WASHINGTON (CNS) – U.S. life has “dramatically changed” due to the yearlong pandemic, and alongside it, racial injustices and political divisions have shaken the nation, yet there is “comfort in God’s promise,” the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee said in a March 9 pastoral message.

There also “is much to learn from this global suffering,” it said, adding that going forward, people must build on the many acts of sacrifice and kindness exhibited amid the scourge of COVID-19.

March 11 marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, “ushering in immense suffering,” the pastoral message said. This was WHO’s first such designation since declaring H1N1 influenza a pandemic in 2009.

To date, 525,000 lives have been lost to the disease just in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Worldwide, the death toll is 2.6 million.

“Many have endured extraordinary hardships: sickness, death, mourning, a lack of food, unstable housing, loss of work and income, struggles with education, separation, abuse, isolation, depression and anxiety,” said the message, approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee during its virtual meeting.

The committee is led by the USCCB president, who is Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, and is made up of all chairmen of USCCB’s committees and a representative from each U.S. episcopal region. The committee operates as the board of directors.

“We witnessed racial injustices, the diminishment of the poor and the elderly, and painful divisions in our political life,” the Administrative Committee’s message said. “Yet we know, as the Psalms remind us, that we find comfort in God’s promise that gives us life (Ps 119:50).”

The pastoral message pointed to innumerable “acts of sacrifice” and “acts of kindness” that have helped ameliorate in many ways some of the suffering — physical, emotional and financial — the pandemic has wrought.

“We also saw countless acts of sacrifice by health care workers, first responders, chaplains, those who work in our soup kitchens and homeless shelters, mail carriers, agricultural and grocery store workers, friends and even strangers,” the committee said.

“Countless acts of kindness were offered by so many people, which served to remind us that we are all in this together. For all these acts of sacrifice, we are very grateful,” it continued.

“We are also very grateful to our priests, deacons, religious, teachers, catechists and lay ecclesial ministers who have ministered to the people of God during these difficult times.”

Shortly after WHO declared a pandemic, U.S. archdioceses and dioceses, like their counterparts around the globe, adopted wide-ranging plans to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Among the most common preventative measures were urging reception of holy Communion in the hand, suspension of distribution of the Communion cup and exchanging the sign of peace without physical contact.

Bishops issued a general dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation. With limits on the size of congregations in churches, dioceses also pivoted to using technology to livestream Mass, parish events and meetings.

“In the pandemic, God has once more revealed us to ourselves,” the committee’s pastoral message said. “As Pope Francis reminded us in St. Peter’s square last year, we are not as powerful or as in control as we thought. Rather than being ashamed of this powerlessness, or crushed by the fear of what we cannot control, our interconnectedness and dependence on God has been revealed.

“As Christians, this is a very familiar lesson: St. Paul reminds us to bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2). And that law is the law of love.”

The pandemic also has “revived our sense that we are a global community, and that each of us is indeed each other’s keeper,” it said.

“While the growing availability of vaccines is a clear sign of hope that this pandemic, too, will pass, that hope must be given to every human being on the planet by making the vaccines universally available,” it continued. “Richer nations and pharmaceutical companies must work together to ensure that no nation, no person is left behind.”

In the United States, two COVID-19 vaccines received emergency-use approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration in early December and a third one recently received this approval from the FDA.

ABC News reported that to date, 30 million Americans have received a COVID-19 vaccine and said that March 9, the U.S “hit a new daily record for vaccinations with 2.9 million shots in arms in just one day.”

As a result of more people being vaccinated and COVID-19 cases declining, many states are loosening some pandemic restrictions — though cautioning people to still take precautions and continue to use face masks, social distance and regularly wash their hands, because the country is not out of the woods yet. Catholic leaders also have reiterated the need to continue to take these precautions.

“There is so much to learn from this global suffering,” the Administrative Committee said in its pastoral message. “We must build on the kindness and openness that we have witnessed on the local level by creating more social structures that not only heal the fractures and isolation felt by so many during this pandemic but will prevent such divisions from occurring again.

“As Pope Francis has implored, ‘Let us dream, then, as a single human family,’ to a horizon where we are more caring of one another. Let us keep this sense alive and continue the work of promoting the common good.”

