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Ghostbusters: Afterlife

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U.S. Bishops’ Domestic Anti-Poverty Program Supported by the Upcoming Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection

WASHINGTON— For more than fifty years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has supported organizations that combat poverty and improve the lives of people in communities across the United States. As the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty initiative, organizations supported by CCHD help expand access to affordable housing and education, develop worker-owned businesses, train neighborhood advocates, and empower essential workers to advocate for workplace safety. The goal of the CCHD is to help people who are poor or disadvantaged develop the skills and create the opportunities necessary to make a living and to build stronger families and stronger neighborhoods as they do so.

When Catholics give to the annual CCHD collection, they are supporting the bishops’ call to fraternity, social friendship, and solidarity that Pope Francis presents in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. Parishioners are invited to be part of this mission by supporting the collection at Mass, or through parish online giving platforms. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds in support of CCHD.

The collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which most parishes will take up on the weekend of November 20-21, supports grassroots-level organizations that equip poor and marginalized people to access education and job training, raise families in safe neighborhoods, and exercise community leadership. A quarter of all gifts given to diocesan collections for CCHD remains in the diocese to support local anti-poverty initiatives.

“In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis writes that ‘when the good of others is at stake, good intentions are not enough.’ That same vision has inspired the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for more than a half century. CCHD is about helping those who are poor, marginalized, or wounded to achieve their dreams,” said Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. “The work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development helps people help themselves at the local community level through advocacy, engagement with their neighbors, and cooperation with local religious and government leaders. CCHD empowers those in poor communities to make a living and to create change that builds stronger neighborhoods and healthier communities.”

More information on the history and impact of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development can be found at www.usccb.org/committees/catholic-campaign-human-development. Easy-to-use promotional resources are available at www.usccb.org/cchd/collection. Find more information on poverty, including fact sheets and stories about how gifts to this collection have changed people’s lives in the United States, at www.povertyusa.org.

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

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Bishops Approve Updated Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines

BALTIMORE - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) convened their November General Assembly in Baltimore this week. During their meeting, one of the action items voted on and approved by the bishops was the formal statement, “Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines.” The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 216 to 10 with 5 abstentions.

The bishops’ working group on revising the guidelines was led by Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee of Budget and Finance and included the input of multiple Conference committee chairmen to obtain input from various perspectives. The working group was guided by Christian Brothers Investing Services, Inc. and seventeen different subject matter experts representing a wide variety of focus areas, from investment firms, religious, accounting/financial experts, and notable collegiate experts. The working group also convened two Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) research providers. 

The Conference first issued investing guidelines in 1991 and last updated in 2003. The guidelines build and expand upon earlier guidelines developed and used by the USCCB for its financial investing and are intended to provide clear policies to guide the Conference’s investments and other activities related to corporate responsibility. Recognizing its leadership role in establishing principles for Catholic investing, the document acknowledges that many dioceses, eparchies, and religious communities will also seek to apply these guidelines through their own policies on corporate responsibility. The guidelines provide an accessible framework for Catholic institutions and dioceses that want to make investment decisions.

“Overall, the guidelines see a three-pronged investment strategy based on the defense and promotion of life: avoid doing harm, actively work for change, and promote the common good,” said Bishop Parkes. “Collectively, these form our investment strategy and are the lens through which any individual investment opportunity is evaluated. The key is that we invest if we can affect positive change and divest or don’t invest where we can’t,” he continued.

Some of the significant changes in the update of the text include incorporating the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis; extending all five sections of policies, with significant updates to areas concerning the common good and the environment; and adding new areas such as media, telecommunications, and impact investing. The updated investment guidance, in addition to its emphasis on shareholder engagement, includes expansions on environmental issues. The investing guidelines, which offer a Catholic perspective on ethical and socially responsible investing, build on the Conference’s historical work proclaiming the Gospel in the midst of a complex economic world.

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Approve Action Items on Their Agenda at the Fall General Assembly

BALTIMORE— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered for the 2021 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore this week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishops’ June 2020 spring meeting was canceled, and the November 2020 fall meeting and June 2021 spring meeting were held in a virtual format. This was the first in-person meeting of the full body of bishops since November 2019.  

