Posted on 05/24/2017 11:28 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate's (CARA) annual survey, 82 percent of the 2017 class of men ordained to the priesthood were encouraged by about four people in their lives including parish priests, friends or other parishioners. The report also says that ordinands were, on average, 16 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood, and religious ordinands reported they knew the members of their religious institute an average of six years before entering.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, notes that the CCLV Committee has commissioned this annual study since 1998. It remains part of the ongoing work of the CCLV to highlight various ways that vocations to the priesthood have been and can be encouraged. The CCLV website features resources that are available for vocations promotion throughout the United States.
"A staggering number of the 2017 ordination class report to have been encouraged by others to consider a priestly vocation," Cardinal Tobin said. "That statistic should motivate all the faithful to be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit, who may wish to use them to extend the invitation to ordained ministry."
The total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2017, 590, is slightly up from 548 in 2016 and down from 595 in 2015.
The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate gathered the data for "The Class of 2017: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood." CARA collects the data annually for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Approximately 75 percent of the 590 potential ordinands reported to CARA. These 444 respondents include 343 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood, from 140 different dioceses and archdioceses, and 101 ordinands to the religious priesthood.
The full report can be found online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/ordination-class/index.cfm.
Among the survey's major findings:
On average, they lived in the diocese or eparchy for which they will be ordained for 16 years before entering seminary.
″ The average age for the Class of 2017 is 34. Since 1999, the average age of responding ordinands has decreased by approximately two months each year, from an average of 36 in 1999 to the current average age of 34.
″ Seven in ten ordinands are Caucasian and three in four were born in the United States. One in four respondents were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam. On average, respondents born in another country have lived in the United States for 12 years.
″ Most ordinands have been Catholic since infancy, and eighty percent report that both of their parents are Catholic and more than a third (35 percent) have a relative who is a priest or a religious. The average age of conversion was 21, among those who became Catholic later in life.
″ Nearly half completed college (43 percent) before entering the seminary. One in six (18 percent) entered the seminary with a graduate degree. The most common fields of study for ordinands before entering the seminary are theology or philosophy, liberal arts, and business.
″ Nearly half of responding ordinands (between 40 and 50 percent) attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling, and 59 percent participated in a religious education program in their parish for an average of seven years.
″ About six in ten ordinands (57 percent) report some type of full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary, most often in education. One in twenty ordinands report prior service in the U.S. Armed Forces. About one in eight ordinands (12 percent) report that either parent had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces.
″ Four in five (75 percent) indicate they served as altar servers and about half (52 percent) report service as a lector. Forty seven percent of responding ordinands reported participating in "Come and See" weekends at their seminary or religious institute.
″ About seven in 10 report regularly praying the rosary (73 percent) and participating in Eucharistic adoration (77 percent) before entering the seminary.
″ About half (51 percent) indicated that they were discouraged from considering the priesthood by at least one individual, most commonly a friend, classmate or family member other than parents.
Keywords: ordination, class of 2016, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, priesthood, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, diocesan priesthood, religious life, USCCB
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Posted on 05/23/2017 11:12 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is expressing shock and sadness in the wake of last night's terror attack at Manchester Arena. In this moment of national tragedy and grief for England, Cardinal DiNardo has written a letter of condolence to the Most Reverend John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, Bishop of Salford and the people of England. The Diocese of Salford serves the area of greater Manchester and Lancashire. In the letter, Cardinal DiNardo expresses solidarity along with the continued prayers of the Church in the United States in the face of such unspeakable loss.
Full letter follows:
Dear Bishop Arnold,
Words are not enough to convey the deep shock and sadness with which Catholics and all people of good will in the United States learned of the horrible attack which took place yesterday at England's Manchester Arena.
The unspeakable loss of life, terrible injuries, and untold trauma to families -- especially to children -- summon prayers from around the world. In a particular way, I assure you and all those who suffer from this atrocious evil the continued prayers of the Church in the United States.
