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Chairman of U.S Bishops’ Conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities Calls for National Prayer Effort That Every Human Being is Protected In Law And Welcomed in Life

 WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today inviting all people of good will to join in a prayer campaign that the change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.

Cardinal Dolan's full statement follows:

"As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee, we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.

Each Friday, from August 3 - September 28, 2018, I urge all people of good will to join me in prayer that this change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life. The USCCB Call to Prayer network will share prayers and educational resources and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for the healing of our nation and our people from decades of abortion on demand."

Call to Prayer materials will be accessible at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/call-to-prayer/legal-protection-of-human-life.cfm. Those wishing to join this nine-week prayer effort can sign up at www.usccb.org/pray to participate in this and subsequent Call to Prayer initiatives via email or text message.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane


U.S. Bishops Approved $1.4 million in Funding for Church in Africa for Pastoral Projects

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has approved 54 grants totaling $1.4 million in funding to support dioceses and pastoral projects across the African continent.

Projects slated to receive funding through the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa include the following:

● In Lesotho, Radio Maria offers Christian educational programs designed to enrich the faith and improve the lives of its listeners. This grant will help Radio Maria to install three new transmitting stations, which will allow their programs to reach the entire Lesotho population.

● In Ghana, the Diocese of Wa's newly established Child Protection Office seeks to create a new culture where safeguarding children is the responsibility of all. This grant will support the diocese to organize training for the Diocesan and School Child Protection Teams, clergy, religious and pastoral agents. The workshops will convey information and create sensitivity on protection of children and vulnerable adults, promote creation of safe environments for children, offer skill development, and help the diocese develop policies, as well as liaise with government and civil society on child protection.

● In Rwanda, the Episcopal Conference continues to promote reconciliation and peace education following the genocide. This grant will allow the Conference to translate conflict prevention materials into the local language of Kinyarwanda to be used within Catholic schools across the country.

"Through the generous support of the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, the Catholics of the United States show that we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Africa and recognize their courageous commitment to peace, justice, reconciliation, and Christian hope throughout the continent," said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa.

Additional areas of funding include seminarian and religious formation, evangelization, family ministries, and lay leadership training.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Subcommittee on the Church in Africa, grants, training, pastoral care, Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane


U.S. Bishops Provide Aid for Housing; Vulnerable People and Expanding Youth Ministries in Eastern Europe

 WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved $4.9 million in funding for 209 projects in 22 countries in Central and Eastern Europe at its meeting on June 12 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Projects approved for funding include:

● Refurbishment of St. Luke Social and Rehabilitation Center for children with cancer in Belarus. This Caritas-run facility in Minsk, Belarus, offers free lodging and psychological support to more than 50 poor families annually as their children undergo examination, treatment, and rehabilitation. This center is an important expression of how the Church, whose activities were previously forbidden, today continues to renew its capacity for social ministry and outreach to the poor.

● Expansion of a center for the homeless and the marginalized run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Rijeka, Croatia. For many years the Sisters of Charity have worked on a voluntary basis to help the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness in Rijeka, where many live among abandoned buildings in the city. This grant will help the Sisters of Charity continue their ministry to aid the homeless and marginalized at a full-day center, engaging volunteers and social workers in managing individual cases and so mobilizing the local church to address underlying issues of homelessness.

● Development of a leadership course for youth ministers in Romania. Since independence, the Archdiocese of Alba Iulia in Romania has been in the process of renewing pastoral work in more than 250 parishes. However, ministry to youth is still developing and, to date, only one-third of those parishes have youth activities. This grant will support a seven-week youth formation program to develop leadership skills and further develop youth programs for the Church in Romania.

● Support of summer camps for children and youth from families internally displaced by war in Ukraine. Since war broke in 2014 in the East of Ukraine, children of internally displaced persons and children of soldiers have been among those most affected psychologically by the events. This grant will allow Caritas Donetsk to conduct two summer camps for 100 affected children and youth, where they will have the opportunity to interact with each other and receive rehabilitation and spiritual care with the assistance of mental health professionals, priests, and volunteers.

"As the people of Central and Eastern Europe continue to build a new future after decades of repression, we are all inspired by the example of great hope they give to the world that it is possible to bring healing to the wounds of the past. We can take pride that our steadfast support makes a significant contribution to all their efforts in renewing their communities and passing on the faith of their ancestors to the next generation," said Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.

