Court overturns Roe – ongoing efforts to ‘uphold sanctity of life’ continue

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – On the evening of July 6, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization closed its doors for the final time, making it the first time in 49 years that the state of Mississippi has no operating abortion clinic. This coming after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly five decades old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion.

The Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization handed down on Friday, June 24 held that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, with the authority to regulate abortion returned to the states.

JACKSON – Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the last abortion facility in the state – closed permanently on July 7 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

The Dobbs case centered around Mississippi legislation that was passed in 2018 called the Gestational Age Act, that sought to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The Jackson abortion clinic and one of its doctors sued Mississippi officials in federal court, saying that the law was unconstitutional.

The federal district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, both ruled in favor of the clinic, blocking enactment of the law.

In May 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would take up Dobbs, marking the first time since Roe that it would take up a pre-viability ban.
More than 140 amici curiae briefs were filed with the Supreme Court on the Dobbs case, the very first being from the Dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi, stating that “the church has a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.”

While originally asking the Court to hear arguments on a viability question – whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional – Mississippi changed course and argued before the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, 2021 that Roe should be completely overturned and the authority to regulate abortions be returned to the states.

With Associate Justice Samuel Alito writing for a 5-4 majority he states that “we hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. … The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

Alito’s opinion closely mirrored a leaked initial draft majority opinion, shared on May 2 by Politico.

Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts concurred with the majority but in a separate opinion wrote that he would have taken “a more measured course” by “rejecting the misguided viability line” by Roe and Casey, but not overturning Roe completely.

The Supreme Court has six Catholics on the bench – Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Coney Barrett, Roberts and Sonja Sotomayor, with the latter joining Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan in dissent of the majority.

“One result of today’s decision is certain,” wrote the dissenting justices,” the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

Of major concern of the dissenting justices was the discarding of the viability balance afforded by Roe and Casey.

“Today, the Court discards that balance. It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of,” the justices wrote, mentioning that some state’s already passed “trigger” laws contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Mississippi’s trigger law passed in 2007, only allowing abortion if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is caused by a rape reported to law enforcement. Twelve other states also have trigger laws.
On Monday, June 27, after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch certified that Roe had been overturned, the clock began to tick on the trigger law which was set to take effect 10 days post determination on July 7.

After the Dobbs decision was released, many statements were released in celebration and some in outrage.

JACKSON – Officers were present to keep the peace and direct traffic in and out of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Saturday, July 2, days before the clinic closed. (Photo by Joanna King)

Bishops Joseph R. Kopacz and Louis F. Kihnemann released a joint statement commending the decision and recognizing much needs to be done to assist mothers and families.

“The church will continue to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and during the early years of parenthood, through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need,” stated the bishops in their June 24 statement.

“Our respective dioceses will continue to collaborate with organizations such as Her Plan, Pro-Life Mississippi and many others to bring vital services to support mothers and the unborn.”

Catholic leader, Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann stated that Mississippi is a leader on protecting the unborn with a law in place that prohibits abortion.

“I am pro-life,” stated Hosemann. “I am also pro-child. In addition to protecting the unborn, we must also focus on other ways to support women, children and families.”

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who led efforts to overturn Roe, also released a statement after the decision stating, “Now, our work to empower women and promote life truly begins. The Court has let loose its hold on abortion policy making and given it back to the people.”

The USCCB also released a statement by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Today’s decision is also the fruit of prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion.”

The environment outside of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization – also known as the “Pink House” due to the bright pink hue it was painted in January 2013 – was anything but peaceful in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision. Until the clinic closed for good on the evening of July 6, pro-life and pro-choice voices clashed amid national and local news reporters from near and far.

As an effort to keep providing services, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization requested a temporary restraining order to block the trigger law from taking effect but it was denied by chancery judge, Debbra K. Halford on Tuesday, July 5, reasoning that the state Supreme Court would reverse the 1998 Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice ruling that relied on the Mississippi Constitution for a right to privacy.

Abortion demonstrators are seen near the Supreme Court in Washington June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in its ruling in the Dobbs case on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

The abortion clinic filed a petition to the Mississippi Supreme Court allow it to reopen, citing Fordice where the court stated it did not “interpret our Constitution as recognizing an explicit right to an abortion, we believe that autonomous bodily integrity is protected under the right to privacy as stated in In re Brown.” On July 11, the court rejected the clinic’s plea to stop the abortion ban. The court will wait for arguments from Attorney General Fitch to be submitted before ruling on the petition.

