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Statement for Observance of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2022

Statement for Observance of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2022

Most Reverend José H. Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles

President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

We recall once again this year, the witness and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let us remember not only the justice that he pursued, but how he pursued it.

Rev. King was driven by the biblical vision of righteousness and truth, a vision that he understood to be reflected in our nation’s founding documents. He believed in what he called the “American creed,” the belief expressed by our founders that all men and women are created equal and endowed by God with a sacred dignity and undeniable rights to life, liberty, and equality.

More than a half-century after his death, America faces many challenges — this ongoing pandemic, issues of economic inequality and racial discrimination, violence in our communities, the struggle to welcome immigrants and refugees. In recent years, our nation has also become more polarized and our divisions angrier.

As we look to our future, let us continue to draw from Rev. King’s wisdom, especially his commitment to the Beatitudes of Jesus, and the principles of nonviolence and love for our enemies.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Rev. King reminds us that we are brothers and sisters, part of a beautiful web of relationships of mutual care, each of us depending on others as others depend on us. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he wrote. “We are … tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Let us go forward in that same spirit of fraternity and solidarity, and let us carry on his work for equality and justice. As we remember Rev. King, let us continue to learn from him and imitate his example and prophetic witness. 

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

MEDIA ADVISORY: Nationwide Prayer Vigil for Life to Take Place from January 20-21

WASHINGTON – Catholics across the country are encouraged to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Thursday, January 20 to Friday, January 21, 2022, marking the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion through nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 62 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

Each January, the National Prayer Vigil for Life is hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Pro-Life Secretariat, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and The Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry to pray for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life.

Due to pandemic precautions, the on-site January 20-21 Vigil events at the Basilica will be condensed to a shortened evening program. The Vigil is open to the public, but on-site participants will be required to wear masks at all times inside the building.

The Opening Mass will take place from 5:30-7:00 PM on Thursday, January 20. The principal celebrant and homilist for the Opening Mass will be Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. After the Mass and during the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be shared on the USCCB’s website. The vigil concludes at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 21 with the Closing Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap., of Boston.

The full schedule of the 2022 National Prayer Vigil for Life is listed below. (All times are in Eastern Time.)

Thursday, January 20:
5:15 PM          Chaplet of Divine Mercy
5:30 PM          Opening Mass with Archbishop Lori
7:00 PM          Holy Hour for Life
8:00 PM          Live-stream of bishop-led holy hours throughout the night

Friday, January 21:
8:00 AM          Closing Mass with Cardinal O’Malley

Live-streaming information for the overnight bishop-led holy hours from various dioceses will be provided on the USCCB’s website.

The live television broadcasts on January 20 from 5:30-8:00 PM and on January 21 from 8:00-9:00 AM will be provided by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and will be available via live-stream on the Basilica’s website. For more information about on-site attendance at the Basilica for the National Prayer Vigil for Life, please visit the information page on the Basilica’s website.

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

U.S. Bishops’ Religious Liberty Committee Chairman Offers Reflection for Religious Freedom Day 2022

WASHINGTON - On January 16, the United States commemorates Religious Freedom Day. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, has issued a reflection in anticipation of the annual commemoration:

“Our great tradition of religious freedom has allowed beauty to flourish in our cities and across the American landscape. Diverse religious communities have built beautiful houses of worship, adorned with stained glass, statues, and symbols of faith, in earthly reflection of the glory and majesty of God. In the midst of a popular culture that too often caters to our basest appetites, sacred art and architecture calls all of us to think about ultimate things. All Americans benefit from these religious displays. 

“For nearly two years, the U.S. bishops have noticed a disturbing trend of Catholic churches being vandalized and statues being smashed. We are not alone. Our friends from other faith groups experience these outbursts too, and for some communities, they occur far more frequently. 

“An attack on a house of worship is certainly an assault on the particular community that gathers there. It is also an attack on the founding principle of America as a place where all people can practice their faith freely. And it is an attack on the human spirit, which yearns to know the truth about God and how to act in light of the truth. 

“Religious art instructs and inspires. It reminds us that we live most fully when we direct our lives toward our Creator and our neighbors. On the other hand, the defacement of such public symbols of the sacred degrades our life together and harms the common good.

“On this National Religious Freedom Day, let us resolve to promote religious freedom for all people, and to honor the place of the sacred both in our lives and our landscapes.  In response to the recent vandalism of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the National Shrine is hosting a rosary on Sunday, January 16. I encourage all Catholics to participate in this event, as we pray that all religious communities would be free to worship without fear and to continue to bless this great country.”

