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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston and Appoints the Bishop Richard Pates as Apostolic Administrator

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner from the Office of Bishop of Crookston and has appointed Most Reverend Richard E. Pates as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Diocese of Crookston.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Diocese of Crookston is comprised of 17,210 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 277,689, of which 34,649 are Catholic.

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

Pope Francis Names Father Daniel Felton as Bishop of Duluth

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Daniel J. Felton as Bishop of Duluth. Bishop-elect Felton is a priest of the Diocese of Green Bay and currently serves as a vicar general and moderator of the curia for Green Bay. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Duluth has been a vacant see since December 2019.

Father Felton was born February 5, 1955 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He attended St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Psychology (1977) and a Master’s degree in Theology at St. John University in Collegeville, Minnesota (1981). He received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Dogmatic Theology and a Master’s degree in Social Communications from the Gregorian University in Rome (1990). He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Green Bay on June 13, 1981.

Bishop-elect Felton’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at Blessed Holy Innocents in Manitowoc (1981-1985); director of affiliate affairs for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in New York (1985-1987); correspondent for the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in Rome (1987-1990); pastor of St. Raphael parish in Oshkosh (1990-2004); pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Manitowoc (2004-2011); and pastor of the combined parishes in Mackville, Greenville, and Freedom, Wisconsin (2011-2014). Since 2014, Father Felton has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Green Bay.

Bishop-elect Felton’s pastoral ministry also includes assignments as a member of the college of consultors, the presbyteral council, the diocesan finance committee, and the personnel board. He has also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Diocese of Duluth is comprised of 22,354 square miles in the state of Minnesota and has a total population of 448,983 of which 46,763 are Catholic.

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

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John O’Hara, 75, as Auxiliary Bishop of New York.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on April 7, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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

Situation at the U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON- The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries.

Their joint statement follows:

As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly, and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.

For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders, and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions.  “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”

Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.

We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit   to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons, and the clergy.

One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.

U.S. Bishops:

-Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville

Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration

-Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz

Bishop of El Paso

-Most Reverend James A. Tamayo

Bishop of Laredo

-Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger

Bishop of Tucson

-Most Reverend Daniel E. Flores

Bishop of Brownsville

-Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino

Bishop of Las Cruces

-Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy

Bishop of San Diego

-Most Reverend Michael J. Sis

Bishop of San Angelo

-Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS

Archbishop of San Antonio

Mexican Bishops:

-Monsignor José Guadalupe Torres Campos

Bishop of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

Encargado de la Dimensión Episcopal de Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (DEPMH)

-Monsignor Jesús José Herrera Quiñones

Bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua

-Monsignor Alonso Garza Treviño

Bishop of Piedras Negras, Coahuila

-Monsignor Enrique Sánchez Martínez

Bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

-Monsignor Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía

Bishop of Matamoros, Tamaulipas

-Monsignor Hilario González García

Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

 

USCCB Catholic Home Missions Appeal Strengthens the Church in the United States

WASHINGTON - Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Home Missions Appeal supported ministry in U.S. dioceses and parishes that, even in the best of times, are challenged to sustain worship and outreach activities without financial help. These “home mission” dioceses rely on annual funding from this collection to help provide basic pastoral services.

This year’s Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be taken up in most parishes on April 25, 2021. Donations may also be made through parish e-offertory platforms, diocesan websites, or by mail. Because many parishioners were unable to attend Mass for most of last year due to COVID-related restrictions there was a significant decline in giving to the 2020 Catholic Home Missions Appeal, which is trending down by more than half.

“Grants may need to be cut by 10-15 percent,” said Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “Funded dioceses can hardly absorb such an additional loss of funding. I pray that parishioners will support the appeal when it is taken up in their parish. Your generosity is a tangible expression of unity in the Holy Spirit with our brothers and sisters in home mission dioceses.”

In the Diocese of Kalamazoo, migrant farmworkers who pick fruit such as apples, peaches, and berries in that area of Michigan have been essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their only visitors – apart from public health officials – have been pastoral ministers funded through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal.

“Thanks to you, the Church has offered them food, prayer, and hope. In the darkness of the pandemic, your support enabled Catholic parishes to be bright lights of charity and solidarity,” Bishop McKnight said. “Through your gifts to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, these workers have seen the face of Jesus through our Church.”

Currently, 87 dioceses and eparchies in the U.S. and its territories receive support through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal. Due to poverty and a small, often scattered Catholic population, they cannot sustain ministries such as evangelization, religious education, seminary formation, or ministry to ethnic communities on their own. Dioceses funded through this appeal account for about 40 percent of all U.S. dioceses, from Alaska to the Mississippi Delta to the Virgin Islands and remote Pacific Islands.

In the Diocese of Fargo, gifts support the Young Disciples Apostolate, which trains young adult missionaries to run Catholic Vacation Bible Schools and youth ministry in isolated rural parishes of North Dakota. The children and teens, in turn, often evangelize their parents. Of the 220 missionaries trained by the program over 20 years, 17 are now priests, 25 are in seminary, 20 entered religious life, and many more are parish lay ministers.

The Syriac Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, home to many Catholic Iraqi refugees who fled anti-Christian persecution and arrived in the U.S. with nothing, could not survive without this collection.

“Your support . . . is more than just generosity, it is a witness of the faith, the Christian faith of the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Yousif Habash of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, which encompasses the entire United States. “I have never known any nation more generous than the American nation. With your support we have this wonderful witness that we are one Church, as we are one nation under God. We are one body of Jesus Christ.”

