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USCCB Statements on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a reflection and prayer on Coronavirus (COVID-19). His statement is part of the USCCB’s ongoing engagement on the issue over the last several weeks.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement encouraging lawmakers to consider measures providing relief and aid to those suffering from COVID-19, those affected by workplace closures and other disruptions, and prayers for those suffering from the virus and for healthcare providers.

In response to news of progression of COVID-19 outbreaks in other parts of the world, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement with Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Health Association of the United States that addressed the Catholic response to the outbreak.

The faithful are encouraged to consult their local (arch)diocese or (arch)eparchy as to local directives on the celebration of the sacraments. The USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship has shared helpful considerations with the U.S. bishops regarding their role in regulating liturgical celebrations as they make decisions for their respective dioceses in the wake of growing public health concerns.

The considerations include: reminding parishes to use common sense hygiene practices; reminding Catholics that they are not obligated to attend Mass if they are sick; reminding bishops that they may suspend the distribution of Holy Communion by the chalice (cup), and suspend physical contact at the sign of peace; and that in more serious circumstances, they may suspend public liturgical celebrations.

The USCCB, as well as the Confraternity on Christian Doctrine (CCD) and the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), have waived permission requirements for prayers and readings in both English and Spanish to allow dioceses to livestream Masses during this time as social distancing measures are implemented.

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Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, liturgy, Mass, communion, Archbishop José H. Gomes, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Committee on Divine Worship, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, International Commission on English in the Liturgy, ICEL, Confraternity of Christina Doctrine, CCD, liturgy.

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

 

USCCB President’s Reflection and Prayer During Coronavirus

WASHINGTON- Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):

With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity — that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God.

God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.

United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace.

We pray also for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.

In this time of need, I invite all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I share this prayer with you:  

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

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Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, bishops, prayer, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez.


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

 

 

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Encourages Lawmakers in Providing Aid and Relief to Those Affected by Coronavirus

WASHINGTON— Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, encouraged lawmakers as they consider measures to provide relief and aid to those suffering from coronavirus, as well as those affected by workplace closures and other disruptions. He also offered prayers for those suffering from the virus and for healthcare providers.

Archbishop Coakley's full statement follows:

“The outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has impacted the lives of hundreds of millions around the world, and is spreading here in the United States. We pray especially for those who are ill and for those who have died. We also offer prayers for those affected by disruptions, such as quarantines and closures of workplaces and schools. Finally, we pray for health care workers, and express our gratitude for their service in combating this disease.  

“At this time, lawmakers are considering with urgency a number of policies that could provide aid and relief. Because of the quickly developing nature of the situation, it is appropriate simply to offer encouragement to members of Congress and the Administration for their efforts to address the many challenges ahead. Special consideration is warranted for those most vulnerable: the poor, the elderly, the homeless, those in prison or detention facilities, immigrants and refugees, and those with severe underlying health conditions.  

“Several of the policies under review have previously been supported by the bishops, such as increased food security measures, paid sick leave, adequate care for immigrants regardless of status, and greater assistance for low-income workers, the unemployed, and those experiencing homelessness or housing instability. In order to safeguard the health of all, everyone who is sick with the virus should have access to health care that is not a financial burden, whether or not they have insurance. Additional consideration is warranted for suspending work requirements related to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), given likely workplace disruptions, making available additional federal funds potentially through a federal disaster declaration, refraining from immigration enforcement efforts at sensitive locations like hospitals and clinics, and additional resources for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.  

“We are grateful for the efforts by lawmakers during this difficult time and urge them to go forward in finding a path to bring greater relief to everyone suffering from coronavirus and its effects on society, especially those most in need. May the Divine Physician be with all those affected by this illness and restore us quickly to health and peace.”     

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Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

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

 

Annual Catholic Relief Services Collection Supports the Sanctity of Human Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

WASHINGTON— Each year, a national collection that supports some of the most marginalized communities in the world is held in dioceses around the country. Through development projects, pastoral outreach, legal support services, advocacy, and educational opportunities, the programs supported through The Catholic Relief Services Collection serve people who live in poverty and victims of persecution, war, and natural disasters. This year’s collection will be held in many dioceses the weekend of March 21-22.