For further information about the Religious Freedom Day rosary, please visit https://www.nationalshrine.org/event/national-rosary-for-religious-freedom/.

 

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

MEDIA ADVISORY: 9 Days for Life Unites Catholics Nationwide in Prayer for the Protection of Life

WASHINGTON - Catholics nationwide are preparing to pray 9 Days for Life, the annual pro-life novena beginning this year on January 19.

In the Catholic Church, a ‘novena’ consists of prayers or actions over nine successive days. This pro-life novena is an opportunity for recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.

Sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 9 Days for Life began in 2013 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. This is the tenth year the novena is taking place.

The overarching intention of the novena is the end to abortion. Each daily intention highlights a related topic and is accompanied by a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions. The novena encompasses the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on January 22.

All are invited to sign up at 9daysforlife.com. Participants can receive the novena in English or Spanish via email or text message or access it online. Participants can share their pro-life witness and invite their social networks to pray on social media with the hashtag #9DaysforLife. A resource kit is available, and features the daily prayer intentions and reflections, among other materials. A press kit is also available.

For additional information and updates throughout the novena, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Annual Collection for Latin America Strengthens Families, Funds Catholic Education, and Fosters Priestly and Religious Vocations

WASHINGTON - On the weekend of January 22-23, Catholics throughout the United States have an opportunity to help the Church’s formation of missionary disciples in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands by giving to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual Collection for the Church in Latin America.

“The Collection for the Church in Latin America makes a significant impact in lives of our brothers and sisters in Latin America,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Brooklyn and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.

Most dioceses hold the special collection on January 22-23 in their parishes, though some schedule it on another weekend to avoid conflicts with other local activities. Parishioners are invited to be part of this mission by supporting the collection at Mass or through parish online giving platforms. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds in support of the Church in Latin America.

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the Collection for the Church in Latin America distributed more than $5.6 million among 334 ministries in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. $3.9 million supported evangelization, catechesis, marriage and family ministry, pro-life work, youth ministry, prison ministry and other pastoral outreach, while about $1.5 million provided formation for clergy, religious, and lay leaders. The collection also funds the creation and implementation of safe environment/child protection programs in the Latin American dioceses that are supported by the fund.

  • In Brazil, the collection funded 100 clergy and laity to spend nine months in mission houses of the Semenentes do Verbo (Seeds of the Word) movement, studying scripture, growing in faith, and preparing to go out as evangelists to their neighbors.
  • In Haiti, the gifts enabled more than 600 young people to receive intensive formation in the faith so that they can evangelize their peers and work for justice and peace in their neighborhoods.
  • In Cúcuta, Colombia, where malnourished refugees pour across the border from Venezuela, this collection supports many relief ministries, such as those that provide food and job training to migrants and a Catholic childcare center for children whose migrant parents labor from dawn to dusk as vendors in the city streets.

“Pope Francis has called us to share the love and the joy of the gospel with those who are poor, suffering, or marginalized. He knows first-hand that the Collection for the Church in Latin America accomplishes this. When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributions to this collection helped to support his ministry to the people in the city’s poorest neighborhoods,” Bishop Cisneros said.

“When that collection basket comes around, I know that it’s easy to think that a small gift won’t make a difference. But even $5 can make a multi-million-dollar impact as it is combined with gifts of other Catholics. No matter how small the gift, God uses it to make a life-changing difference for those whom Jesus called ‘the least’ of his sisters and brothers.”

For more information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America, please visit https://www.usccb.org/committees/church-latin-america.

 

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Commends Pledge by World Powers to Avoid Nuclear Conflict

WASHINGTON – Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement in response to world powers’ pledge to prevent nuclear weapons spread. His full statement follows:

“On January 3, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) issued a joint statement that is an important acclamation of the need to prevent nuclear war and avoid arms races. This principled statement affirms ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ and stresses the importance of abiding by non-proliferation agreements and commitments.

“Unfortunately, the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that was to commence January 4 was once again postponed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world continues to mediate the physical, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic, conflicts and calls to arms have not ceased. In my letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in September, I expressed our hope that these critical negotiations will be soon advanced as we draw upon the prophetic wisdom of Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti that reminds us, ‘international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.’

“I invite all Americans to continue in prayer and support of our leaders to advance the critical goals of disarmament.”

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

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Addresses Future of Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON—As another year concludes without enactment of meaningful immigration reform, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“As an essential component of any immigration reform, we have long urged Congress and the President to work together to enact legislation that provides permanent protections—including a pathway to citizenship—for our undocumented brothers and sisters. There is strong support among the American people for congressional action on immigration. Meanwhile, the inability of political leaders to come together and reach consensus on positive, forward-looking immigration legislation has grave consequences for human lives and the wellbeing of this country.

