- The Catholic Relief Services Collection Gives Hope in Troubled Times
February 26, 2009
WASHINGTON—The 2009 Catholic Relief Services Collection theme, "Give Hope to Jesus in Disguise," reminds us that our faith calls us to care for one another and that Christ is present both in those who suffer and in those who respond compassionately to their needs. The Collection is the weekend of March 21-22 in most dioceses of the United States.
The Catholic Relief Services Collection confronts international issues such as food security, HIV/AIDS, education and peace building. In addition to the vital efforts of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the collection supports refugee resettlement programs, legal aid to immigrants, advocacy and emergency and disaster relief.
- Catholic Campaign for Human Development Honors Fransciscan Sister Joan Jurski for Diocesan Leadership in Raleigh, NC
February 25, 2009
WASHINGTON—Sister Joan Jurski, OSF has received the 2009 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Diocesan Director of the Year Award. The ceremony took place February 20 in Washington. Sister Jurski has been the CCHD Diocesan Director in Raleigh, North Carolina, since 1991. Hired as the Coordinator of the Office of Peace and Justice, Sr. Jurski, a Franciscan, addresses the social concerns of a diocese that is more rural than urban, with 96 Catholic churches spread over 54 counties.
- Father John Baumann Honored by CCHD for Community-Based Initiatives that Empower the Poor
February 23, 2009
WASHINGTON—Jesuit Father John A. Baumann received the 2009 Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award for his efforts to create a national network of community self-help organizations. The national award is given annually by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops that puts Catholic social teaching into action by supporting local organization that empower the poor. The award was presented on February 22 at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.
Father Baumann is founder and past Executive Director of People Improving Communities through Organizing (formerly the Pacific Institute of Community Organizing) or PICO, a network of community organizations in low-income neighborhoods. Drawing on his deep commitment to Catholic social teaching, he founded PICO in 1972 as a training institute to help neighborhood organizations empower low-income people in Oakland, Calif.
- Bishops Offer Web Resources for Lent
February 23, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Bishops have posted Web resources to help Catholics observe the season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 25.
Video resources include meditations on the crucified Christ and Michelangelo's Pietá and an excerpt from Come to the Water, an hour-long documentary about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
- Pope Names Archbishop Timothy Dolan as Archbishop of New York
February 23, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of Milwaukee, 59, as Archbishop of New York, and accepted the resignation of Cardinal Edward M. Egan, 76, from the pastoral governance of the New York Archdiocese.
The appointment was announced in Washington, February 23, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
- American Bishops' Conferences Meet in Argentina, Explore Mutual Solidarity
February 19, 2009
PILAR, Argentina—Leaders of bishops' conferences of the United States and Canada as well as leaders of the Council of Latin American Bishops (CELAM), and the presidents of the bishops Conferences of Ecuador, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Uruguay held their thirty-sixth meeting in the Assembly House of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, February 10-11.
The meeting explored relations within the Church in the American continent in order to strengthen communion and mutual solidarity in service of their respective peoples.
- Bishops' For Your Marriage Website Offers Ideas for 'Cheap' Dates
February 18, 2009
WASHINGTON—With tough economic conditions impacting families, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) "For Your Marriage" Web site offers ten suggestions for romantic, low-cost dates. From planning an indoor "picnic" to "midnight bowling," the ideas can inspire couples to be creative date planners.
"We came up with these low-cost ideas for time together as well as some articles that focus on family finances, which is a leading cause of marital stress," said Sheila Garcia, associate director of the USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and lead staff for the project.
- U.S. Bishops, Catholic Relief Services Launch Initiative to Confront Global Poverty
February 17, 2009
WASHINGTON—In an effort to engage one million Catholics in a fight against global poverty, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will launch Catholics Confront Global Poverty on February 23, at the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. This initiative will promote human life and dignity by addressing the many faces of poverty.
