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Browsing News Entries

Elimination of U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program “Against the Principles We Have as a Nation” Says Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration

WASHINGTON— Thursday it was reported that the Administration is considering “zeroing out” the refugee resettlement program. This would effectively put an end, at least temporarily, to the United States resettling those fleeing persecution from countries overseas.

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“This recent report, if true, is disturbing and against the principles we have as a nation and a people, and has the potential to end the refugee resettlement program entirely. The world is in the midst of the greatest humanitarian displacement crisis in almost a century. I strongly oppose any further reductions of the refugee resettlement program. Offering refuge to those fleeing religious and other persecution has been a cornerstone of what has made this country great and a place of welcome. Eliminating the refugee resettlement program leaves refugees in harm’s way and keeps their families separated across continents.

Every refugee resettled in the United States goes through an extensive vetting process that often takes 18 months to two years to complete. It incorporates live interviews and several extensive checks by multiple departments within the government. Many of these refugees have familial ties here and quickly begin working to rebuild their lives and enrich their communities.

As Pope Francis has said we must work for “globalization of solidarity” with refugees, not a globalization of indifference. Rather than ending the program, we should work instead to restore the program to its historic norms of an annual resettlement goal of 95,000.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Refugee Resettlement, Justice for Immigrants, Enforcement, immigration

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Media Contact:
Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Richard Pates, Appoints Rev. William Joensen as Bishop Elect of Diocese of Des Moines

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Revered Richard Pates from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Des Moines. The Pope has appointed as Bishop-Elect of the same see the Rev. William Joensen of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, on July 18, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Father Joensen was born on July 8, 1960 In Waterloo, Iowa. He attended seminary at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio and received a degree in Theology. He was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque on June 24, 1989. Father Joensen also holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 2001.

Past assignments include: Associate Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish (1989-1992), Faculty of Columbus High School (1989-1992), Associate Pastor, Church of the Resurrection (1992-1995), and Chaplain of Clarke College (2003-2010). He currently serves as Dean of Spiritual Life at Loras College and Spiritual Director of St. Pius X Seminary in Dubuque.

Bishop Richard Pates was born on February 12, 1943 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He studied at the Pontifical North America College, and was ordained to the priesthood on December 20, 1968. On December 22, 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Pates as Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Pates the ninth bishop of the Diocese of De Moines. Bishop Pates served as Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Bishop Richard Pates submitted his letter of resiganation to Pope Francis in February 2018.

The Diocese of Des Moines is comprised of 12,446 square miles and has a total population of 837,773 of which 103,430 or 12.3 percent, are Catholic.  

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop Richard Pates, Rev. William Joensen, Diocese of Des Moines, Archdiocese of Dubuque, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio.

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Media Contact:

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Purchases Translation of Psalms and Canticles from Conception Abbey

WASHINGTON--On July 1, 2019 the USCCB purchased the copyrights to the Revised Grail Psalter and the Old and New Testament Canticles translated by the monks of Conception Abbey in Missouri. The two texts will now together be titled Abbey Psalms and Canticles and will gradually be incorporated into the Church’s official liturgical books. These sacred texts play an important role in the public prayer of the Church, especially in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the readings for Mass.

For over two decades, the bishops have sought a translation of the psalms and canticles that would be more accurate and more conducive to singing and recitation. Since at least 1998 the monks of Conception Abbey have been working to prepare translations that would meet these goals. The USCCB first approved the monks’ translation of the psalter in 2008, and the Holy See then approved that text in 2010. In June 2015 the USCCB approved Conception Abbey’s translation of the canticles, hymn-like passages from the Bible that are used on certain occasions in the liturgy. The bishops subsequently approved a revised version of the psalter in 2016. In May 2018 the Holy See approved both the psalter and the canticles in what should now be their definitive form.

Abbot Gregory Polan, the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation, was Abbot of Conception Abbey for nearly twenty years and coordinated the preparation of the Abbey Psalms and Canticles. “It is my sincere hope,” he commented, “that this translation of the Psalms and Biblical Canticles will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the liturgy and the private prayer of all who use them.” The USCCB is grateful for the exceptional service that the monks of Conception Abbey have provided to the Church by their work.

Since 2010 many composers have prepared their own settings of these Psalms for use in the liturgy, and some of the more recently-published liturgical books have already begun incorporating material from the new translations. The Abbey Psalms and Canticles will begin to see a wider dissemination in the coming years, especially when new editions of the Lectionary for Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours are completed.

In purchasing these copyrights, the bishops are following the guidelines of the Holy See’s Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, which requires that a Conference of Bishops possess all the rights necessary to promote and safeguard the accurate and appropriate use of the texts of the Sacred Liturgy.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Divine Worship, liturgy, psalms, Conception Abbey, Liturgy of the Hours, Abbot Gregory Polan

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB President Condemns Threat of Widespread Enforcement Actions and New Rule Drastically Limiting Asylum

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the following statement in response to the climate of fear created by the Department of Homeland Security’s announced immigration enforcement actions and the Administration’s new Interim Final Rule to drastically limit asylum, which was published today:

“Enforcement actions like those anticipated this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency separate families, cause the unacceptable suffering of thousands of children and their parents, and create widespread panic in our communities. I condemn such an approach, which has created a climate of fear in our parishes and communities across the country. I recently wrote the President asking him to reconsider this action.

A stated intent of these actions is to deter Central Americans fleeing for their lives from seeking refuge in the United States. This is both misguided and untenable. It is contrary to American and Christian values to attempt to prevent people from migrating here when they are fleeing to save their lives and to find safety for their families.

And, in addition to this climate of fear, we have seen the Administration today take further unacceptable action to undermine the ability of individuals and families to seek protection in the United States. The Administration’s new rule on asylum eligibility presents a similar enforcement-only immigration approach. The rule adds further barriers to asylum-seekers’ ability to access life-saving protection, shirks our moral duty, and will prevent the United States from taking its usual leading role in the international community as a provider of asylum protection. Further, while still reviewing the rule, initial analysis raises serious questions about its legality.

I urge the President to reconsider these actions, the new rule, and its enforcement-only approach. I ask that persons fleeing for their lives be permitted to seek refuge in the U.S. and all those facing removal proceedings be afforded due process. All who are at or within our borders should be treated with compassion and dignity. Beyond that, a just solution to this humanitarian crisis should focus on addressing the root causes that compel families to flee and enacting a humane reform of our immigration system.

Pope Francis, in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2019, reminds us that ‘the presence of migrants and refugees – and of vulnerable people in general – is an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society.’”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President Trump, Pope Francis, ICE, DHS, Justice for Immigrants, Enforcement, immigration,

 

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Media Contact:

Mark Priceman

202-541-3064

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, applauds the convening of the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON— This week marks the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the U.S. Department of State with 1,000 religious and civil society leaders and foreign ministers from 115 countries. The Ministerial reaffirms international commitments to promote religious freedom and develop durable, positive ways to combat religious persecution and unjust discrimination.

The Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“Our faith reminds us that religious freedom is the cornerstone of a just society which is increasingly under threat. 77% of world’s population, 5.5 billion, live in 83 countries with high or very high restrictions on the practice of religion. We are witnessing entire communities around the world pay with their lives to exercise freedom of conscience and faith. I am pleased to participate in this Ministerial, and support our government’s efforts to promote freedom of conscience and religion for all.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Second Ministerial, Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Military Services, Committee on International Justice and Peace

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3202

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Awarded Grants to Promote Catholic Biblical Literacy and Interpretation

WASHINGTON--This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $68,266.50 for five projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants, accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its full and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux and Member of the CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, commented, "We are pleased to have received so many strong proposals from the members of the Catholic Biblical Association. These projects will advance biblical scholarship and support biblical literacy in parishes and classrooms."

Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.
The five projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:

•  $20,766.50 to Michael G. Azar for residency in Jerusalem to study the Bible in Eastern Christian-Jewish Relations.
•  $15,000 to Jeffrey L. Cooley, David Vanderhooft, and Michael Simone, SJ, to support a conference on “The Spirit of Scholarship: Biblical and Mesopotamian Studies in the Roman Catholic Academy.”
•  $25,000 to Andrew Glicksman to develop a manuscript on the relationship between Wisdom and Spirit in the biblical and patristic tradition.
•  $5,000 to Christopher Seeman for a series of videos addressing the representation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic exegesis, homiletics, and catechesis.
•  $2,500 to Kelley Coblentz Bautch for participation in the Qumran residency to study the presentation of Salome Alexandra in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, CCD, Catholic Biblical Association, CBA, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, Dei Verbum, New American Bible, biblical scholarship, pastoral programs, biblical literacy, biblical interpretation, grants

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Religious Communities Receive $28 Million Toward Retirement Needs

WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $28 million in financial assistance to 360 U.S. religious communities to help underwrite the care of aging members. The funding is made possible by the Retirement Fund for Religious collection, an annual, parish-based appeal benefiting some 30,000 senior religious and their communities.  