Nationally, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday, July 8, aiming to protect access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. The order attempts to protect access to medication abortion, access to contraception and to guarantee a patient’s right to emergency medical services.

Speaking from the White House on July 8, President Biden urged women to “head to the ballot box” to “reclaim the right taken from them by the court.” He stated that “the fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law, codifying Roe.”

In response, the USCCB released a statement from Archbishop Lori stating, “I implore the president to abandon this path that leads to death and destruction and to choose life. As always, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with this Administration and all elected officials to protect the right to life of every human being and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth.”

Bishops Kopacz and Kihnemann remain “grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision but are also mindful that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is an ongoing effort.”

“Let us pray and continue to raise our voices both in our churches and in our communities in defense of human dignity and justice.”

Statement from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz and Bishop Louis F. Kihneman on Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Today, Lady Justice has turned her attention to the cry of the unborn child hidden in the refuge of his or her mother’s womb. Today, justice has not abandoned that unborn child and his or her capacity to feel pain, but there is still more work to be done.

Together with many throughout our country, we join in prayer that states are now able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. The Catholic Church has had a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.

The church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States. Through its charity agencies, and the independent efforts of its members, the Catholic Church is supporting all women in addition to the child in the womb.

The church will continue to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and during the early years of parenthood, through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need.
With our brother bishops, we renew our commitment to preserving the dignity and sanctity of all human life by:

• Ensuring our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.

• Helping fellow Catholics recognize the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in their communities, enabling parishioners to know these mothers, to listen to them and to help them obtain the necessities of life for their families.

• Being witnesses of love and life by expanding and improving the extensive network of comprehensive care including pregnancy help centers, and Catholic health care and social service agencies.

• Increasing our advocacy for laws that ensure the right to life for the unborn and that no mother or family lacks the basic resources needed to care for their children, regardless of race, age, immigration status or any other factor.

• Continuing to support and advocate for public policies and programs directed toward building up the common good and fostering integral human development, with a special concern for the needs of low-income families and immigrants.

In all of these ways and more, the Catholic Church witnesses to the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death, and continues to work to build a culture of life in our nation.

Our respective dioceses continue to collaborate with organizations such as Her Plan, Pro-Life Mississippi and many others to bring vital services to support mothers and the unborn.

The community can immediately accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies through the Walking with Moms in Need initiative in the Diocese of Jackson. For more information on how to get involved or offer support to women in need, please contact the Office of Family Ministry coordinator in the Diocese of Jackson at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org. In the Diocese of Biloxi, contact Deacon Jim Gunkel, director of the Office of Family Ministry and Family Life at jgunkel@biloxidiocese.org or Margaret Miller, coordinator of Walking with Moms at mrmiller@biloxidiocese.org.

Additionally, there are Catholic Charities Community Outreach Centers located in the Diocese of Biloxi in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Waveland and Pascagoula. These centers provide confidential pregnancy testing; Medicaid pregnancy confirmations; life-affirming options counseling; case management (including budgeting and goal setting); basic needs assistance; car seats and safe sleeping spaces for infants; diapers formula, clothing, blankets, socks, etc.; and representative payee services. The Diocese of Biloxi is also sharing the pro-life message through its Pro-Life Billboard initiative.

The Diocese of Biloxi will also be resuming adoptions and foster parenting services in the near future, complementing existing programs in the Diocese of Jackson that have provided those services through Catholic Charities, Inc. for over a half century.

Again, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision but are also mindful that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is an ongoing effort. Let us pray and continue to raise our voices both in our churches and in our communities in defense of human dignity and justice.

March for Life will continue until ‘abortion is unthinkable,’ says official

By Kurt Jensen
WASHINGTON (CNS) – When the Supreme Court ruled June 24 that there is no constitutional right to abortion, the historic decision came a day before what would have been the 98th birthday of Nellie Gray, founder of the March for Life.

The march – which Gray, a Texas-born government lawyer, founded in 1974 to mark the first anniversary of the court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide – is a fixture of Catholic pro-life activism and bus pilgrimages to the nation’s capital.

So the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and Gray’s mission accomplished, has led to speculation as to the future of the national march.

Pro-life demonstrators are seen near the Supreme Court in Washington June 15, 2022. The court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in its ruling in the Dobbs case on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks June 24. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Will it continue?

