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U.S. Bishops’ President and Committee Chairman Say Horrific Death of Father and Daughter at Border and Appalling Conditions for Children are Cries that Reach Heaven Itself
Posted on 06/26/2019 05:43 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The cry of a father and his baby daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande reaches heaven itself. This unspeakable consequence of a failed immigration system, together with growing reports of inhumane conditions for children in the custody of the federal government at the border, shock the conscience and demand immediate action. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in calling on the federal government to hear the cry of the poor and vulnerable.
Their joint statement follows:
“We join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in immense sadness, having seen the horrific images of Oscar Martinez and his daughter Angie Valeria who drowned in the Rio Grande Valley while attempting to flee persecution and enter the United States. This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis? Sadly, this picture shows the daily plight of our brothers and sisters. Not only does their cry reach heaven. It reaches us. And it must now reach our federal government.
All people, regardless of their country of origin or legal status, are made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are appalling and unacceptable for any person in U.S. custody, but particularly for children, who are uniquely vulnerable. Such conditions cannot be used as tools of deterrence. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence, persecution, and acute poverty.
Congress has a duty to provide additional funding to address the needs of children in federal custody. Their supplemental appropriations bill should also increase protections for immigrant children, including heightened standards and oversight for border facilities. It is possible and necessary to care for the safety of migrant children and the security of our citizens. By putting aside partisan interests, a nation as great as ours is able to do both.”
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez,
Committee on Migration, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, detention facilities, U.S. Congress, appropriations bill, federal custody, human dignity
Posted on 06/25/2019 21:04 PM (CNS Movie Reviews)
U.S. Bishops Approve Over $3.5 Million in Grants to Support the Church in Latin America, Including Indigenous Ministries and Environmental Education Programs
Posted on 06/25/2019 09:24 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded in excess of $3.5 million in funding in the form of 215 grants to support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean. The grants were presented at the Subcommittee's meeting on June 11 in Baltimore, Maryland, and approved by teleconference on June 21, 2019.
Projects that received funding for pastoral activities include the following:
● Support and education programs for rural lay communities in their defense of the environment in the Diocese of El Alto, Bolivia.
● Expansion of child and youth protection training programs to prevent sexual abuse and build safe environments in the Diocese of Petropolis, Brazil. Led by the Brazilian Apostolate Association, the program will train approximately 1,000 seminarians, teachers, and school staff throughout the diocese.
● Education and formation of youth leaders in Garifuna communities throughout rural Honduras.
● Support to the Paraguayan Conference of Bishops’ Indigenous Ministry, as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The grant will fund efforts to promote the Indigenous Ministry and educate new seminarians, priests, and bishops about the reality of the indigenous peoples in Paraguay so that they can better serve these marginalized communities.
● Education programs led by the Loyola Center in Ayacucho, Peru, to engage young people, adults, and the general population around the upcoming Amazon Synod’s goals and their importance to the local population.
● Youth outreach in the Diocese of Paramaribo in Suriname. This project will assist the formational and spiritual development of young people, culminating in a diocesan youth festival.
“The Collection for the Church in Latin America is one tangible expression of the reality that we are one Church with one mission. Through the generosity of Catholics in the United States, communities throughout Latin America will be able to grow closer to Christ,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Other areas of funding include lay leadership training, catechesis, seminarian and religious formation, prison ministry, and youth and family ministries. Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, taken in many dioceses across the U.S. on the fourth Sunday in January.
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. It allocates revenue received from the Collection for the Church in Latin America as grants across Latin America and the Caribbean. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America, and the many grants it funds, as well as resources to promote it across the country, can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Latin America, grants
Posted on 06/25/2019 06:09 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Africa approved 56 grants totaling just over $1.5 million in funding to support dioceses and pastoral projects across the African continent at its meeting on June 10 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Projects slated to receive funding through the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa include the following:
● In Malawi, in response to the challenges facing marriage and family life, the National Pastoral Commission will organize training for national and diocesan leaders of Family Movements and marriage counsellors from all eight dioceses within the country to help engaged couples invest in their relationships for a lasting marriage. The grant will provide a series of five-day workshops in four different regions of Malawi to train approximately 200 leaders who will then train others at the local level to offer marriage preparation courses.
● National pastoral coordinators and youth leaders from eight countries across Eastern Africa will receive training based on Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit. In addition to building capacity, the workshops will aim to develop a robust five-year plan to engage young people to act as missionary disciples and agents of evangelization throughout the region.
● The Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa will convene representatives from its eight member countries for a five-day conference to raise awareness, increase skills and improve coordination on human migration issues. In addition, they will produce and disseminate across the region a popularized version of a booklet containing model legislation and policies related to migrants and refugees using Vatican and other international sources.
● The Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) will convene a colloquium to facilitate the study of Laudato Si’ by seminary rectors and professors of Catholic Social Teaching from nine countries across the southern African region. The grant will help fund the development of plans and the publishing of a document to help seminary staff and seminarians gain a greater understanding of Pope Francis’ teaching on care for our common home.
“The Church in Africa is pioneering many innovative programs that, without the support of the Solidarity Fund, the episcopal conferences and local dioceses may not otherwise be able to host. I am grateful for the generous support of the faithful of the United States who support the Solidarity Fund and help the Church in Africa to address the crucial pastoral issues of our day,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Africa.
Additional areas of funding include seminarian and religious formation, evangelization, family ministries, and lay leadership training.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Africa oversees the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Solidarity Fund, which is a voluntary collection, as pastoral grants to episcopal conferences and their regional associations in Africa. To learn more about the work of the Subcommittee visit www.usccb.org/africa.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Africa, grants
Posted on 06/25/2019 04:05 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe approved $5.2 million in funding for 241 projects in 22 countries in Central and Eastern Europe at the Subcommittee's meeting on June 10 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Pastoral projects approved for funding include:
● Support for a microenterprise training and resource center for people with disabilities in Bulgaria. This parish-based Caritas Workshop provides employment, job training, and social support to people who otherwise face discrimination in the labor market. This grant will allow the Caritas Workshop to expand its physical space, as well as the number of people it serves.
● Construction of a church and parish house for the growing Catholic community of the Holy Mother of the Rosary parish in Nura, Kazakhstan. This community has been using an old, crumbling house for worship and catechesis. This grant will provide a suitable space for worship, catechesis, and other pastoral efforts which is large enough to accommodate the growing number of Catholics in the community.
● Proliferation of My Fertility Matters Project in Lithuania. Begun in 1999, this pioneering fertility awareness program educates young people through puberty and adolescence as well as their parents. This grant will help educate approximately 2,000 young people in Lithuania in 2020.
● Creation of an art therapy program for impoverished children who have suffered sexual or physical violence, or who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Led by Caritas Georgia, this project will provide dozens of children in villages in West Georgia with art therapy to help cope with stress, work through traumatic experiences, and improve their mental health.
“We are humbled and inspired by the witness and resolve of the faithful of Central and Eastern Europe who, after decades of oppression, are rebuilding their ancient church while confronting modern challenges. On behalf of the Subcommittee, I extend my sincere gratitude to Catholics of the United States for their solidarity and support,” said Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of Steubenville, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.
Other projects approved by the Subcommittee include scholarships and formation for church leadership, church and pastoral center construction, Catholic education renewal and development, and evangelization programs. Grants approved by the Subcommittee support the Church in countries previously oppressed by communism.
Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. The national date for this collection is Ash Wednesday, although dioceses may take it up on different dates. The Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. More information about the collection and who it supports can be found at www.usccb.org/ccee.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Eastern Europe, grants
Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Statement in Response to Imminent Administration Deportation Plans
Posted on 06/22/2019 08:46 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—On Monday, June 17, 2019, President Donald J. Trump announced impending immigration enforcement actions by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Subsequent press reports on Friday, June 21 indicated that ICE has plans for an enforcement operation in major cities to remove thousands of migrant families with deportation orders.
In response to the President’s statement and reports that have followed, the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“We recognize the right of nations to control their borders in a just and proportionate manner. However, broad enforcement actions instigate panic in our communities and will not serve as an effective deterrent to irregular migration. Instead, we should focus on the root causes in Central America that have compelled so many to leave their homes in search of safety and reform our immigration system with a view toward justice and the common good. We stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to achieve those objectives.
During this unsettling time, we offer our prayers and support to our brothers and sisters, regardless of their immigration status, and recognizing their inherent dignity as children of God.”
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Trump Administration, U.S. Congress, inherent dignity
Posted on 06/21/2019 17:42 PM (CNS Movie Reviews)
Posted on 06/21/2019 17:31 PM (CNS Movie Reviews)
Posted on 06/20/2019 18:48 PM (CNS Movie Reviews)
Posted on 06/20/2019 05:39 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Today is World Refugee Day which is observed in the United States and around the world. World Refugee Day, first celebrated in 2000, is designed to increase awareness of refugees.
Currently, the world is embroiled in the biggest migratory crisis since World War II with more than 25 million refugees around the world.
“We have seen the images of the refugee crisis, and World Refugee Day calls attention to the critical need to assist our refugee brothers and sisters and make them feel a sense of welcome,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “It is imperative for us to highlight the contributions refugees make in our communities.”
The Presidential Determination for refugee resettlement was set at an all-time low of 30,000 refugees for the current fiscal year. This comes only one year after half of the 45,000 refugees set forth by the Administration’s determination were resettled in the United States.
USCCB/MRS, with Catholic Charities USA, will be participating in a Capitol Hill briefing on Thursday for members of Congress and their staff. The briefing will include information about the root causes forcing refugees to flee their home country and the impact of refugee resettlement in the United States. More information on World Refugee Day can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vazquez, Committee on Migration, refugees, migrants, immigrants, human trafficking, World Refugee Day
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