Posted on 04/3/2020 11:46 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement for Holy Week.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
“Future generations will look back on this as the long Lent of 2020, a time when disease and death suddenly darkened the whole earth. As we enter into Holy Week, these most sacred days of the year, Catholics across the United States and the world are living under quarantine, our societies shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
“But we know that our Redeemer lives. Even in this extraordinary and challenging moment, we give thanks for what Jesus Christ has done for us by his life, death, and resurrection. Even now, we marvel at the beautiful mystery of our salvation, how precious each one of us is in the eyes of God.
“These are times almost without precedent in the long history of the Church. In the face of this worldwide contagion, bishops here and in almost every country have been forced to temporarily suspend public worship and celebration of the sacraments.
“My brother bishops and I are painfully aware that many of our Catholic people are troubled and hurt by the loss of the Eucharist and the consolation of the sacraments. This is a bitter affliction that we all feel deeply. We ache with our people and we long for the day when we can be reunited around the altar of the Lord to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
“In this difficult moment, we ask God for his grace, that we might bear this burden together with patience and charity, united as one family of God in his universal Church.
“On Good Friday, on behalf of the bishops in the United States, I will pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I ask you to join me in this prayer, which will be livestreamed over the internet at 9 a.m. on the West Coast and 12 noon on the East Coast. Let us join as one family of God here in the United States in asking our Lord for his mercy.
“The Holy Father has granted a special plenary indulgence to those who pray for an end to this pandemic. To receive this indulgence, you need to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart on Good Friday, be truly sorry for your sins and desire to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as soon as it is possible, and you need to pray for the intentions of the Pope.
“In the heart of Jesus, pierced as he hung on the cross on Good Friday, we see the love of God for humanity, his love for each one of us.
“This Holy Week will be different. Our churches may be closed, but Christ is not quarantined and his Gospel is not in chains. Our Lord’s heart remains open to every man and woman. Even though we cannot worship together, each of us can seek him in the tabernacles of our own hearts.
“Because he loves us, and because his love can never change, we should not be afraid, even in this time of trial and testing. In these mysteries that we remember this week, let us renew our faith in his love. And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for us, that he might deliver us from every evil and grant us peace in our day.”
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Litany of the Sacred Heart, Holy Week, Good Friday.
Posted on 04/3/2020 05:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON— Recent news reports have highlighted policies and practices relating to rationing protocols in response to the COVID-19 virus, prompting a response by three committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:
“Hospitals and health care systems are the true epicenter of this pandemic and our health care professionals – doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators, and support staff – have all demonstrated courage, compassion, and truly remarkable professional care in a time of growing crisis. This pandemic has highlighted the fact that we have limited resources and therefore may be facing some difficult decisions ahead. At all times resources are limited – there are only so many beds and so many supplies – but this crisis has and will continue to challenge us greatly.
“Every crisis produces fear, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. However, this is not a time to sideline our ethical and moral principles. It is a time to uphold them ever more strongly, for they will critically assist us in steering through these trying times.
“We are grateful for the numerous statements reminding both medical professionals and the general public of these principles. The Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Catholic Medical Association, the National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center have all published excellent reminders of these principles and guidelines. We ask people, especially medical professionals, to read these documents and apply them appropriately in their work. We also commend the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for issuing a reminder that in a time of crisis we must not discriminate against persons solely on the basis of disability or age by denying them medical care. Good and just stewardship of resources cannot include ignoring those on the periphery of society, but must serve the common good of all, without categorically excluding people based on ability, financial resources, age, immigration status, or race.
“Foremost in our approach to limited resources is to always keep in mind the dignity of each person and our obligation to care for the sick and dying. Such care, however, will require patients, their families, and medical professionals to work together in weighing the benefits and burdens of care, the needs and safety of everyone, and how to distribute resources in a prudent, just, and unbiased way.
“With our Holy Father, Pope Francis, the entire Church continues to pray for, and offer support to, all those affected by this pandemic.”
For further resources from the U.S. Bishops on the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Committee on Doctrine, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, COVID-19, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Catholic Medical Association, National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA, National Catholic Bioethics Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Posted on 04/3/2020 00:50 AM (USCCB News Releases)
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.
Posted on 04/2/2020 12:29 PM (USCCB News Releases)
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.
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: www.lacatholics.org and on the USCCB Facebook page: www.facebook.com/usccb.
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.
Posted on 03/28/2020 12:24 PM (USCCB News Releases)
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.
Posted on 03/27/2020 14:35 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement on the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi message today.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
“Along with my brother bishops of the United States, I am grateful for Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message today. We join with him in asking God to bless the world and to deliver us from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think we all understand that we took part today in something historic, as the whole world was gathered together through communications media by the successor of St. Peter, united in one prayer before the living presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
“It was a moving and emotional moment, and I urge my fellow Catholics, and every person of good will, to read and reread Pope Francis’ beautiful meditation.