"In his 2009 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI sets forth a challenge: fight poverty to build peace," said Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, who will announce the launch. Drawing on the words of the pope as an inspiration for the initiative, he added, "It is important that 'people everywhere feel personally outraged by the injustices in the world.' Only then can people work together to 'redress the marginalization of the world's poor' and 'fight poverty to build peace.'"
- Diocesan Social Action Directors to Present USCCB's Joan Rosenhauer with Harry A. Fagan Award
February 12, 2009
WASHINGTON—As part of its Annual Symposium, The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors will present Joan Rosenhauer, Associate Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with the Harry A. Fagan Roundtable Award at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 21. The Roundtable selects one awardee annually who has made a lasting contribution to Catholic social action efforts, in light of Church teaching.
Most recent among her accomplishments, Rosenhauer had lead staff responsibility for the collaborative effort among many offices and bishops' committees at the USCCB in developing their 2007 document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which aimed to educate Catholics on the social teachings of the Church in order for them to make morally responsible choices in their political participation.
- Ch'an/Zen Catholic Dialogue Spreads 'Welcome Table' at Retreat
February 9, 2009
WASHINGTON—The ongoing Ch'an/Zen Catholic Dialogue explored the dialogue of religious experience and the dialogue of life at a retreat meeting. Rev. Heng Sure of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and the Institute for World Religions, Berkeley, California, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City co-chaired the January 28-31 meeting.
Sister of Charity Mary Ann Donovan of the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, led an experience of Lectio Divina based on the vine and the braches image of John 15:1-17. Rev. Victoria Austin of the San Francisco Zen Center gave an "encouragement talk," one typically delivered to Zen retreatants.
- Cardinal Rigali to Congress: Keep Existing Pro-Life Laws
February 5, 2009
WASHINGTON—Writing as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Justin Rigali sent a letter on February 5 to all members of Congress, urging them to maintain pro-life provisions in the appropriations bills they must soon approve to keep government programs funded past March 5. "I urge you not to use this legislation to weaken or rescind longstanding provisions that protect U.S. taxpayers from being forced to fund and promote the destruction of innocent human life," Cardinal Rigali said.
"In making this plea," he said, "I am joined by millions of Catholics and others who, in the weeks to come, will be sending postcards to their elected representatives with this message: 'Please oppose FOCA [the 'Freedom of Choice Act'] or any similar measure, and retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.' While an extreme proposal like FOCA would overturn hundreds of pro-life laws at once, we are equally concerned that such laws may be overturned one at a time during Congress's appropriations process."
- Massive Nationwide Pro-Life Postcard Campaign Underway
February 4, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a national postcard campaign urging Congress to maintain widely-supported pro-life policies and to oppose the federal funding and promotion of abortion. Launched on January 24-25, the campaign is being coordinated through the USCCB's partner organization, the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA).
To date, tens of millions of cards have already been distributed across the country—to parishes, schools, non-Catholic churches, and civic organizations—with orders continuing to come in. The majority of Catholic dioceses are participating.
- President of U.S. Bishops Says Holocaust Denial
'Deeply Offensive and Utterly False'
February 3, 2009
WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called remarks denying the Holocaust by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, "deeply offensive and utterly false."
The assessment came in a February 3 statement by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, USCCB President.
- Gallup Poll: Most Americans Disapprove of
Mexico City Policy Reversal
February 3, 2009
WASHINGTON—A USA Today/Gallup poll on actions taken by President Obama showed the least support for his January 23 decision to reverse the Mexico City Policy and restore U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, commented on the January 31-February 1 survey:
"Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has said that the bishops find the recent decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy 'very disappointing.' Most Americans seem to agree.
- Pope Names Phoenix Priest as Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico
February 5, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI named Father James S. Wall, 44, Vicar for Clergy of the Diocese of Phoenix, as Bishop of Gallup, New Mexico.
The appointment was announced in Washington, February 5, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-elect Wall succeeds Bishop Donald E. Pelotte, SSS, who resigned as head of the Gallup Diocese last April.