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Pope Names Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Siegel as New Bishop of Evansville

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, up until now Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, as the new bishop of Evansville, Indiana.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on October 18 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Bishop Siegel was named Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, Illinois, by Pope Benedict XVI on October 28, 2009 and was ordained a bishop on January 19, 2010 by Bishop Peter Sartain.

He was born in Lockport Township on July 18, 1963 and is the youngest of nine children. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana, where he completed his college education.  He was then sent to the North American College in Rome (1984-1988), attending the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities.

Bishop Siegel was ordained a priest for the Joliet Diocese in 1988 and then completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois.

Assignments after ordination include: associate pastor, St. Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale, Illinois, 1988-1994; associate pastor, St. Mary Immaculate Parish, Plainfield, Illinois, 1994-1998; parochial vicar, St. Mary Nativity Church, Joliet, Illinois, 1998-2000; parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Raymond, Joliet, Illinois, 2000-2004; pastor, Visitation Parish, Elmhurst, Illinois, 2004-2009. In July 2011, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon appointed Bishop Siegel as his Vicar General.

Bishop Siegel has served as a member and chairman of the Presbyteral Council and was appointed to the Diocesan Board of Consultors. He also served as director of Continuing Formation for Priests, a member of the Diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and Dean of Eastern Will County.

At the Catholic Conference of Illinois, he served on the Executive Committee and was chairman of the Catholics for Life Department. He chaired the Steering Committee for the Joliet Diocesan Year of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Congress and has been a member of the Bishops' Respect Life Advisory Board. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, comprises 5,010 square miles. It has a total population of 512,870 people of which 76,218, or 15 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Bishop Joseph Siegel, Diocese of Joliet, Diocese of Evansville, bishop appointment, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

USCCB Migration and Refugee Services Release Report Recommending Extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador and Honduras

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), released its report today, entitled Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle recommending the U.S. government extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador and Honduras.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a letter of introduction of the report states: "As this report indicates, there is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time."

A delegation from MRS/USCCB traveled to Honduras and El Salvador, from August 13 to 19, 2017, to examine conditions in both countries regarding Honduras and El Salvador's ability to adequately receive and integrate the possible return of existing TPS recipients. USCCB/MRS Committee Member, Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell of Los Angeles, California, led the delegation and was accompanied by MRS staff from Children's Services, Policy and Public Affairs, and the National Collections offices.

Currently, El Salvador and Honduras have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from the U.S. government for certain nationals living in the United States, and the review of TPS is shortly to be re-evaluated by the U.S. government. It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 current TPS recipients from El Salvador and 57,000 TPS recipients from Honduras living in the United States. TPS recipients living in the United States are parents to over 270,000 U.S. citizen children and are very integrated into American daily life.

Bishop Vásquez states in his introductory letter: "As you read this report, I urge you to keep the people of El Salvador and Honduras, including TPS recipients, in your thoughts and prayers. I encourage you to engage the Administration in requesting a TPS extension for El Salvador and Honduras . . . and to reach out to your elected Congressional leaders to request they support a legislative solution for TPS recipients who have been in the United States for many years."

Resources and information about Temporary Protected Status and the report are available on the Justice for Immigrants website www.justiceforimmigrants.org. The information includes a backgrounder on the temporary protected status and a toolkit for Catholic leaders that offers ideas on how to show their support and solidarity with TPS recipients.

The full text of the report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/fact-finding-mission-reports/upload/el-salvador-honduras-report-20171016.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Committee on Migration, Migration and Refugee Services, Temporary Protected Status, TPS recipients, TPS beneficiaries, Congress, Honduras, El Salvador, refugees, migration, prayers, legislative solution

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Pope Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop of Newark

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop John W. Flesey from the office of auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Newark. 

The announcement was publicized in Washington on October 16 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Bishop Flesey has served in the Archdiocese since 1969.

As required by Canon Law, Bishop Flesey submitted to Pope Francis his letter offering his retirement having reached 75 years of age.

The Most Reverend John Walter Flesey, STD was born in Jersey City, NJ in 1942. He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary until 1969, when he was ordained.

Bishop Flesey's first assignment was to St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Plainfield, after which he earned an STL degree in Spiritual Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. 

He also holds an MS degree in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College and an STB from Catholic University of America.

He has served the Archdiocese as a member of the faculty, Rector and Dean, and Spiritual Director of Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, as well as Director of Ongoing Formation for the Priests of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Bishop Flesey was named Titular Bishop of Allegheny and Auxiliary Bishop of Newark in May 2004. He currently serves as Regional Bishop of Bergen County and Pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Franklin Lakes. 

