Monday, June 30, 2014

Five Things to Remember on June 30

1. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today, June 30, in favor of religious freedom for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed,” said on a statement Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The full statement is available at: The family operated businesses opposed being forced by the government to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion inducing drugs and devices.

2. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, was among the 24 metropolitan archbishops recently installed who received the pallium at a Mass celebrated on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Archbishop Blair told Catholic News Service, "The pallium is a symbol in Catholic faith and liturgy -- as the prayers and the text of the liturgy today made clear -- of the communion and unity of the church."

3. In the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message to Pope Francis expressing his gratitude for the recent efforts to improve dialogue and promote peace between Israel and Palestine.

4. The Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State has signed an agreement to release information with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). According to Vatican officials, this is part of their continued efforts to strengthen financial transparency and cooperation, under the new laws enacted last year.

5. God loves you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Things to Remember on June 27

1. U.S. citizens of all faiths await the Supreme Court decision June 30 on Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. The for-profit companies oppose being forced by the government to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life. It's a religious liberty issue.

2. The bishops of Iowa on June 26 called for humanitarian treatment of the unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexican border to escape violence in their home countries. The bishops noted that Catholic Charities organizations are responding as best they can to this crisis and urged the government to do the same.

3. The Vatican released the Synod working document "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization" June 26. The wide range of issues include, among many concerns, the pastoral approach to dealing with divorced and remarried Catholics, baptism of children of homosexual couples, streamlining annulments and spousal abuse. The complete text of the synod working document in English will be posted at:
The complete text in Spanish will be posted at:

4. On Sunday, June 29th, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, twenty-seven metropolitan archbishops from around the world, who were installed during the course of the past year, will receive the pallium - the white woollen garment that is the traditional and peculiar sign of the metropolitan office. Twenty-four of them will receive the garment at a special liturgy at the Vatican, while three shall receive their pallia separately. Among those to receive the pallium at the Vatican is Archbishop Stephen Blair of Hartford, Connecticut.

5. God loves you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Five Things To Remember On June 26

1. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld freedom of speech for pro-life Americans in a June 26 decision in the case of McCullen v. Coakley. The Court unanimously declared unconstitutional a Massachusetts law barring pro-life advocates from public sidewalks near abortion facilities. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement.

2. reports: A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October 2014) which will focus on “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.”

2. In case you missed it: Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, stated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, June 25, that the rise of the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border represents a “test of our moral character” of the nation. “We must not fail this test,” he added. View his testimony at the 54 minute mark.

4. This week we are saying goodbye to Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, who is returning to the Archdiocese of Baltimore after serving seven years as executive director of the USCCB's divine worship office. He was responsible for helping implement the Roman Missal translation across the country nearly three years ago. In addition to his duties in Baltimore, Monsignor Hilgartner will also serve as president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

5. God loves you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Things To Remember On June 25

1. People are engaging in the Fortnight for Freedom until July and religious liberty issues are front and center in the country. Find out what the Fortnight is about and what is happening in the country in this short video:

2. LeBron James might be filing for free agency, but Pope Francis says there can't be any free agents when it comes to going to church.

3. Immigration issues are making headlines again. In less than two weeks, the National Migration Conference will take place in Washington with the theme “In Faith, In Solidarity, In Service.” The conference will focus on the Catholic Church’s response to the challenges and hardships refugees, immigrants, migrants, trafficking victims, and other persons on the move face in the United States and throughout the world. Find out more.

4. Archbishop Charles Chaput took the mound in Philadelphia, throwing out the first pitching at Citizens Bank Park for Catholic Charities' annual night at the ballpark.

5. God loves you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five Things To Remember On Jan. 24

1. Today is the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist, and Pope Francis said the saint is a model of evangelization. Find out why.

2. The Fortnight for Freedom is taking place across the country as the Church speaks up for religious liberty. Find out where an event is taking place near you.

3. Friday, June 27, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a day on which Catholics are asked to remember and pray for priests in a special way.

4. With the issue of children detained crossing the border, Catholics are reaching out in a humanitarian way to the crisis.

