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St. Mark, the Evangelist

St. Mark, the Evangelist, is the author of the second Gospel and the patron saint of notaries. He wrote the Gospel in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition says the Romans asked St. Mark to record the teachings of St. Peter about Jesus.St. Mark is also said to have traveled with St. Paul and St. Barnabas, who was Mark's cousin, on their missionary journey through Cyprus. Mark is said to have founded the Church in Alexandria.St. Mark is sometimes called John Mark in the New Testament. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians.

Rev. Walter Kedjierski Named as Executive Director of Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON— Rev. Walter Kedjierski of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York has been appointed as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), based in Washington D.C.

Fr. Kedjierski will begin the new position effective June 3, 2019. Msgr. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment.

"Fr. Kedjierski brings to the Conference an abundance of knowledge and experience in the realm of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, both at the institutional and the personal levels,” said Msgr. Bransfield. "I am very grateful to Fr. Kedjierski for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Conference. I am equally grateful to the Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre, for his kind consideration of the needs of the Conference and the Church in the United States.”

Since June 2017, Fr. Kedjierski has served as Rector/President of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, where he first served as Vice Rector and Director of Diaconate Formation, as well as Director of the Sacred Heart Institute for the Continuing Formation of Clergy. Father Kedjierski is also the Director of the Diocese’s Office of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs, where he served from 2007 to 2010 as Associate Ecumenical officer in charge of Relations with Muslims and Other Religious groups, and in which role he is a member of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (CADEIO), the Long Island Council of Churches, and the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum. Father Kedjierski was a member of the board of trustees of the Inter-Faith Center of the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, NY, for three years. He has participated in sessions of the USCCB’s dialogue with the Orthodox Union of Rabbis in New York and facilitated numerous ecumenical and inter-religious dialogues, the latest being a dialogue on non-violence this past fall with Indian Hindu scholar Swami Nikhileswarananda.

Fr. Kedjierski attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, graduating with a Master of Divinity in May of 2002. After his ordination to the priesthood on June 8, 2002, he served in parish ministry until June 2016. In May 2011 he earned an Ed.D. in Inter-faith and Ecumenical Education from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana, and in August 2016, he earned his Ph.D. in Dogmatic/Spiritual Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation’s Foundation House at Oxford University Program.

Fr. Kedjierski has additionally published several articles on theological and ecumenical topics in journals such as Homiletic and Pastoral Review and the Princeton Theological Review.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Fr. Walter Kedjierski, Secretariat Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Monsignor Brian Bransfield

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Bishops Urge That All People Count and Must Be Included in Census Efforts

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank Dewane, of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Joe Vasquez, of Austin, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in advance of the oral argument of Department of Commerce v. New York, before the United States Supreme Court regarding the importance of ensuring an accurate count for the U.S. Census.

“Our country conducts a Census every ten years to count the number of men, women and children residing in the United States. Census data helps direct more than $800 billion annually to key programs designed to advance the common good, strengthen families and reduce poverty. The Catholic Church and other service providers rely on the national Census to provide an accurate count in order to effectively serve those in need,” said Bishop Dewane.

“We urge for all people to be counted in the Census, regardless of their citizenship. Proposed questions regarding immigration status will obstruct accurate Census estimates and ultimately harm immigrant families and the communities they live in. Our society, rooted in the strength of the family, cannot risk missing this opportunity to give children and parents the tools they need to succeed,” said Bishop Vasquez.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Committee on Migration, Department of Commerce, New York, United States Supreme Court, U.S. Census, society, family

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Terrorist Attacks atMultiple Churches and Hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

WASHINGTON—The following statement has been issued by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United StatesConference of Catholic Bishops regarding simultaneous explosions in Sri Lanka targeting the country’s minority Christian community as well as luxury hotels around Colombo on Easter Sunday morning. At least 200 people were killed and more than 400 injured inthe terrorist attacks.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“This morning in Sri Lanka a coordinated series of bombings killed hundreds of worshipers in Catholic Churches and others of all faiths in nearby hotels. The Churches were St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa. This great evil targeted these churches as they were packed full of worshipers who were celebrating Easter, the day in whichChristians around the world celebrate the rising of the King of Peace from the dead. We offer our prayers for the victims and their families. And we join with all people of good will in condemning these acts of terrorism. This evil cannot overcome the hopefound in our Savior’s Resurrection. May the God of hope who has raised his Son, fill all hearts with the desire for peace.”