The Administrative Committee members said that “renewed by this season of Lent, we … place our confidence in the Lord, who suffered, was crucified and is resurrected.”

“We join our brother bishops in urging everyone to continue to keep God’s love alive in their hearts and in their families and communities,” they said. “And we look forward to welcoming the Catholic faithful back when we all may safely participate physically in the eucharistic celebration of the Mass and gather once more in our parishes.”

 

March 5, 2021

WASHINGTON— Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been joined by the chairmen of seven USCCB committees in a statement on abortion funding in the American Rescue Plan.

Joining Archbishop Gomez were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, of Oakland, chairman for the Committee on Catholic Education;  Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration.

The full statement from the bishops follows:

“Our nation needs to heal, come together, and help one another. The American Rescue Plan is an important step in the right direction. It should provide much needed assistance for American families and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, we are deeply concerned that this important legislation, as written, risks creating new divisions by abandoning a longstanding bipartisan compromise that respects the consciences of millions of Americans.

“For 45 years, the United States Congress – whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans – has maintained that taxpayers should not be forced against their conscience to pay for abortions. Abandoning this compromise in a time of national emergency only serves to divide people in the very moment we should be united. Please, let us instead focus on delivering the COVID relief so desperately needed.

“We urge President Biden and the leadership on Capitol Hill not to force upon Americans the wrenching moral decision whether to preserve the lives and health of the born or unborn, all of whom are our vulnerable neighbors in need. We ask that our leaders please not pit people against one another in such a way. We ask all Members of Congress to include the same protections against abortion funding that have been present in every COVID relief bill to date, and every annual spending bill for almost half a century.”

 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and for Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine

March 2, 2021

WASHINGTON– On March 2, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States:

“The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.[1]

“However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”

For further details, we refer people to our earlier December 2020 statement, to our Answers to Key Ethical Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines, to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s Note, and to the statement of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Life.

[1]Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines” (17 Dec 2020), no.2.

 

 

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dawn in Washington Jan. 10, 2021. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

TAKE ACTION: The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a ‘Voter Voice’ message that can be sent to lawmakers. To send a message to your Representative and Senators in Washington, visit: https://www.pacatholic.org/resources/voter-voice/?vvsrc=%2fHome

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act in a 224-206 vote Feb. 25.

A couple days ahead of the vote, the chairmen of five U.S. bishops’ committees said its mandates will “discriminate against people of faith” by adversely affecting charities and their beneficiaries, conscience rights, women’s sports, “and sex-specific facilities.”

The bill, known as H.R. 5 and recently reintroduced in the House, also will provide for taxpayer funding of abortion and limit freedom of speech, the chairmen said in a Feb. 23 letter to all members of Congress.

H.R. 5  amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, the credit system and jury duty.

“Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe because every person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion,” they said. “This commitment is reflected in the church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion or any other characteristic.”

“It means we need to honor every person’s right to gainful employment free of unjust discrimination or harassment, and to the basic goods that they need to live and thrive,” they continued. “It also means that people of differing beliefs should be respected. In this, we wholeheartedly support nondiscrimination principles to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.”

H.R. 5 “purports to protect people experiencing same-sex attraction or gender discordance from discrimination. But instead, the bill represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations,” they said.

“This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct,” they said. “As Pope Francis has reflected, however, ‘biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex — gender — can be distinguished but not separated.'”

Signing the letter were: Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, Oklahoma, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality,” the bishops said, further quoting Pope Francis.

“Tragically, this act can also be construed to include an abortion mandate, a violation of precious rights to life and conscience,” the committee chairmen added.

“Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they said. “It would also inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.”

The measure first passed the House May 17, 2019, in a bipartisan 236–173 vote, but the Senate did not act on the bill after receiving it. President Donald Trump had threatened to veto the measure if it ever reached his desk.

House leadership pledged to see it reintroduced in the 117th Congress. On Feb. 18, Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, reintroduced it. Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin are expected to reintroduce a Senate version soon.

A group of faith leaders who support the Equality Act who held a webinar for the media Feb. 24 included Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service, who is the outgoing executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby organization.

