Orlando reports 586 catechumens and candidates; the Diocese of Palm Beach reports 147 catechumens and 474 candidates; and the Diocese of Venice reports 169 catechumens, 219 candidates.

In New York, the Diocese of Rockville Centre reports 232 catechumens 327 candidates; the Diocese of Rochester reports 96 catechumens and 149 candidates; the Diocese of Buffalo reports 56 catechumens and 105 candidates; the Diocese of Syracuse reports 49 catechumens and 70 candidates.

Other dioceses reporting hundreds of catechumens and candidates include: Diocese of Dallas: 945 catechumens and 1,230 candidates; Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas: 252 catechumens and 324 candidates; Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana: 187 catechumens and 208 candidates; Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah: 273 catechumens, 153 candidates; Diocese of Tyler, Texas: 120 catechumens and 270 candidates; Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina: 160 catechumens and 317 candidates; Diocese of Pittsburgh: 444 catechumens and candidates; Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut: 78 catechumens and 241 candidates; Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri: 106 catechumens and 172 candidates; Diocese of Tucson, Arizona: 111 candidates and 209 catechumens; Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio: 97 catechumens and 130 candidates; Diocese of Camden, New Jersey: 174 catechumens; Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey: 195 catechumens and candidates; Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey: 125 catechumens and 200 candidates; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts: 114 catechumens and 101 candidates; Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts: 53 catechumens and 105 candidates; Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire:  95 candidates and 67 catechumens; Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware: 101 catechumens and 152 candidates; Diocese of Belleville, Illinois: 54 catechumens and 120 candidates; Diocese of Springfield, Illinois: 160 catechumens and 159 candidates; Diocese of Yakima, Washington: 115 catechumens, 145 candidates; Diocese of LaFayette, Louisiana: 55 catechumens and  96 candidates; Diocese of Reno, Nevada: 139 catechumens and 40 candidates; Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania: 92 candidates and 44 catechumens; Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio: 39 catechumens and 52 candidates; Diocese of Rapid City: 27 catechumens, 83 candidates; Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana: 40 catechumens, 89 candidates; the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut: 97 catechumens, 313 candidates; Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee: 60 catechumens, 200 candidates; Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan: 49 catechumens, 63 candidates; Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey: 200 catechumens, 508 candidates; Diocese of San Angelo, Texas: 221 catechumens, 264 candidates.

In Minnesota, the Diocese of St. Cloud reports 17 catechumens, 76 candidates; Diocese of Crookston: 8 catechumens, 25 candidates; Diocese of Winona: 42 catechumens, 112 candidates; Diocese of Duluth: 11 catechumens, 69 candidates.

These numbers are based on participation in the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, the final phase of the RCIA process celebrated at the beginning of Lent.

Not included are infant baptisms that according to the 2016 Official Catholic Directory (OCD) totaled 683,712 for the year 2015. The OCD also reported that there were 39,721 adult baptisms and 71,809 people received into full communion during the same year, the latest with complete statistical data.

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Keywords: Holy Saturday, RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, catechumens, candidates, Rite of Election, Call to Continuing Conversion, baptism, First Communion, Eucharist, confirmation, sacraments, Easter vigil, Catholic, archdiocese, diocese, converts

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Posted: April 10, 2017, 8:43 am

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement in response to explosions on Palm Sunday at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt that have killed at least 40 and injured at least 100:

"In the early hours of Palm Sunday, as Christians began the celebration of the holiest week of the year, our brothers and sisters in Egypt suffered unspeakable persecution. They were at Church. They were praying. And in the midst of what should be peace, horrible violence yet again. I express our deepest sadness at the loss of those killed, our prayers for healing for all those injured, and our condolences to those who suffer the loss of loved ones. 

I also express our solidarity with the Coptic church in Egypt, an ancient Christian community that faces mounting persecution in its historic home from violent extremism.  I also pray for the nation of Egypt, that it may seek justice, find healing, and strengthen protection for Coptic Christians and other religious minorities who wish only to live in peace.

I also join Pope Francis in his prayer for the victims of this attack, and that 'the Lord [may] convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.' The Prince of Peace assures us that the darkness of terror cannot withstand the Easter light of Resurrection. We entrust all those who suffer and who have perished into the arms of the crucified and Risen Christ."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Coptic Christian Church, explosions, Egypt, Palm Sunday, persecution, solidarity, violent extremism, religious minorities, Pope Francis, peace, Prince of Peace, Easter, Resurrection, Risen Christ.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3206


Posted: April 9, 2017, 4:02 pm

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Oscar Cantú, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued a joint statement calling for renewed peace efforts in Syria.