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Bishop John W. Flesey, Archdiocese of Newark, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Chairman Expresses Concern, Calls for Careful Implementation of Health Care Executive Order

WASHINGTON—On October 13, President Trump signed an Executive Order on health care, and news about the Administration ending subsidies to insurers to help lower-income individuals was confirmed by Administration officials around the same time. In light of these developments, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called for the Administration and Congress to protect low income people, as well as enact comprehensive reform for the sake of the most vulnerable.

Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:

"President Trump signed an executive order yesterday intended to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines, and expanding certain insurance options and arrangements. The USCCB will closely monitor the implementation and impacts of this executive order by the relevant administrative agencies. 

In general, robust options for people to obtain health coverage, as well as flexibility and approaches aimed at increased affordability, are important strategies in health care. However, in implementing this executive order, great care must be taken to avoid risk of additional harm to those who now receive health care coverage through exchanges formed under the Affordable Care Act.  

Administration officials also confirmed that subsidies to insurers designed to help low income individuals afford insurance would be ending. This is of grave concern. The Affordable Care Act is, by no means, perfect, but as leaders attempt to address impending challenges to insurance market stability and affordability, they must not use people's health care as leverage or as a bargaining chip. To do so would be to strike at the heart of human dignity and the fundamental right to health care. The poor and vulnerable will bear the brunt of such an approach.

Ultimately, this Executive Order ignores many more significant problems in the nation's health care system. Congress must still act on comprehensive reform in order to provide a sustainable framework for health care, providing lasting solutions for the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability, and underlying affordability problems that remain unaddressed."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, President Donald Trump, Executive Order, Health Care, Congress, health insurance, Affordable Care Act, subsidies, insurance access, lasting solutions. 

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane 
202-541-3200

Attorney General’s Religious Liberty Guidance Protects Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations

WASHINGTON–On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum for all executive departments and agencies on the subject of "Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty". Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has offered the following statement in response:

"The Attorney General's guidance helpfully reaffirms that the law protects the freedom of faith-based organizations to conduct their operations in accordance with their religious mission. The guidance also reaffirms that the federal government should never exclude religious organizations from competing on an equal footing for government grants or contracts, and religious entities should never be forced to change their religious character in order to participate in such programs. We appreciate the Attorney General's clarification of these matters, which will protect faith-based organizations' freedom to serve all those in need, including the homeless, immigrants, refugees, and students attending religious schools."

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Keywords: Archbishop William Lori, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice, religious liberty, religious freedom

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Chairman Calls for Prayer for those Impacted by California Wildfires

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, asked for prayers for favorable weather and assistance for those impacted by devastating fires raging through Northern California.

Bishop Dewane's full statement follows:

"Do not fear: I am with you;
do not be anxious: I am your God.

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my victorious right hand
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– Isaiah 41:10

Today we ask for the intercession of Almighty God as wildfires rage in Northern California. Already, these blazes have killed over 20 people, destroyed hundreds of houses and other buildings, and forced thousands of individuals to leave their homes and livelihoods behind in uncertainty. High winds and dry conditions have greatly increased the danger for the people in this region.

As brave men and women respond to these disasters, battling the fires and helping people to safety, we call upon God for improved weather, for the blessing of rain and favorable winds, to assist them. We pray that those who are missing or are still in harm's way will be found and protected. May God grant eternal rest to those who have died, and bring them into glory with him forever.

We pray, too, for generosity, care, and concern from neighbors and surrounding communities for those who are grieving and displaced. Though we may be weary from all that has taken place around the country in recent days, we know that God cannot be outdone in generosity and charity. May he provide us with new wellsprings of love to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters who are hurting so deeply today.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wildfires, natural disaster, Northern California, prayer, solidarity.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Pope Francis Appoints New Auxiliary Bishop of Miami

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Father Enrique Delgado as a new auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Miami, Florida. Father Delgado is a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami and currently serves as pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Church in Weston, Florida.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on October 12 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Delgado was born December 26, 1955 in Lima, Peru. He earned a master's degree in economics with a concentration in finance and accounting from the University of Lima in Peru. He worked for several years managing a company before immigrating to the United States. He entered seminary in the Archdiocese of Miami in 1991.

