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The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Announces Grants Recipients for Projects that Support Catholic Biblical Literacy and Interpretation

WASHINGTON - This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $146,168 for eight projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants, accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its full and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the dogmatic constitution on divine revelation promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies.

Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of Saint Augustine and a member of the CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, noted that “We are blessed by those scholars who dedicate the best of their talents to unfold the treasures of the Scriptures for God’s people.”

Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works, which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.

The six projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:
•  $2,500 to Martin C. Albl (Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD) for These Things Do Not Contradict the Blessed Paul: Reading James in the Ancient Greek Commentary Tradition
•  $14,668 to Joseph Atkinson (John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, Washington, DC) for Water and Water Rituals in Ancient Israel and their Relationship to Baptism in the New Testament
•  $25,000 to David Bosworth (The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC) for What is the Role of the Natural World in the Divine-Human Relationship?
•  $25,000 to Sherri Brown (Creighton University, Omaha, NE) for Community, Discipleship, and the Role of Women in the Gospel of John
•  $19,000 to Andrew Davis (Boston College,Chestnut Hill, MA) for Satire and Prophetic Identity in the Hebrew Bible
•  $25,000 to Todd Hanneken (Saint Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX) for La Biblia y su Tradicion; The Bible and its Tradition: Collaboration for Catholic Biblical Literacy in the Southwest
•  $10,000 to Vincent Skemp (Saint Catherine University, Minneapolis, MN) for The Acts of Paul and Thecla: Early Christian Commentary
•  $25,000 to Jaime Waters (DePaul University, Chicago, IL) for Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Jeremiah

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Felipe J. Estévez, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, CCD, Catholic biblical literacy, Catholic biblical interpretation, Catholic Biblical Association, CBA.

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

 

Office of Bishop May 23, 2020

Office of Bishop Letter May 23, 2020

USCCB Chairman for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs on 25th Anniversary of Encyclical on Catholic Church’s Commitment to Ecumenism

WASHINGTON – On the anniversary of the encyclical on the Catholic Church’s commitment to ecumenism, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton and chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has issued the following statement:
 
“May 25, 2020, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the promulgation of Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical on the Catholic Church’s commitment to ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint.This anniversary should serve as a reminder that the way of ecumenism is the way of the Church (7), and that all Catholics are called to espouse a strong commitment to building Christian unity.
 
“Pope St. John Paul II, who worked tirelessly to build ecumenical relationships, described the impulse of working for unity between Christians as ‘a duty of Christian conscience enlightened by faith and guided by love’ (8). We rejoice that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have continued to advance this singular mission between the Catholic Church and other Christian communities. We celebrate numerous theological convergences that have been discovered in ecumenical dialogues over the course of the past twenty-five years as we seek to grow closer together.
 
“Pope St. John Paul II concluded this encyclical with a profound insight from St. Cyprian’s Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer: ‘God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. For God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ (102). In a time of pandemic, people seek refuge and unity in their faith community. May this anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s call for Christian unity serve as a unique pastoral opportunity to build bridges by continuing to reach out with love to all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. May He heal our wounds of division and help us grow closer in unity, especially in this moment, by witnessing together to the peace of Christ that our world needs so very much.”
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Pope John Paul II, Saint John Paul II, ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, encyclical, Christian unity, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis.
 
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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Domestic Justice and Human Development Urges Care for the Poor and Vulnerable in Further Consideration of COVID-19 Relief Legislation

WASHINGTON - Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, released a statement urging lawmakers to remember the needs of the poor and vulnerable as they consider additional relief packages related to the COVID-19 crisis. This follows the statements of Archbishop Coakley on March 12 and March 28 on the previous legislation providing emergency relief to those suffering from the impact of the coronavirus.  
 
Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:
 
“In the readings last Sunday, we heard from St. Peter, ‘Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope...’ (1 Pt. 3:15). On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis prayed for the gift of hope while powerfully illuminating the concerns of the Church during the pandemic:
‘This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless. May these, the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters living in the cities and peripheries of every part of the world, not be abandoned. Let us ensure that they do not lack basic necessities...’[1]
“As Congress turns once more to considering additional relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus should be on those most in need—the poor, the vulnerable, and people on the margins—to offer them some hope and assistance in desperate circumstances. Since early April, some of my brother bishops and I have sent five letters to express this touchstone principle to Congress and its various committees, in contexts ranging from food security, housing, access to affordable health care, protections for the unborn, addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, assistance for the poor and unemployed, care for migrants and refugees, safety for detainees and the incarcerated, education, international assistance and debt relief, and help for charities serving vulnerable populations.  
 
