WASHINGTON (August 18, 2003)
Migrants the Focus of Bishops' 2003 Labor Day Statement
Labor Day, September 1, signals an end to summer vacation and a return to school – but most of all, it's a commemoration of work in the everyday lives of the people of the United States. Since the 1950's the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued an annual Labor Day Statement, relating Catholic social teaching to work and the means of production. This year's statement will focus on migrant workers. "The annual Labor Day Statement reflects the bishops' commitment to the Catholic teaching that our economic life should be shaped by moral principles" says Nancy Wisdo, Director, USCCB Office of Domestic Social Development. "Migrant farmworkers are often the victims of a system which accepts the benefits of their labor while denying them appropriate protections."
Nancy Wisdo is available at 202/541-3187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First of African and American Solidarity Dialogues to Begin in September
The USCCB, together with the University of Notre Dame, will sponsor a conference "Call to Solidarity with Africa: Americans and Africans in Dialogue," from September 21-24, at the University Notre Dame in South Bend, with a second part of the conference January 4-11 in Nigeria. The conference follows in the spirit of the document issued by the U.S. Catholic bishops in November 2001, A Call to Solidarity with Africa. "This conference will bring together people from many areas of society in the United States and Africa, including politicians and policy makers, various segments of the Church, business, administrators and academics, to discuss Africa's promise, needs and image," says Father Michael Perry, Policy Analyst, USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace. "The bishops challenge us to focus our attention on Africa, and this transcontinental project is a first step." Additional information can be found on the websites of Notre Dame (http://www.nd.edu/~icl/africa-conf.html) and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (www.usccb.org/sdwp).
Father Michael Perry is available at 202/541-3149 or email@example.com. to generate practical steps toward a greater solidarity with Africa as it faces its future.
A Light for the World Coming in September
John Paul II: A Light for the World, Sheed & Ward's definitive book marking the pope's silver jubilee, will be in bookstores in mid-September, and pre-publications sales are already breaking non-fiction records. A photo documentary of the pope, the book includes extraordinary and rare pictures, over 40 brief essays about his teachings and 30 personal remembrances by U.S. clerics and laity who have interacted with him. It also includes summaries of key documents from his papacy, brief excerpts from papal speeches and a biography of this man who has made an incredible impact on the 20th and 21st centuries. "This is an extraordinary moment in world history," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, USCCB Deputy Director for Media Relations and editor of the 256-page book. "John Paul II: A Light for the World captures the significance of the Polish pope who brought the papacy to the people through more than 100 visits outside of Italy and welcomed leaders from all over the world to the Vatican in a quest for world peace."
Sister Mary Ann Walsh can be reached at 202-541-3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Compliance Audits of Dioceses and Eparchies
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, 2002, set forth a number of procedures and practices. "One of the fundamental requirements of the Charter is that the 195 dioceses and eparchies undergo a 'compliance audit' by the end of October of this year," says Kathleen McChesney, Executive Director, USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection. The Gavin Group of Boston, Massachusetts is now conducting these audits. "The audits include a review of diocesan/eparchial policies regarding sexual abuse of minors, safe environment programs, and pastoral outreach," says McChesney. Each audit takes approximately one week by the Gavin Group's visiting team. Results of the audits will be announced later this year, and instances of non-compliance will be cited.
Kathleen McChesney is available at 202/541-5413 or email@example.com.
September 11 Resource Honors Priests' Role
Some were in burning buildings or outside the crash sites, others were counseling on the phone, still others were in homes and hospitals with the many victims of 9/11. "We were there," said Father Edward J. Burns, Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation. "In every way imaginable, priests were in the midst of the world tragedy which changed us all forever." Many are familiar with the story of Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, who died ministering to a fireman; we now learn about other priests and how they responded. From Father Schueller attending a meeting in the Pentagon when the terrorists' plane struck there to Msgr. Slepicka who was on the phone with the sister of a man who was on United Flight 93 while it was in the air, the accounts reach dramatically to the heart of the priesthood. Accounts of these priests have been compiled in a folder describing the sacrament and pastoral ministry of priests which will be released to dioceses, media and others at the beginning of September.
Father Edward Burns can be reached at 202/541-33033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Poetry of John Paul II Released on September 5
"The Poetry of John Paul II—Roman Triptych: Meditations is a last spiritual testament, showing another side of this truly remarkable man—the poet," noted Paul Henderson, executive director of USCCB Publishing. Available September 5 in bookstores across the country from USCCB Publishing, the book contains three new poems by Pope John Paul II, written during his pontificate. The poems reflect on the wonder and beauty of the natural world, the pope's own mortality, the coming conclave of cardinals that must choose his successor, and God's incomparable love for humanity. The book includes artwork from the Vatican Museums and several pages of the Pope's original handwritten text and a special presentation by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Paul Henderson is available at 202/541-34578 or email@example.com.