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President of U.S. Bishops Conference Response to Kentucky High School Shooting

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on today's shootings at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky. The shooting has left up to two dead and more than a dozen others injured.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Over the past two days in Kentucky and Texas, we have witnessed painful reminders of how gun violence can tragically alter the lives of those so precious to us – our school children. We pray for eternal rest for those who have died. Let us pray, too, for the families, teachers and friends who must now endure the suffering of losing those dearest to them. We stand in solidarity with the children who face a long road of recovery from serious injuries. May they find comfort in a loving community. As Christians, we experience this pain as if it were our own. Let us reach out in compassion to assist the grieving and may we move forward in greater resolve to treat one another as children of God, so that unthinkable acts like this become more and more rare and love more and more present in the world."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, gun violence, school shooting, Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, solidarity, compassion, love.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Catholic Schools Week 2018, January 28-February 3, to Focus on “spiritual, academic and societal contributions” of Catholic Schools

WASHINGTON—National Catholic Schools Week 2018 (CSW) will be observed in dioceses around the country January 28–February 3. This year's theme, "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.," focuses on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.

As Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education said, "Catholic schools provide an invaluable service to young people, their families, and our nation by helping to form women and men with the sharp intellects, broad perspectives and big hearts who bring their best to communities near and far. Jesus Christ came to change hearts and to serve – one person at a time – and so Catholic schools invite students to encounter Christ, to be changed by Him, and love God by serving others with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength."

One way Catholic school students have been challenged to "learn, serve, lead and succeed" this academic year has been through the National Catholic Educational Association's (NCEA) "Student to Student" campaign. In August, NCEA began a national campaign that invited Catholic school families to donate at least $1 toward the "Student to Student: A Catholic School Response to Hurricane Harvey" campaign to help those Catholic school communities hardest hit by the events in the United States, the Caribbean and U.S. territories. The campaign was eventually renamed "Student to Student: A Catholic School Response to Hurricane Relief 2017" to include those that followed Harvey and the wildfires in the west. As of last month, 826 Catholic schools from across the country donated more than $600,000 to this solidarity effort. 300 students at Lumen Christi High School in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, for example, put on a taco lunch and raised more than $900. NCEA has begun the process of disbursing funds to Catholic arch/dioceses affected by recent natural disasters, beginning with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Nearly 1.9 million students are currently educated in 6,429 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for higher education, a competitive work environment, and most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society. "Since their founding in our country, Catholic schools have provided a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. We have always sought to welcome families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity," Bishop Murry said.

The observance of CSW began in 1974. Schools and parishes around the country will hold activities such as Masses, open houses, and pot luck gatherings to celebrate the communities they represent. The week also highlights the educational and community successes of Catholic schools nationwide. Ninety nine percent of students graduate from high school and 86 percent of Catholic school graduates attend college.  This percentage has been consistent over the past 20 years.

More information on the Committee on Catholic Education and other resources are available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/ and www.NCEA.org/csw. Catholic Schools Week can also be followed on Twitter @USCCBCatholicEd, @NCEATalk, and throughout social media via #CSW18.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop George Murry, National Catholic Schools Week, National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic schools, learning, education, college, Committee on Catholic Education

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Collection for the Church in Latin America to be held January 27-28

WASHINGTON—The annual Collection for the Church in Latin America will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of January 27-28. For more than 50 years, the collection has been a sign of solidary between the Churches of the United States and those in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2017, the collection approved nearly $7.2 million dollars in grants to support the Church in Latin America and Caribbean.

"Through this collection, Catholics across the United States put their faith into action and build community with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and Caribbean," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America. "Support to this collection is an act of the compassion that our faith calls us to."

The collection supports the work of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America by funding grants for a variety of pastoral efforts such as lay leadership training, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry and youth ministry. All of these efforts help Catholics share their faith.

Shareable resources can be found at: www.usccb.org/latin-america/collection.

The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. Additional resources to learn about the collection and the projects it supports include an interactive map, a video on the history of the collection, and an annual report. The home page for the collection is www.usccb.org/latin-america.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S, Church in Latin America, Subcommittee on Church in Latin America, leadership training, seminarian formation, religious formation, prison ministry, youth ministry, national collections

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton; Names Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Stockton, California, and has named Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta as his successor, up until now the Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento. 

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, January 23, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. 

Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta was born on March 21, 1953 in Dos Palos, California. He attended St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, 1980-1987, receiving a bachelor's degree and master of divinity degree. 

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Fresno, California, on September 12, 1987. Parish assignments included: Parochial vicar, St. Anthony, Atwater (1987-1989); administrator of the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Laton (1989-1992); and pastor of Our Lady of Miracles, Gustine (1994); as well as administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hilmar (1994). 

Since 1996, he has served on the board of trustees, priest's retirement board and personnel board. Since 1999, his duties have included vicar general, moderator of the curia, board of consultors, vicar of clergy, director of continuing formation of the clergy, director of the Propagation of the Faith, director of pastoral support of the priests sensitive claims board, member of the diocesan finance council, and supervisor of the safe environment program. 

He was named a chaplain to his holiness (monsignor) in 2002 and a prelate of honor in 2009. Upon the death of Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno on Dec. 5, 2010, Bishop Cotta was elected by the Diocesan College of Consultors as the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Fresno. He served as administrator from Dec. 7, 2010 until Feb. 1, 2012, when Bishop Armando Ochoa assumed leadership of the Diocese of Fresno. 

On January 24, 2014 Pope Francis appointed Cotta as the fifth Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, and he was ordained a bishop on March 25, 2014. 

Bishop Stephen Blaire was born December 22, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from St. John's Seminary in Camarillo in 1967, where he earned a master's in Theology. He also has graduate degrees in Education and Secondary School Administration. 

He was ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1967 for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

Assignments after ordination included: associate pastor, St. Luke's Church, 1967-1972; teacher/administrator, Alemany High School, 1972-1976; Vice Principal, Bishop Amat High School, 1976-1977; principal, Bishop Alemany High School, 1977-1986; Moderator of the Curia/Chancellor, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1986-1994; vicar general, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1990-1996. 

On May 31, 1990, he ordained as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Lamzella by Cardinal Roger Mahony. On January 19, 1999, he was appointed Bishop of Stockton by Pope John Paul II and was installed as the fifth Bishop of Stockton March 16, 1999 at the Cathedral of the Annunciation. 

As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishops Blaire has served as the chairman of the Pastoral Practices Committee and as a member of the Committee for Ecu-menical and Interreligious Affairs. Bishop Blaire has also served locally as president of the Cali-fornia Catholic Conference. In 2009, he was elected chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development. 

The Diocese of Stockton is comprised of 9,938 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,376,940 of which 298,061 or 22 percent, are Catholic. 

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Diocese of Stockton, Diocese of Sacramento

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200