Funds donated to the annual collection are provided to six Catholic groups that share in the Catholic mission of promoting the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, and Department of Migration and Refugee Services, as well as Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and the Holy Father's Relief Fund. The USCCB’s Administrative Committee is responsible for grant-making from this national collection.

For example, young people like Zeineba, a seventh grader in a rural village in Ethiopia, who receives tutoring and school tuition assistance through CRS. Through the support from the collection, Zeineba’s academic scores have improved, she has gained confidence, and she has lead a group of students that provide support for other girls. She not only has a bright future, but she also sets an example for her neighbors and her two younger sisters.

“Through almsgiving, we extend a hand of fraternal charity and give witness to the Risen Christ while offering hope to people who live on the margins,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle, chairman of the Committee on National Collections for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Each year I am extremely grateful and encouraged by the support we receive for The Catholic Relief Services Collection. Faithful across the United States, through their donations, make a tremendous impact in the lives of our brother and sisters here at home and across the globe who are denied their basic needs including education, food, shelter, and safety.”  

More information about the collection, who it supports and how the funds are distributed, can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-relief/howtogive. You can support this work by giving to the annual collection taken up in your parish. If you miss your parish collection, or wish to give outside of the collection, visit http://www.usccb.org/catholic-relief/howtogive.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Catholic Relief Services Collection, Committee on National Collections, Laetare Sunday.


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

 

Pope Francis Names Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as Archbishop of Atlanta

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv. of Savannah, as Archbishop of Atlanta. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop-designate Hartmayer was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1979 as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Conventual Franciscans). He was named bishop of Savannah in 2011. His full biography may be accessed here.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been a vacant see since April 2019. The archdiocese is comprised of 21,445 square miles in the State of Georgia and has a total population of 7,480,000 of which 1,170,000 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv., Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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

 

USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Oral Argument on Abortion Case

WASHINGTON– Today, the Supreme Court of the United States hears oral argument in an abortion case out of Louisiana, June Medical Services v. Russo. The case challenges a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Kat Talalas with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

“Women, their bodies, and their babies are immeasurably valuable. The violent act of abortion not only destroys the lives of unborn children, but often severely harms women’s physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Louisiana is right to prioritize women over abortion industry profits. All states, not only Louisiana, have a strong interest in regulating a procedure which is lethal to children and immensely damaging to women. It adds insult to injury, and speaks to the callousness of the abortion industry, that providers are seeking to overturn basic, standard protections for women seeking this life-altering procedure. The Catholic Church encourages all people of faith to pray about the outcome to this very important case. We also ask all to pray for the women who are compelled to seek abortion: that they may find alternatives that value their health and well-being, and the lives of their precious children.”

The USCCB filed a joint amicus curie brief in the case along with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals urging the Supreme Court to uphold the law. The brief can be viewed here: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/18-1323-USCCB-amicus-June-Med-v-Gee-12-30-2019.pdf

 

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, June Medical Services v. Russo, Supreme Court of the United States, abortion, amicus curia, National Association of Evangelicals.

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

 

Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Luis M. Romero Fernandez, M. Id. as Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre.

Bishop-elect Romero is a priest of the Institute of Christ the Redeemer (Idente Missionaries) and currently serves as Pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hempstead, NY. The appointment was publicized today in Washington, D.C. by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Romero was born June 16, 1954 in Palencia, Spain. He studied Philosophy and Theology at the International Seminary of Idente Missionaries in Tenerife, Spain (1974-1980). He holds graduate degrees in Biological Sciences (University of Seville, Spain, 1978), Philosophy and Letters (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, 1985), and a Doctoral degree in Medicine (University of Saragossa, Spain, 1987).

He entered the Idente Missionaries in 1972 and was ordained to the priesthood on September 11, 1981 in Tenerife, Spain.  

Father Romero’s assignments after ordination include: Provincial Superior of Idente Missionaries in Saragossa, Spain (1981-1987), La Paz, Bolivia (1987-1996) and Santiago, Chile (1994-1997). From 1987 to 1994, Father Romero served as Director of the University Pastoral (Campus Ministry) and Religious Sciences Department of the Catholic University of Bolivia in La Paz, Bolivia. He was also Adjunct Director of the Religious Sciences Department at the Catholic University of Bolivia (1991-1994).