The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. To learn more about the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, visit www.usccb.org/home-missions.

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

Annual Liturgical Celebration of Youth and Young Adults Moved from Palm Sunday to Christ the King

WASHINGTON –In March 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee voted to align its nationwide liturgical celebration of youth and young adults, which was traditionally celebrated on Palm Sunday, with the new universal date, the feast of Christ the King. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth issued the following statement:

“The Holy Father asked Catholic churches around the world to renew their celebration of youth and young people on Christ the King Sunday, to help connect younger generations with “the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man” (Homily, Nov. 22, 2020).”

“We welcome this opportunity to join Pope Francis in lifting up youth and young adults, in particular those on the margins who feel disconnected from our faith communities. In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis told young people, ‘Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you… he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.’ This celebration will allow our local churches to once again communicate this important pastoral message to the young on a day focused on Jesus as our Lord and King, the one who invites all generations into his loving embrace.”


This year, the Feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

More information will be posted on the Youth and Young Adult Ministries page of the USCCB website at https://www.usccb.org/topics/youth-and-young-adult-ministries.
 

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

U.S. Bishop Chairman Welcomes Repeal of Death Penalty in Virginia

WASHINGTON — Following passage of legislation to repeal the death penalty in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“I welcome Virginia’s repeal of the death penalty as a bold step towards a culture of life.  Virginia will become the twenty-third state to abolish the death penalty, and I urge all other states and the federal government to do the same. 

“Congratulations are in order for the Virginia bishops, the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Catholic Mobilizing Network, and all other advocates who worked very hard to achieve this historic result.

“This Lent, we are called once again to repent and believe in the Gospel. We are reminded that God created and loves every person, and we can respond to this love with reverence for the dignity of every human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled, or desperate that life may seem. As we prepare for Easter, let us give thanks for God’s many gifts and continue to build a culture of life.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishop Chairman Mourns Loss of Life in Mass Shooting in Boulder, CO

WASHINGTON — Following a mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, CO, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“As we are still reeling from the loss of life in the mass shootings in Atlanta, it is heartbreaking to hear of yet another mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, CO, that reportedly has resulted in the deaths of ten people. We pray for the families and friends of those who were lost and for their communities. We are especially grateful for the efforts of first responders to safeguard the community and treat victims and urge all people of good will to offer concrete support to victims of violence wherever possible.

“The bishops have long promoted prudent measures of gun control to limit mass shootings and other gun homicides and suicides, and we stand by those positions.[1] We must always remember that each of us is a brother or sister in Christ, created in the image and likeness of a loving God. As we approach Holy Week, let us continue to reflect on God’s love and mercy for each one of us and renew the call for conversion of heart.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
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[1] See, e.g., Bishop Frank J. Dewane, “Reponses to the Plague of Gun Violence,” Remarks delivered to the General Assembly of Bishops (Nov. 11, 2019).  

USCCB Committee Chairman Encourages Dioceses To Implement 'Walking With Moms in Need'

WASHINGTONArchbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following update on Walking with Moms in Need.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“One year ago—in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life)—the U.S. bishops launched an exciting, nationwide initiative to serve pregnant and parenting mothers facing difficulties, entitled: Walking with Moms in Need. When we launched this ground-breaking pastoral effort, no one could have foreseen the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on our Church and nation.

“While the pandemic disrupted much of our initial momentum, it has also provided us with opportunities to adapt and expand this important initiative, and it reaffirmed the need for the Church to accompany mothers facing difficulties, especially in these trying times.

“Tragically, our nation’s legislators have exploited this crisis to expand taxpayer funded abortion. In a recent USCCB statement, bishops asked the President and leadership on Capitol Hill “not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need.”

“The Church will seek to help fill the gaps in services and resources to mothers facing challenging pregnancies and those parenting young children in difficult circumstances. We encourage even more dioceses and parishes to implement Walking with Moms in Need in their local area, as we work towards a society where mothers and children are protected in law and welcomed in love.”

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

Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Asian and Pacific Island Affairs on Discrimination Against the Asian Community

WASHINGTON — Following deadly shootings at three businesses in the greater Atlanta area this past week and the dialogue that has been ignited about other reported incidents of aggression against people of Asian descent, Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs decried the culture of death, hatred and violence that underlies these incidents and called for solidarity with the vulnerable. The full statement follows:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of another mass shooting that has tragically taken the lives of eight people and has renewed concerns about a rise of hostility against individuals of Asian descent. As bishops, we decry any kind of hatred and violence, particularly based on race, ethnicity, or sex. We pray for the families and friends of those who were lost, and for their communities, who may feel unsafe and vulnerable at this time.

“This latest incident has prompted national dialogue on addressing anti-Asian bias that has taken the form of numerous other acts of physical violence, verbal attacks and destruction of property against those of Asian descent over the last year that have left communities across the country traumatized. 

“I echo Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer’s words that ‘[w]e must support all victims of violence and stand in solidarity with those who are vulnerable in our communities.’ More broadly, we must always stress that every human being is a brother or sister in Christ, created in the image and likeness of a loving God. Particularly during this season of Lent, let us remember God’s love and mercy for each one of us and renew the call for conversion of heart, that we may be more united to God’s love and share it with all of our neighbors.”

Last May, in the midst of increased reports of incidents of racism and xenophobia against Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage, three bishop chairmen issued a statement expressing their “call for a stronger resolve towards unity, demonstrated through acts of solidarity, kindness and love toward one another, so that we can emerge from this crisis renewed and stronger as one American people; a people that places value in every human life, regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender or religious affiliation.”

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