Yes, said Jeanne Mancini, who became March for Life president in 2013, a year after Gray’s death.
But there’s a new emphasis on growing statewide marches, an effort that began a few years ago.
“We will still be having our federal legislative battles,” Mancini said on a June 29 webcast, “Life Beyond Roe,” sponsored by a consortium of pro-life groups.

But “I would say the voices will have more impact at the state level” as state legislatures that have not already enacted abortion bans begin to debate legislation, she said. “So it’s like less is more.”

March for Life has held state marches in Connecticut, Virginia and California, with ones planned for Pennsylvania in September and Ohio in October.

Next year, Mancini said the plans are to double the number, and over the next six years, to have marches in all 50 state capitals.

As for the Dobbs decision, “I can’t think of a better birthday gift for Nellie,” she added. In a June 25 statement, Mancini promised, “We will continue to march until abortion is unthinkable.”

In January 1974, the first March for Life was organized in Gray’s living room at her Capitol Hill home and drew about 10,000 participants.

In a 2010 interview with Catholic News Service, Gray said the impetus came from the Knights of Columbus. “I didn’t even know who they were, but they explained their stance against abortion and needed a place to meet to discuss plans for a march.”

Since Mancini took over, the march has grown from a relatively modest event that went from the West Front of the Capitol to the Supreme Court sidewalk to an immense rally on the National Mall with marchers from across the country, including members of Congress and the occasional show business celebrity.

The 2020 event is considered to be the largest one in the march’s history. With President Donald Trump as the main rally speaker, it drew more than 100,000 participants.

The smallest one came just a year later during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only an invited group of 80, joined by more than 100 others midway in their route, marched from the Museum of the Bible to the Supreme Court.

It was the first outdoor event in Washington since the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the Capitol; both the Capitol and Supreme Court were surrounded by high fences.

Counterprotesters over the years have been few in number. This past January, the march was briefly delayed when members of Patriot Front, a neo-Nazi group, attempted to lead the march on Constitution Avenue.

But they had announced their plans in advance on social media, so police who were expecting them quickly escorted them away to a nearby Metro subway station.

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Sister Simone Campbell, a longtime advocate for economic justice and health care policy, and late labor leader Richard Trumka received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in a White House ceremony. President Joe Biden presented the award to 15 others as well July 7. “For so many people and for the nation, Sister Simone Campbell is a gift from God. For the past 50 years she has embodied the belief in our church that faith without works is dead,” Biden said of the woman religious whose career has focused on advocating for poor and voiceless people. Sister Campbell, a California native and a member of the Sisters of Social Service, stepped down as executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization, in March 2021 after serving for 17 years. Biden particularly noted her role in passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a complex law which expanded access to health care for millions of people. He also cited a series of annual “Nuns on the Bus” nationwide tours that Sister Campbell led touting health care as a right and that federal budgets were moral documents that must reflect the priorities of serving poor and marginalized people.
“Compassionate and brave, humble and strong, today Sister Simone remains a beacon of light. She’s the embodiment of a covenant of trust, hope and progress of a nation,” Biden said. Trumka was president of the AFL-CIO from 2009 until his death in August 2021. The faith of Trumka, a Catholic born to a Polish father and an Italian mother, helped shape a lifelong career in the labor movement.

CHICAGO (CNS) – Saying he watched “in horror” news reports in the aftermath of a mass shooting during a suburban Fourth of July parade, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago offered prayers for the victims. Authorities said seven people died – five on the parade route and two later in the hospital – and 30 others were injured when a gunman opened fired on people lining the parade route. “What should have been a peaceful celebration of our nation’s founding ended in unspeakable tragedy,” Cardinal Cupich said in a

A tricycle is seen near the scene of a mass shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Ill., July 4, 2022. (CNS photo/Max Herman, Reuters)