5. God loves you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Things to Remember On June 23

1. Catholic dioceses and parishes across the United States are celebrating the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4.  It provides an opportunity to raise awareness for domestic and international religious freedom concerns. This year’s theme, Freedom to Serve,” emphasizes on the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable. Prayers and resources are available.
 2. The Peter’s Pence Collection will be taken up in most U.S. dioceses on the weekend of June 28-29. This collection offers Catholics the opportunity to reach out to the poor and suffering by joining Pope Francis in his charitable works throughout the world. The collection’s 2014 theme is “Be a Witness of Charity” and focuses on the need to show Christ’s love to others. This worldwide collection supports needs of the Church and humanitarian activities by caring for victims of war, oppression, religious persecution and natural disasters. Donations to the collection will also assist seminaries and institutes of Christian formation in developing countries.
 3. Jim Lackey, web news editor at Catholic News Service and the man behind the Catholic News Service’s Facebook page, received the Catholic Press Association’s St. Francis de Sales Award, June 20, in Charlotte, N.C. The award recognizes excellence in journalism and is the Catholic Press Association’s highest honor.  (Photo: CNS/Sam Lucero)

4. Diverse Christian leaders gathered today in Washington to learn, share, pray and reflect on incarceration in the United States. They hope to continue to build relationships and share best practices; to receive updates on the most recent legislative developments; to reflect on pastoral practices to support the victims of incarceration; to underline the continuing importance of reform and renewal of the prison system;  and to make  concerns known on Capitol Hill.
 5. God loves you.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Things To Remember On June 19

1. The current conflict in Iraq demands humanitarian assistance from the United States in addition to diplomatic measures, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace in a June 19 letter to Ambassador Susan E. Rice, National Security Advisor. The letter was delivered just before President Obama held a press conference on Iraq.

2. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the national anti-poverty program of the USCCB, has approved grants totaling over $14 million to empower poor and low-income communities to overcome poverty and injustice. The bishops of the CCHD subcommittee approved the grants during their meeting in New Orleans on June 10.

3. Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of Baltimore, 55, as bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts and accepted the resignation of Bishop Timothy McDonnell from pastoral governance of the diocese.

4. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz delivered the keynote address at the Catholic Media Convention 2014 Wednesday and spoke on the call of the Catholic media to evangelize the digital frontier, moving it from 'diatribe to dialogue.'

5. God loves you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Five Things To Remember On June 18

1. Catholics and Shia Muslims oppose actions that endanger the life, health, dignity and welfare of others, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, according to a joint declaration signed by U.S. bishops and Iranian religious leaders. The June 14 declaration resulted from a dialogue between a delegation from the USCCB and the Supreme Council of the Seminary Teachers of Qom, the preeminent center of religious scholarship in Iran, during a March 11-17 trip to Iran.

2. The Fortnight for Freedom starts in just three days and events are taking place across the country through early July. See what's happening near you during this Fortnight.

3. Did you miss the USCCB Spring General Assembly meeting last week. You can can catch up and watch it on our site.

4. Catholic News Service reports: "Beginning a series of audience talks about the church, its identity and mission, Pope Francis said it would be 'a bit like a son talking about his mother, his own family,' because the church is the mother of Christ's disciples and is called to be united as a family."

5. God loves you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five Things To Remember On June 17

1. The March for Marriage will take place Thursday in Washington and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone wrote a letter to critics of the event, saying, "it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union." He also invited those critics to speak with him personally.
"That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible.I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience," he wrote. "When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen."

2. The Fortnight for Freedom begins on June 21 and the 14-day event is highlighting the Church's efforts to fight for its chance to serve the poor according to its faith.

3. Pope Francis continues to focus on corruption in politics, business and churches today

4. Anthony Cirelli, PhD, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, writes about Pope Francis' commitment to Ecumenism.