“In his message, the Holy Father reminds us that this time of the coronavirus is a call to courage, a call to faith. And as he says, faith does not mean simply agreeing with a set of ideas. Faith means making a decision to entrust our lives to Jesus Christ and to follow his path, to embrace his cross.
“The Holy Father tells us today that this pandemic is a time for conversion, a time for us to make choices about what truly matters in our lives, a time for us to change the priorities of our societies. It is a time to turn to God and to recognize that no matter how advanced our civilization and technology, we cannot save ourselves. We need God.
“In this moment saints are being made, the Holy Father tells us, pointing to the quiet heroism of ordinary people carrying out their daily duties in extraordinary times, serving one another with kindness and patience. ‘How many people pray, offer and intercede for the good of all,’ our Holy Father observes. ‘Prayer and silent service: these are our winning weapons.’
“So, let us continue to unite with Pope Francis in asking the Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother, to bless our world and to give us the courage to love and serve our brothers and sisters in this time of trial.”
Posted on 03/25/2020 01:41 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Baker, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Birmingham and has named Bishop Steven J. Raica of Gaylord to succeed him.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 25, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Raica was born on November 8, 1952 and ordained to the priesthood on October 14, 1978. He was named Bishop of Gaylord in 2014.
The Diocese of Birmingham is comprised of 28,091 square miles in the State of Alabama and has a total population of 3,073,473 of which 104,837 are Catholic.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Steven J. Raica, Diocese of Birmingham, Diocese of Gaylord.
Posted on 03/23/2020 08:30 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON- Archbishop 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 announcement on the 25th anniversary of The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae).
Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, we also mark the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s prophetic encyclical, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae). Here, this saint provides a clear challenge to us: “With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth” (EV 95).
With this, Pope St. John Paul II invites each of us to ask ourselves how we are assisting women in need who are pregnant or have young children. He challenges us to open our hearts even wider, and to improve our responses where needed, especially at the local level—in short, to truly accompany each pregnant or parenting woman in need.
This past November, the bishops enthusiastically embraced an initiative entitled Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service to celebrate the anniversary by assessing and expanding our help to mothers in need. I am very excited to see dioceses and parishes across the country making plans to join in the Year of Service in their own unique ways. It is capturing the imagination of our people.
As Pope Francis reminds us, our parishes are called to be “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service commences on March 25, 2020. Parish resources for the Year of Service are being posted at www.walkingwithmoms.com.
Many areas of the country have had to temporarily suspend gatherings and Masses due to the coronavirus concern. In light of current events, dioceses and parishes are encouraged to adjust their schedules for the Year of Service according to what is pastorally and practically appropriate for everyone’s safety. In the meantime, we can still pray, wherever we are on March 25, that this Year of Service will help us increase our outreach, so that every pregnant and parenting mother in need may know she can turn to her local Catholic community for help and authentic friendship.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Walking With Moms in Need, The Gospel of Life, pro-life.
Posted on 03/22/2020 13:37 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement on the passing of Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
“His Excellency Daniel E. Pilarczyk, archbishop emeritus of Cincinnati, passed away Sunday at the age of 85. He was known as a shepherd close to his flock. The Archbishop led during challenging times but sought reconciliation and reform with humility.
“Archbishop Pilarczyk was generous also in service to his brother bishops. We benefited greatly from his pastoral leadership as president of what is now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1989 to 1992.
“Join me in a prayer of gratitude for the life of Archbishop Pilarczyk as he meets the Lord he so dearly loved and served.”
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Posted on 03/17/2020 05:21 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON – The Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement in support of Catholic Relief Services.
The full statement follows:
“In the name of our Catholic faith, the donors, staff, and volunteers of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) deliver life-saving food, medicine, shelter, and training to the most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers around the world. They do this work often in remote, dangerous places that most people would fear to visit. We extend our prayers and gratitude for this courageous witness of Christ’s mercy.
“The humanitarian relief efforts of CRS are grounded in the loving teachings of the Catholic Church. CRS stands in firm defense of life. Criticisms to the contrary should not detract from the powerful impact your donations have on the lives of otherwise forgotten suffering populations.
“We have confidence in the thorough vetting system utilized by CRS by which complaints are investigated and corrective action taken, if necessary. CRS works alongside other relief agencies that may not share our teaching. In these instances, CRS keeps its work distinct.
“We firmly stand with the personnel of Catholic Relief Services in their solidarity to the least among us. Together, we affirm the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death.”
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Executive Committee, Catholic Relief Services, CRS.