Other projects approved by the Subcommittee include scholarships and formation for church leadership, church and pastoral center construction, Catholic education renewal and development, and evangelization programs. Grants approved by the Subcommittee support the Church in countries previously oppressed by communism.

Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different dates. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.


Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, youth, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, catechesis, grants, Cardinal Blasé Cupich.

Media Contact:

Judy Keane


Getting out of the Sacristy: A Look at Our Pastoral Priorities

For the past several days, I’ve been with my Word on Fire team, filming for the Flannery O’Connor and Fulton Sheen episodes of our “Pivotal Players” series. Our journey has taken us from Chicago to New York to Washington, DC, and finally to Savannah and Millidgeville, GA. At every step of the way, we have met numerous people who have been affected by Word on Fire materials: sermons, podcasts, YouTube videos, and the “CATHOLICISM” series. Many have told me that their exposure to Word on Fire started a process that led them back to the Church. Now I’m telling you this not as an advertisement for my media ministry, but rather as an occasion to muse about what I consider to be a needful change in the way the Church thinks about its essential work.

Salir de la Sacristía: Una mirada a nuestras prioridades pastorales

Desde hace varios días, he estado con mi equipo de Word on Fire, filmando los episodios de Flannery O’Connor y Fulton Sheen para nuestra serie The Pivotal Players. Nuestro viaje nos ha llevado de Chicago a Nueva York a Washington DC, y finalmente a Savannah y Millidgeville. A cada paso del camino nos hemos encontrado con personas a las que les ha llegado el material de Word on Fire: homilías, podcasts, videos de Youtube y la serie CATOLICISMO. Muchos me han dicho que su contacto con Word on Fire empezó un proceso que les ha traído de vuelta a la Iglesia. Y no les digo esto para hacer propaganda de mi ministerio en los medios, sino como una ocasión para reflexionar acerca de lo que considero debe ser un cambio en la forma en la que la Iglesia piensa acerca de su labor más esencial.

Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA Lend Their Support to Catholic Charities Agencies Reuniting Families

 WASHINGTON—The Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) today issued the following statement on the ongoing efforts to reunite children separated from their families at the border.

"As we have long done, CCUSA and Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB are lending our experience and expertise to support Catholic Charities agencies in their efforts to reunite families and care for immigrant children during this sensitive time. While we strongly oppose the policies that led to these families being separated, we remain committed to working to ensure their safe reunification. Protection of families is a foundational element of Catholic Social Teaching and this moment calls on all people of good will to lend a hand to reunite these children with their parents."

To learn more about how you can help visit: Justice for Immigrants and Catholic Charities USA

About USCCB Migration and Refugee Services

Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) fulfills the commitment of the U.S. Catholic bishops to protect the life and dignity of the human person. For more than 50 years, MRS has served and advocated for refugees, asylees, migrants, unaccompanied children, and victims of human trafficking. To learn more about MRS, please visit www.usccb.org/mrs.

About Catholic Charities USA             

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministry nationwide. CCUSA's members provide help and create hope to more than 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Migration and Refugee Services, MRS, Catholic Charities USA, CCUSA, Justice for Inmigrants.


Media Contacts:

USCCB Contact: Mark Priceman            CCUSA Contact: Patricia Cole 

MPriceman@usccb.org                              pcole@catholiccharitiesusa.org

202-541-3064                                               703-236-6218

Lucas Koach Named as Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

 WASHINGTON—Lucas Koach has been appointed as Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect July 30, 2018.

Mr. Koach brings over 20 years of experience in Christian ministry and global humanitarian public policy. Since 2011, he has served as the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for Food for the Hungry. Along with extensive interaction with the US Congress and administrative branch, he has participated in multilateral agency policy forums at the UN and the World Bank and has gained a reputation as a respected coalition builder. He serves on the Board of the Accord network, an association of 90 US-based Christian relief and development organizations and also the board of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, which elevates the relief and development capacities of international faith-based organizations among multilateral institutions.

Mr. Koach is a convert to Catholicism, having served many years prior as an associate pastor in the Anglican Church in Florida and Arkansas.