Father Romero served as Chaplain of the Convent of the Order of Immaculate Conception in La Paz, Bolivia (1987-1994). From 1994-1996, he was Pastor of Holy Mary of Pura Pura Parish and Dean of the Deanery of Munaypata (4 parishes) in the Archdiocese of La Paz, Bolivia; Pastor of Saint Norberto Parish, Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile (1996-1997); Pastoral Assistant (Chaplain for Campus Ministry) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago (1996-1997); Chancellor and Rector-Chancellor (President) of the Private Technical University of Loja, Ecuador (1996-2009).

From 2009 to 2010, Father Romeo was part of several missions in the headquarters of Idente Missionaries Institution in Rome, Italy, and the General See of the Male Branch in Madrid, Spain. He served as Director of the University Pastoral Department (Campus Ministry) in the Diocese of Cadiz, Spain (2009-2011); Counsellor of the General See of Idente Missionaries, Men’s Branch (2009-2017). From 2011 to 2013, he served as Provincial Superior of Idente Missionaries in India (Cochin). Bishop-elect Romero has also held positions as Professor/Researcher, University of Saragosa, Spain (1978-1987), Professor/Researcher, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia (1990-1996), and Professor, School of Medicine and School of Biochemistry, Private Technical University of Loja, Ecuador (1998-2008).

In 2014, Father Romero was named Pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Hempstead, New York. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and also has familiarity with French, Portuguese and Italian languages.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre is comprised of 1,198 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 3,004,366 of which 1,428,296 are Catholic. Bishop John O. Barres is the current bishop of Rockville Centre.

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Keywords: Bishops appointment, Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Bishop-elect Luis M. Romero Fernandez, M. Id, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop John O. Barres.

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

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Edward Grosz of Buffalo

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Edward M. Grosz as Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo. Bishop Grosz has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on March 2, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Buffalo.

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

 

 

 

 

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Reacts to House Rejection of Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act

WASHINGTON–Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A procedural vote to amend another piece of legislation (H.R. 2339, Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019) to include the Born Alive Abortion Survivors’ Protection Act failed by a vote of 187 to 220. 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 in response:

“Just three days ago, the U.S. Senate tragically failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives shamefully followed suit. The Born-Alive bill simply and rightly provides additional protections to ensure that newborn babies who survive an abortion attempt are given the same care as any other baby and are not left to die or directly killed. Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide. We will not and cannot stop pressing Congress to do the right thing and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

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Keywords: Bishops appointment, Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress.

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

 

 

Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego

The following press release has been amended to include updated biographical information for Bishop-elect Bejarano that the Diocese of Stockton provided upon the announcement. The original announcement indicated that Father Bejarano was pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Modesto, CA.

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Ramon Bejarano as Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego.

Father Bejarano is a priest of the Diocese of Stockton and currently serves as Pastor of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton, CA. The appointment was publicized today in Washington, D.C. by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Bejarano was born July 17, 1969 in Seagraves, TX. His family is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and he lived there from 1972 until 1987 when he moved with his family to Tracy, CA in the Diocese of Stockton. In 1989, he entered formation for the Diocese of Stockton. Bishop-elect Bejarano attended and received his Master of Philosophy from Seminario Diocesano de Tijuana (1989-1992) and his Master of Divinity from Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon (1992-1998). He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Stockton on August 15, 1998.

Assignments after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. George Church, Stockton, CA (1998-2003) and Sacred Heart Church, Turlock, CA (2004-2006), Founding Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Modesto, CA (2006-2008); Pastor at Saint Stanislaus Parish, Modesto, CA (2008-2019). From 2019 until present, he has served as Pastor at Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton.

Father Bajarano has served on the Presbyteral Council and the Board of Consultors for the Diocese of Stockton. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.

The Diocese of San Diego is comprised of 8,852 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 3,484,311 of which 1,391,278 are Catholic. Bishop Robert W. McElroy is the current bishop of San Diego.

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Keywords: Bishops appointment, Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Bishop-elect Ramon Bejarano, Diocese of San Diego, Bishop Robert W. McElroy.

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