We commend to the comforting arms of our crucified and Risen Lord the many who have died, and we entrust to Our Lady of Manchester those who suffer.
Evil, as dense and dark as it is, never has the last word. As we prepare to celebrate the new dawn of Pentecost again, may the Easter words of the Risen Christ, "Peace be with you" (John 20:19), settle deep into the hearts of the citizens of your great country.
Fraternally in the Risen Lord,
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Manchester Arena, England, Most Rev. Bishop John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, Diocese of Salford, Manchester- Lancashire, terror attack, deepest condolences, suffering, risen Lord, Our Lady of Manchester, Pentecost, Easter, families, children, peace.
Posted on 05/23/2017 04:42 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, offered his appreciation to Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security for his decision to extend Temporary Protective Status for Haitians in the United States for six months but urged continued engagement and humanitarian assistance to improve conditions in Haiti.
Full statement follows:
"On behalf of the USCCB Committee on Migration, I express gratitude to Secretary Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Trump Administration for extending another six months of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to over 58,000 Haitians living and working in the United States legally. While this extension is helpful, it still leaves many Haitian families in the United States in an insecure and vulnerable position, particularly with respect to ensuring legal work authorization. Extending TPS serves an important humanitarian role by providing for the safety, well-being, and stability of Haitians living in the United States. We encourage our government to work proactively with the Haitian government to provide life-saving aid and recovery assistance. Haiti will continue to struggle to receive back those who are temporarily protected, even those who may be returned in the near future. Through the Church's service networks, we will continue to assist Haitian families in the U.S., aid the rebuilding process in Haiti and look for opportunities to collaborate with the Church in Haiti and the Haitian and U.S. governments."
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Secretary John Kelly, Department of Homeland Security, Trump Administration, Temporary Protective Status (TPS), Haitian families, Haitian government, Church in Haiti, safety, well-being, stability.
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Posted on 05/22/2017 10:39 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON— Six Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have released a letter in advance of the anticipated unveiling of President Donald J. Trump's full budget plan tomorrow.
That proposed budget is expected to call for a sharp increase in military spending while making significant cuts across much of the rest of government, including the planned elimination of dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor and vulnerable.
In letters to both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate sent May 19, the bishops reaffirmed the federal budget as a moral document containing profound implications for the common good of our nation and world. The letter states that the "budget requires difficult decisions that ought to be guided by moral criteria that protect human life and dignity, give central importance to 'the least of these' (Matthew 25), and promote the welfare of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity."
The letter was signed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, of Burlington, Chairman, Committee on Communications, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman, Committee on Migration.
The full text of the letter sent to the U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representatives is available at:
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, federal budget, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop Oscan Cantú, Bishop George V. Murry, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez , moral document, common good, human life, human dignity, families, workers, military expenditures, health care, retirement, fiscal policy, health insurance, discretionary spending, immigration, tax policy, nuclear weapons, diplomacy, conflicts, Syria, Iraq, anti-poverty programs, reconciliation, income security, education, peace.
Posted on 05/16/2017 12:32 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—This summer, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be convening an unprecedented gathering of diverse leaders from dioceses and Catholic organizations from across the country to assess the challenges and opportunities of our time, particularly in the context of the Church in the United States. An ongoing initiative of the Bishops' Working Group on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person, the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, will assemble Catholic leaders for a strategic conversation, under the leadership of the bishops, on forming missionary disciples to animate the Church and to engage the culture.
The moment is also an opportunity for the Church in the United States to examine today's concerns, challenges, and opportunities in the light of the Church's mission of evangelization, and be equipped to go forth, ready to engage the world with the joy of the gospel. Inspired by Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) the Convocation will form leaders who will be equipped and re-energized to share the Gospel as missionary disciples, while offering fresh insights informed by new research, communications strategies, and successful models.
The Convocation of Catholic Leaders will be held in Orlando, Florida, from July 1—July 4, 2017.
Please note that advanced media registration is required as no onsite registration is available.
