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Pencil Preaching for Friday, April 3, 2020

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville; Names Father Michael McGovern of Archdiocese of Chicago as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Edward K. Braxton, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Belleville and has named Father Michael G. McGovern, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago as Bishop-elect of Belleville.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 3, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect McGovern was born on August 1, 1964 and ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1994 for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Father McGovern graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, in 1990, and holds a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. His assignments in the Archdiocese of Chicago after ordination include: Associate Pastor of Queen of the University Parish (1995-1998) and St. Mary Parish (1998-1999); Associate Chancellor (1998-1999); Vice Chancellor (1999-2000); and Archbishop’s Delegate for Extern and International Priests (2000-2002). Father McGovern has also served as Associate Pastor of St. Juliana Parish (2003-2004), Pastor of St. Mary Parish (2004-2016) and as Dean of one of the deaneries of the archdiocese since 2007. He is currently Pastor of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish where he has served since 2016.

The Diocese of Belleville is comprised of 11,678 square miles in the State of Illinois and has a total population of 841,814 of which 90,968 are Catholic.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Father Michael McGovern, Diocese of Belleville, Archdiocese of Chicago.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


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Media Advisory: USCCB President Calls for National Moment of Prayer on Good Friday

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the faithful to join him in a moment of prayer on Good Friday (April 10) to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Praying together as a nation, the archbishop asks that we seek healing for all who are unwell, wisdom for those whose work is halting the spread of coronavirus, and strength for all God’s children.

Friday, April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)
12:00 PM EDT
Livestream: USCCB and Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Text of Litany of the Sacred Heart: English / Spanish
Social Media: Invitation

Good Friday is a day when Christians around the world solemnly commemorate the day when Jesus suffered and died on the cross. Catholics traditionally mark the day with fasting, penance, and reflection on Jesus’ loving sacrifice. This opportunity to pray together during the coronavirus pandemic offers a special moment of unity for the faithful during a time when communities throughout the United States and worldwide are physically unable to congregate for Holy Week and Easter because of COVID-19.

Additionally, with special permission received from the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, a plenary indulgence is available for those who join Archbishop Gomez in praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart on Good Friday.

A livestream of the Litany of the Sacred Heart with Archbishop Gomez will be available on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ website: and on the USCCB Facebook page:

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, prayer, prayer card, Litany of the Sacred Heart, plenary indulgence, Covid-19.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Domestic Justice and Human Development Praises Lawmakers for Historic Emergency Legislation on Coronavirus Relief

WASHINGTON— Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, praised members of Congress and the President for passing and signing into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a historic package of emergency relief for those suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. He expressed gratitude for the enormous aid in the bill and noted issues that merit further assistance in the future.

Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:

“We are in a time of twin crises and united purpose: during the worst global public health crisis in our lifetimes, we are also experiencing what may be the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, around the world, we are united in common purpose of caring for the sick, pursuing a cure, and lifting the human spirit. It is inspiring to see the tireless efforts of health care providers, supermarket employees, and others who are working to keep us safe and healthy. Videos from Italy show people singing to their neighbors from their balconies. Although they must stay home, they found a way to offer beauty and hope.  

“Our government has been hard at work as well. Members of Congress and the President are to be commended for working together through long hours and late nights to reach a bipartisan agreement that provides emergency relief to millions of Americans who are suffering. Given the extraordinary needs of the moment, this $2.2 trillion package is the most expensive single piece of legislation in American history.

“We are grateful for many provisions that will help the poor and vulnerable, including several provisions that will help employers retain their workers, and provisions that will help the many people who unfortunately have been laid off and will need immediate income when present circumstances make getting a new job much more difficult. It is good that there will be direct financial assistance to low- and middle-income Americans, and that there will be an infusion of financial resources for hospitals and charitable institutions which will be asked to do more than ever during this crisis.  

“Nothing is perfect, and there is already discussion of a future round of legislation that will be needed as the crisis continues. There are some areas where aid and relief can improve. We will continue to advocate for those most in need, for food security, for the homeless, for prisoners, for the sick who have large medical bills, for all Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, and for those who have lost friends and loved ones. It was disappointing that certain aid and relief was not extended to the undocumented, and extremely concerning that testing and access to health care coverage was denied to certain immigrants. The health and wellbeing of all in this crisis is threatened if anyone is categorically excluded from getting help.

“On Friday, Pope Francis offered a profound reflection on the Gospel story of Jesus calming the storm at sea. Now is a time of great anxiety and distress. We are less in control than we thought. This Lent is a time to return ever more to our faith, to trust in the Lord even in the midst of all this trouble. As Pope Francis said, the Lord ‘will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.’ We ask the Lord once more to tell us: ‘Do not be afraid’ (Mt. 28:5). And at the urging of Pope Francis, we should accept the advice of St. Peter: ‘Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:7).”


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Domestic Justice and Human Development, COVID-19, CARES Act.


Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte