Browsing News Entries

As we honor veterans, may we find better ways to resolve conflict

Distinctly Catholic: It is a fitting tribute to pray for an end to war, to begin using our political power to disassemble the military-industrial complex, to work on peace-building initiatives in our communities and in our country, to support diplomatic efforts around the globe to end strife by peaceful means.

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Expresses Sorrow, Urges Prayers and Support for Recovery, After Deadly Tornadoes Hit Missouri and Storms Damage Other States in the Midwest

WASHINGTON—After tornadoes killed three people in Missouri and storms brought devastation to parts of the Midwest and areas from Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed grief over the lives lost and damage threatened by the tornadoes and storms, and offered prayers for recovery.

The full statement follows:

“I am profoundly saddened by the loss of life and the damage caused by the tornadoes and storms throughout the Midwest and related regions these past few days. As of this writing, millions of people in at least seven states have been affected by the powerful winds, rainfall and rising water levels caused by these conditions. Seven people have been killed in Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma. Severe weather continues to be expected in this devastated area through the rest of this week.

A call is made to all for prayers for the victims and their grieving families and communities. Further, now is the time to offer assistance to those facing this great loss. We are grateful that Catholic Charities and other organizations are in place working to provide for emergency needs and to help rebuild."

Learn more about Catholic Charities’ efforts at
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Severe Weather

Judy Keane


Pope Francis Names Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City as New Bishop of Saginaw

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, 63, up until now Bishop of Rapid City, as Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan.  

The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 24, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Robert Gruss was born June 25, 1955, in Texarkana, Arkansas. He attended Madison Area Technical College, in Madison, Wisconsin, and Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a commercial pilot and flight instructor from 1980-1989 before entering seminary. He pursued seminary studies at St. Ambrose University, in Davenport 1989-1990; at North American College, Rome, 1990-1994; and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome. He additionally earned a Master of Arts degree in Spiritual Theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1994. In 1999, he completed studies at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) with an emphasis on Spiritual Direction training.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Davenport on July 2, 1994. Pope Benedict named him a monsignor in 2007.

After ordination, Bishop Gruss’s assignments included parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport (1994-1997); parochial vicar, St. Anthony Parish, Knoxville, Iowa; Sacred Heart Parish, Melcher, Iowa and St. Mary Parish, Pella, Iowa (1997-1999); pastor at St. Mary Parish, Pella (1999-2004); Davenport diocesan vocations director (2004-2007); diocesan chancellor (2005-2007); director of the propagation of the faith (2005-2007); director of victim assistance programs for the Diocese of Davenport (2005-2007); vice-rector, North American College, Rome (2007-2010); and rector and pastor, Sacred Heart Cathedral (2010-2011).

Bishop Gruss was named the bishop of Rapid City by Pope Benedict on May 26, 2011. His episcopal ordination took place on July 28, 2011.

Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Grand Rapids, has been the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Saginaw since October 17, 2018.

The Diocese of Saginaw is comprised of 6,955 square miles and includes 708,837 people, of whom 153,260,91.427 or 12.9 percent, are Catholic.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert Gruss, Diocese of Saginaw



Media Contact:

Judy Keane


Sr. Joan Chittister's 2004 quote on 'pro-life' versus 'pro-birth' goes viral

A recent Instagram post earned supermodel Gigi Hadid nearly a half a million likes, but it wasn't a photo of herself or of the latest fashion trend. It was a quote from Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister on the importance of being more broadly pro-life, not just "pro-birth."

True charity means focusing on Jesus and the poor, pope says

The charity of the Catholic Church must be born from prayer before "the fixed tabernacle and mobile tabernacles" — adoring Jesus in the Eucharist and ministering to him in the poor and needy, Pope Francis said.

Even the Cannes Film Festival has its spiritual side

Masses, ecumenical prayer services and fellowship hours are integrated into the screening schedule for the jury here at Cannes, just in case you thought we were out partying on the yachts in the bay. 

Trump's emerging Catholic problem

Catholics are moving away from President Trump. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 55% of Catholics say they will definitely not vote for Trump in 2020, as opposed to 32% who say they definitely will vote for him.

Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church

Signs of the Times: In an article in The Atlantic's June issue titled "Abolish the Priesthood," James Carroll provides thought-provoking analysis of the state of the Catholic Church, recounting the history of the sex abuse crisis in the church with special focus on Boston, Ireland, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Theodore McCarrick.

Dallas bishop questions affidavit, says police raid was 'traumatic'

Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas questioned an affidavit and a dramatic raid by local police who descended on church property in the Texas diocese wearing "ski masks and SWAT gear" in mid-May saying they were looking for documents related to abuse investigations.

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Applauds States Passing of Pro-Life Legislation

WASHINGTON—The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has issued a statement regarding states recent passing of pro-life legislation.

The full statement follows:
 “Every single human life has value. The trend of states passing pro-life legislation is a very encouraging move toward ensuring that our society cherishes unborn children and their most basic right to life. The pro-life movement has always had two critical goals: increasing support for mothers and children and eliminating the tragedy of abortion. Our march for justice and human rights for unborn children will not be complete until they are recognized and protected as persons by the law. Our ultimate objective, however, is for abortion to be unthinkable. As we celebrate these pro-life legislative victories, we reiterate our commitment to supporting all mothers with the care and resources they need. The Church stands ready to help and welcome them.”
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Naumann, Pro-life legislation, justice, human right
Judy Keane