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USCCB Committee on Migration Chairman Endorses USA Act and Calls for Immediate Legislative Solution for Dreamers

WASHINGTON—The chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe Vásquez, of Austin Texas, announces support for H.R. 4796, the "Uniting and Securing America" (USA) Act of 2018 as it is currently written. The USA Act is a bipartisan bill that offers a path to citizenship to Dreamers and augments existing border security technology at the U.S./Mexico border.

"We are hopeful our support of the current version of the USA Act, and our continued support of the Dream Act, will encourage Congress to act now and find a humane legislative solution for Dreamers," noted Bishop Vásquez.

The USA Act would provide qualifying Dreamers with protection from deportation, as well as a path to citizenship. Additionally, the USA Act of 2018 would augment border security at the U.S./Mexico border, in part through deployment of new technology; increase the number of immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals staff attorneys; and seek to address root causes and prevent future irregular migration from Central America.

On the need for immediate action, Bishop Vásquez stated: "Every day, my brother bishops and I witness directly the constant anxiety of Dreamer youth and their families, and that experience of urgency moves us to press Congress for an immediate and durable solution to this problem."

For more information, including Bishop Vásquez's letter to the House of Representatives in support of the USA Act, see https://justiceforimmigrants.org/what-we-are-working-on/immigration/daca-resource-page/.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, USCCB Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Dreamers, Congress, House of Representatives, USA Act, "Uniting and Securing America," U.S./Mexico border, U.S. security, citizenship, deportation, immigrants

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Media Contacts:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

 

Request for Proposals for Annual Audit of Dioceses and Eparchies for Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People; Sought by USCCB’s National Review Board

WASHINGTON—The National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are inviting applications for proposals to conduct annual audits of U.S. dioceses and eparchies to assess compliance with the bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The annual audits would cover a three-year cycle beginning July 1, 2019 through June 30,2022.

The Charter, first approved by the USCCB in June 2002, and revised and approved again in June 2005 and November 2011, the bishops of the United States affirmed the Church's commitment to effectively and appropriately address cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons, and other Church personnel and to reach out to victims of sexual abuse and their families. The bishops also pledged to work with parents, civil authorities, educators and various organizations in the community to create and maintain a safe environment within the Church for all children and young people.  

Article 8 of the Charter calls for appropriate audit mechanisms to determine if dioceses and eparchies are complying with the provisions of the Charter. Accordingly, annual audits have been conducted in each diocese and eparchy since 2003 to assess compliance with the Charter and, where necessary, to specify required actions that would bring the diocese/eparchy into compliance with the Charter.  Summaries of the results of these audits have been included in the Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  

Audits will be expected to assess not only the extent to which dioceses and eparchies have established policies, procedures, and programs in accord with the Charter, but also to review the administration of these policies, procedures, and programs. Additionally, as guidelines and measurements of effectiveness are developed over the next few years, they are to be incorporated into future audits.

Timeline:

Deadline for Letter of Intent to submit proposal: June 10, 2018.

Deadline for final proposal: August 30, 2018

Interviews: Fall 2018

The Letter of Intent must include background and relevant information regarding the firm and articulation of relevant experience. The Application must include names and resumes of detailing relevant experience and proposed methodology as well as a proposed budget.

Evaluation Criteria
There is no requirement that the audits be conducted by Catholic individuals or institutions, but the project director and the auditors should demonstrate an informed understanding of the Catholic Church and diocesan/eparchial structures. Final selection of the Auditor will be made by the Administrative Committee upon the recommendation of the National Review Board in consultation with the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.

Inquiries, letters of intent, and applications should be addressed to:

Deacon Bernie Nojadera

Executive Director

Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection

3211 Fourth Street, NE

Washington, DC 20017

bnojadera@usccb.org

(202) 541-5413

The complete request for proposals can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/usccb-child-youth-protection-request-for-proposal-2020-2022.pdf.

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People can be found at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/charter.cfm

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Review Board, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, clergy sex abuse, request for proposals, dioceses, eparchies, annual audit, safe environment, annual report.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Ordination Class of 2018: CARA Report Gives Reasons for Hope and Areas for Growth

WASHINGTON—According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate's (CARA) annual survey, in the Ordination Class of 2018, almost all responding ordinands reported being baptized Catholic as an infant (90 percent). Among those who became Catholic later in life, the average age of conversion was 26. Four in five responding ordinands (83 percent) report that both their parents were Catholic when they were children. One in three (35 percent) has or had a relative who is a priest or religious.

