Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 16

1. Today, the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life issued the final report of the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America. Read Catholic News Service's story on the report as well.

2. Pope Francis said salvation comes from a humble heart that trusts God.

3. A mother who had a son die during the Sandy Hook shooting said people must "let love lead." She spoke of her faith amidst tragedy at an Iowa College this week.

4. The USCCB and many parishes conduct Giving Tree projects during Advent. Asking the family to select someone, perhaps a stranger, for special attention at Christmas is a good way to remind children and adults alike that Christ's face is often overlooked by busy people. He is among us in the needy and the excluded. Our gifts to the poor at Christmas can be more than a token charity if we can find ways to notice the unnoticed all year long.

5. God loves you. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 15

1. The USCCB has made the daily readings for Mass in Spanish available online. Bishop John Wester said of this big moment, “Being able to provide the daily readings in Spanish online has been a long journey. We are happy to see this work turned into a reality. This is part of our continued efforts to answer the pastoral needs of Hispanics and Spanish speaking Catholics and to provide them resources and information in ways that encourage them to grow in their faith.” Read the release on this in Spanish as well.

2. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz met with USCCB staff today to thank them for their service and to celebrate Mass. You can catch some photos on our Facebook and follow him as well on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Pope Francis doesn't want to see "funeral faces," as the joy of Christmas approaches.

4. Dylan Corbett, manager for mission & identity outreach at USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development, writes about the Bishop Cantú's reaction to the recent torture report.

5. God loves you.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 12

1. Catholic News Service reports: "In a tradition that hails from Mexico, more than 250 people rode their horses on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines Dec. 7 to pay homage to Mary."

2. See images and video from around the USCCB on this Feast at our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

3. You might have questions about Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here are some answers.

4. We launched a video series on vocations for Hispanics in the U.S. Watch and share.

5. God loves you.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 11

1. Father John Crossin reflects on the USCCB's collaboration with Christian Churches Together to educate about racism, criminal justice and mass incarcerations.

2. Pope Francis called climate change is a moral and ethical responsibility and the time to act is now.

3. In case you missed it, The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved 79 grants for a total of $2,854,878 in aid to finance pastoral projects in Central and Eastern Europe. The subcommittee evaluated and approved grant proposals for 2015 during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly on November 9 in Baltimore.

4. Tomorrow is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. See a panoramic shot on our Twitter account of a chapel here in D.C. honoring Our Lady.

5. God loves you.

Seeking Justice for All

Father John Crossin, right, participates in an ecumenical event on criminal justice at the USCCB headquarters in June.
By Father John Crossin, OSFS

Recent public events call attention to serious divisions in our country about justice and race relations. Christian Churches Together [CCT], the most diverse of the ecumenical groupings of churches in this country, has been considering such justice issues for many years. The Catholic Church has been an active participant in this work.

In its recent document, "Principles on Mass Incarceration," CCT noted: “Each person is of inestimable worth—even when the likeness of God is marred in a person’s life and distracts others from seeing the image of the divine.”

The consensus of the churches is that all people are due respect.  They go on to say that “We need to acknowledge and confront the reality that prisoners most likely are from poor families and of African American and Hispanic Heritage.”

Racial prejudice is part of our heritage. Some say that it is the American original sin. Martin Luther King addressed the question head on in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”  On the 50th Anniversary of the letter, the leaders of the CCT members met in Birmingham and signed their response to the letter, calling for renewed efforts for racial justice. They also developed a study guide to go with their response to the letter, which enables church members to engage one another on the racial divisions that trouble America today more than ever.

I was very impressed with the presentation of a Jewish leader who spoke at our recent dialogue with the Council of Synagogues. Two things he said stand out in my mind as they apply to prejudice and injustice. He noted that anti-Semitism thrives on what I would call misinformation: these Jewish people are not really how they appear. Of course the solution for this is for people to get to know one another in some depth. Relationships help to dispel misinformation and prejudices. The study guide provides a way to build relationships that break down walls. But this, of course, requires taking some time to be with others and, as Pope Francis says, "walk with them."

The leader also noted that leaders in Europe are responding to the recent bout of anti-Semitism there. They are taking action. Leaders have to stand up. The CCT leaders closed their recent Principles with a call for leadership.

"Mass incarceration must stop. Mass incarceration has not produced the correction of errants, healing of addicts, restoration of families, nor increased our national wellbeing. We are challenging ourselves together with government and the nation to seize this moment when multiple forces are aligning toward positive actions to correct the injustices within our 'justice' system."


Father John Crossin, OSFS is executive director of the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He tweets @crossinusccb.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Dec. 10

1. The 2015 World Day of Peace Message of Pope Francis was released on Wednesday. The theme for the 48th Message for Peace is “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters.” Here is the full text.

2. Catholic News Service reports: "The October extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was not the scene of 'a clash between factions, but of a debate among bishops,' a work that will continue with the 2015 general synod 'for the good of families, the church and society,' Pope Francis said."

3. The USCCB's Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved 79 grants for a total of $2,854,878 in aid to finance pastoral projects in Central and Eastern Europe. The subcommittee evaluated and approved grant proposals for 2015 during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly on November 9 in Baltimore.

4. Keep up-to-date on issues impacting the life and dignity of the human person by signing up for a free subscription to the People of Life newsletter.

5. God loves you.