The latest appeal was held in most U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2018 and raised $27.7 million.

Known as Direct Care Assistance, the funding disbursed represents the bulk of financial assistance distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine these funds with their own income and savings to help meet expenses such as prescription medications and nursing care. Over the years, this support has helped many religious communities to stabilize their retirement outlooks.

However, many others continue to struggle with rising retirement costs and the growing number of elder members needing care. In response, the NRRO’s Management Committee increased the amount disbursed for Direct Care Assistance in 2019 from $25 million to $28 million, with the additional funding realized through investments and careful financial management.

“We are exceedingly grateful to concerned Catholics across the United States,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director. “Their ongoing generosity to the Retirement Fund for Religious allows us to help communities who need immediate assistance in caring for aging members.”

Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious in 1988 to address the profound lack of retirement funding among the nation’s religious communities. Traditionally, Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—served for very low wages that did not include retirement benefits. Today, hundreds of religious communities lack adequate retirement savings.

The NRRO coordinates the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities. It also offers educational programming, services and resources that enable religious communities to evaluate and prepare for long-term retirement needs. The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Visit https://retiredreligious.org/ to learn more.
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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops, Sister Stephanie Still, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Collection

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Media Contacts:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen of Migration and Domestic Justice Express Opposition to Proposed Rule that Would Lead to Family Separation and Housing Instability

WASHINGTON— Today, bishops from two committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed their opposition to a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that would lead to separation or housing instability for many families. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, FL, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, offered the following statements.

“The proposed rule would have terrible consequences for thousands of mixed-status families,” said Bishop Vásquez. “It would force these families to make a heartbreaking choice - endure family separation so that eligible members can continue to receive critical housing assistance or stay together and forfeit any such assistance. This choice between unity and stability is one no family should have to make. We urge HUD to withdraw this deeply concerning proposed rule.”

“The right to decent, safe, and affordable housing is rooted in the fundamental dignity of every person,” said Bishop Dewane. “By proposing this rule, HUD acknowledges the need for more housing assistance so that people in need won’t have to endure long waits for programs that are overwhelmed by demand. More must be done to address housing needs in this country, but it must not be done at the expense of mixed-status families.”
You can see the full comments that USCCB submitted in conjunction with Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and the Catholic Health Association on the proposed rulemaking by clicking here.

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Keywords: USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Migration, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocese of Venice

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Affirm SCOTUS Decision and Urge That All People Count and Should Be Included in Census

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank Dewane, of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Joe Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement regarding last week’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Department of Commerce v. New York, regarding the importance of ensuring an accurate count for the U.S. Census:

“We affirm last week’s decision by the Supreme Court that the inclusion of a citizenship question must ensure genuine reasons for such inclusion. We reaffirm that all persons in the United States should be counted in the Census regardless of their immigration status and reemphasize our judgment that questions regarding citizenship should not be included in the Census. We hope that this view will prevail, whether by administrative action or judicial determination.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, United States Supreme Court, Department of Commerce v. New York, U.S. Census

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Media Relations:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ President and Committee Chairman Say Horrific Death of Father and Daughter at Border and Appalling Conditions for Children are Cries that Reach Heaven Itself

WASHINGTON—The cry of a father and his baby daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande reaches heaven itself. This unspeakable consequence of a failed immigration system, together with growing reports of inhumane conditions for children in the custody of the federal government at the border, shock the conscience and demand immediate action. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in calling on the federal government to hear the cry of the poor and vulnerable.

Their joint statement follows:

“We join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in immense sadness, having seen the horrific images of Oscar Martinez and his daughter Angie Valeria who drowned in the Rio Grande Valley while attempting to flee persecution and enter the United States. This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis? Sadly, this picture shows the daily plight of our brothers and sisters. Not only does their cry reach heaven. It reaches us. And it must now reach our federal government.

All people, regardless of their country of origin or legal status, are made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are appalling and unacceptable for any person in U.S. custody, but particularly for children, who are uniquely vulnerable. Such conditions cannot be used as tools of deterrence. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence, persecution, and acute poverty.

Congress has a duty to provide additional funding to address the needs of children in federal custody. Their supplemental appropriations bill should also increase protections for immigrant children, including heightened standards and oversight for border facilities. It is possible and necessary to care for the safety of migrant children and the security of our citizens. By putting aside partisan interests, a nation as great as ours is able to do both.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez,
Committee on Migration, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detention facilities, U.S. Congress, appropriations bill, federal custody, human dignity

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Mark Priceman
202-541-3064