5. God loves you.

Pope Francis on Ecumenical Commitments

By Anthony Cirelli

In a June 12 homily in the chapelat Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis noted that overcoming conflict requires a measure of realism, coherence, and fraternity. Of the three, I was struck by his elucidation of the second, coherence, and how his insights shed light on efforts to cultivate ecumenical dialogue since the promulgation of theSecond Vatican Council’s decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, in November 1964.

In the homily the pope states that it is not coherent to limit our understanding of certain moral mandates in scripture solely to their literal meaning. Case in point: the commandment not to kill one’s brother is not just a ban on murder. The commandment entails also that we not insult or slander him as these too represent forms of “murder” since such behavior can destroy his character or reputation among peers. Moreover, and positively, the mandate requires that we should strive to speak well and to build up our brothers and sisters. Simply put, we must bring a greater depth of understanding and sensitivity to scriptural mandates.

Similarly and switching gears, one of the salient characteristics of the Decree on Ecumenism is its coherent explication of what dialogue with non-Catholic Christians requires as we move towards unity with our Christian brothers and sisters. Dialogue requires we see fellow Christians as authentic witnesses to Christian life and practice, to identifying “them” as truly Christian. The decree indicates that dialogue requires something deep and demand of Catholics. It requires that we build up our Christian neighbors by showing care for them, speaking well of them, representing their teaching and practice with honesty and integrity and studying and praying together. It also means we share our spiritual lives together and cultivate a disposition that listens and exercises patience. It calls on us to inform other Christians of what the Church teaches and to convene meetings between experts, as well as between national and local churches, to build greater understanding that leads to intentional, ultimate communion.

Just as Pope Francis helps us to see that the commandment not to murder means more than no killing, we also need to consider on how cultivating dialogue means more than just talking to one another. Dialogue – and here we mean ecumenical dialogue – is a rich concept that beckons us to exercise concern for one another and to offer mutual support, concern and love as we strive to discern the promptings of the Spirit ever at work to bring us into full communion.

As the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism approaches, we see that dialogue with other Christians demands more than simple acknowledgment of the other. As Pope John Paul II made plain in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint, dialogue stands as an irrevocable commitment to build up and support fellow Christians on the road to visible unity.


Anthony Cirelli, PhD, is associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Five Things to Know June 16

1. U.S. bishops voted at their Spring General Assembly June 11-13 to amend the Political Responsibility statement issued every four years, which will enable it to include recent teachings of Pope Francis. Bishops also renewed the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

2. USCCB Subcommittee Approves over $4.6 Million in Grants to the Church in Latin America.

3. Pope Francis today said If we talk of politically or economically corrupt people, who pays for [their corruption]? Think of the hospitals without medicine, the patients who did not receive care, the children without education. They are the modern Naboths, who pay the price for the corruption of the haughty. And who pays the price for the corruption of a prelate? The children pay, who cannot make the sign of the cross, who do not know the catechism, who are not cared-for. The sick who are not visited, the imprisoned, who receive no spiritual attention. The poor pay. Corruption is paid by the poor: the materially poor and the spiritually poor.” Instead, says Pope Francis, “the only way to escape corruption, the only way to overcome the temptation to – the sin of – corruption, is service.” Because, he says, “corruption is pride, arrogance – and service humiliates you.” It is “humble charity to help others.”

 4. New head of the bishops' office for Domestic Social Development is Mark Rohlena of  Colorado Springs Catholic Charities.

5. God loves you.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Things To Know June 6

1. Sunday, June, 8, at 1 p.m. ET, an unprecedented prayer service for peace in the Middle East will begin at the Vatican and include Pope Francis, President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority with the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

2. Wear red to Mass on Sunday in recognition of the Feast of Pentecost.

3. Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Urges Church To Lift Ban on Ordination of Married Priests in Eastern Catholic Churches in North America. Says action would affirm Eastern Rite tradition, encourage restoration of unity between Catholic, Orthodox Christians
and enhance spiritual lives of Eastern Catholics

 4. Church groups support move to assist migrant children and applaud the U.S,.Department of Justice for efforts to provide legal assistance to vulnerable children.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Latino Evangelical Coalition and National Immigration Forum have been paying close attention to this urgent situation
 5. God loves you.