WASHINGTON (March 30, 2005)—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been informed that Pope John Paul II has confirmed the election of U.S. bishops as Members of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops.
The Members, also called delegates, were elected at the fall general meeting of the USCCB last November. They are Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, who is President of the USCCB, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, immediate past president, Cardinal Justin F. Rigali of Philadelphia, and Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh.
Elected Substitutes, or alternates, were Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie and Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City.
The Synod of Bishops was chartered by Pope Paul VI in 1965 in the document Apostolica Sollicitudo. The purposes of the Synod are "to encourage close union and valued assistance between the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops of the entire world; to insure that direct and real information is provided on questions and situations touching upon the internal action of the Church and its necessary activity in the world of today; to facilitate agreement on essential points of doctrine and on methods of procedure in the life of the Church."
The Eucharist is the subject of the 11th General Assembly of the Synod which will begin at the Vatican on October 2, 2005. The 10th General Assembly, on the role of the Bishop in the life of the Church, was held in 2001.
The USCCB received word of the confirmation of the U.S. bishops chosen as delegates and alternates in a communication from Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod.