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National Vocation Awareness Week Highlights Vocation as Gift from God

WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 3-9, 2019. During this week, dioceses across the U.S. lead the effort in parishes and schools to uphold and encourage the fostering of vocations among the faithful and to pray for those currently discerning a call to marriage, ordained ministry, or consecrated life.

In his message for the 2019 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that unlike a secular career, a vocation is a gift born from God’s own initiative: “The Lord’s call is not an intrusion of God into our freedom; it is not a ‘cage’ or burden to be borne. On the contrary, it is the loving initiative whereby God encounters us and invites us to be a part of a great undertaking.”

Whereas choosing a career requires much “doing” – such as the accomplishment of various tasks and goals – vocational discernment requires much “being.” At its core, vocational discernment is a process of self-discovery. Assisted by divine grace, each person is invited by the Lord to receive the gift of a specific vocation whereby they manifest God’s love in a particular way to the outside world. In the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, the husband and wife image the Trinity by their communion of love that produces new life; in ordained ministry, priests and deacons are called to minister in the person of Christ, the High Priest and Servant; and in consecrated life, each member is called to bear Christ’s love through a particular charism.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Newark, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, echoed Pope Francis's definition of vocation as a gift. “Discerning a vocation is not the same as completing a checklist. It is a process of learning how to receive the greatest gift God could offer us – the gift of living in accordance with our true identity as a son or daughter of God.” For those currently discerning a vocation, Cardinal Tobin suggested that one always stay close to the Blessed Mother. “Entrust your vocation to Mary, the Mother of all Vocations. She will always direct you to her Son and intercede for you along the path the Lord has for you.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the celebration. In 1997, the celebration was moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014, the 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.

More resources for National Vocation Awareness Week, including homily aids, recommended reading and discernment tips, 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, Pope Francis, vocations, National Vocation Awareness Week, priesthood, religious life, consecrated life, marriage, religious, vocation, Catholic education, ministry, prayer, World Day of Vocations.
 
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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop John Jenik, Names New Auxiliary Bishops for Archdiocese of New York

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Msgr. Gerardo Colacicco and the Rev. Msgr. Edmund Whalen as Auxiliary Bishops-elect of New York.

Monsignor Colacicco is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and currently serves as Pastor of St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish in Millbrook, NY. Monsignor Whalen is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and currently serves as Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese. The appointments were publicized today in Washington, D.C, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Monsignor Gerardo Colacicco was born September 19, 1955 in Poughkeepsie, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (1978) from Marist College, NY. He attended St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, NY, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on November 6, 1982. He received a Licentiate of Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1992.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Good Shepherd Parish, Rhinebeck, NY (1982-1984), Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Scarsdale, NY (1984-1987), St. Denis-St. Columba Parish, Hopewell, NY (1987-1989), and Priest-Secretary to Cardinal John O’Connor (1989).

Monsignor Colaccico also served as Judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal (1992-1996; 2007-2010). He was Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Newburgh, NY (1996-2002) and St. Columba Parish, Hopewell, NY (2002-2014). In 2014, he served as Administrator at St. Joseph, Millbrook, NY, and from 2015 to present he has been Pastor at St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish, Millbrook, NY.

Monsignor Edmund Whalen was born July 6, 1958 in Staten Island, NY. He was ordained a priest on June 23, 1984 for the Archdiocese of New York. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (1980) from Cathedral College, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1984) from Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1984), a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (1986), and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology (1995) from Academia Alphonsiana.

Assignments after ordination include: North American College, Rome, Graduates Studies (1984 and 1992); Parochial Vicar at Resurrection Church, Rye, NY (1985); Faculty at Monsignor Farrell High School (1987) and Secretary to Cardinal John O’Connor (1990). Monsignor Whalen also served as Vice-Rector at St. Joseph Seminary (1995), Rector at St. John Neumann Residence (1998), and was also Pastor at St. Benedict Parish, Bronx, NY (2001) and St. Joseph-St. Thomas Parish, Staten Island, NY. From 2010-2018, he served as Principal at Msgr. Farrell High School.  

At the same time, the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John Jenik from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of New York.  