The total number of potential ordinands for the class of 2018, 430, is a lower number from 590 in 2017.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, Chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, found that the data gives reason for hope as well as provides areas for future growth.

"Although the overall number of ordinations to the Priesthood is lower this year, the information gathered from this survey and the generosity of those to be ordained continues to inform the important work of vocations ministry for the future. It is essential that we continue to make the conscious effort to encourage young men to be open to hearing God's call in their life and assist them in the discernment process."

Father Ralph B. O'Donnell, Executive Director of the Secretariat, cited the significance of encouraging vocations awareness: "One of the most encouraging statistics to see in this study is that 86 percent of those to be ordained to the priesthood this year were encouraged to do so by someone in their life (most frequently a parish priest, friend or another parishioner). A similar percentage was reported in February in the most recent survey of those solemnly professed. This fact should enliven in the faithful a resolve to actively encourage the young people that they encounter to consider to what vocation God is calling them and to be generous in their response."

The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate gathered the data for "The Class of 2018: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood." CARA collects the data annually for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Approximately 78 percent of the 430 potential ordinands reported to CARA. These 334 respondents include 252 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood and 78 ordinands to the religious priesthood.

Among the survey's major findings:

The majority of responding ordinands are Caucasian (seven in ten) and were born in the United States (three in four). One in four is foreign-born. By comparison, since 1999, on average each year, 30 percent of responding ordinands were foreign-born.

The four most common countries of birth among the foreign-born are Mexico, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Colombia. On average, foreign-born responding ordinands came to live in the United States 12 years ago at the age of 23.

On average, responding ordinands first considered priesthood when they were 17 years old. Responding ordinands were scheduled for ordination on average 18 years later (at the age of 35). Since 1999, the average age of responding ordinands has fluctuated only slightly each year, from an average of 36 in 1999 to the current average age of 35.

Between 39 and 47 percent of all responding ordinands attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling. Half of responding ordinands (51 percent) participated in a religious education program in their parish for seven years, on average.

Nearly half of responding ordinands (45 percent) report that they completed a college or university undergraduate degree before entering the seminary. The most common fields of study are social science, theology or philosophy, business, or liberal arts.

Two in three responding ordinands (64 percent) reported full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary. One in twenty responding ordinands served in the U.S. Armed Forces themselves. About one in eight responding ordinands (13 percent) reported that one or both parents had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Almost all responding ordinands reported being baptized Catholic as an infant (90 percent). Among those who became Catholic later in life, the average age of conversion was 26. Four in five responding ordinands (83 percent) report that both their parents were Catholic when they were children. One in three (35 percent) has or had a relative who is a priest or religious.

Regarding participation in parish ministries before entering the seminary, nearly three fourths of responding ordinands (74 percent) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Nearly three in five (57 percent) served as lectors. Around half served as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (46 percent). One in three served as catechists (38 percent), in campus ministry or youth ministry (35 percent), or as confirmation sponsors/godfathers (31 percent).

In regard to participation in vocation programs before entering the seminary, half of responding ordinands (46 percent) reported participating in "Come and See" weekends at the seminary or the religious institute/society.

Nearly nine in ten responding ordinands (86 percent) reported being encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life (most frequently, a parish priest, friend, or another parishioner). Responding ordinands indicate that, on average, four individuals encouraged their vocation.

One-half of responding ordinands (51 percent) indicated that they were discouraged from considering the priesthood by one or more persons. Most often, this person was a friend/classmate or a family member (other than parents).

The full report can be found online: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/ordination-class/class-of-2018/ordination-class-of-2018.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, ordination, class of 2018, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Father Ralph B. O'Donnell, priesthood, ordinands, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, diocesan priesthood, religious life

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte Named Manager of Public Affairs for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Miguel Guilarte has been named manager of the Office of Public Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

Mr. Guilarte previously worked as a reporter and editor for eighteen years at El Tiempo Latino, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper published in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Founded in 1991, it was acquired by The Washington Post in 2004 and then by El Planeta Media in 2016.  

While at El Tiempo Latino, Guilarte covered sports, community, politics, education, cultural and health content. He has received multiple awards for his feature stories and article series from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Miguel has also written for Major League Soccer.

