Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Bishop Chairmen Condemn Racism and Xenophobia in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON – In the midst of fear and anxiety being fueled by the COVID-19 virus, there have been increased reports of incidents of racism and xenophobia against Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux and chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism have issued a statement expressing their deep concern.

“The pandemic resulting from the new coronavirus continues to sweep across the world, impacting our everyday behavior, practices, perceptions, and the way we interact with one another. While we have been heartened by the countless acts of charity and bravery that have been modeled by many, we are also alarmed to note the increase in reported incidents of bullying and verbal and physical assaults, particularly against Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage.

“While a high percentage of Asian Americans work in the health care sector risking their own health to save lives, some have experienced rejection and requests to be treated ‘by someone else.’ Way before state and local ordinances brought to a halt almost every economic sector in the country, communities across the country, from Oakland, California to New York City, reported a sharp decline in the patronage for businesses owned and operated by Asian Americans. These are only a few painful examples of the continuing harassment and racial discrimination suffered by people of Asian and Pacific Islanders and others in our country.

“As Catholic bishops, we find these actions absolutely unacceptable. We call on Catholics, fellow Christians and all people of good will to help stop all racially motivated discriminatory actions and attitudes, for they are attacks against human life and dignity and are contrary to Gospel values. As we wrote in our pastoral letter Open Wide Our Hearts (2018), racism is ‘a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God.’

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been victims of these vile displays of racism and xenophobia. These dreadful occurrences are a reminder that, in an environment of increased anxiety and fear, racial profiling and discrimination continue to negatively impact the lives of certain populations, adding to the pain and suffering already caused by the pandemic.

“The acts of violence and unjust discrimination evoke and prod a long history of xenophobia and racism in this country. If uncontested, they could lead once again to a normalization of violence and abuse against particular groups. It would be a tragedy for the United States to repeat this history or for any American to act as if it is appropriate to do so.

“Rather, the reality of the times and all the suffering caused by this pandemic call for a stronger resolve towards unity, demonstrated through acts of solidarity, kindness and love toward one another, so that we can emerge from this crisis renewed and stronger as one American people; a people that places value in every human life, regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender or religious affiliation.

“While we continue to pray fervently for an end to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, we call for a firm rejection of racial categorizations or presumptions, racially based verbal assaults or slurs, and for an end to all forms of violence. We ask our elected officials and public institutions, as well as all public figures, to do all that they can to promote and maintain peace in our communities; and we encourage all individuals, families and congregations to assist in promoting a greater appreciation and understanding of the authentic human values and cultural contributions brought by each racial heritage in our country.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Committee for Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Oscar A. Solis, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, Bishop Shelton Fabre, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, racism, xenophobia, COVID-19, Asian American.

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

 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Issue Statement Urging State and National Leaders to Examine Impact of COVID-19 Virus on African American Communities

WASHINGTON- Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux and chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and chairman of USCCB’s Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Nelson J. Perez of Philadelphia, and chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, and Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, and chairman of Subcommittee on African American Affairs have released the following statement in response to the impact of the COVID-19 virus in African American communities.

“Our hearts are wounded for the many souls mourned as African American communities across the nation are being disproportionately infected with and dying from the virus that causes COVID-19. We raise our voices to urge state and national leaders to examine the generational and systemic structural conditions that make the new coronavirus especially deadly to African American communities.
 
“We stand in support of all communities struggling under the weight of the impact this virus has had not only on their physical health, but on their livelihoods, especially front line medical and sanitation workers, public safety officers, and those in the service industry. We are praying fervently for an end to the pandemic, and for physical health for all, and emotional healing amongst all who have lost loved ones.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Nelson J. Perez, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Subcommittee on African American Affairs, COVID-19, African American communities.

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

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Daniel Conlon of the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois and Appoints Bishop Richard Pates as Apostolic Administrator

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop R. Daniel Conlon from the Office of Bishop of Joliet in Illinois and has appointed Most Reverend Richard E. Pates as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 4, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Conlon has been on medical leave since December 2019 and Bishop Pates, who retired as Bishop of Des Moines in 2019, has been serving as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. Read Bishop Pates’ full biography.

The Diocese of Joliet in Illinois is comprised of 4,218 square miles in the State of Illinois and has a total population of 1,950,354 of which 564,709 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Diocese of Joliet in Illinois.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Bishops Tasked with the Pastoral Care of Migrants Issue Statement in Support of Migrant Farmworkers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON— “We urge our political leaders and policymakers to consider the realities and emerging, pressing needs of the farmworker communities across the country during this time of the coronavirus outbreak. To defeat the virus, no one must be left out,” said a group of four U.S. bishops tasked with the pastoral care of migrant populations.