Network has long supported the measure, she said. “It’s critically important to ensure there is no discrimination in our nation especially with regard to the LGBTQ community.”

In the Catholic faith, all are welcome, she said, “and if all are welcome, all need to be protected. I think the bedrock position of our faith is to welcome and secure safety and the ability to flourish for all.”

Campbell and representatives of other faiths, including Jewish, Muslim and other Christian leaders, said in the webinar that the measure “will not reduce religious liberty,” as protected by the First Amendment and religious exemptions in current law, “but it will reduce religious bigotry.”

However, the U.S. bishops’ committee chairmen said in their Feb. 23 letter that if passed, the Equality Act will “discriminate against individuals and religious organizations based on their different beliefs by partially repealing the bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, an unprecedented departure from that law and one of America’s founding principles.”

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, is a 1993 law that protects religions against government intrusion.

Among its other provisions, the bishops said, the measure would expand “the government’s definition of public places into numerous settings, even forcing religiously operated spaces, such as some church halls and equivalent facilities owned by synagogues or mosques, to either host functions that violate their beliefs or close their doors to their broader communities.”

The USCCB on its website posted an “Action Alert” — https://bit.ly/3qVHIkL — asking Catholics to write to their representatives and senators to urge them to vote against the Equality Act.

Some state Catholic conferences have done the same, including the Montana Catholic Conference. In a Feb. 24 “Call to Action,” it said: “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. The Equality Act … in many ways does the opposite and needs to be opposed.”

Editor’s Note: The full text of the bishops’ letter to members of Congress can be found online at https://bit.ly/3dEDhXE.

 

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dawn in Washington Jan. 10, 2021. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

TAKE ACTION: The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a ‘Voter Voice’ message that can be sent to lawmakers. To send a message to your Representative and Senators in Washington, visit: https://www.pacatholic.org/resources/voter-voice/?vvsrc=%2fHome

 Bishops: If passed, Equality Act will ‘discriminate against people of faith’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — If the House of Representatives passes the Equality Act, its mandates will “discriminate against people of faith” by adversely affecting charities and their beneficiaries, conscience rights, women’s sports, “and sex-specific facilities,” said the chairmen of five U.S. bishops’ committees.

The bill, known as H.R. 5 and recently reintroduced in the House, also will provide for taxpayer funding of abortion and limit freedom of speech, the chairmen said in a Feb. 23 letter to all members of Congress.

H.R. 5 would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, the credit system and jury duty. The House was expected to vote on the measure before Feb. 26.

“Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe because every person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion,” they said, “This commitment is reflected in the church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion or any other characteristic.”

“It means we need to honor every person’s right to gainful employment free of unjust discrimination or harassment, and to the basic goods that they need to live and thrive,” they continued. “It also means that people of differing beliefs should be respected. In this, we wholeheartedly support nondiscrimination principles to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.”

H.R. 5 “purports to protect people experiencing same-sex attraction or gender discordance from discrimination. But instead, the bill represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations,” they said.

“This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct,” they said. “As Pope Francis has reflected, however, ‘biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex — gender — can be distinguished but not separated.'”

Signing the letter were: Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, Oklahoma, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality,” the bishops said, further quoting Pope Francis.

“Tragically, this act can also be construed to include an abortion mandate, a violation of precious rights to life and conscience,” the committee chairmen added.

“Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they said. “It would also inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.”

The measure first passed the House May 17, 2019, in a bipartisan 236–173 vote, but the Senate did not act on the bill after receiving it. President Donald Trump had threatened to veto the measure if it ever reached his desk.

House leadership pledged to see it reintroduced in the 117th Congress. On Feb. 18, Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, reintroduced it. Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin are expected to reintroduce a Senate version soon.

The full text of the bishops’ letter to members of Congress can be found online at https://bit.ly/3dEDhXE

 

 

January 26, 2021

WASHINGTON – The on-site evening program for the January 28 National Prayer Vigil for Life will take place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is closed to the public and will be taking place virtually. There will be several broadcast and livestreaming options for the various Vigil prayer events occurring during January 28-29, which are listed in this announcement.