The meeting agenda included more than a dozen action items that were up for a vote: 

  • By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed their support for the advancement of the causes of beatification and canonization for three lay individuals at the diocesan level: Charlene Marie RichardsAuguste Robert Pelafigue, and Joseph Dutton.  

  • The bishops received an update on the Eucharistic revival initiative and voted on moving forward with a National Eucharistic Congress in the summer of 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bishops approved the national event with 201 votes in favor, 17 against, and 5 abstentions.  

  • Through the USCCB’s Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines, the Conference exercises faithful, competent, and socially responsible stewardship in how it manages its financial resources. The updated guidelines were presented to the body of bishops and this action item was approved with 216 votes in favor, 10 against, and 5 abstentions. 

  • The bishops discussed the draft of a statement that is meant to be a reflection on the transformative beauty of the Eucharist that invites each of us into a deeper relationship with Christ. The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church was approved with 222 votes in favor, 8 against, and 3 abstentions. 

  • The Latin Church members voted to approve the revised National Statutes for the Catechumenate for use in the dioceses of the U.S. by a vote of 222 - 1 with 0 abstentions. It was followed with a vote to approve the Estatutos Nacionales para el Catecumenado for use in the dioceses of the U.S. with 224 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention. 

  • The Conference’s longstanding commitment to promote financial accountability in the pastoral governance of the diocesan bishop is affirmed through the Resolution on Diocesan Financial Reporting, which encourages the adoption of a voluntary financial reporting system by the dioceses as a means of offering further evidence of their compliance with canon law (Church law) pertaining to fiscal administration. Since its original passage in 2000, the resolution has been renewed by the bishops approximately every five years. It was approved by the bishops with 233 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention.  

  • Each year, the USCCB publishes the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America which lists each day’s celebration, rank, liturgical color, citations for the Lectionary for Mass, and Psalter cycle for the Liturgy of the Hours. In a vote of 213 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention, the bishops approved the proposal to inscribe Saint Teresa Calcutta as an optional memorial on September 5. 

  • The Latin Church members of the Conference voted to approve the translation by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery Outside Mass for use in the dioceses of the United States, which was approved with 200 votes in favor, 14 against, and 4 abstentions. 

  • The Latin Church members of the Conference approved the revised English edition of the Order of the Christian Initiation of Adults with 215 votes in favor, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. It was followed by a vote on a revised Spanish edition of the Ritual para la Iniciación cristiana de adultos, which was likewise approved with 218 votes in favor, 3 against, and 1 abstention. 

  • The full body of bishops authorized the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People to begin a review of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults in advance of the June 2025 mandated review date. The proposal was approved with 230 votes in favor, 5 against, and 0 abstentions. 

  • The bishops accepted the recommendations of the USCCB’s Committee on Budget and Finance to approve the 2022 budget by a vote of 223 - 4 with 5 abstentions. 

Recordings of the bishops’ general assembly and the press conferences may be accessed at www.usccb.org/meetings

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

 

U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard

BALTIMORE— At their annual fall Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard, lay woman.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette in Louisiana, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.

Charlene Marie Richard was born January 13, 1947, and died August 11, 1959, at the age of twelve years old. She was from the rural community of Richard, Louisiana, and the second oldest of ten children born to Joseph Elvin and Mary Alice Richard. In May 1959, after reading a book about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the young Charlene Richard asked her grandmother whether she, too, could become a saint by praying like Saint Thérèse.

After reporting appearances of a tall woman in black who would vanish, and her teacher observing that the young girl was not herself, Charlene’s mother took her to a physician where she was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia and hospitalized at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana. At the request of her family, the hospital chaplain, Reverend Joseph F. Brennan, was called to her bedside to deliver the news of her terminal diagnosis.

