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Browsing News Entries

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Amid Nationwide Worker Shortages, Bishop Seitz Reaffirms Church’s Closeness with Immigrant Workers Who ‘Labor for Us All’

WASHINGTON – While American employers continue to struggle with filling more than nine million open jobs and a growing number of communities look to immigration as the solution, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso emphasized that it is often these much needed immigrant workers who are the most vulnerable members of our workforce. As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, he highlighted the vital role they fill in American communities:

“Immigrant workers are integral to the life of our nation. They tend our fields, maintain our roads, and staff our hospitals. Through these and other acts, they labor for us all. Without their contributions, American communities would grind to a standstill. Not only are they working in some of the most arduous conditions but frequently with limited legal protections, and they are more susceptible to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Sadly, the risks faced by many immigrant workers were recently underscored by the Baltimore Key Bridge collapse, in which six immigrant workers tragically lost their lives.

“The Church, in her abiding love for every person as a son or daughter of God, gives special consideration to the poor, the marginalized, and the excluded. As a society, we judge ourselves—and will be judged—by our treatment of those who are least empowered to advocate for themselves because of social, economic, and political obstacles. The Church remains committed to securing rights and justice for those who labor humbly in the shadows, and we urge leaders to undertake much-needed reforms that recognize their essential contributions.

“As we rejoice in the Paschal Mystery this Easter, may every follower of Christ live with the knowledge that ‘our brothers and sisters are the prolongation of the incarnation for each of us’ (Evangelii Gaudium), and may that reality motivate us to a radical solidarity befitting our Savior who gave his life for the sake of us all.”

Last week, Bishop Seitz sent a letter to Congress expressing support for further access to legal employment authorization for those with pending asylum claims. The letter references a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which found refugees and asylees to have made a net fiscal impact of $123.8 billion to the American economy at both the federal and state levels over a fifteen-year period.


New Survey of Men Being Ordained to the Priesthood Underscores the Significant Influence of Parents on Children’s Vocational Discernment

WASHINGTON – A newly-released study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, surveyed men who will be ordained to the priesthood in 2024. The data shows that families continue to be the seedbed of religious vocations: of the 392 respondents, 95% were raised by their biological parents, and 88% were raised by a married couple who lived together.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) released The Class of 2024: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood in anticipation of the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 21. This annual commemoration occurs on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Pope Francis has expressed his gratitude for “mothers and fathers who do not think first of themselves or follow fleeting fads of the moment, but shape their lives through relationships marked by love and graciousness, openness to the gift of life and commitment to their children and their growth in maturity.”

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the CCLV committee, echoed Pope Francis stating, “Mothers and fathers, united in marriage, are the first witnesses to love for their children. It is within the family that children are taught the faith, learn the meaning of love, and grow in virtue. This year’s study of ordinands underscores the fundamental role that families, in particularly, parents, play in building up the kingdom of God. It is through the love and support of the family that children develop into the men and women God calls them to be.”

Of the 475 men scheduled to be ordained this year, 392 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 83%. These ordinands represent 128 dioceses and eparchies and 29 distinct religious institutes in the United States. Some of the major findings of the report are:

  • On average, respondents first considered a priestly vocation when they were 16 years old. The youngest age reported was three years old and the oldest was 53 years old.
  • The average age at ordination was 34 years old. Since 1999, the average age was 35 and ranged between 33 and 37.
  • Most respondents are White/Caucasian (67%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (18%), Asian/Pacific Islander (11%) and Black/African American (2%).
  • Of those who are foreign-born (23%), the most common countries of origin are Mexico (5%), Vietnam (4%), Colombia (3%), and the Philippines (2%).
  • Of those who worked full-time before entering seminary (70%), the most common fields of employment were education (21%), business (16%), and Church ministry (13%).

The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2024 may be accessed here:


Seek contact with nature to change polluting lifestyles, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Humanity must have more direct contact with nature to counter the modern lifestyles that are destroying the planet, Pope Francis said.

Respecting and loving the earth as well as seeking direct contact with nature "are values that we need so much today as we discover ourselves increasingly powerless before the consequences of irresponsible and short-sighted exploitation of the planet," he told members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts.

Meeting with the members, dressed in their scouting uniforms, at the Vatican April 13, the pope said people in modern society are "prisoners of lifestyles and behaviors that are as selfishly deaf to every appeal of common sense as they are tragically self-destructive; insensitive to the cry of a wounded earth, as well as to the voice of so many brothers and sisters unjustly marginalized and excluded from an equitable distribution of goods."

"In the face of this, the Scouts' sober, respectful and frugal style sets a great example for all," he said.

Pope Francis highlighted the group's recent charitable efforts, such as donating an incubator for infants to an emergency care center in Lampedusa, Italy, a landing point for migrants coming into the country.

Pope Francis enters the Clementine Hall at the Vatican for a meeting with members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts.
Pope Francis enters the Clementine Hall at the Vatican for a meeting with members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts April 13, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The incubator, he said, " symbolizes the joy of a child coming into the world, the commitment to ensure that he or she can grow well, the expectation and hope for what he or she may become."

"We live in a time of a dramatically falling birthrate," the pope said, noting that the median age in Italy is 46 while the median age in nearby Albania is 23. The falling birthrate shows that humanity "seems to have lost its taste for creating and caring for others, and perhaps even its taste for living," he said.

Sending the incubator to the Lampedusa reception center "further underlines that love for life is always open and universal, desirous of the good of all, regardless of origin or any other condition.

The scouts also helped build a nautical carpentry workshop in Zambia which he said is aligned with the human vocation of transforming God's gifts "into instruments of good," particularly in a world "where there is so much talk, perhaps too much, about producing weapons to make war."

Citing his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home," the pope encouraged the scouts to "take charge" of the current climate crisis and from there, to deeply consider "the specific place that human beings occupy in this world and their relations with the reality that surrounds them."

Pope pleads for military restraint in the Middle East

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The morning after Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel, Pope Francis pleaded with nations to avoid a further escalation of the violence.

"I make a heartfelt appeal for a halt to any action that might fuel a spiral of violence with the risk of dragging the Middle East into an even greater conflict," the pope said April 14 after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with visitors in St. Peter's Square.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Iran launched 330 exploding drones and missiles at Israeli military facilities late April 13 and early April 14. The vast majority of the weapons were intercepted.

Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, "I am following in prayer and with concern, also sorrow, the news that has come in the last few hours about the worsening of the situation in Israel because of the intervention by Iran."

People join Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square
As Pope Francis pleaded with nations to exercise restraint and avoid an escalation of violence in the Middle East after his recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer at the Vatican April 14, 2024, members of the Auxilium Cooperative, a social-service agency, hold up a sign that says, in Italian: "With Pope Francis for a Better World." (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

"No one should threaten the existence of others," the pope said. "Instead, all nations should take the side of peace, and help the Israelis and Palestinians to live in two states, side by side, in security."

Israelis and Palestinians have a "deep and legitimate desire" to live peacefully and independently, he said, "and it is their right! Two neighboring states."

Once again Pope Francis urged Israel and Hamas to stop the fighting in Gaza "and let the paths of negotiation be pursued with determination."

"Let that population, plunged into a humanitarian catastrophe, be helped; let the hostages kidnapped months ago be freed at once," he said, referring to the hundreds of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas in October.

"So much suffering," he said. "Let us pray for peace. No more war, no more attacks, no more violence! Yes to dialogue and yes to peace!"

Later in his remarks, addressing children and inviting them to participate in the first celebration of World Children's Day at the Vatican in May, Pope Francis said everyone needs young people's joy and their hopes "for a better world, a world at peace."

"Brothers and sisters, let's pray for the children who are suffering because of wars -- there are so many -- in Ukraine, in Palestine, in Israel, in other parts of the world, in Myanmar," he said. "Let's pray for them and for peace."


Cultivate solidarity through prayer, adoration, pope tells donors

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Today's "growing culture of indifference and individualism" must be countered with prayer and adoration, which inspires solidarity with those in need, Pope Francis said.

Charitable efforts guided and inspired by the Catholic faith "must be continually nourished by participation in the life of the church, the reception of the sacraments, and time spent quietly before the Lord in prayer and adoration," the pope told more than 60 members of The Papal Foundation and their families April 12.

The U.S. foundation describes itself as the only charitable organization in the United States dedicated to fulfilling the pope's requests for the needs of the Catholic Church. Donors to the foundation, known as Stewards of St. Peter, make annual pilgrimages to Rome and have an opportunity to meet the pope.

Pope Francis blesses a pregnant woman's child.
Pope Francis blesses a pregnant woman's child during a meeting with members of The Papal Foundation and their families at the Vatican April 12, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis reminded the group that the pilgrimage this year is taking place during the Year of Prayer in preparation for the Holy Year 2025, and he encouraged them to "not forget to adore the Lord" in silent adoration. "We have neglected this form of prayer and we need to take it up again: adoring the Lord in silence."

"Through our perseverance in prayer, we gradually become 'a single heart and soul' with both Jesus and others, which then translates into solidarity and the sharing of our daily bread," he said, referencing a passage from the Acts of the Apostles.

The pope noted that although the donors may not personally meet the beneficiaries of their generosity, "the programs of The Papal Foundation foster a spiritual and fraternal bond with people from many different cultures, languages and regions who receive assistance."

The foundation announced in a statement April 12 that it will dedicate $14.74 million to grants, scholarships and humanitarian aid in 2024.

Close to $10 million will be distributed to grant recipients identified by the Vatican, supporting 118 projects in more than 60 countries, the foundation said, including projects to provide for basic needs such as access to clean water; renovating schools, churches, convents and seminaries; and building health care facilities. The foundation also allocated $4 million to its Mission Fund to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and it will provide $819,000 in scholarships to enable more than 100 priests, women religious and seminarians to study in Rome.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the foundation's board of trustees, said in the statement that the generosity of The Papal Foundation's donors prioritizes the needs of the poor and vulnerable "in a society where the divide between rich and poor continues to grow."

In their meeting, Pope Francis thanked the group for helping the successors of St. Peter "to build up many local churches and care for large numbers of the less fortunate."

Cardinals O'Malley, Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Wilton D. Gregory of Washington attended the meeting as trustees of the foundation, as well as Archbishops Samuel J. Aquila of Denver and Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey.

According to the foundation's website, it has awarded more than $200 million in grants and scholarships selected by the popes since its founding in 1988.

Pope turns Rome catechism class into 'school of prayer'

ROME (CNS) -- Pope Francis took over the catechism classes at St. John Vianney parish on the far eastern edge of Rome to inaugurate his "School of Prayer."

The pope went, unannounced, to the parish after school April 11 and met with about 200 children, Vatican News reported.

He spoke to them about prayer and answered their questions. He also brought them chocolate Easter eggs and rosaries.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization's section for new evangelization, which is coordinating preparations for the Holy Year 2025, had announced the "School of Prayer" in January.

The archbishop said the project would be like the pope's "Fridays of Mercy" initiative during the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2015- 2016, when the pope visited people on the "peripheries," including babies in a neonatal unit, a center for the blind and a housing project to illustrate the corporal works of mercy.

Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to observe 2024 as a "year of prayer" in preparation for the Holy Year.

Pope Francis greets children at Rome parish
Pope Francis "high-fives" children at St. John Vianney parish on the far eastern edge of Rome, which he visited April 11, 2024, to inaugurate his "School of Prayer" initiative in preparation for the Holy Year 2025. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The pope's lesson for the children focused on the theme of prayers of thanksgiving, the Dicastery for Evangelization said in a statement afterward.

"It is important to say thank you for everything. For example, if you go into someone's house and you don't say thank you or may I or hello, is that nice?" he asked. "The first word is 'thank you.'"