Keywords: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, bombings, terrorist attacks, Colombo, Sri Lanka, CatholicChurches, Evangelical Churches, Luxury Hotels, Easter Sunday, Christians, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Zion Church

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

 

Catholic Church in the United States Will Welcome Thousands of New Catholics at Easter Vigil Masses

WASHINGTON— Dioceses across the country will be welcoming thousands of people into the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil Masses on the evening of April 20th. As the culmination of the Easter Triduum, the Vigil celebrates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While people can become Catholic at any time of the year, the Easter Vigil is a particularly appropriate moment for adult catechumens to be baptized and for already-baptized Christians to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Parishes welcome these new Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

Many of the dioceses across the nation have reported their numbers of people who intend to become Catholic on Saturday to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Based on these reports, more than 37,000 people are expected to be welcomed into the Church at Easter Vigil Masses.

Prior to beginning the RCIA process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. Then during the RCIA process, which typically lasts nine months or more, a person learns the teachings of the Catholic Church in a more formal way and discerns that he or she is ready to commit to living according to these beliefs. Thousands of people have already passed through this process and are ready to take this step on Saturday in parishes throughout the country.

Two distinct groups of people will be initiated into the Catholic Church. Catechumens, who have never been baptized, will receive Baptism, Confirmation and first Communion at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. Candidates, who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition, will enter the Church through a profession of faith and reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist.

For example, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest in the United States, will welcome 1,560 catechumens and 913 candidates; the Archdiocese of San Francisco will welcome 174 catechumens and 175 candidates; and the Diocese of San Diego will welcome 306 catechumens and 806 candidates.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will welcome 1,512 catechumens and 631 candidates. Among them will be Alfredo Acosta, who is experiencing both intense sorrow and joy over the past two years that led him to become a Catholic. He suffered the loss of his two younger brothers who passed away, but then he also celebrated the birth of his son, Benjamin, now 18-months old. “My wife Gricelda is a cradle Catholic. She was born into her faith. Then we baptized our son last year, so I wanted to be able to share our faith with both of them,” Acosta said. Other catechumens and candidates say they were also inspired by the witness of Catholics in their lives

Other archdioceses and dioceses report numbers as follows: Archdiocese of Washington: 455 catechumens and 183 candidates; Atlanta: 645 catechumens, 1,181 candidates; Dallas: 1,196 catechumens, 1,399 candidates; Fort Worth: 600 catechumens, 500 candidates; Corpus Christi: 130 catechumens, 43 candidates; Tyler: 101 catechumens, 190 candidates; Charlotte: 724 catechumens, 1,284 candidates; Venice in Florida: 148 catechumens, 120 candidates; Archdiocese of New Orleans: 152 catechumens, 161 candidates; Columbus: 173 catechumens, 227 candidates; Erie: 51 catechumens, 80 candidates; Baton Rouge: 158 catechumens, 300 candidates; Orlando: 514 catechumens, 482 candidates; Monterrey: 297 catechumens; Crookston: 7 catechumens, 33 candidates; St. Augustine: 174 catechumens, 315 candidates; Rockville Centre: 272 catechumens; Arlington, VA: 285 catechumens, 277 candidates; Salina: 33 catechumens, 88 candidates; Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: 205 catechumens, 319 candidates; Archdiocese of Newark: 411 catechumens, 58 candidates; Archdiocese of Oklahoma City: 262 catechumens, 324 candidates; Syracuse: 48 catechumens, 59 candidates.