The full statement is as follows:   

"Three days ago, our Conference of Bishops decried the chemical attack in Syria as one that 'shocks the soul.' The use of internationally banned indiscriminate weapons is morally reprehensible. At the same time, our Conference affirmed the call of Pope Francis to attain peace in Syria 'through dialogue and reconciliation.'

The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask the United States to work tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.

We once again make our own the earlier call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: 'I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people. May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries.'

Join us as we pray for the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Peace that the work of humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding will find strength in the merciful love of her Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

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Keywords: Syria, chemical attacks, U.S. Military, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Bishop Oscar Cantú, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis, political solution, negotiations, humanitarian assistance, Christians, minorities, conflict, Jesus, Our Lady Queen of Peace, peace building.

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Posted: April 7, 2017, 4:24 pm

WASHINGTON–Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, welcomed the State Department's April 4th announcement that it will withhold federal funding from the U.N. Population Fund ("UNFPA") because UNFPA monies go to Chinese agencies that perform forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. The Administration's decision invokes the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment against funding organizations involved in coercive population programs. Millions of taxpayer dollars will now be redirected to maternal health and non-abortion reproductive health programs in developing countries.

"Chinese families have endured unspeakable abuses, including onerous fines, mandatory pregnancy exams, coerced sterilizations, and forced abortions," Cardinal Dolan said. "Over 20 years ago, the U.N. condemned forced sterilization and forced abortion as 'acts of violence against women', and yet the UNFPA has enabled the Chinese government to continue their assault on the dignity of women and the lives of their unborn children – especially female children, who are most at risk."

Since 1985, Congress has forbidden the funding of any organization which, as determined by the President of the United States, "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." There is no credible claim to counter the fact that Chinese population programs use coercive means or that UNFPA supports the Chinese programs.

"This is a victory for women and children across the globe, as well as for U.S. taxpayers," Cardinal Dolan said. "We are so grateful to the Trump Administration for taking this important action to end U.S. support for UNFPA so long as it remains committed to China's coercive abortion and sterilization programs."

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Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, President Trump, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Congress pro-life, federal funding, abortion, UNFPA, China, forced abortion, coercive family planning, population control, women's health, Kemp-Kasten Amendment, Mexico City Policy

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Posted: April 6, 2017, 9:55 am

 WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Monsignor Daniel H. Mueggenborg, a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Msgr. Mueggenborg currently serves as pastor of Christ the King Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

The appointment was publicized in Washington, April 6, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Daniel Mueggenborg was born in 1962. He attended Oklahoma State University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in geology in 1984, and pursued seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College, 1985-1989. He holds a bachelor degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1989, where he also earned a licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.) in biblical theology, 1990. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa in 1989.

Assignments after ordination included: associate pastor at Church of St. Mary, Tulsa, 1989, and at St. John Church, Bartlesville, 1990-1991; chaplain, Bishop Kelley High School, and associate pastor, Saint Pius X Church, Tulsa, 1991-1995; administrator pro-tempore, Saint Cecilia Church, Claremont, 1994-1996; pastor at Church of the Magdalene, Tulsa, 1996-2001, and St. Clement Church, Bixby, 2001-2005; assistant director of formation advising and formation advisor, Pontifical North American College, Rome, 2005-2006.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II named him a "Chaplain of His Holiness," carrying the title of "monsignor."

The Archdiocese of Seattle comprises 28,731 square miles in the state of Washington and it has a total population of 5,501,540 people of which 583,000 or 11 percent, are Catholic. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has been the archbishop of Seattle since 2010. The archdiocese currently has one active auxiliary bishop, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo.

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Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, Daniel Mueggenborg, Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, auxiliary, Archdiocese of Seattle, Diocese of Tulsa

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Posted: April 6, 2017, 8:47 am

WASHINGTON—  Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, have issued the following joint statement on yesterday's chemical weapons attack in northern Syria.  