The Archdiocese of New York is comprised of 4,683 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 6,183,764 of which 2,782,694 are Catholic. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the current archbishop of New York.

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Keywords: Bishops appointment, Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop-elect Gerardo Colacicco, Bishop-elect Edmund Whalen, Bishop John Jenik, Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

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

 

USCCB President and Vice President Candidate List Released; Elections to take place at November General Assembly in Baltimore

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will elect their next president and vice president at the upcoming general assembly, which meets November 11-13 in Baltimore. Each office is elected from a slate of 10 candidates who have been nominated by their fellow bishops.

The slate of candidates for president and vice president are as follows (in alphabetical order):

•   Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Military Services
•   Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport
•   Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City
•   Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco
•   Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville
•   Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
•   Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee
•   Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois
•   Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend
•   Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit

The president and vice president are elected to three-year terms, which begin at the conclusion of the meeting. At that time, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, will complete their terms as president and vice president, respectively.

The by-laws of the USCCB provide that the first election is that of the president by simple majority vote of members present and voting. Following the election of the president, the vice-president is elected from the remaining nine candidates. In either election, if a candidate does not receive more than half of the votes cast on the first ballot, a second vote is taken. If a third round of voting is necessary, that ballot is a run-off between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.  

During the meeting, the bishops will also vote for new chairmen of six committees: Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Committee for Religious Liberty.

Coverage of the bishops' meeting taking place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to the media will be November 11-13 and there will be media conferences after all open sessions. Reporters interested in covering the meeting must register before October 25 and submit a letter of assignment from their editor/producer. Due to enhanced security, on-site credentialing will not be available.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, elections, president, vice president, ballot, vote, majority vote, committee, #USCCB19.

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

 

USCCB Chairmen Issue Statement on Supreme Court Cases on Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law

                       WASHINGTON— Bishop chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commented on three cases argued before the Supreme Court today – Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. These cases present the question whether the prohibition on employment discrimination based on “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination, respectively.

Bishop Robert J. McManus, of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley, of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, issued the following statement:

“Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding the meaning of the word ‘sex’ in federal law. Words matter; and ‘sex’ should not be redefined to include sexual inclinations or conduct, nor to promulgate the view that sexual identity is solely a social construct rather than a natural or biological fact. The Supreme Court affirmed that sex is an ‘immutable characteristic’ in the course of establishing constitutional protections for women against sex discrimination in the 1970s. Such protection is no less essential today. Title VII helps ensure the dignified treatment of all persons, and we as Catholics both share and work toward that goal. Redefining ‘sex’ in law would not only be an interpretive leap away from the language and intent of Title VII, it would attempt to redefine a fundamental element of humanity that is the basis of the family, and would threaten religious liberty.”

On August 23, the USCCB filed amicus curiae briefs in the cases, available at http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Bostock-8-23-19.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Harris-8-23-19.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, religious freedom, religious liberty, Title VII, nondiscrimination, Supreme Court.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

  

Pope Francis Appoints Reverend Austin A. Vetter as Bishop of the Diocese of Helena

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Austin A. Vetter of the Diocese of Bismarck as the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Helena. The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, on October 8, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Father Vetter was born September 13, 1967 in Linton, ND. He attended North Dakota State University (1985-1989) and pursued seminary studies at Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo, ND (1986-1989). In 1992 he received a bachelors in sacred theology (STB) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome. He was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Bismarck on June 29, 1993.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck, ND (1993-1996); part-time instructor, St. Mary Central High School, Bismarck, ND (1994-1999); parochial administrator and pastor, St. Martin parish, Center, ND (1996-1999); episcopal vicar for the permanent diaconate (1999-2002); pastor, St. Patrick parish, Dickinson, ND (1999-2008); pastor, St. Leo parish, Minot, ND (2008-2012); director of continuing education for clergy (2008-2012); director of spiritual formation, Pontifical North American College (2012-2018); rector-pastor, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Bismarck, ND (2018-present).

The Diocese of Helena is comprised of 51,922 square miles and has a total population of 612,419, of which 45,400 are Catholic.   

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Austin A. Vetter, Diocese of Helena, Montana, Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200