"Mr. Koach brings the kind of experience, relationships, knowledge and managerial acumen necessary for a position of such breadth," said Msgr. Bransfield. "We look forward to working with him on the major international issues that are so important to the Church and the world."

Lucas Koach graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1992. He earned his Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries from the Denver Seminary in 2002. 

For more information on the USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/international-justice-and-peace/ 

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Office of International Justice and Peace, Lucas Koach, Msgr. Brian Bransfield


Media Contact:

Judy Keane


Pope Francis Names Bishop Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose

 WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose, California. Bishop Cantú was up until now Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on July 11, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Cantú was born in Houston on December 5, 1966. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas, and received his Masters in Divinity and Masters in Theological Studies from the University of St. Thomas, also in Houston. He also attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) as well as his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.). Bishop Cantú was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Houston in 1994.

He spent his priestly career working in parishes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Christopher Parish. He also taught at the University of St. Thomas and at St. Mary's Seminary. He served as pastor at Holy Name Parish. He was involved in the Christian Family movement; conducted retreats and worked with the Engaged Encounter ministry. Bishop Cantú was also involved in The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) that addresses social issues in the community.

Bishop Cantú was appointed and then ordained Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio and Titular Bishop of Dardano in 2008. In 2013, Bishop Cantú was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, NM. He was installed as bishop on February 28, 2013.

Bishop Oscar Cantú is the former Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace. He is currently a member of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America and Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

Most Rev. Cantú was one of two delegates chosen by the Bishops' Conference to represent the USCCB at Pope Francis' visit to Mexico in 2016.

The Diocese of San Jose is comprised of 1,300 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,918,044 of which 620,000 or 32.32 percent are Catholic.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Diocese of San Jose, Las Cruces.


Media Contact:

Judy Keane



U.S. Bishops Conference Chairman of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Statement on the Death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican Diplomat and Expert in Interfaith Relations

 WASHINGTON— The Cardinal who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase "habemus papam (we have a pope)," has died. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has issued the following statement on behalf of the bishops of the United States who mourn the loss of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Cardinal Tauran passed away on July 5th at the age of 75.  He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease. 

Bishop Bambera's statement follows:

"Ordained a priest in 1969, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran led a distinguished life in service to the Church. In 1975, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See and served as Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Lebanon.  In 1988, he was named undersecretary for the Section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State and in 1991 Pope John Paul II appointed him an archbishop. In the years that followed, he represented the Holy See in numerous international conferences. In 2007, he was named President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. 

In this new role, Cardinal Tauran made a great impact on Catholic relations with non-Christian religions, most especially in convening interreligious coalitions to address the pressing questions of culture and society. He was especially tireless in his work to build relations with the Muslim community.   

For those involved in interreligious dialogue, his death is a great loss. An important part of his legacy remains his commitment to interfaith understanding and cooperation in service to Christ and the Church. May he rest in peace." 


Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera,  Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.


Media Contact:

Judy Keane


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Announces Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters

 WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is publishing a new document, Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters. The full text is available on the USCCB website at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/asian-pacific-islander/upload/asian-and-pacific-island-pastoral-response-encountering-christ-in-harmony-2018.pdf .

Approved by the U.S. bishops during their Spring 2018 General Assembly, the pastoral response will guide the Catholic Church in the United States in addressing the pastoral needs of Asian and Pacific Island communities and provide a framework for dioceses and parishes for creating their pastoral plans or actions specific to their circumstances.

The Asian and Pacific Island population in the United States is the fastest growing minority population according to research referenced in the document. Yet, this population "tends to go unrecognized in the wider US society, and there remains a need to bring more attention and support to the Asian and Pacific Island communities," the bishops say in the pastoral response.

Encountering Christ in Harmony aims to: (a) advance the Church's mission of evangelization to specific cultural groups; (b) assist dioceses, parish leaders, other Catholic entities, and the faithful in pastoral outreach to Asian and Pacific Island Catholics; and (c) provide resources and information about Asian and Pacific Island Catholic communities.

The printed version of the document will be available at the USCCB online store (https://store.usccb.org/) at a later date.


Keywords:  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, pastoral response, Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters, Asian and Pacific Island communities. evangelization.



Judy Keane

O: 202-541-3200