Credentialed media will have access to the Convocation main plenary hall from July 1-4. Press conferences for credentialed media will also be held each day of the Convocation in the Media Center as time allows. Media will not have access to the Convocations individual breakout sessions. All credentialed media are required to abide by regulations of the hotel or risk losing their credentials. Reporters seeking to cover the Convocation of Catholic Leaders can download a credential application form at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/get-involved/meetings-and-events/convocation-2017/upload/convocation-2017-media-credential-form.pdf and submit it by June 23 to email@example.com or mail or fax to:
United States Conference of Catholic
Convocation of Catholic Leaders – Media Credentials
Office of Public Affairs
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
For more details regarding the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, please visit:
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, Bishops' Working Group, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Evangelii Gaudium, forming missionary disciples, Church in the United States, Catholic Leaders, culture, conversation.
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Posted on 05/15/2017 02:01 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Bernard E. Shlesinger, III, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Atlanta. Father Shlesinger,57, currently serves as Director of Spiritual Formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, May 15, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bernard Shlesinger was born December 17, 1960. He earned a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1983. He went on to attend Theological College in Washington, DC (Pre-Theology/Philosophy) before attending Pontifical Gregorian University where he earned a B.A. in Sacred Theology in 1995. He then began Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) studies at the Angelicum (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome) that same year. He was ordained a priest on June 22, 1996.
Father Shlesinger also served in the US Air Force from 1983 to 1990. An Air Force pilot who retired as Captain, he flew the C130E Hercules while stationed at Pope AFB, in Fayetteville, NC.
Assignments after ordination included: parochial vicar at St. Mary, Wilmington, NC, 1996-1998; Pastor at our Our Lady of Guadalupe parish as well as Assistant Vocation Director, Newton Grove, NC (1998-2007); Director of Vocations and Seminary Formation, Diocese of Raleigh (2007-2013); Administrator, Maria Reina de las Americas, Mount Olive, NC (2010-2012); Director of Spiritual Formation, Theology Division, St. Charles Borremeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, 2013 to present. Other responsibilities include: vicar forane, Newton Grove Deanery.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta comprises 21,445 square miles. It has a total population of 7,048,083 people of which 1,023,594 or 14.5 percent, are Catholic. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has been archbishop of Atlanta since 2005. The archdiocese currently has one active auxiliary bishop, Bishop Luis R. Zarama.
Keywords: bishop appointment, Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Bernard E. Shhlesinger III, Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, auxiliary, Archdiocese of Atlanta, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Auxiliary Bishops Luis R. Zarama.
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Posted on 05/12/2017 07:59 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for their annual Spring General Assembly, June 14-15, in Indianapolis. During the assembly, the full body of bishops will address issues of immigration and refugees, religious freedom at home and abroad as well as health care policy developments. The bishops will also begin consultation on the upcoming Ordinary Synod of Bishops being convened by the Holy Father in 2018.
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, will lead a presentation on religious persecution, genocide and human rights violations in the Middle East. The bishops will receive a briefing from their working group on immigration and hear from outside experts.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R of Newark, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, will lead the discussion on the 2018 Ordinary Synod of Bishops, which will focus on young people, faith and vocational discernment.
The bishops will also discuss and vote on whether to establish the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty as a permanent USCCB committee. Other items considered for discussion and votes are: the revised Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities, a collection of blessings in Spanish (the Bendicional: Sexta Parte), and a new translation of the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism.
The Wednesday evening Mass will be moment of prayer and penance for the bishops as they respond to the call from Pope Francis for an international Day of Prayer to pray for the survivors of clerical sex abuse.
Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be Wednesday, June 14, and the morning of Thursday, June 15. Media conferences will follow open sessions of the meeting as time allows. Reporters seeking to cover the meeting can download a credential application form at: www.usccb.org/about/public-affairs/upload/application-news-media-credentials.pdf and submit it by June 9 to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to:
Office of Public Affairs
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, June meeting, Spring General Assembly, USCCB, president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Synod of Bishops, marriage, family, youth, young adults, Pope Francis, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, immigration, refugees, sacraments, persons with disabilities, Bendicional, Chrism
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Norma Montenegro Flynn
Posted on 05/4/2017 15:25 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to strip out the harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up for consideration.
"Even with efforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act still contains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid that risk coverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," said Bishop Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act."
Since discussions about repealing the Affordable Care Act began, the U.S. Bishops have repeatedly called for Congress to honor key moral principles in health care reform. Among them are: access for all people to comprehensive, quality health care that is truly affordable, including extra consideration for pre-existing conditions; respect for life by preventing the use of federal funds for abortion or to purchase health care plans that cover it; and conscience protections. Prior to Thursday's vote, Bishop Dewane urged House members to insist on changes, especially for the sake of those who are struggling.
"When the Senate takes up the AHCA, it must act decisively to remove the harmful proposals from the bill that will affect low-income people—including immigrants—as well as add vital conscience protections, or begin reform efforts anew. Our health care policy must honor all human life and dignity from conception to natural death, as well as defend the sincerely-held moral and religious beliefs of those who have any role in the health care system," said Bishop Dewane.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, American Health Care Act (AHCA), respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty, immigration.
Posted on 05/4/2017 09:26 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON– Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued a response to President Donald J. Trump's executive order signed this morning.
Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:
"Today's Executive Order begins the process of alleviating the serious burden of the HHS mandate. We will engage with the Administration to ensure that adequate relief is provided to those with deeply held religious beliefs about some of the drugs, devices, and surgical procedures that HHS has sought to require people of faith to facilitate over the last several years. We welcome a decision to provide a broad religious exemption to the HHS mandate, but will have to review the details of any regulatory proposals.
In recent years, people of faith have experienced pressing restrictions on religious freedom from both the federal government and state governments that receive federal funding. For example, in areas as diverse as adoption, education, healthcare, and other social services, widely held moral and religious beliefs, especially regarding the protection of human life as well as preserving marriage and family, have been maligned in recent years as bigotry or hostility — and penalized accordingly. But disagreement on moral and religious issues is not discrimination; instead, it is the inevitable and desirable fruit of a free, civil society marked by genuine religious diversity.
We will continue to advocate for permanent relief from Congress on issues of critical importance to people of faith. Religious freedom is a fundamental right that should be upheld by all branches of government and not subject to political whims. As president of the Bishops' Conference, I had the opportunity to meet with President Trump this morning in the Oval Office to address these and other topics."
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President Trump, executive order, religious freedom, HHS mandate, religious exemption, Congress, federal government, state government, human life, adoption, healthcare, marriage and family, religious diversity, executive branch.
Posted on 05/2/2017 04:35 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) collection is an annual national appeal to support evangelization through the internet, television, radio, and print publications. This year's collection will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of May 27-28.
"At its core, this collection is a way for all of us to be evangelizers," said Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington, chairman of the Committee on Communications' Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign. "The message of the Church is one of hope and mercy—that God walks with us and does not leave us to face our suffering alone. With the collection, this is the message that we share."
The Catholic Communication Campaign supports projects in the United States and in developing countries where the local Church lacks resources to spread the Gospel message.
Projects include providing access to the daily Mass readings on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' website, with a reach of 7.4 million page views per month. The CCC collection also shares the travels and daily ministry of Pope Francis through its support of Catholic News Services' Rome bureau.
In addition, the Catholic Research Resources Alliance is preserving Catholic history in the U.S. thanks to a CCC grant to digitize more than 87,000 pages of Catholic news content that will be available online free to researchers and educators. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a CCC grant is enabling Radio Maria to expand to the Diocese of Goma to further the evangelization mission of the Church.
Fifty percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local Catholic communication projects.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Communication Campaign, CCC Subcommittee, CCC, Bishop Joseph J. Tyson, evangelization, print, radio, internet, Pope Francis, Congo, Catholic News Service, Radio Maria, Catholic Research Resources Alliance, daily readings, Diocese of Goma, communications
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Norma Montenegro Flynn