The Archdiocese of Seattle reports 769 catechumens and 424 candidates; Salt Lake City: 227 catechumens, 107 candidates; Yakima: 255 catechumens, 40 candidates; Little Rock: 272 catechumens, 324 candidates; Archdiocese of Louisville: 185 catechumens, 191 candidates; Davenport: 63 catechumens, 85 candidates; Archdiocese of Denver: 462 catechumens, 348 candidates; Albany: 55 catechumens, 86 candidates; Archdiocese of Philadelphia: 196 catechumens, 267 candidates; Tucson: 136 catechumens, 179 candidates; Savannah: 80 catechumens, 231 candidates; Steubenville: 26 catechumens, 67 candidates; Gallup, New Mexico: 75 catechumens/candidates; Harrisburg: 92 catechumens.  

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati will be welcoming 322 catechumens, 403 candidates; Santa Rosa: 54 catechumens, 22 candidates; Trenton: 161 catechumens, 114 candidates; Honolulu: 197 catechumens, 184 candidates; Rochester: 62 catechumens, 112 candidates; Wichita: 123 catechumens, 234 candidates; Bridgeport: 71 catechumens, 210 candidates and Grand Rapids 171 catechumens, 186 candidates.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh reports: 101 catechumens, 161 candidates; Owensboro: 91 catechumens, 135 candidates; Lexington: 111 catechumens, 74 candidates; Archdiocese of Boston: 288 catechumens, 182 candidates; Covington: 65 catechumens, 121 candidates; Palm Beach: 152 catechumens, 464 candidates; Evansville: 81 catechumens, 94 candidates; Springfield, IL: 102 catechumens; 100 candidates; Manchester: 50 catechumens; Wilmington: 76 catechumens, 122 candidates; Archdiocese of Indianapolis: 330 catechumens, 465 candidates.

Additionally, the Diocese of Worcester reports 95 catechumens, 34 candidates; Belleville: 44 catechumens, 74 candidates; Lafayette: 63 catechumens, 93 candidates; Portland in Maine: 65 catechumens, 57 candidates; Houma-Thibodaux: 37 catechumens, 41 candidates; Yakima: 255 catechumens, 40 candidates; Youngstown, Ohio: 86 catechumens, 116 candidates; Des Moines; 97 catechumens, 131 candidates; Springfield, MA: 43 catechumens, 56 candidates; Paterson: 114 catechumens.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore will receive 227 catechumens, 410 candidates; Biloxi: 72 catechumens, 135 candidates; Green Bay, WI: 40 catechumens, 78 candidates; Shreveport: 27 catechumens, 94 candidates; Kansas City-St. Joseph: 160 catechumens, 155 candidates; Camden: 126 catechumens; Fall River: 43 catechumens, 65 candidates; Jefferson City: 100 catechumens; 165 candidates; Saginaw: 60 catechumens, 53 candidates; Cleveland: 251 catechumens, 270 candidates; Gary: 50 catechumens, 100 candidates.

The Archdiocese of Anchorage will also be welcoming 39 catechumens, 34 candidates; Bismarck: 16 catechumens, 44 candidates; St. Cloud: 17 catechumens, 40 candidates; New Ulm: 8 catechumens, 28 candidates; Great Falls-Billings: 38 catechumens, 60 candidates; Peoria: 82 catechumens, 196 candidates; Lake Charles: 61 catechumens, 141 candidates; Kalamazoo Michigan: 55 catechumens, 46 candidates.

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Keywords: U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil, Easter Triduum, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), catechumens, candidates, conversion, baptism, First Communion, Eucharist, confirmation, sacraments, Catholic, archdiocese, diocese

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Media Contacts:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement on Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

WASHINGTON—Amidst the devastating fire taking place at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Pairs, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to the people of Paris.

The full statement follows:

“The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure. Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God. Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire. We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Paris, Cathedral of Notre Dame

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE PRESIDENT CALLS FOR PRAYER AND SUPPORT FOLLOWING THE DEADLY STORM IN THE SOUTHEAST

WASHINGTON—Following a severe storm that brought devastation to the Southeast, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed sorrow over the loss of life and destruction as result of the storm.