“Additional needs have emerged such as sufficient protective equipment for all essential workers, protection of familial well-being and integrity, additional research on the link between air pollution and coronavirus health outcomes, and the need to address disruptions to the food supply chain and its impact on farmers and farmworkers, food waste and public health. We welcome the Vatican’s new commission on COVID-19, and will continue our advocacy in the same mode as this critical work for the common good continues.
 
“In this time of trial, it is important to remember ‘the reason for our hope.’ On the Feast of the Ascension this week, we hear the resurrected Lord tell his disciples, ‘And behold, I am with you always’ (Mt. 28:20). Let us proceed in this hope, asking the Lord for wisdom on how best to respond, drawing close to our brothers and sisters in need, and finding our peace in the Lord’s promise to be with us ‘until the end of the age.’”  
 
The recent letters of USCCB chairmen to Congress on its COVID-19 response can be found at the following links:
1.   April 9, 2020, letter to Senate and House Committees on Appropriations
2.   April 9, 2020, letter to Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary
3.   April 9, 2020, letter to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and House Committee on Education and Labor
4.   April 9, 2020, letter to Senate Committee on Finance, House Committee on Ways and Means, and House Committee on Energy and Commerce
5.   May 7, 2020, letter to all members of Congress on moral framework for health care
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, coronavirus, COVID-19, CARES Act.

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

 

Office of Bishop May 20, 2020

Bishop letter 5-20-2020

USCCB Chairman Commends Guidance Upholding Religious Freedom at U.S. Department of Labor

WASHINGTON - Late last week, Secretary Eugene Scalia issued guidance directing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to ensure equal treatment for religious institutions participating in DOL grants and programs. Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. of Youngstown, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, released the following statement:

“The recently issued guidance from the Secretary of Labor rightly recognizes that religion and religious institutions make vital contributions to the well-being of our country. I am grateful for the steps the Administration has taken to promote fairness for people faith. By ensuring that religious institutions can participate in public programs on equal footing with secular ones, the Department of Labor protects faith-based organizations’ freedom to serve and thus promotes the common good.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop George V. Murry, Department of Labor, Committee for Religious Liberty, religious liberty, religious freedom.

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

 

Pope Francis Merges Archdiocese of Anchorage and Diocese of Juneau and Names Bishop Andrew Bellisario, CM as Metropolitan Archbishop of Anchorage-Juneau

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has merged the Archdiocese of Anchorage and the Diocese of Juneau and has erected the new ecclesiastical circumscription of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau. At the same time, he named the current bishop of Juneau and apostolic administrator for Anchorage, Andrew E. Bellisario, CM as the new metropolitan archbishop of Anchorage-Juneau.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop Bellisario was appointed bishop of Juneau in July 2017. He has also been serving as apostolic administrator of Anchorage since June 2019. He is a member of the religious order, the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers and Brothers).

The Archdiocese of Anchorage is comprised of 138,985 square miles in the State of Alaska and has a total population of 481,023 of which 24,115 are Catholic. The Diocese of Juneau is comprised of 37,566 square miles in the State of Alaska and has a total population of 75,000 of which 7,249 are Catholic.
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario, Archdiocese of Anchorage, Diocese of Juneau.

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

 

Catholic Communication Campaign Connects Communities in Christ

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) is scheduled to take place on the weekend of May 23-24, coinciding with World Communications Day. This annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet, and print publications to help people connect with Christ.

The COVID-19 virus has prompted life to change in dramatic ways for more than two months with an increased reliance on communication tools to stay connected. Catholics and non-Catholics alike are using online tools to work and attend school, and stay connected to their families, friends, and their faith. Although most people are unable to gather together in their parishes for Mass, some dioceses offer electronic offertory programs that include the Catholic Communication Campaign or other ways for parishioners to support scheduled appeals. “In these times, the support of the Catholic Communication Campaign is vital to help keep the faithful connected to our faith and for dioceses to communicate the Gospel through all available means,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC). “The CCC has long recognized the need to reach people and help them connect with Christ. Thanks to the generosity of the faithful in the United States, millions of people throughout the world have been able to connect in new ways with the Good News of Jesus Christ, especially in recent months,” continued Archbishop Hartmayer.

Fifty percent of the funds collected through the campaign remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national efforts in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

With support from the Catholic Communication Campaign, the USCCB developed a resource page in response to the COVID-19 virus, “Together in Christ” on its website with links for families, parishes, and dioceses to prayer resources, livestream of Masses, and catechetical materials.