He completed his studies in philosophy at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and finished a master's degree in theology in 1995 and a master of divinity in 1996 from St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami on June 29, 1996, in a Holy Mass in Peru officiated by Monsignor Agustin Roman.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Agnes Church, Key Biscayne, Florida, 1996-1999; parochial vicar, Nativity Catholic Church, Hollywood, Florida, 1999-2003; pastor, St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church, Key Largo, Florida, 2003-2010; pastor, St. Katharine Drexel Church, Weston, Florida, 2014-present. 

Father Delgado finished his doctoral studies in practical theology on December 19, 2015 from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Archdiocese of Miami, Florida, comprises 4,958 square miles. It has a total population of 4,317,591 people of which 496,528, or 12 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Reverend Enrique Delgado, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nunciature, Archdiocese of Miami.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

National Vocations Awareness Week Set for November 5-11

WASHINGTON—The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week, November 5-11, 2017. This annual event is a special time for parishes in the United States to actively foster and pray for a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Chair of the US Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, reminds us that each of us in the Church has a key role to play in the witness of our vocation in ordinary circumstances, "As we go about our everyday life and most especially this week, we must keep vocations in our prayers, while, at the same time, being a mindful witness with our own vocation. We may never know how our lives may have an impact on someone else's story. Simply living out our call as disciples of Jesus Christ fully and joyfully in the world bears witness to the love of Christ as He generously bestows on each of us our own personal call."

National Vocations Awareness Week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: "To what vocation in life is God calling me?" Parish and school communities across the nation are encouraged to include, during the first full week in November, prayer and special activities that focus on vocation awareness.  

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. It was later moved to Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in January. The USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to engage Catholic schools and colleges more effectively in this effort.  

More information and resources for National Vocations Awareness Week, including a prayer card, homily aids, suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes are available online at: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/national-vocation-awareness-week.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, vocations, National Vocation Awareness Week, priesthood, religious life, vocation, diaconate, Catholic education, young people, ministry, prayer

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishop Chairman Statement on Immigration Principles and Need for Congressional Action to Protect Dreamers

WASHINGTON—On Sunday evening, the White House released Immigration Principles and Policies that are a proposed list of priorities to be considered when working on legislative protection for Dreamers. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement urging Congress to "ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all."

Full statement follows:

"The Administration's Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country's immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church.

"Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.

"For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Immigration Principles and Policies, DREAMERS, Dream Act, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, U.S. Congress, young people, citizenship.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane 
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops to Meet November 13-14 in Baltimore; Address from Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Report from Bishops Working Group on Immigration, Centennial Anniversary

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will meet in Baltimore, November 13-14, for their fall general assembly. During the assembly, the bishops will elect a new secretary for the Conference as well as five committee chairs. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, will also give his first address to the body of bishops as President of the USCCB as he completes the first year of his three-year term. In addition, the body of bishops will also hear an update from the bishops working group on immigration.

The bishops will vote for new chairmen-elect of the following six USCCB committees: Committee on Communications, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Committee on National Collections, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee on Doctrine, and a Chairman for the Committee for Religious Liberty. Bishop nominees for the board of directors for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will also elected.

The assembly will vote on the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Order of Baptism of Children text which reflects the translation principles introduced in Liturgian authenticam. They will also discuss and vote on the Conference's 2018 budget.

There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization for a Lakota holy man and medicine man turned Catholic teacher named Nicholas Black Elk, Sr., sought by Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City.

Several reports will also be given including a report from the National Advisory Council, as well as a report from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and from Bishop Frank Dewane, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop George Murry, Chairman of the newly established Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, will also give an update report. The bishops will also hear updates on the Share the Journey campaign launched by Pope Francis on September 27 and reports from Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services as well as Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D., President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA).

An update will also be given on the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in America that took place July 1-4, 2017 in Orlando, Florida, as well as reports on preparations for the upcoming V National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry and the 2018 Synod for Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. The Most Reverend José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, OSA, Archbishop of Panama will also present on preparations for the 2019 World Youth Day.

On Sunday evening, a Mass will also be held in downtown, Baltimore. The Mass will mark the Centennial Anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Conference will take place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel.

Coverage of the bishops' meeting is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be Monday, November 13, and Tuesday, November 14. There will be media conferences after each open session. Reporters interested in covering the meeting can download a credential application form at:  http://www.usccb.org/about/public-affairs/upload/application-news-media-credentials.pdf.

Note: Please submit application form by no later than November 7, via email to USCCB Media Relations, fax (202) 541-3173, or by mail:  

November Meeting Credentials
Office of Media Relations
3211 4th St. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, committees, elections, chairmen, vote, USCCB centennial.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200