The bishops put forth a statement in support of migrant farmworkers during the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus. Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers (PCMRT), Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose and PCMRT’s episcopal liaison for migrant farmworker ministry, and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the Committee on Migration.

The statement of the four bishops follows:

“The coronavirus has changed life for most of the planet, as billions of people experience social isolation and quarantine. Here in the United States, it is estimated that close to 95% of Americans have been impacted by some form of stay-at-home order. For those who are under such stay-at-home mandates, we thank you for doing your part in following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and social distancing recommendations of your dioceses, state, and local governments to curb the spread of this pandemic.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and prayers for the many essential workers throughout the country, helping us receive our medicines, groceries, and other fundamental needs during this difficult time. We would like to highlight the reality of migrant farmworker communities and honor their heroic role amidst the many challenges they face during this crisis.

More than a million farmworkers across the United States are regarded as essential workers, critical to keeping the nation fed during this pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that roughly half of these farmworkers are undocumented, while other observers suggest figures to be much higher. Like so many mobile and itinerant populations, undocumented migrant farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Many migrant farmworkers lack access to health insurance, medical treatment, and sick or paid leave options; farmworker housing conditions are often overcrowded with little opportunity for social distancing, including transportation to and from work, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not always available. Additionally, conditions of their immigration visas can make them unwilling or unable to speak out about a need for protection due to the threat of losing their job.

Along with these challenges to healthcare access and community mitigation during the outbreak are economic consequences of the pandemic that are having devastating effects on these communities. With disruption and layoffs due to the COVID-19 virus, many farmworkers are finding themselves without income for their families for the foreseeable future, and others who would otherwise stay at home for health concerns are risking going to work during this time as essential workers. Childcare for families with school closures is another area of related concern, as families may be at a loss for affordable, viable, safe childcare options. The realities of financial instability, increased stress, and anxiety during this time may also contribute to an increase in cases of domestic violence and labor exploitation.

Add to these many challenges the fear of immigration enforcement action which may deter someone from seeking necessary medical attention or speaking up about forms of abuses at home or the workplace that occur during this time.

Because of these many, grave concerns for this community, we urge our political leaders and policymakers to consider the realities and emerging, pressing needs of the farmworker communities across the country during this time of the coronavirus outbreak. To defeat the virus, no one must be left out. The COVID-19 virus teaches us we are one human family, says the Holy Father. ‘We can only get out of this situation together, as a whole humanity.’

Despite these concerns, there are signs of hope in the agriculture industry across the nation. Many growers and farmers are doing everything possible to protect their workers and ensure awareness and social distancing guidelines and measures are communicated and implemented. We extend our sincere gratitude to these businesses and implore that this trend is executed across the country for the basic protection, safety, and wellbeing of all farmworkers and their families.

We offer the following recommendations:

• Recognize that all workers need access to free testing and care related to the COVID-19 virus
• Ensure that all housing and transportation for farmworkers complies with current CDC guidelines
• Provide information on proper health and hygiene that is easily accessible in multiple languages and infographics for illiterate workers
• Ensure access to proper hygiene and safety protections at work sites, including hand washing facilities/stations, and masks and/or other PPE
• Have an emergency health plan in place to ensure care and protocols when a worker contracts the COVID-19 virus; and
• Honor the dignity of the work of farmworkers and make sure that they are paid a livable wage as well as be eligible for other benefits to help protect their health and the health and safety of their families at this time.

We pray for all farmworkers facing difficulties and challenges related to or exacerbated by the COVID-19 virus. We pray for their protection and safety as they provide for the needs of the country; we pray for all workers currently unemployed, that the Lord will accompany them and see them through. During this challenging time, it is good to remember the words of St. John Paul II: ‘We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.’ May the risen Lord send His peace and grace to be with you and your families. We turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, asking for her intercession and maternal protection for the end to the coronavirus.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Committee on Migration, Bishop Joseph J. Tyson, Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Migrant Farmworker Ministry, Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.