Pope Francis gave each of the children a large folder with his coat of arms on the cover and, inside, a special prayer of thanks composed for the occasion; the prayer thanked God for the gift of life, the gift of parents, the gift of creation and, especially, "the gift of your Son, our brother and savior, friend of the small and the poor."

"You taught us to call you 'Father,' and with your word you call us to live as true sons and daughter, to be brothers and sisters who walk together in the grace of the faith we received with our baptism," the text continued. "Thank you, Lord, who loves us."

Pope Francis listens to a boy's question
Pope Francis listens to a question as he meets with about 200 children at St. John Vianney parish on the far eastern edge of Rome, where he went April 11, 2024, to inaugurate his "School of Prayer" initiative in preparation for the Holy Year 2025. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis asked the children if they pray, and one of the youngsters said his family prays before they eat.

"You said something important," the pope told him. They should all thank the Lord for the food they eat and for giving them families.

Alice, who is 10, asked, "How can I thank the Lord when I'm sick?"

"Even in dark times, we have to thank the Lord because he gives us the patience to tolerate difficulties," the pope responded. "Let's say together: 'Thank you, Lord for giving us the strength to tolerate pain.'"

Sofia, who will receive her first Communion in a few days, said it is hard to thank God when there are wars.

Pope Francis said there is always something to thank God for, and he shared a piece of advice: "Before you go to sleep think, 'What can I thank the Lord for?' And give thanks."


Parish priests are lifeline to church's mission, cardinal says

ROME (CNS) -- The success of the Synod of Bishops on synodality will much depend on also including parish priests in the process, said Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington.

Of the more than 360 bishops, religious and laypeople who participated in the first assembly at the Vatican last October, the small number who were ordained priests "were scholars, missionaries (or) they were engaged in leadership in religious communities," he said.

"Not that those other participants weren't generous and insightful," he said, but in his 40 years as a bishop, his experience has been that "a number of people may know who the bishop is, they all know who the pastor is."

The parish priest is the church's "point of contact and if we lose contact with our people through their priests, it disables the mission of the church," he told Catholic News Service April 10 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he was to receive the annual Rector's Award April 11. 

Cardinal Gregory
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington poses for a photo at the Pontifical North American College in Rome April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Cardinal Gregory had served as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago before leading the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, and then the Archdiocese of Atlanta; he was named archbishop of Washington in 2019 and then elevated to the College of Cardinals the next year.

Pope Francis personally invited the 76-year-old native of Chicago to attend the synod on synodality in Rome.

"There was a lack of parish priests present" at the first assembly, Cardinal Gregory said, noting the importance of the upcoming gathering of 300 parish priests from all over the world to make their contribution to the ongoing synod process by sharing their experiences of parish life.

Parish priests are the ones who "serve the folks in the pew, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday," he said. The gathering of parish priests, which will be held April 28-May 2 outside of Rome, was needed "because if the synod is going to be a success, it really needs to keep its roots in the Sunday pew."

The priests, selected by bishops' conferences and Eastern Catholic churches, also will have the chance to dialogue with Pope Francis as part of responding to the first assembly's report requesting more active involvement of deacons, priests and bishops in the synodal process.

Because there will only be one to four priests representing each bishops' conference and Eastern-rite Catholic church, Cardinal Gregory said it would be important for the priest delegates to "use media to pass on what they did, what they heard, what they said."

"After all, 300 priests is a good delegation, but it's a small representation of the total number of priests who are engaged directly in pastoral ministry," he said.

Just as priests are being asked to "follow up more effectively with their parishioners and learn how to listen to and to learn from criticism and also support" as part of the synodal process, he said, bishops, too, should be showing their support of their priests, even in the simplest of ways. 

Cardinal Gregory
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington speaks during an interview with Catholic News Service at the Pontifical North American College in Rome April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

"Long before the synod and in every diocese that I've served in," he said, he has always shared messages and comments he receives complimenting one of his priests for something they did.

"I always send that complimentary letter to the priest himself, along with my letter of thanks to the individual who thought enough of a pastor to say something nice," he said.