Though the illness was painful, Charlene remained cheerful, meekly accepted her fate, and offered up her suffering to God. Father Brennan was deeply impressed by her faith and visited her daily. While dying, the young girl prayed for other individuals to be healed or to be converted to Catholicism. The Director of Pediatrics at the hospital, Sister Theresita Crowley, OSF, also witnessed her calm acceptance of suffering and prayers for others. Father Brennan and Sister Theresita maintained that those for whom Charlene Richard prayed recovered from their illnesses or became Catholic. Richard died on August 11, 1959, about two weeks after meeting Father Brennan. She was later buried in her community of Richard, Louisiana.

In 1975, a series of articles about Charlene Richard in the newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette increased interest in her story and were republished in a booklet, Charlene, A Saint from Southwest Louisiana, in 1979. Testimonials by individuals who believed that they had benefited by prayer to Charlene were added and then published as a book in 1988 entitled, Charlene: The Little Cajun Saint. A widespread belief formed in the area that Charlene would intercede in heaven in answer to the prayers directed to her.

By 1989, devotion and confidence in Charlene Richard’s intercession had spread outside the southwest of Louisiana with hundreds of people visiting her grave each week. On the thirtieth anniversary of her death in 1989, an outdoor Mass was celebrated by then Bishop Harry J. Flynn and was attended by more than four thousand people. Media coverage of the Mass expanded interest in her to a global audience and thousands visit her grave each year.

In January 2020, at the Immaculata Chapel in the Diocese of Lafayette, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel officially opened the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard.

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

U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Joseph Dutton

BALTIMORE—At their annual fall Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Joseph Dutton, lay man.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop Clarence R. Silva of Honolulu, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.

Ira Barnes Dutton, known as Joseph Dutton or Brother Dutton, was born April 27, 1843, in Stowe, Vermont. His father, Ezra Dutton, was a farmer who also worked as a cobbler and his mother, Abigail Barnes, was a schoolteacher. The family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin in 1847. Dutton was interested in the military and became a member of the Janesville Zouave Corps. With the onset of the Civil War, the cadets of the Janesville Zouave Corps were enrolled, as Company B of the volunteer regiment, which later became known as the 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Dutton was soon appointed regimental quartermaster sergeant, later promoted to lieutenant and ultimately captain. After the war, he remained in service as a quartermaster’s agent on cemetery construction duty, which involved the task of disinterring bodies from scattered graves and reinterring them in national cemeteries.

Dutton was married on January 1, 1866, but when his wife left him a year later, it began a period in his life that Dutton later referred to as the “degenerate decade” where he engaged in heavy drinking. In July of 1876, he became “strictly an abstainer.”

Dutton was determined to do penance and make atonement for his “wild years,” and after studying the Catholic faith, he decided that being Catholic would best enable him to lead a penitential life. He was received into the Catholic Church at St. Peter’s in the city of Memphis on April 27, 1883, his 40th birthday, and took the name of “Joseph” as his name.

In 1884, he entered the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he stayed for 20 months, devoting himself to a life of hard work and silence. However, he realized that the best way for him to do penance was not through a life of contemplation but through a life of action and he left the monastery, with the blessing of the abbot.

The Servant of God Dutton first learned about Father Damien DeVeuster, now Saint Damien of Molokai, and the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement on the island of Molokai in Hawaii when he read the account The Lepers of Molokai, written by Charles Warren Stoddard. With Stoddard’s encouragement, he traveled to Hawaii, and with the approval of the bishop and the Board of Health, he went to Kalaupapa. Father Damien, who had just been diagnosed with leprosy, needed an assistant to help him carry on his work after he was gone. Dutton threw himself into the work and soon became an expert in caring for the patients’ medical needs. He was methodical and accurate in his work and quick to learn the rudiments of medicine and surgery.

Father Damien, who died in 1889 from leprosy, had established homes for the “orphan” boy and girl patients near his church and house. In 1888, Mother Marianne Cope, now Saint Marianne of Molokai, and the Franciscan Sisters had arrived to care for the girls in a new home in Kalaupapa. In 1892, at the request of Mother Marianne, Dutton was received as a Secular Third Order Franciscan and in 1895, he took charge of the Baldwin Home for Boys with a capacity of 120 beds for boys and young men. He labored there for the next 35 years. Joseph Dutton died at St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu on March 26, 1931.

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

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