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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson; Names Father Kevin Sweeney of Diocese of Brooklyn as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Paterson and has named Father Kevin J. Sweeney, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn as Bishop-elect of Paterson.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-elect Sweeney was born on January 17, 1970 in Elmhurst, New York and was ordained to the priesthood on June 28, 1997 for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Father Sweeney graduated from St. John’s University, Queens, New York in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts and received a Master of Divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York in 1997.

Father Sweeney's assignments in the Diocese of Brooklyn after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Jamaica (1997-2003); Coordinator of the Irish Apostolate (1999-2001); Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona (2003-2004); Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Brooklyn (2004-2010); Chaplain at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn (2005); Administrator at St. Michael Parish, Brooklyn (2010-2012); Spiritual Director at Jovenes de Valor (2010-2013). His service includes membership on the Seminary Admissions Board (2010-present); Presbyteral Council (2011-2016); Dean of the Brooklyn 8 Deanery (2013-present); Vocations Representative (2014-present); and the Priest Personnel Assignment Board (2017-present). Bishop-elect Sweeney, who speaks both English and Spanish, is currently Pastor of St. Michael Church in Brooklyn where he has served since March 2012.

The Diocese of Paterson is comprised of 1,214 square miles in the State of New Jersey and has a total population of 1,153,982 of which 430,000 are Catholic.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Father Kevin J. Sweeney, Diocese of Paterson, Diocese of Brooklyn.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte



USCCB President and Committee Chairman Call for Prayers, Hope, and Assistance Following Deadly Storms in the South

WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued the following statement after severe weather killed at least 19 people in the South late Sunday into early Monday morning. In their statement, Archbishops Gomez and Coakley call for prayer and assistance for all those who were in the path of the storm, as well as hope in the good news of Easter.  

Full statement from Archbishops Gomez and Coakley follows:
“This Easter Monday began with the sad news that storms swept through multiple states in the South overnight, killing at least 19 people at the time of this statement across Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. The weather also inflicted significant damage in Texas, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Many people have suffered damage or loss of their homes.  

“In the midst of these tragedies, we must reach out and offer assistance to those affected, especially those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. This situation is made even more difficult by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We pray for those who are suffering, for those who have died, and for the first responders who are courageously offering help. We also pray for those who remain in the path of these storms and for their safety and well-being.  

“In the Gospel this morning, we hear the Lord after his resurrection tell Mary Magdalene and the other women, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ (Mt. 28:10). The letter to the Hebrews describes the hope we have in God’s promise as ‘an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.’ (cf. Heb. 6:19). In the midst of disasters from weather and illness, we cling to this hope, that God can redeem our suffering and loss, that God is present to us even now, and that the Lord has conquered death for all time, inviting us to see him face to face in eternal life.”    


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, severe weather, coronavirus, Covid-19, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.



Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Releases Easter Message

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following Easter message.

Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:

My dear brothers and sisters:

Christ is risen!

This is the joy of Easter. And what a gift it is to hear these words in this time of the coronavirus.

Jesus asked us to carry our cross with him during this long Lent. This has been a time when we confront the reality that our life is fragile. This has been a time for us to reflect on what really matters, and what makes life truly worth living.

As we stand in the joyful light of Easter, we know that our world is still darkened by loss and despair.

Jesus rises to tell us that his love is stronger than death!

He has passed through the valley of the shadow of death. And there is no evil that we should fear. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Christ is risen and we will rise with him! This is the promise of Easter. And God does not withdraw his promise, even when Easter comes during a pandemic.

So, let us stay close to Jesus.

And let us stay close to Mary our Blessed Mother. May she help us to always carry our cross with her Son, that we may be raised up with him and share in his Resurrection.

May you and your families have a blessed Easter season.

The video of Archbishop Gomez’s Easter message is also available:


Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


U.S. Bishops’ President Leads the Faithful in a Moment of Prayer on Good Friday

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops led the nation in a moment of prayer on Good Friday for an end of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus together offered a special moment of unity for the faithful during a time when communities throughout the U.S. and worldwide are physically unable to congregate for Holy Week and Easter because of COVID-19.

Prepared text of Archbishop Gomez’s homily:

My dear brothers and sisters,

We stand today at the foot of the cross with Mary, our Blessed Mother, and we look upon her Son, crucified. And we ask God: Why did he have to die? Couldn’t there be some other way?

Today we are also asking God: Why this coronavirus? Why have you allowed this disease and death to descend on our world?

We know that Jesus on the cross is the only answer. In the heart of Christ — wounded by the soldier’s spear, pierced by our sins — we see how much God loves the world. We see how precious we are in our Father’s eyes.

As we just heard in our Gospel reading: Out of his heart flowed blood and water — blood that redeems us from sin and death; water that washes away our shame and makes all things new.

Brothers and sisters, as we stand today at the foot of his cross, in the midst of this pandemic, Jesus is calling us to trust in his Sacred Heart.

Let’s pray often to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!

God will provide! We know that. He has a plan of a plan of love for his creation, a plan of goodness and mercy for every nation and for every heart.

Jesus does not die for no reason. Good Friday is “good” because it opens the way to Easter Sunday.

God gave his own Son for us. So, we know that he will deliver us from this evil of the coronavirus. The cross shows us that his love for us is stronger than death.  

Brothers and sisters, we are living in the moment of Christian witness.

Jesus has opened his heart for us. He has given his life out of love for us. Now he calls us to entrust our lives to him — our whole heart, our whole mind; all our feelings and thoughts, our words and actions.

In this moment, Jesus is inviting every one of us in the Church to take up our cross and to follow him along the path of humble love, the path of reverence for God and service to our neighbors.

God’s mercies are not spent! Faith, hope, and charity have not died!

We are witnessing this in a beautiful way every day during this pandemic — in our hospitals and homes, in our parishes and ministries, in every quiet, unseen act of self-sacrifice and service in our families and communities.

This is what God wants us to learn in this time of worldwide crisis — that we are one family, one Body united in the blood and water that flows from the heart of Christ, joined together in a beautiful, supernatural solidarity of compassion.  

Let us love one another, joining our sufferings to the heart of Christ, open for us on the cross. Let us sacrifice for one another, take care of one another, forgive one another.

Jesus, I trust in you! ¡Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en ti confío!

May our Blessed Mother Mary intercede for us in her sorrows today.

May she help us to be meek and humble of heart, and to persevere in this Good Friday of disease and death, to hasten to the Easter morning of the resurrection.


Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi orMiguel Guilarte


U.S. Bishops’ Chairman of International Justice and Peace Committee Shares Solidarity with Pope Francis Calling for Cessation of Hostilities and Greater Humanitarian Access

WASHINGTON—Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, has issued the following statement calling for cessation of hostilities and greater humanitarian access.

Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:

“In the context of the global scope and scale of the COVID-19 virus crisis, Pope Francis during his Angelus message on Sunday, March 29 called for a global cease fire in all hostilities. His plea seeks to allow for a deepening of the fraternal bonds of the human family in search for not just a momentary but a lasting peace.

“Over a billion people on our planet live without access to the basic necessities of life. Over 70 million are displaced who already live amidst violent conflict and persecution. The unfolding global health pandemic and subsequent economic crisis only exacerbate their intolerable suffering. As chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, I join my prayers to those of the Holy Father. May God’s grace open the hearts of combatants throughout the world so that they realize their shared frail humanity and allow a cessation of hostilities to come to pass. With such cessation, corridors of humanitarian assistance can be established and strengthened to allow relief to reach those in greatest need.

“May God use even the difficulties of this moment to bring about peace and solidarity in the world.”

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee of International Justice and Peace.

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi