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Annual Celebration of World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life on February 2

WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church will hold its annual celebration of World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life on February 2, and parishes will commemorate the event over the weekend of February 5-6. This event is a special time for individual parishes to celebrate the gift of consecrated life and pray for men and women discerning a consecrated vocation with the global Catholic Church.

Instituted by Saint John Paul II in 1997, World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life is celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, which commemorates through the blessing and lighting of candles that Christ is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations spoke of how the example of consecrated men and women should spur all of the faithful on to greater holiness. “With lives of poverty, chastity, and obedience, consecrated men and women provide us with an example of complete dedication to Christ. They remind us that regardless of the vocation the Lord calls us to, we are all called to union with Christ and to do our part to build up the Kingdom of God.”

As it does every year, the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) to conduct a survey of the religious Profession Class of 2021. The survey polled women and men religious who professed perpetual vows in 2021 in a religious congregation, province, or monastery based in the United States. CARA received a response from 547 of 742 major superiors for an overall response rate of 74% among religious institutes. Of the 182 identified men and women religious who professed perpetual vows in 2021, 62 sisters and nuns and 60 brothers and priests responded to the survey for an overall response rate of 67%.

Some of the major findings and highlights of the report are:

  • On average, responding religious report that they were 19 years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life. 
  • The average age of responding religious of the Profession Class of 2021 is 37. Half of the responding religious are age 34 or younger. The youngest is 24 and the oldest is 70.
  • Seven in ten (71%) responding religious report their primary race or ethnicity as Caucasian, European American, or white. One in ten (13%) identifies as Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian. One in ten identifies as Hispanic/Latino(a). Four percent identity as African/African American/black and just two respondents identify as mixed race.
  • Three-fourths of responding religious (76%) were born in the United States. Of those born outside the United States, the most common countries of origin are Vietnam and the Philippines (5 religious from each).
  • On average, the respondents who were born outside the United States were 23 years old when they first came to the United States and lived here for 15 years before perpetual profession. 
  • Nine in ten (86%) responding religious report that someone encouraged them to consider a vocation to religious life. Men are more likely than women to be encouraged by a parish priest, friend, mother, and parishioner.
  • Almost all responding religious (99%) of the Profession Class of 2021 have at least one sibling. One in five (20%) have one brother or sister. Four in five (42%) report having two or three. A third (35%) have four or more siblings.
  • The Profession Class of 2021 is highly educated. Two in ten responding religious earned a graduate degree before entering their religious institute. Seven in ten (70%) entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree (63% for women and 77% for men).
  • Four in five (80%) participated in one or more religious programs or activities before entering their religious institute. Two-fifths of respondents (39%) participated in youth ministry or youth group. Three-tenth participated in young adult ministry or group (33%) and Catholic campus ministry/Newman Center (30%). One in five (18%) participated in a World Youth Day prior to entering their religious institute.

Prayers of the Faithful, and a parish bulletin quote for World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life may be found on the USCCB website. Profiles of the Profession Class of 2021 and the entire CARA survey can be found here.

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

Seek Peace in Ukraine, Says U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace

WASHINGTON - Tensions are mounting as the United States and its NATO allies consider how best to respond to the massive build-up of Russian military forces and equipment on the border of Ukraine. In the face of these increased tensions, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:

“With the alarming situation in Ukraine, we appeal to all leaders to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and to engage in constructive dialogue to peacefully resolve this conflict that impacts the lives and livelihoods of 43 million Ukrainians. 

“In remarks following his January 23 Angelus, Pope Francis asked that January 26 be a day of prayer for Ukraine given the growing concerns over the situation in that country and in Europe in general, saying, ‘I make a heartfelt appeal to all people of good will to raise prayers to Almighty God that all political actions and initiatives may be at the service of human brotherhood...’ Earlier, the Holy Father had expressed concerns about Ukraine and the hope ‘that the tensions it is experiencing may be resolved through serious international dialogue and not with weapons.’

“Let us join with the Holy Father who, in his 2022 address to the diplomatic corps, said, ‘Reciprocal trust and readiness to engage in calm discussion should inspire all parties at stake, so that acceptable and lasting solutions can be found in Ukraine…’

“The Catholic bishops of Ukraine and Poland issued an appeal on January 24 that leaders refrain from war and ‘withdraw ultimatums immediately.’ They called on ‘the international community to join efforts in solidarity and actively support those under threat in all possible ways.’

“In this time of fear and uncertainty, we stand in solidarity with the Church in Ukraine and offer our support. We call on all the faithful and people of good will to pray for the people of Ukraine, especially on January 26, that they may know the blessings of peace.”   