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

 

Catholic Home Missions Appeal: Supporting Essential Pastoral Programs Together Even When We Are Apart

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal is scheduled for the weekend of April 25-26. Home mission dioceses are those located in remote, rural, and impoverished areas across the United States, including the Deep South, Appalachia, and the Rocky Mountains, as well as in U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. These dioceses and eparchies are unable to offer their people the basic pastoral ministries of word, worship, and service without outside help. While the impact of the coronavirus outbreak presents challenges in the lives of all the home mission dioceses are in special need of assistance to minister to their faithful in the midst of these unprecedented changes.  

“It is a difficult time to hold a national collection amid the coronavirus pandemic when in addition to health concerns, unemployment has surged and economic uncertainty casts a shadow over communities across the country. We also know that there are dioceses across the country that rely upon the generosity of the faithful to help provide basic pastoral services in remote, rural, and impoverished areas, that are also now facing additional hardship with the impact of the coronavirus,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on National Collections. “We humbly ask Catholics to pray for these mission dioceses in the United States and consider contributing to help strengthen the Church even as stay-at-home orders physically limit our ability to gather together in our parishes for Mass.”

To assist mission dioceses and eparchies with the financial impact of the COVID-19 virus, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, approved the early release of the second grant payments for 2020 to mission dioceses. This final distribution of the 2020 award was originally scheduled for release this July. “We thank God for the ability to continue our service our brothers and sisters in home missions dioceses during this time of uncertainty for many,” said Bishop McKnight. “It is my hope that the early release of the grant funds can be put to immediate use to help the recipient dioceses in their ongoing pastoral ministry.”

The Diocese of Crookston covers a vast area of rural Minnesota, including two Native American reservations. The ability to minister in this area is particularly challenging, given limited resources and the remote terrain. The support of the Catholic Home Missions Appeal has helped hundreds continue to grow in the faith for a lifelong commitment to missionary discipleship.

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, 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 2019, the subcommittee approved over $9.9 million in grants to assist 83 dioceses and eparchies for 2020 – more than 40 percent of all U.S. dioceses are home missions.
More information about the collection, including what programs it supports and how the funds are distributed, can be found at www.usccb.org/home-missions.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Committee on National Collections, COVID-19 virus, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight.
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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

 

Catholic Leaders Respond to Administration’s Halt to Immigration with a Call for Unity in the Effort to Overcome COVID-19

WASHINGTON - Responding to the proclamation signed by President Trump announcing a temporary reviewable immigration halt, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chair of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), issued the following response:

“In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever. The virus is merciless in its preying upon human life; it knows no borders or nationality. Pope Francis teaches us that to live through these times we need to employ and embody the 'creativity of love.' The President’s action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity. While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity and the creativity of love, not more division and the indifference of a throw-away mentality. There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens. Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation’s economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.

“We are extremely concerned about how the proclamation will impact immigrant families looking to reunify, as well as religious workers. The proclamation prevents certain immigrant family members from reuniting with their loved ones living in the United States. Additionally, it bars religious workers seeking to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents from supporting the work of our Church, as well as many other religions, at this time. This will undoubtedly hurt the Catholic Church and other denominations in the United States, diminishing their overall ability to minister to those in need.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Bishop Jaime Soto, President Trump, Migrants, Immigration.

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

 

U.S. and Canadian Catholic Bishops to Seek Intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, for Strength in Struggle Against COVID-19

WASHINGTON – As the world continues to face the ongoing effects of the global pandemic of the coronavirus, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in renewing the consecrations of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother.

Through a collective dedication or entrustment of a nation to Mary, an act of consecration is meant to be a reminder to the faithful of the Blessed Mother’s witness to the Gospel and to ask for her effective intercession before her Son on behalf of those in need. Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, promoted devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and placed the United States under her protection in a pastoral letter of 1792. The twenty-one bishops attending the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1846 determined to name the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of the United States, and Pope Pius IX approved this decision the following year. More recently, the dedication of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. in 1959 was the opportunity for the bishops to once again consecrate the nation to the Blessed Mother. Several popes have likewise consecrated the world to Mary on various occasions.

The consecration on May 1 follows a similar action of the bishops’ conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) who consecrated their nations to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter Sunday. The renewal of consecration planned in this country for May 1 does not change the designation of Mary as the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Rather, this prayer reaffirms and renews previous Marian entrustments, and unites us in solidarity with our Holy Father, who recently established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength.

“This will give the Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell, and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus,” said Archbishop Gomez in a letter to the U.S. bishops. Each year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. “This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” he continued.

Archbishop Gomez will lead a brief liturgy with the prayer of re-consecration on Friday, May 1 at 3:00 pm EDT and has invited the bishops to join in from their respective dioceses and asked them to extend the invitation to the faithful in their dioceses for their participation. A liturgy guide will be available to assist the faithful who may join in by tuning into the USCCB’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Canada, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Mary Mother of the Church, Patroness of the United States, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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

 

Ordination Class of 2020 Study Provides Hope for the State of Vocations in the Church

WASHINGTON – The release of the study of the Ordination Class of 2020 reveals a great sign of life and hope in the Church in the United States, despite the midst of uncertainty in the world brought by the Coronavirus pandemic. At a moment when the faithful are prone to despair and struggle with the sadness of not having the sacraments available, and the public celebration of the Mass suspended, this profile of the 2020 Ordination Class is a ray of light. It is a tangible sign of God’s continued care for His Church. As a part of its mandate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations sponsors an annual survey, in conjunction with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), of the members of the current year’s Ordination Class. Each of the men to be ordained in the coming months shows the loving work of God to sustain His Church through the calling of new priests to minister His saving Sacraments and preach the Good News. The survey shows a wide variety of men from varied backgrounds who have all responded to God’s call to serve His people. Below is a summary of the results of the findings of the CARA study.  

This year, 77% of the 448 identified members of the Ordination Class of 2020 responded to the survey. Of those responding, 82% will be ordained to the diocesan priesthood and 18% will be ordained to the priesthood for an institute of religious life or society of apostolic life. Some of the major findings of the report are:

•  The average age of the Ordination Class of 2020 is 34 years old. On average, the respondents were 16 years old when they first considered the priesthood.
•  Two-thirds of the respondents (67%) are Caucasian; one in six (16%) is Hispanic/Latino; one in ten (10%) is Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian; one in twenty (6%) is African/African American/black.  
•  The four most common countries of birth among those foreign-born are Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Colombia.
•  Between 35% and 44% of all respondents attended a Catholic school for at least some part of their schooling.
•  Seven in ten respondents (72%) participated in Eucharistic Adoration on a regular basis before entering the seminary, a similar proportion (70%) prayed the rosary, more than two in five (44%) attended prayer group/Bible study, and two in five (38%) participated in high school retreats.
•  Seven in ten respondents (73%) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Half (50%) served as lectors. Four in ten (40%) served as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.
• Nine in ten respondents (89%) were encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life, most frequently a parish priest, friend, or another parishioner.  

The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2020 can be found at http://cms.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/ordination-class/index.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop James F. Checchio, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA, vocations, discernment, priesthood, ordination, ministries.

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

 

 

Pope Francis Names Father Robert Marshall of Diocese of Memphis as Bishop of Alexandria

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Robert W. Marshall, a priest of the Diocese of Memphis as the Bishop of Alexandria.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 21, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Alexandria has been a vacant see since March 2019.

Bishop-elect Marshall was born in Memphis, Tennessee on June 17, 1959 and ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2000 for the Diocese of Memphis. He attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis (1977-1980) where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History. In 1983, he received a Juris Doctorate from the Humphreys School of Law at University of Memphis, and a Master of Divinity from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 2000. Prior to entering seminary, Father Marshall worked as a civil attorney.

Father Marshall’s assignments in the Diocese of Memphis after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at Incarnation Church in Collierville (2000-2002); Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Humboldt and St. Matthew Parish in Milan (2002-2004); Pastor at Church of the Ascension in Memphis (2004-2012); Pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Cordova (2012-2017); and Parochial Administrator at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis (2017-2019). Since 2019, Bishop-elect Marshall has served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Memphis and Pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The Diocese of Alexandria is comprised of 11,108 square miles in the State of Louisiana and has a total population of 389,837 of which 35,402 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Father Robert W. Marshall, Diocese of Alexandria, Diocese of Memphis.


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

 

Bishop Chairmen Urge FDA to Develop Ethical Vaccine for COVID-19

WASHINGTON – Four bishop chairmen of committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have urged Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure that vaccines for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and chairman of the Committee on Doctrine; and Bishop John F. Doerfler of Marquette and chairman of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues, signed the letter to the FDA Commissioner. They were joined by the leaders of many healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations.

The letter expressed strong support for efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible, but also strongly urged that the federal government “ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

The letter noted that “among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies.” Furthermore, “there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used,” the signers stated. “It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience.”

To view all of the signatories and to read the full text of the letter, click here.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop John F. Doerfler, Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Diocese of Marquette, Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Committee on Doctrine; Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, vaccine, healthcare, pro-life, coronavirus, Covid-19.


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