"That builds a relationship with the priest and the bishop that says, 'you know, he contacts me not necessarily because I've done something wrong, but because I've done something right.' And that's very important. Our guys need to know that the bishop is grateful," he said.

The success of the synod, Cardinal Gregory said, will be seen with "an increase in the contact that people, ordinary people, the faithful of God, have with their priests," their bishop and with the pope. Success will be recognizing that the pope "is not an individual who governs the church simply from the desk of the papal apartment" and that the bishop and pastor are not leaders who simply manage or direct activities from afar.

"To have a successful synod outcome, it has to tighten the bonds that unite us, even going into those areas where most people had not been before. And unfortunately, sometimes where bishops haven't been before, that is, in the midst of their flock," he said.

"Isn't that one of Pope Francis' favorite early terms, the smell of the sheep?" the cardinal asked. "You've got to have the smell of the sheep."

Take evil seriously, pope says at general audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- While intense feelings or drive -- passions -- are natural, Christians know they must be tamed and channeled toward what is good, Pope Francis said.

The virtue of fortitude, "the most 'combative' of the virtues," helps a person control their passions but also gives them the strength to overcome fear and anxiety when faced with the difficulties of life, the pope told visitors and pilgrims at his weekly general audience April 10.

Pope Francis at his weekly general audience
A gust of wind lifts Pope Francis' zucchetto during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Pablo Esparza)

Continuing his series of talks about virtues, the pope quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions."

Fortitude "takes the challenge of evil in the world seriously," he said, and that is increasingly rare "in our comfortable Western world."

Some people pretend evil does not exist, "that everything is going fine, that human will is not sometimes blind, that dark forces that bring death do not lurk in history," the pope said. But reading a history book or even the newspaper shows "the atrocities of which we are partly victims and partly perpetrators: wars, violence, slavery, oppression of the poor, wounds that have never healed and continue to bleed."

"The virtue of fortitude makes us react and cry out an emphatic 'no' to evil to all of this," he said.

Fortitude, he said, helps Christians say "'no' to evil and to indifference; 'yes' to the journey that helps us make progress in life, and for this one must struggle."

"A Christian without courage, who does not turn his own strength to good, who does not bother anyone, is a useless Christian," he said.

Pope Francis kisses Ukrainian flag
Pope Francis kisses a Ukrainian flag carried by a group of Ukrainian children attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 10, 2024. The pope prayed during the audience for peace in Ukraine, in the Holy Land and in Myanmar. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis asked people to pray for Ukraine and Palestine and Israel. "May the Lord grant us peace. War is everywhere," he said. "Do not forget Myanmar," where the military staged a coup in 2021 and fighting has continued since then. "Let us ask the Lord for peace and not forget these brothers and sisters who are suffering in these places of war."


Pope: Have courage to say 'no' to atrocities

Pope: Have courage to say 'no' to atrocities

Pope Francis continued his catechesis series on virtues and vices by reflecting on the virtue of fortitude.

Vatican calls for proactive defense of human dignity in digital realm

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The protection and preservation of human dignity must extend into the digital realm, the Vatican said in a new document on human dignity.

While the advancement of digital technologies "may offer many possibilities for promoting human dignity, it also increasingly tends toward the creation of a world in which exploitation, exclusion, and violence grow, extending even to the point of harming the dignity of the human person," read a declaration approved by Pope Francis and published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith April 8.

"If technology is to serve human dignity and not harm it, and if it is to promote peace rather than violence, then the human community must be proactive in addressing these trends," it read.

The document, a declaration on human dignity titled "Dignitas Infinita" ("Infinite Dignity"), reflects on Catholic teaching about human dignity and addresses "some grave violations of human dignity" today, among them "digital violence."

Discussing digital communications, the declaration encouraged readers to consider "how easy it is through these means to endanger a person's good name with fake news and slander."