2021 National Prayer Vigil for Life (All times are in Eastern Time.)

Thursday, January 28: 

8:00 PM          National Rosary for Life

8:30 PM          Opening Mass with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas

9:45 PM          Holy Hour for Life

11:00 PM ~     Live-stream of bishop-led holy hours throughout the night

 

Friday, January 29: 

~ 8:00 AM      Closing Mass with Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore

The live television broadcasts on January 28 from 8:00-11:00 PM and on January 29 from 8:00-9:00 AM will be provided by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and will also be available via live-stream on the Basilica’s website.

The overnight bishop-led holy hours will take place during January 28-29 from 11:00 PM – 8:00 AM. Live-streaming information is available on the USCCB’s website.

A plenary indulgence is available this year for those participating in the Opening or Closing Mass and/or the Prayer Vigil, whether virtually or in person (the other usual conditions for a plenary indulgence apply).

 

January 5, 2020

WASHINGTON– Catholics across the country are encouraged to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Thursday, January 28 to Friday, January 29, 2021 marking the 48th 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 60 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, 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.

While thousands of pilgrims typically attend the vigil in person each year, the Basilica will not be open to the public for the 2021 vigil due to local attendance restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, this year, for the first time ever, in addition to the televised Mass, bishops in dioceses across the country will be taking turns leading live-streamed holy hours every hour on the hour throughout the all-night vigil.

The vigil will begin with a live broadcast at 8:00 PM on Thursday, January 28 from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. with a rosary, followed by Mass opening the National Prayer Vigil for Life. The principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, who is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). After the Mass and throughout the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be broadcast on the USCCB’s website. The vigil concludes at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 29 with Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.

“Now, more than ever, our nation is in need of prayer for the protection of the unborn and the dignity of all human life,” said Archbishop Naumann. “I am happy to be joined by bishops in dioceses across the country who are hosting pro-life prayer events, including during the overnight hours of Eucharistic adoration. I invite all Catholics to spend time with Our Lord and join in this nationwide vigil for life.”

The schedule of the 2021 National Prayer Vigil for Life is listed below. (All times are in Eastern Time.)

Thursday, January 28:

8:00 PM          National Rosary for Life

8:30 PM          Opening Mass with Archbishop Naumann

9:45 PM          Holy Hour for Life

11:00 PM ~     Live-stream of holy hours throughout the night

 

Friday, January 29:

~ 8:00 AM      Closing Mass with Archbishop Lori

The live television broadcasts on January 28 from 8:00-11:00 PM and on January 29 from 8:00-9:00 AM will be provided by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and will also be available via live-stream on the Basilica’s website. Live-streaming information for the overnight bishop-led holy hours from various dioceses will be provided on the USCCB’s website.

 

 

Statement of Bishop Joseph C. Bambera

As Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, I am delighted to extend prayerful congratulations to Bishop-elect Larry J. Kulick, who has been appointed  by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to become the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.

As a native of the Greensburg Diocese, Bishop-elect Kulick has proven to be a humble servant of the Lord Jesus. He will undoubtedly continue serving the faithful with a genuine and caring heart as he assumes his new ministry.

I join with the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton in praying for Bishop-elect Kulick.

Pope Francis Names Monsignor Larry Kulick of Diocese of Greensburg as Bishop of Greensburg

Msgr. Larry J. Kulick, the diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pa., is seen in this undated photo. Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Greensburg Dec. 18, 2020. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Greensburg)

December 18, 2020

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Larry James Kulick as the Bishop of Greensburg. Monsignor Kulick is a priest of the Diocese of Greensburg who has been serving as Diocesan Administrator of the diocese since September 2020.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on December 18, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Greensburg has been a vacant see since July 2020 following the appointment of Bishop Edward C. Malesic to Cleveland.

Bishop-elect Kulick was born on February 24, 1966 in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, and ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1992 for the Diocese of Greensburg. Monsignor Kulick graduated from Saint Joseph High School in Natrona Heights. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (1988) and a Master’s degree in Theology (1992) from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from The Catholic University of America in Washington in 2012.

After ordination, Father Kulick was assigned to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg as parochial vicar where he served until 1995; he was assigned as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception parish in Irwin from 1995-1997. In 1997, he was named pastor at Parish of the Good Shepherd in Kent, where he served until 2004, and pastor at St. Joseph parish in New Kensington from 2004-2008.

From 1996-2001, Father Kulick served on the diocesan Priests’ Council as a consultant on priestly vocations. From 2008-2012, he served as co-episcopal master of ceremonies, co-director of the Office of Clergy Vocations and co-director of the Permanent Diaconate Office for the Diocese of Greensburg.

Since 2012, Bishop-elect Kulick has been pastor of Saint James parish in New Alexandria, while also serving as a judge, defender of the bond, and advocate in the diocesan tribunal. During the same period, he has also served as vicar general, moderator of the curia, and acting chancellor for the diocese. He received the title of Monsignor by his office as Vicar General of the Diocese of Greensburg on May 21, 2014. Bishop-elect Kulick has also served as a member of the Administrative Board for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and as chaplain for the Council of Catholic Women.

The Diocese of Greensburg is comprised of 3,334 square miles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has a total population of 659,596 of which 126,649 are Catholic.

 

 

This is a graphic for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Election Novena.” The bishops are encouraging people of faith to participate in a novena to prepare for Election Day and pray for the nation for nine days, beginning Oct. 26 and ending Nov. 3. A closing prayer for elected leaders will be offered on Day 10, Nov. 4, the day after the election. (CNS photo/courtesy USCCB)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As it did in 2016, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging people of faith to take part in an election novena beginning Oct. 26 and ending Nov. 3, Election Day.

A closing prayer for elected leaders will be offered Nov. 4, the day after the election.

“Bearing in mind our nation’s challenges and the need for wise, moral, civic leadership, four years ago our conference offered an electronic ‘Election Novena’ to help Catholics prepare for the 2016 election,” the USCCB said.

“Shared through social media and various email lists, the prayer effort was widely popular with the laity and very much appreciated by clergy, who are often asked to promote more partisan or issue-specific prayer campaigns,” it added in a letter sent by about a dozen USCCB committee chairmen to all U.S. bishops.

The signers’ committees represent the broad range of issues reflected in the novena intentions: cultural diversity, migration, international and domestic justice and peace, pro-life activities, racism, Catholic education, catechesis and evangelization, the promotion and defense of marriage, religious liberty, and family life and youth.

The website https://www.usccb.org/2020-election-novena has the daily intentions, a link to sign up to receive the intentions daily by email as well as links to PDFs of the intentions in English and Spanish and to other resources including the bishops’ quadrennial statement: “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

Participants are encouraged to pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be after each day’s intention.

The daily intentions are as follows:

— Day One, Oct. 26: As we prepare for the national, state and local elections, in the midst of a global pandemic, may our political engagement be guided by our Catholic faith.

— Day Two, Oct. 27: In this month of the Holy Rosary, may Our Blessed Mother guide us in confronting racial inequalities and restoring peace in our communities.

— Day Three, Oct. 28: May all Americans recall the necessity of dialogue, civility and humility in this election season.

— Day Four, Oct. 29: May all people understand the moral and ethical dimensions of political decisions and decide accordingly.

— Day Five, Oct. 30: May voters and elected leaders uphold the dignity of every human life in their political engagement.

— Day Six, Oct. 31: May Catholics recall all aspects of Catholic social teaching as they consider their votes.

— Day Seven, Nov. 1: May there be a transformation of politics to focus on the dignity of the human person and the common good.

— Day Eight, Nov. 2: May we keep in mind the gift of religious freedom and our duty to defend and exercise it as faithful citizens.

— Day Nine, Nov. 3: Today, as we approach the polls, may we understand and embrace the principles of our faith that should guide our political engagement.

The closing prayer for Nov. 4 is: May the leaders elected this week be guided by the Holy Spirit as they fulfill their positions.

 

 

October 4, 2020

WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement today offering prayers for the health of President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:

“I am praying for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. May God grant them full healing and may He keep their family safe and healthy. Let us keep praying for all who are suffering because of the novel coronavirus, especially the sick and dying and their families, and all those who have lost loved ones. May God give them hope and comfort, and may He bring an end to this pandemic.”