Full statement follows:

"The chemical attack in Syria on April 4 shocks the soul. The many innocent lives targeted by these terrible tools of war cry out for humanity's protection. In this season of Lent when Christians draw near to the suffering of Christ, let us match the horrific indifference shown for innocent life with a fervent prayer for love to break through the evil. Let us also match our prayer with a faithful witness to suffering so that no life at risk is forgotten.

Pope Francis has repeatedly issued an appeal to Syrian leaders and to the international community saying: 'Please, silence the weapons, put an end to the violence! No more war! No more destruction! May humanitarian laws be respected, may the people who need humanitarian assistance be cared for and may the desired peace be attained through dialogue and reconciliation.'

We echo the Holy Father's call. We pray for an end to the carnage in Syria and we pray that God will assuage all those who suffer and bring them consolation as we approach Easter and its message of love and hope."

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Keywords: Syria, chemical attacks, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop José H. Gomez, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, tools of war, innocent lives, prayer, weapons, violence, humanitarian law, peace, dialogue, reconciliation, Easter, love, hope.

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Posted: April 5, 2017, 3:52 pm

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised both chambers of the U.S. Congress for taking action to nullify a bad policy imposed by the Obama Administration. Congress' joint resolution of disapproval (H.J. Res 43 / S. Res. 13) was passed by the House in mid-February, and by the Senate on March 30, 2017. It overrides a rule change made late in the Obama Administration that prevented states from redirecting Title X family planning funding away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care. The rule change went into effect on January 18, 2017.

"The clear purpose of this Title X rule change was to benefit abortion providers like Planned Parenthood," Cardinal Dolan said. "So Congress has done well to reverse this very bad public policy, and to restore the ability of states to stop one stream of our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care."

Title X of the Public Health Services Act was passed by Congress in 1970 to control population growth by distributing contraceptives to low-income families. Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding. Planned Parenthood is also the nation's largest abortion network -- performing over a third of all abortions in the U.S. -- and receives more than half a billion taxpayer dollars each year.

Congress acted within the statutory 60-day window to nullify the new regulation. Introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), the House resolution (H.J. Res. 43) was approved on February 16 (230-188); and the Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 13), introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), passed by a one-vote margin on March 30, 2017. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. 

The measure now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign the resolution into law.

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Keywords: Cardinal Tim Dolan, Archbishop of New York, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Vice President Pence, President Trump, HHS, Congress, pro-life, federal funding, abortion, Public Health Services Act, Title X, contraception, family planning, women's health, comprehensive care, community health centers, Planned Parenthood

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Posted: March 31, 2017, 2:39 pm

WASHINGTON—The annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be held in most parishes across the country on the weekend of April 29-30 with the theme Strengthening the Church at Home. This appeal supports over 40 percent of dioceses and eparchies in the United States and its territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.

"For many dioceses it is challenging to support ministries because of fragile financial situations or isolated communities," said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "It is through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal that we can make a difference here at home and help our mission dioceses offer places for people to encounter the loving and merciful Christ."

In 2016, the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions allocated over $9 million to 84 dioceses for programs of evangelization, Hispanic ministry, seminary education, lay ministry formation and other essential pastoral ministries. The Subcommittee oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections.

Shareable resources for the collection can be found at: www.usccb.org/home-missions/collection.

The home page for the collection can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions. Additional resources on the collection and the projects it supports include an interactive map, videos about the home missions and an annual report.

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Keywords: National Collections, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, ministry, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, missionary work, evangelization, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, religious education, priests, seminarians, religious formation, lay ministry

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Posted: March 31, 2017, 12:36 pm

WASHINGTON—After the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on March 24 2017, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida urged members of Congress to "seize this moment to create a new spirit of bipartisanship" and make necessary reforms on access, affordability, life and conscience.

In a March 30 letter to Congress, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chairmen noted that the AHCA "contained serious deficiencies, particularly in its changes to Medicaid, that would have impacted the poor and others most in need in unacceptable ways," but emphasized that withdrawal of the bill "must not end our nation's efforts to improve health care."

Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Dewane heads the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

"[T]he AHCA did provide critical life protections for the unborn," the Bishops said. "By restricting federal funding for abortion, its providers, and the purchase of plans that cover it, the bill would have finally resolved a grave moral failing rooted within the very structure of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)." The need for conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery or coverage of health care services, problems like rising costs and premiums, as well as impediments to immigrant access remain to be addressed, according to the chairmen.

"Lawmakers still have a duty to confront these significant challenges. While a comprehensive approach is preferable, some of the problems can be fixed with more narrow reforms, and in a bipartisan way. Congress can pass the Conscience Protection Act, extend full 'Hyde Amendment' protections to the ACA, and enact other targeted laws that begin to remove current and impending health care barriers, if a more extensive effort is not possible," the letter urges.

The full letter to Congress can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/joint-letter-to-congress-re-health-care-2017-03-30.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA), respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty

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Posted: March 31, 2017, 11:12 am

WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on March 28, 2017 that rescinds and weakens numerous environmental protections, and effectively dismantles the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest pollution emitting sector, making up just under one-third of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions.

"The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship and has called consistently for 'our own country to curtail carbon emissions,'" said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in response to the order. "This Executive Order places a number of environmental protections in jeopardy and moves the U.S. away from a national carbon standard, all without adopting a sufficient plan for ensuring proper care for people and creation. Yesterday's action means that, sadly, the United States is unlikely to meet its domestic and international mitigation goals."

The USCCB has voiced support for a national carbon emission standard in recent years, though the Church does not privilege one set of technical, economic, or political approaches over another.  Bishop Dewane stresses that, although the CPP is not the only possible mechanism for reducing carbon emissions, the lack of a current viable alternative is a serious concern.    

"The EPA Administrator has repeatedly stated that policies must be pro-growth and pro-environment.  An integral approach can respect human and natural concerns and still achieve these aims, if properly done.  Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, and this momentum ought to be encouraged and not hindered. Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', focuses on both the 'the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.'  With this recent order, the Administration risks damage to our air, our waters and, most importantly, our people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, without proposing a concrete and adequate approach to meet our stewardship obligations as a nation."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Environmental Executive Order, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Clean Power Plan (CPP), Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, environmental protection, carbon emissions, Environmental Protection Agency, carbon mitigation, Pope Francis, Laudato si', air quality, stewardship.

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Posted: March 29, 2017, 4:15 pm

 WASHINGTON—Cardinal William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 1992-1995, was a "servant of priestly virtue and gentlemanly manner," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of USCCB. He was greatly known for his work as a faith leader in ecumenism and interreligious affairs.

Cardinal Keeler, who retired in 2007, died March 23 at St. Martin's Home for the Aged in Baltimore. He was 86.

Cardinal DiNardo's statement follows:

This morning, the Lord called home His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, a servant of priestly virtue and gentlemanly manner.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops remembers his generosity of spirit in service to his brothers and the people of God, especially the Cardinal's time as president from 1992 to 1995. We offer prayers of gratitude for Cardinal Keeler's return to the Lord he so dearly loved.

As a priest, Bishop of Harrisburg, and Archbishop of Baltimore, the Cardinal worked to bring the hope of Christ to people's lives. He also built bridges of solidarity to people of other faiths as a leader in ecumenism and interreligious affairs. Cardinal Keeler was a dear friend. The most fitting tribute we can offer is to carry forward his episcopal motto in our daily lives: "Do the work of an evangelist."

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Pope Francis, Year of Mercy, Jubilee Year, mercy, apostolic letter

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Posted: March 23, 2017, 11:27 am

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee has issued the following pastoral reflection in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands. In the statement, the bishops encourage each of us to do what we can to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.

The full text of the Bishops' Administrative Committee statement can be found below:

The word of God is truly alive today. "When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt" (Lev. 19:33-34).

To live as a people of God is to live in the hope of the resurrection. To live in Christ is to draw upon the limitless love of Jesus to fortify us against the temptation of fear. Pray that our engagement in the debate over immigration and refugee issues may bring peace and comfort to those most affected by current and proposed national policy changes.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that behind every policy is the story of a person in search of a better life. They may be an immigrant or refugee family sacrificing so that their children might have a brighter future. As shepherds of a pilgrim Church, we will not tire in saying to families who have the courage to set out from their despair onto the road of hope: "We are with you." They may also be a family seeking security from an increased threat of extremist violence. It is necessary to safeguard the United States in a manner that does not cause us to lose our humanity.

Intense debate is essential to healthy democracy, but the rhetoric of fear does not serve us well. When we look at one another do we see with the heart of Jesus? Within our diverse backgrounds are found common dreams for our children. Hope in the next generation is how the nation will realize its founding motto, "out of many, one." In doing so, we will also realize God's hope for all His children:  that we would see each other as valued sisters and brothers regardless of race, religion or national origin.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), strengthens us to bring our words to life. How might we, as Catholics and in our own small way, bring our words of solidarity for migrants and refugees to life?

1.      Pray for an end to the root causes of violent hatred that force mothers and fathers to flee the only home they may have known in search of economic and physical security for their children.

2.      Meet with members of your parish who are newcomers, listen to their story and share your own. Hundreds of Catholic parishes across the country have programs for immigrants and refugees both to comfort them and to help them know their rights. It is also important to reach out in loving dialogue to those who may disagree with us. The more we come to understand each other's concerns the better we can serve one another.  Together, we are one body in Christ.

3.      Call, write or visit your elected representative and ask them to fix our broken immigration system in a way that safeguards both our security and our humanity through a generous opportunity for legal immigration.

As Pope Francis said, "To migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued. For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee, USCCB, Pope Francis, migration, refugees, families, pilgrim Church, extremist violence, democracy, U.S. security, solidarity.

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Posted: March 22, 2017, 9:39 am

WASHINGTON—In a letter sent to the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida notes that, while the recently introduced American Health Care Act (AHCA) commendably contains key provisions in defense of life, the proposed legislation also creates "grave challenges for poor and vulnerable people that must be addressed" by Congress before passage.

In the letter sent to representatives on March 17, 2017, Bishop Dewane, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, highlighted the AHCA's inclusion of vital life protections for the unborn, writing that they honor "a key moral requirement for our nation's health care policy."

However, the letter also stresses deep concerns regarding "serious flaws" in the AHCA, including major modifications to the Medicaid system and a new tax credit which, reportedly, will result in significant barriers to coverage and affordability for millions, particularly for low income persons and seniors.  

Bishop Dewane underscored that "[i]n attempting to improve the deficiencies of the ACA, health care policy ought not create other unacceptable problems, particularly for those who struggle on the margins of our society." In quoting Pope Francis, the letter notes, "Health, indeed, is not a consumer good, but a universal right which means that access to healthcare services cannot be a privilege."

Among other things, the letter also notes a lack of any changes to afford conscience protection against mandates to provide contraception and sterilization coverage or services.

The full text of the letter is available at:  www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/letter-to-house-from-bishop-dewane-on-AHCA-2017-03-17.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA), respect for life, human dignity, Pope Francis, conscience rights, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty.

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Posted: March 20, 2017, 10:47 am

WASHINGTON— Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Bishop Oscar Cantú welcomed a new resolution introduced in Congress yesterday, March 15, by a group of Republican legislators.

"The U.S. bishops welcome the commitment of a group of members of Congress to engage in constructive dialogue to protect our common home and to recognize the impact of climate change," said Bishop Dewane in response to the announcement of the Congressional resolution sponsored by several members in the House of Representatives, including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.

Bishop Dewane is the Bishop of Venice, Florida and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Bishop Cantú is the Bishop of Las Cruces, and chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the USCCB.

"The Catholic Church has consistently been an advocate for environmental stewardship and Pope Benedict XVI presciently called care for creation a 'sign of the times'", says Bishop Dewane. "Environmental challenges are not going away and it is a sign of hope to see political leaders rise to meet a challenge that is the common responsibility of all."

"The co-sponsors of this resolution add their voices to an important conversation, and are demonstrating that stewardship of creation is an issue that rises above political partisanship. The dialogue is about what Pope Francis has called "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day, climate change", said Bishop Oscar Cantu. "It is in the interest of lawmakers in all parties to recognize the protection of the environment as an important responsibility and to explore the numerous rationales for taking action. This resolution provides an important avenue toward answering the appeal in Laudato si' for 'a new dialogue…which includes everyone'".

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Keywords:   Bishop Oscar Cantú, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Bishop Frank Dewane, Venice, Florida, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI , USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, climate change, creation, environment, Laudato si'.

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Posted: March 16, 2017, 12:54 pm

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Steven Biegler as bishop of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Father Biegler is a priest of the Diocese of Rapid City and currently serves as Vicar General and pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.          

The appointment was publicized in Washington, March 16, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Steven Biegler was born March 22, 1959 and is a native of Timber Lake, South Dakota. He attended the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City before earning a bachelor of arts degree from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He also holds a bachelors of sacred theology degree (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a licentiate of sacred theology (S.T. L., Scripture) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also in Rome.

He was ordained a priest on July 9, 1993.    

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar, Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, 1993-1994; administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish, Bonesteel,; St. Anthony Parish, Fairfax, and St. Xavier Parish, Ponca Creek, SD, 1994-1996; co-pastor of St. Bernard Parish, McLaughlin, with missions at St. Bonaventure Parish, McIntosh, St. Bede Parish, Wakpala, St. Aloysius Parish, Bullhead, Assumption Parish, Kenel, and (from July 2002), St. Michael Parish, Watauga, 1996-2003; director of Pastoral Formation and Pastoral Works, Pontifical North American College in Rome, 2003-2006; chaplain of the Rapid City Catholic School System and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Newman Club, 2007-2010; diocesan administrator, Diocese of Rapid City, 2010-2011; pastor of Our Lady of the Black Hills Parish, Piedmont, 2011-2015, vicar general, Diocese of Rapid City 2001-present; pastor of Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, July 2016-present.     

Steven Biegler has also served on the Diocese of Rapid City Spiritual Life Committee, 2007-2010 and most recently on the College of Consultors, 2009-present, as well as various other committees.    

The Diocese of Cheyenne comprises 97,548 square miles in the state of Wyoming.  It has a total population of 584,153 people, of which 55,336, or approximately 9.5 percent, are Catholic.  

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Keywords: Pope Francis, bishop appointment, Rev. Steven Biegler, Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  

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Posted: March 16, 2017, 8:22 am
WASHINGTON—As Congress prepares to discuss possible changes to the Affordable Care Act, the chairmen of four United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committees called on lawmakers to consider important moral criteria, especially pertaining to the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn and those experiencing deep poverty. The Bishops of the United States have consistently advocated for a health care system in which—as the late Cardinal Francis George used to say—everyone should be cared for and no one should be deliberately killed.

In a letter from March 8, 2017, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, urged Congress: to respect life by preventing the use of federal funds to facilitate abortion or purchase health care plans that provide abortion; to honor conscience rights; and to ensure access for all people to comprehensive, quality health care that is truly affordable.

The Bishops called on Congress to ensure coverage for those who now rely upon it after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and expressed concern about any structural changes to the social safety net that could impact access to health care for millions. Noting that the Catholic Church "provides health care, purchases health care and helps to pick up the pieces for those who fall through the cracks of the health care system when it fails," the bishops urged "a new spirit of cooperation for the sake of the common good" on this vital concern during the debates ahead.

The full letter is available at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Joint-Letter-to-Congress-ACA-Principles-03-07-2017.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop William E. Lori, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee on Migration, Affordable Care Act, Congress, respect for life, dignity, conscience rights, health care, affordability, abortion

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Judy Keane
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Posted: March 8, 2017, 1:48 pm
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Roy E. Campbell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. Father Campbell, 69, currently serves as pastor of Saint Joseph Church in Largo, Maryland. 

The appointment was publicized in Washington, March 8, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Roy E. Campbell was born November 19, 1947. He pursued degrees in zoology, anthropology, chemistry (1965-1969) and bank management (1992), before entering Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, (2003).

He was ordained a priest on May 26, 2007. Assignments after ordination included: parochial vicar at St. Augustine Church, Washington, 2007-2008; pastoral and sacramental care of the African-American community at Immaculate Conception Parish, 2007-2008; pastor at Assumption Parish, Washington, 2008-2010; pastor at Saint Joseph Church, 2010-present.

Other assignments at the Archdiocese of Washington include: member of the Archdiocesan Formation Board, 2010-2014; member of the Clergy Personnel Board, 2010.

The Archdiocese of Washington comprises 2,104 square miles in the District of Columbia. It has a total population of 2,949,512 people of which 646,892 or 22 percent, are Catholic. Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the archbishop of Washington since 2006. The archdiocese currently has two active auxiliary bishops, Bishop Barry C. Knestout and Bishop Mario Dorsonville, and one retired auxiliary bishop, Bishop Francisco Gonzáles Valer. S.F.

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Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Roy E. Campbell, Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, auxiliary, Archdiocese of Washington

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Posted: March 8, 2017, 8:39 am
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