"Miguel offers an impressive background as a bilingual communications professional who will support the USCCB Office of Public Affairs in expanding our Spanish media outreach, social media content and bilingual communications strategy on behalf of the bishops," said Judy Keane, Director of USCCB Public Affairs.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from Santa Maria University, Caracas, Venezuela, and resides in the DC area. Miguel began his new role at the USCCB on April 9.

The Office of Public Affairs represents the Catholic Bishops of the United States to the media and the media to the bishops. Responsibilities of the office include preparing and distributing statements and other resources for the media, arranging for interviews with bishops and staff of the USCCB, organizing press conferences, responding to media queries and credentialing media for coverage of such events as the bishops' annual meetings. For more information about the USCCB Office of Public Affairs, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/public-affairs/index.cfm.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Catholic Home Missions Collection to be held April 28-29; Grants Support Essential Pastoral Programs

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be held in parishes across the country over the weekend of April 28-29. The Catholic Home Missions (CHM) grants assist dioceses and eparchies that would otherwise struggle due to difficult geography, impoverished populations, and limited resources. CHM funding supports essential pastoral programs, including religious education and youth ministry, priestly and religious formation, prison ministry, and lay ministry training.

"Too many of our brothers and sisters in the United States do not have access to even the most basic pastoral resources," said Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, Archbishop of Anchorage and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. "As members of the Body of Christ we are called to help our neighbors and build the faith. Your generosity to the Catholic Home Missions Appeal has made the Church in the United States stronger."

The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. The Subcommittee's grants are funded by donations to the annual collection. In 2017, the Subcommittee approved over $9.4 million in grants to assist 83 dioceses and eparchies for 2018.

Currently, there are 83 dioceses and eparchies that qualify for support from the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Mission – over 40 percent of all US dioceses. Home mission dioceses are located across the United States, including the Deep South, Appalachia, and the Rocky Mountains, as well as in US territories in the Caribbean and the far-away Pacific.

More information about the collection can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions. Resources to promote the collection, including a social media toolkit, can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions/collection.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, ministry, evangelization, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, religious education, priests, seminarians, religious formation, lay ministry

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Appoints Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy as Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia; Accepts Resignation of Archbishop Stefan Soroka

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia and appoints Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy of the same Archeparchy as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia until the appointment of the new Archeparch. 

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington on April 16, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy, now Apostolic Administrator sede vacante, was born October 1, 1975 in Lviv, Ukraine. He pursued seminary studies at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained a priest in December of 2001 by Archbishop Stefan Soroka at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia.

Bishop Rabiy holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy (1999) and a licentiate in Canon Law (2008) from Catholic University of America; and a Master of Divinity degree (2002), from the Dominican House of Studies, in Washington D.C.

After ordination, Rabiy held pastoral assignments at St. Michael the Archangel parish, Hillsborough, New Jersey, and at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2002-2005. Other assignments after ordination include: pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Reading, 2008-present; coordinator, Sexual Abuse Prevention and Youth Protection Office, 2008-2015; member, Administrative Board, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, 2008-2017; vicar general, 2009-present; vice-chancellor, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial College of Consultors, 2009-present; member, Archeparchial Presbyteral Council, 2011-2017.

On August 8, 2017, Pope Francis named Father Andriy Rabiy as auxiliary bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

Archbishop Stefan Soroka was born on November 13, 1951 in Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba, Canada. He received a bachelor's degree in Social Work (1973) and a Masters in Social Work (1978) from the University of Manitoba.  His seminary formation was undertaken at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, Washington, D.C. At the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1978) and a Doctorate in Social Work in 1985.  

He was ordained a priest on June 13, 1982, for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg at Saints Vladimir and Olga Cathedral, Winnipeg.

Assignments after priestly ordination included: assistant priest, Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Winnipeg, 1984-1986; parish priest, Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption, Portage la Prairie, Canada, 1986-1987; parish priest, St. Anne Ukrainian Catholic Church, Winnipeg, 1987-1995; chaplain, St. Josaphat Council, Knights of Columbus, 1986-1989; chaplain, St Anne Council, Knights of Columbus, 1987-1995; chaplain, National Executive, Ukrainian Catholic Youth of Canada, 1989-1992; vocations director, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 1985-2000; state chaplain, Knights of Columbus, Manitoba State Council, 1989-1992; judge, Archeparchial Marriage Tribunal, 1984-1993; vice-chancellor, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 1985-1994; chancellor, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 1994-1996; econom, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, 1994-1998.