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Pope Francis Names Two New Auxiliary Bishops of New York

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has appointed Rev. John S. Bonnici and Rev. Joseph A. Espaillat as auxiliary bishops of New York. The appointments were publicized in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 2022, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect Bonnici is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and has served as pastor of St. Augustine parish and Saints John and Paul parish in Larchmont since 2021. Father Bonnici was born February 17, 1965, in New York, New York. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and philosophy from St. John’s University in Queens, New York in 1987, and studied at the Pontifical North American College and at the Gregorian University in Rome (1987-1990). He pursued his graduate studies at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Rome where he earned his licentiate degree (1990-1992), and at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington where he earned his doctorate (1995). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 1991.

Bishop-elect Bonnici’s assignments include serving on the faculty of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York (1994-1995); assistant director (1995-1996) and director (1996-2002) of the archdiocesan family life/respect life office. His parish assignments include: parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Elmsford (1992-1994); pastor at Church of St. Philip Neri in the Bronx (2002-2008); pastor at St. Columba in Chester (2008-2021); and administrator at St. Mary’s parish in Washingtonville (2020-2021).

Bishop-elect Espaillat is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and since 2015 has served as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in the Bronx and as director of the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Renewal for the archdiocese. Father Espaillat was born December 27, 1976, in New York. He attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Manhattan and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Fordham University in the Bronx in 1998. He received a Master of Divinity degree in Theology and a Master of Arts degree in Theology (specializing in Church History) from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York (2003). He was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 2003.

Bishop-elect Espaillat’s assignments after ordination include parochial vicar at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Manhattan (2003); administrator and then pastor at St. Peter’s parish in Yonkers (2007); and director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of New York (2012).

The Archdiocese of New York is comprised of 4,683 square miles in the State of New York and has a total population of 6,238,441 of which 2,807,298 are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is the current archbishop of New York.

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

 

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

WASHINGTON – On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized abortion nationwide in its decision on Roe v. Wade. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities called on the faithful to “pray, fast, and work for the day when the gift of every human life is protected in law and welcomed in love” on the anniversary of the court’s decision.

Archbishop Lori’s full statement follows:

“January 22 marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision making abortion legal in all 50 states.

“The Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion is a response of love for both mothers and their children in the womb. The Church’s teaching proclaims a message of life, reminding us that every life is a sacred gift from God from the moment of conception until natural death.

“In remembrance of the tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and in petition for full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life for all individuals, the Catholic Church in the United States recognizes the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. We invite all Catholics and people of good will to fast and pray on this day, and frequently between now and June, when we anticipate a decision by the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. We pray that this important case might reverse Roe and its unjust abortion license.

“We cannot build a truly just society and remain complacent when faced with the massive impact of Roe v. Wade, which has taken over 60 million lives since 1973. May we pray, fast, and work for the day when the gift of every human life is protected in law and welcomed in love.”

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

Declaración por la Celebración del Día del Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. en el 2022

Recordamos una vez más este año el testimonio y el legado del Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recordemos no solo la justicia que persiguió, sino cómo la persiguió.

El Rev. King fue inspirado en la visión bíblica de la justicia y la verdad, una visión que él entendió estaba reflejada en los documentos constitutivos de nuestra nación. Creía en lo que llamó el “credo estadounidense”, la creencia expresada por nuestros fundadores que consiste en que todos los hombres y mujeres son creados iguales, y que Dios los dotó de una dignidad sagrada y derechos innegables a la vida, la libertad y la igualdad.

Más de medio siglo después de su muerte, Estados Unidos enfrenta muchos desafíos: la actual pandemia, los problemas de desigualdad económica y discriminación racial, la violencia en nuestras comunidades y la lucha por recibir dignamente a inmigrantes y refugiados. En los últimos años, nuestra nación también se ha vuelto más polarizada y nuestras divisiones más radicales.

Mientras miramos hacia nuestro futuro, sigamos aprovechando la sabiduría del Rev. King, especialmente su compromiso con las Bienaventuranzas de Jesús y los principios de la antiviolencia y el amor por nuestros enemigos.

En su Carta desde la cárcel de Birmingham (Letter from a Birmingham Jail), el Rev. King nos recuerda que somos hermanos y hermanas, parte de una hermosa red de relaciones de cuidado mutuo, cada uno dependiendo de los demás como los demás dependen de nosotros. “La injusticia en cualquier lugar es una amenaza para la justicia en todas partes”, escribió. “Estamos… atados en una sola prenda de destino. Lo que afecta a uno directamente, afecta a todos indirectamente".

Avancemos con ese mismo espíritu de fraternidad y solidaridad, y llevemos adelante su obra por la igualdad y la justicia. Mientras recordamos al Rev. King, sigamos aprendiendo de él e imitando su ejemplo y testimonio profético.

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Contactos de prensa:
Chieko Noguchi o Miguel Guilarte
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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