“While the road ahead is uncertain, the present reality remains clear: the status quo cannot stand. Almost half of the 11 million undocumented persons living in the United States today have lived here for at least 15 years. Many others are receiving temporary protections but lack access to permanent solutions. They are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They are essential workers, homeowners, and entrepreneurs. Most importantly, they are persons created equally in God’s image, imbued with a potential far beyond the limits of their current immigration status.

“In the year ahead, we will continue to pray for and work toward a solution that provides immediate relief to the undocumented members of our society. We maintain our longstanding call for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis to promote the full integration of undocumented persons and to create a more sustainable immigration system, consistent with the common good. During this season of anticipation and longing, let us go forth with renewed hope, and may Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother to all, inspire universal devotion to this fraternal cause.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Names Father Jeffrey Walsh of Diocese of Scranton as Bishop of Gaylord

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has named Father Jeffrey J. Walsh, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, as the Bishop of Gaylord. The appointment was announced by the Holy See on December 21, 2021.

Father Walsh was born on November 29, 1965, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Scranton where he earned his Baccalaureate and completed his ecclesiastical studies at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland and at Marywood University in Scranton, where he obtained a Master of Social Work. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 25, 1994.

Father Walsh’s assignments in the Diocese of Scranton after ordination include: Parochial Vicar of Saint Rose of Lima parish, and Director of Religious Education at Sacred Heart High School in Carbondale (1995); Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of Saint Peter (1996); Pastor of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Lake Winola (1999); Director of Education at St. Pius X Seminary (1999); Director of Vocations (2002); Pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Tunkhannock (2004); Regional Episcopal Vicar (2006); Administrator of Saint Rita parish in Gouldsboro (2008); Administrator of Saint Anthony parish in Throop (2009); Secretary for Catholic Social Services (2009); Pastor of Saint John's parish in East Stroudsburg (2010); Vicar for the clergy (2015). Until now, he has been pastor of Saint Rose of Lima parish and of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Carbondale. Bishop-elect Walsh is also a member of the diocesan College of Consultors and of the Presbyteral Council.

The Diocese of Gaylord is comprised of 11,171 square miles in the State of Michigan and has a total population of 506,623 of which 44,149 are Catholic.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Denounces FDA Decision on Chemical Abortion Pill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today they will eliminate the safety requirement of in-person dispensing in the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for the chemical abortion drug mifepristone. The FDA’s action clears a path for the drug to be dispensed by clinics, medical offices, and hospitals through the use of online pharmacies or drug delivery services.

In response, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:

“Every life is sacred: the lives of mothers and the lives of the unborn. Not only does this decision further the tragic taking of unborn lives but it does little to care for the well-being of women in need. Far from the accompaniment that women in crisis pregnancies deserve, this decision would leave women alone in the midst of trauma, often without any medical attention or follow up care.

“One of the essential tasks of governments is to safeguard the health and well-being of citizens. As such, the FDA ought to act to protect the lives and health of mothers and children, rather than merely succumbing to the abortion industry’s pressure to loosen safety standards.

“I call on leaders of every level of government to stand with women in need by promoting policies that recognize the value and human dignity of both mother and child, rather than further promoting the devastating tragedy of abortion.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200
 

USCCB President and Committee Chairman Call for Prayers, Hope, and Assistance Following Deadly Tornadoes in the South and Midwest

WASHINGTON - Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued the following statement after tornadoes tore through multiple states in the South and Midwest late Friday into early Saturday morning.

In their statement, Archbishops Gomez and Coakley call for prayer and assistance for all those who were in the path of the storm: 

“It is heartbreaking to see the destruction and devastation brought by the tornadoes that tore through the South and Midwest overnight. During this Advent season where we await in joyful anticipation for the birth of our Lord, we pray for those who have been injured, for those who have lost their lives, and for their grieving families and communities. May those who have been impacted by these storms find peace, comfort, and hope in our faith and in God’s endless love. We also pray for the emergency responders and those who have begun the work of providing for the needs of the impacted in these communities in the recovery efforts. We entrust all our brothers and sisters in harm’s way to our Blessed Mother, and we ask for her continued protection and for her intercession in comforting those who are suffering.

“Catholics and all people of good will may help our brothers and sisters in their recovery by supporting the work of Catholic Charities USA at https://www.catholiccharities.us/campaign/ccusa-disaster-relief/c353051.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200