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, holds up a copy of the dicastery's declaration,
Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, holds up a copy of the dicastery's declaration, "Dignitas Infinita" ("Infinite Dignity") on human dignity during a news conference at the Vatican press office April 8, 2024. (CNS photo/Pablo Esparza)

It also quoted Pope Francis' 2019 post-synodal apostolic exhortation to young people, warning of the "new forms of violence" spreading through the internet and social media such as cyberbullying, the diffusion of pornography and a rise in sexual exploitation. 

The dicastery's declaration stated that, "paradoxically, the more that opportunities for making connections grow in this realm, the more people find themselves isolated and impoverished in interpersonal relationships."

Threats to the accessibility of real-world connection and the propagation of digital violence "represent a dark side of digital progress," it said.

But citing Pope Francis' encyclical "Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship," it added that the opportunities for encounter provided by communications media are "a gift from God" so long as they pursue the truth and promote the common good.

In his introduction to the declaration, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the doctrinal dicastery, wrote that "although not comprehensive," the contemporary issues touched upon in the document were selected to "illuminate different facets of human dignity that might be obscured in many people's consciousness."

Catholics Participating in National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and the National Eucharistic Congress Have Opportunities to Receive Plenary Indulgences

WASHINGTON – “It is with gratitude to the Holy Father that we receive his Apostolic Blessing upon the participants in the National Eucharistic Congress, and for the opportunity for Catholics in our country to obtain a plenary indulgence by participating in the events of the Eucharistic Revival,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fostering encounter, sparking personal conversion, and forming disciples will be opportunities for a personal revival in the faith and the fruits of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress to be held this summer.

The National Eucharistic Pilgrimage and National Eucharistic Congress are milestone moments in the U.S. bishops’ three-year Eucharistic Revival initiative. Archbishop Broglio requested the Apostolic Penitentiary (the office within the Roman Curia that is charged with the granting and use of indulgences as expressions of divine mercy) that a plenary indulgence be granted to Catholics who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage. It was also requested that he or another prelate be designated to impart the Apostolic Blessing with a Plenary Indulgence to the Christian faithful present at the National Eucharistic Congress.

“Through the efforts of the revival over the last two years, we have been building up to the pilgrimage and congress that will offer Catholics a chance to experience a profound, personal revival of faith in the Eucharist. Pope Francis continues to encourage and support us as we seek to share Christ’s love with a world that is desperately in need of Him,” said Archbishop Broglio, upon receiving the news that Pope Francis had recently granted the requests.

Plenary Indulgence for National Eucharistic Pilgrimage

A decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary and approved by Pope Francis indicates that the plenary indulgence will be granted to the Christian faithful who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage at any point between May 17 and July 16, 2024. It will also be granted to the elderly, infirm, and all those who cannot leave their homes for a serious reason and who participate in spirit with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, uniting their prayers, pains, or inconveniences with Christ and the pilgrimage. This indulgence is granted under the usual conditions of sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. The faithful may also apply this indulgence through suffrage for the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory. In recognition of this extraordinary event, the Apostolic Penitentiary also requests that all priests who have been endowed with the appropriate faculties for hearing Confessions present themselves willingly and generously in administering the Sacrament of Penance to all who participate in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage.

Papal Blessing with Plenary Indulgence for National Eucharistic Congress

The second decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary and approved by Pope Francis, says that Archbishop Broglio or another prelate of episcopal rank assigned by him, following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, may impart the Papal Blessing with a Plenary Indulgence to the Christian Faithful who participate in the National Eucharistic Congress, who are truly repentant, and who are motivated by charity, if the usual conditions for indulgences—sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father—have been met. Faithful individuals who, due to reasonable circumstances and with pious intention, have participated in the sacred rites and received the Papal Blessing through media communications, may also obtain a Plenary Indulgence.

The National Eucharistic Revival began on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in 2022 and continues through 2025. Following the congress will be a “Year of Missionary Sending,” in which Catholics from all stages and walks of life will be sent out to share Christ’s love that they have received in encounter with him through the Eucharist. For more information on the revival, pilgrimage, and congress, please visit