On March 29, 1996 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg and was ordained to the episcopate on June 13, 1996. He then also served as: chairman, Asset Protection Group Insurance Corporation for Western and Northern Canada Dioceses/Eparchies, 1998-2000; chaplain, Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada, 1998-2000; and editor, Progress Ukrainian Catholic News, 1996-2000.

On November 29, 2000 he was appointed Metropolitan-Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and was installed on February 29, 2001.

At the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he served as: member of the Committee for Aid to Home Missions, 2010-present; member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, 2001-present; member of the Committee on Relations between Eastern and Latin Catholic Churches, November 2003-2010; member of Task Force on Content and Flow of General Meeting, June 2003; and member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, 2002-2009. 

The Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia includes the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and parts of eastern Pennsylvania. It has a total Catholic population of 12,846.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia, Archbishop Stefan Soroka, Auxiliary Bishop Andriy Rabiy


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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Supports Southern Border Bishops Concerns Over White House Decision to Deploy National Guard at U.S./Mexico Border

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Catholic Bishops of the southern border issued a statement on April 6, 2018, regarding their deep concern over the Administration's decision to deploy the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border. Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, today issued the following statement in support of the Southern Border Bishops and in response to the Administration's recent actions:

"On behalf of the USCCB Committee on Migration, I fully affirm the concerns voiced by the U.S. Bishops of the southern border regarding the presence of the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border.  Current law entitles those fleeing persecution and arriving in our country to due-process as their claims are reviewed. As the border bishops state: 'Seeking refuge from persecution and violence in search of a peaceful life for oneself and one's family is not a crime.'  Our faith calls us to respond with compassion to those who suffer and seek safe haven; we ask our government to do the same as it seeks to safely and humanely secure the border."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, USCCB Committee on Migration, White House, National Guard, Mexico border, U.S. border

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Welcomes Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness in the Contemporary World; Rejoice and Be Glad

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is welcoming the release of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate" (Rejoice and Be Glad), subtitled "On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World." In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo expresses his deep gratitude to the Holy Father for the exhortation and the call for each Christian to "acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be."   

In the introduction to the exhortation, the Pope emphasizes that the goal of his exhortation is to "repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities." 

An apostolic exhortation is considered the second-highest form of papal teaching after an encyclical letter. Since his election, Pope Francis has issued two other exhortations: "Evangelii Gaudium" (Joy of the Gospel) in 2013 and "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love) in 2016. 

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement on "Gaudete et Exsultate" follows:   

"I want to personally express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his powerful, straightforward words in Gaudete et Exsultate. In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear – he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is 'to be holy, as He is holy' (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God's grace and power, we are called to become saints.     

'Do not be afraid of holiness (no. 32).' These words of the Holy Father jumped out at me when I first read them. In a way, each one of us has a fear of striving for holiness – a fear that we would be mocked, ignored, or even hated by others because we would stand out. Yet that is what the Lord has called each and every person to! Pope Francis calls us out: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for 'this is the will of God, your sanctification (I Thess 4:3) (no. 19).'  

The Holy Father describes how holiness comes through the daily struggles each of us face. In the ordinary course of each day, the Pope reminds us, 'We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root' (no. 114). Yet, he says, this 'battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives' (no. 158).    

One paragraph in particular points out the continuing need we have for civility in all our interactions, especially in the media. 'Christians too,' the Holy Father writes, 'can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.' This can be true even in Catholic media (no. 115). Even in our heated disagreements with one another, we always need to remember that it is God who judges, not man (James 4:12).'  

In the light of Easter joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I encourage every Christian to rekindle their baptismal call to be holy by reading this wonderful exhortation by Pope Francis, especially the beautiful section on the Beatitudes. Through an exploration of the Beatitudes, and by offering examples of how to live out our call to holiness in everyday life, the Holy Father has given us a wonderful tool for renewing our love for God and for each other." 

The USCCB has made the exhortation available for order online at http://store.usccb.org/rejoice-and-be-glad-p/7-599.htm

The Vatican has also posted the exhortation online at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html

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Keywords: Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate," Rejoice and Be Glad, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, holiness, contemporary world

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Media Contact: 
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Welcomes Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness in the Contemporary World; Rejoice and Be Glad

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is welcoming the release of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate" (Rejoice and Be Glad), subtitled "On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World." In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo expresses his deep gratitude to the Holy Father for the exhortation and the call for each Christian to "acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be."   