Two documentaries supported by major CCC grants are now in national broadcast television circulation. Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story, about the Catholic Worker movement co-founder who is on the road to sainthood, was released to public television stations in March 2020 and has already exceeded 1,000 broadcasts nationwide. The film won the Religion Communicators Council 2020 Wilbur Award for best documentary. Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood, presents the intriguing life of a man born into pre-reservation America and immortalized in author John Neihardt’s classic 1932 book Black Elk Speaks. The program brings to light Black Elk’s conversion to Catholicism and his dedication to bringing other Native Americans to the Catholic faith. In cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, the program will be available on ABC-TV stations nationwide beginning May 17, 2020.

The Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign oversees the collection and an annual grants program under the direction of the USCCB’s Committee on Communications. Shareable resources for the collection are available online. More information about the Catholic Communication Campaign can be found at www.usccb.org/ccc. Still photos from the documentary films Revolution of the Heart and Walking the Good Red Road are available to the media upon request.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Communication Campaign, World Communications Day, COVID-19, Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, Together in Christ.

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

 

Bishop Chairmen Express Solidarity with Native and Indigenous Communities During the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON- Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux and chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and chairman of USCCB’s Committe on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Native American Affairs have released the following statement in solidarity with Native and Indigenous communities who are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
 
“As Native Communities continue to greatly suffer from the COVID-19 epidemic, the Church is developing ways to draw upon its deep roots in the person of Jesus to foster strength, charity and support to those who are sick and those who have died. We cherish our close connections to Native Communities through our Catholic parishes, missions and schools. We recall once more our profound desire to develop pathways to hope. We are heartbroken over reports that Native and Indigenous communities across this country are suffering at disproportionately high rates from the COVID-19 pandemic and concerned about the lack of sufficient resources to respond to the crisis. We are especially mindful of the Navajo Nation where people are being infected with the coronavirus at some of the highest rates in the country. We hold in prayer our brothers and sisters who are suffering and grieving in these communities, and we stand with them in calling for a robust response to the pandemic in their lands.

The virus is exacerbating health disparities and long-standing social inequalities facing Native and Indigenous communities. Adequate funding for the Indian Health Service has long been a challenge, and there are reports of shortages of medical personnel and hospital beds. We are hopeful that the U.S. Senate’s recent unanimous confirmation of a director for the Indian Health Service affirms the recognition for the need of a strong advocate for the health needs of tribal communities. It is also good that additional resources were allocated in recent legislation, and it is essential that this funding reach its intended recipients as soon as possible. We implore lawmakers and government officials to protect the life and dignity of Native and Indigenous peoples by working with tribal leaders to ensure strong support and ample resources to protect their communities, including resources to adequately respond to large Native populations living in urban areas and resources devoted to addressing underlying medical conditions that increase the threat of COVID-19 for Native populations.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James S. Wall, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Subcommittee on Native American Affairs, COVID-19, Native and Indigenous communities.

 

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

 

Pope Francis Names Father Peter Muhich of Diocese of Duluth as Bishop of Rapid City

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Peter M. Muhich, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth as the Bishop of Rapid City.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Rapid City has been a vacant see since July 2019.

Bishop-elect Muhich was born on May 13, 1961 and ordained to the priesthood on September 29, 1989 for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Muhich attended Eveleth High School in Eveleth, MN and University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN. He studied theology at American College of Louvain in Belgium.

Father Muhich’s assignments in the Diocese of Duluth after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Francis Parish in Brainerd (1989-1991); Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph, Grand Rapids; Our Lady of the Snows in Bigfork and St. Theresa in Effie (1991-1993). Pastor at Holy Rosary in Aurora (1993-1996); Pastor at Queen of Peace in Hoyt Lakes (1993-1996); Pastor at St. Rose in Proctor and St. Philip in Saginaw (1996-1998); Pastor at Blessed Sacrament, St. Leo and Immaculate Conception in Hibbing (1996-2009). He has served as Pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea and at Our Lady of Mercy in Duluth (2010), and in 2019, he served as Interim Administrator at St. Francis in Carlton and Sts. Mary and Joseph in Sawyer. Bishop-elect Muhich has served as Administrator at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth where he currently serves as Rector.

Father Muhich’s ministry includes service for the Deacon Formation Program (1993); Presbyteral Council (1993-1996); College of Consultors (1993-1996); Clergy Personnel Board (2002-2007); Priest Personnel Board (2007); Diocesan Finance Officer (2009-2011); Spiritual Director at St. Raphael Guild of the Catholic Medical Association (2013); Presbyteral Council (2014) and Vicar Forane of the Duluth Deanery.  

The Diocese of Rapid City is comprised of 43,000 square miles in the State of South Dakota and has a total population of 227,211 of which 23,934 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Father Peter M. Muhich, Diocese of Duluth, Diocese of Rapid City.

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