The full statement follows:

“I am greatly saddened by the reports of devastation and loss of life due to this past weekend’s storm. The heavy winds, rain and reported tornado has left a path of destruction in the Southeast expected to stretch as far north as New England. Several lives have been lost including those of three children. It is reported that tens of millions of people have been impacted by the severe weather.  

As we enter this Holy Week, let us pray for those who have lost their lives and for the loved ones they leave behind and ask the Lord to comfort the grieving and inspire neighbors and people around the country to respond generously in the recovery efforts. The gift of Easter reminds us to trust in the Lord who by his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection promises life everlasting.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Natural Disaster
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Catholic Home Missions Appeal to Support Essential Pastoral Programs to be Held April 27-28

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal will be held in most dioceses across the country over the weekend of April 27-28. The Appeal funds grants to home mission dioceses -- dioceses and eparchies in the United States that are unable to offer their people the basic pastoral ministries of word, worship, and service without outside help.

“People across the United States long to grow closer to Christ but too many cannot access even basic pastoral programs,” said Most Reverend W. Shawn McKnight, Bishop of Jefferson City and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. “The Catholic Home Missions Appeal helps dioceses overcome obstacles of geography, poverty, and limited resources, and fosters solidarity to help others experience the presence of the risen Lord.”

The Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. The Subcommittee funds a wide range of pastoral services, including those that focus on evangelization activities, religious education, and ministry training for priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and laypeople, as well as support of poor parishes across the country. The Subcommittee’s grants are funded by donations to the annual collection.

In 2018, the Subcommittee approved over $9.4 million in grants to assist dioceses and eparchies this year. Currently, more than 37 percent of all US dioceses and territories receive support from the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. These funded dioceses are located across the United States, including the Deep South, Appalachia, and the Rocky Mountains, as well as in US territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.


More information about the Appeal, including what programs it supports and how the funds are distributed, can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions. People who live in dioceses that do not participate in the collection can learn more online.

Richard Coll, Director of the Catholic Home Missions program, is available for media interviews.

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Keywords: USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Home Missions Appeal

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Migration Chairman Endorses Proposed Senate Legislation That Gives Permanent Legal Protection to Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration endorsed the “Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors” (DREAM) Act of 2019, S. 874 and the “Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression & Emergency” (SECURE) Act of 2019, S. 879. The DREAM Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers. The SECURE Act of 2019 would provide permanent legal protection and a pathway to citizenship to qualifying Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.

“We support legislative efforts to fully integrate hard-working Dreamers and TPS holders into the United States. We need a permanent legislative solution for those who have spent their lives contributing and living in the United States, the country they know as home,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “Dreamers and TPS holders are vital members of our community who are going to school, working to make our communities better and raising families.”

Please see the USCCB Committee on Migration letters of support for the DREAM Act and Secure Act.

More information about Dreamers and TPS can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, refugees, Dreamers, TPS, DACA, immigration reform

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Media Contact:
Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 

Pro-Life Chairman for U.S. Bishops’ Urges Passage of Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the following statement in response to today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Abortion Until Birth: The Need to Pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act:

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“This bill draws the public’s attention to the shameful reality that the United States is one of only seven nations worldwide that allows the barbaric practice of late-term abortion, when a child likely feels pain and might even live outside the womb with appropriate medical assistance. Such abortion procedures after the middle point of pregnancy also pose serious physical dangers to women. With the vast majority of Americans strongly supporting a ban on late-term abortions, it is time for Congress to pass this bill. I also pray that consideration of this bill moves our country closer to recognizing all unborn babies as legal persons worthy of our love and respect.”  

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Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Naumann, United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Senate Judiciary Committee, Abortion Until Birth: The Need to Pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, late-term abortion, pain, media assistance, danger, women, U.S. Congress, unborn babies, legal persons, love, respect

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200