In the introduction to the exhortation, the Pope emphasizes that the goal of his exhortation is to "repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities." 

An apostolic exhortation is considered the second-highest form of papal teaching after an encyclical letter. Since his election, Pope Francis has issued two other exhortations: "Evangelii Gaudium" (Joy of the Gospel) in 2013 and "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love) in 2016. 

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement on "Gaudete et Exsultate" follows:   

"I want to personally express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his powerful, straightforward words in Gaudete et Exsultate. In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear – he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is 'to be holy, as He is holy' (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God's grace and power, we are called to become saints.     

'Do not be afraid of holiness (no. 32).' These words of the Holy Father jumped out at me when I first read them. In a way, each one of us has a fear of striving for holiness – a fear that we would be mocked, ignored, or even hated by others because we would stand out. Yet that is what the Lord has called each and every person to! Pope Francis calls us out: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for 'this is the will of God, your sanctification (I Thess 4:3) (no. 19).'  

The Holy Father describes how holiness comes through the daily struggles each of us face. In the ordinary course of each day, the Pope reminds us, 'We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root' (no. 114). Yet, he says, this 'battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives' (no. 158).    

One paragraph in particular points out the continuing need we have for civility in all our interactions, especially in the media. 'Christians too,' the Holy Father writes, 'can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.' This can be true even in Catholic media (no. 115). Even in our heated disagreements with one another, we always need to remember that it is God who judges, not man (James 4:12).'  

In the light of Easter joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I encourage every Christian to rekindle their baptismal call to be holy by reading this wonderful exhortation by Pope Francis, especially the beautiful section on the Beatitudes. Through an exploration of the Beatitudes, and by offering examples of how to live out our call to holiness in everyday life, the Holy Father has given us a wonderful tool for renewing our love for God and for each other." 

The USCCB has made the exhortation available for order online at http://store.usccb.org/rejoice-and-be-glad-p/7-599.htm

The Vatican has also posted the exhortation online at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html

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Keywords: Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate," Rejoice and Be Glad, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, holiness, contemporary world

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Media Contact: 
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Welcomes Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness in the Contemporary World; Rejoice and Be Glad

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is welcoming the release of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate" (Rejoice and Be Glad), subtitled "On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World." In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo expresses his deep gratitude to the Holy Father for the exhortation and the call for each Christian to "acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be."   

In the introduction to the exhortation, the Pope emphasizes that the goal of his exhortation is to "repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities." 

An apostolic exhortation is considered the second-highest form of papal teaching after an encyclical letter. Since his election, Pope Francis has issued two other exhortations: "Evangelii Gaudium" (Joy of the Gospel) in 2013 and "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love) in 2016. 

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement on "Gaudete et Exsultate" follows:   

"I want to personally express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his powerful, straightforward words in Gaudete et Exsultate. In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear – he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is 'to be holy, as He is holy' (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God's grace and power, we are called to become saints.     

'Do not be afraid of holiness (no. 32).' These words of the Holy Father jumped out at me when I first read them. In a way, each one of us has a fear of striving for holiness – a fear that we would be mocked, ignored, or even hated by others because we would stand out. Yet that is what the Lord has called each and every person to! Pope Francis calls us out: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for 'this is the will of God, your sanctification (I Thess 4:3) (no. 19).'  

The Holy Father describes how holiness comes through the daily struggles each of us face. In the ordinary course of each day, the Pope reminds us, 'We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root' (no. 114). Yet, he says, this 'battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives' (no. 158).    

One paragraph in particular points out the continuing need we have for civility in all our interactions, especially in the media. 'Christians too,' the Holy Father writes, 'can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.' This can be true even in Catholic media (no. 115). Even in our heated disagreements with one another, we always need to remember that it is God who judges, not man (James 4:12).'  

In the light of Easter joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I encourage every Christian to rekindle their baptismal call to be holy by reading this wonderful exhortation by Pope Francis, especially the beautiful section on the Beatitudes. Through an exploration of the Beatitudes, and by offering examples of how to live out our call to holiness in everyday life, the Holy Father has given us a wonderful tool for renewing our love for God and for each other." 

The USCCB has made the exhortation available for order online at http://store.usccb.org/rejoice-and-be-glad-p/7-599.htm

The Vatican has also posted the exhortation online at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html

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Keywords: Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation, "Gaudete et Exsultate," Rejoice and Be Glad, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, holiness, contemporary world

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