statement released hours after the tragedy by the archdiocese of Chicago. Pointing to the victims, who authorities said ranged in age from 8 to 85, Cardinal Cupich said, “Weapons designed to rapidly destroy human bodies have no place in civil society.” Law enforcement authorities charged Robert E. Crimo III, 21, of suburban Chicago with seven counts of murder after the shooting in Highland Park in Chicago’s affluent North Shore. Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said the suspect would receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole if convicted of the charges. He also said other charges were pending. The man was apprehended without incident on a busy highway in a nearby suburb after briefly fleeing officers. Highland Park police said witnesses reported seeing a man with a long gun indiscriminately firing dozens of rounds from a rooftop at parade spectators, sending marchers and viewers scurrying for cover.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 6-3 vote June 27, the Supreme Court ruled that a former high school football coach had the right to pray on the football field after games because his prayers were private speech and did not represent the public school’s endorsement of religion. “The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” said the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. The court’s majority opinion also emphasized that “respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic – whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field.” It said the case focused on a government entity seeking to “punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment” and that the “Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.” Joseph Kennedy, former assistant coach at Bremerton High School, outside of Seattle, said his postgame prayers on the field cost him his job. The coach had been told by school district officials to stop these prayers on the 50-yard line, and he refused. When his contract was not renewed, he sued the school for violating his First Amendment rights.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis said the goals he has achieved in more than nine years as pope were simply the fruit of the ideas discussed by the College of Cardinals prior to his election. In an interview with Argentine news agency Telam published July 1, the pope said that objectives, such as the reform of the Roman Curia, were “neither my invention nor a dream I had after a night of indigestion. I gathered everything that we, the cardinals, had said at the pre-conclave meetings, the things we believed the new pope should do. Then, we spoke of the things that needed to be changed, the issues that needed to be tackled,” he said. “I carried out the things that were asked back then. I do not think there was anything original of mine. I set in motion what we all had requested,” he added. The apostolic constitution reforming the Roman Curia, titled “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”) went into effect June 5. In the document, the pope said the purpose of the constitution was to “better harmonize the present exercise of the Curia’s service with the path of evangelization that the church, especially in this season, is living.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Before celebrating the Holy Year 2025, Pope Francis is asking Catholics around the world to dedicate time in 2023 to studying the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Presenting the official logo for the Holy Year June 28, Archbishop Rino Fisichella also announced the pope’s plan for helping Catholics prepare for the celebration: focusing on the four constitutions issued by Vatican II in 2023; and focusing on prayer in 2024. The four Vatican II constitutions are: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (“Sacrosanctum Concilium”); Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (“Lumen Gentium”); Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (“Dei Verbum”); and Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (“Gaudium et Spes”). Archbishop Fisichella, whom the pope appointed to coordinate planning the Holy Year, said, “A series of user-friendly resources, written in appealing language, are being produced to arouse curiosity in those who have no memory” of the council, which was held 1962-65. Details about the 2024 year of prayer and spiritual preparation for the jubilee are still being worked out, the archbishop said. The Vatican already had announced that Pope Francis chose “Pilgrims of Hope” as the theme for the Holy Year.

WORLD
HONG KONG (CNS) – The Chinese Communist Party is seeking to expand its apparatus to monitor and curb religious activities in cyberspace through training and deploying hundreds of “auditors” across the country, triggering concerns from rights groups. Under the guidance of the Communist Party, the Ethnic and Religious Commission of Guangdong Province in southern China held a test for the first group of auditors for the state-run Internet Religious Information Services in early June, the China Christian Daily reported. The Internet Religious Information Services agency was formed in March after China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs announced the “Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services” late last year. The measures have been formulated by several state agencies in line with existing legislation in China such as the “Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China,” “Administrative Measures for Internet Information Services,” and the revised “Regulations on Religious Affairs.”

Even with successes, charter seen as a document
that must adapt over time

By Dennis Sadowski
WASHINGTON (CNS) – When Mike Hoffman decided to contact Archdiocese of Chicago officials in 2006 about how he was sexually abused by a priest for four years while a teenage altar server, he wasn’t sure how his story would be received.

“I wrote one letter and got an immediate letter back and we set a date (to talk),” Hoffman, now 57, told Catholic News Service. “In telling my story, I was not met with confrontation or difficulty. Although I felt anxious, my anxiety was that they would question me and question my character.”

“I was met with compassion, decency and professionalism,” he said.
For that response, Hoffman credits the procedures set up by the archdiocese under the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

This is the logo for a series of CNS stories on the 20th anniversary of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” (CNS logo)

The landmark document, adopted 20 years ago during a widely watched U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops assembly in Dallas, established minimum standards for dioceses and eparchies to follow in response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that exploded in 2002.

“My experience was modeled after and by and through and within the charter,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman’s encounter with the archdiocese continues nearly 16 years after he revealed his story. He said that while he no longer undergoes therapy paid for by the archdiocese, he continues to receive support from its victim assistance ministry. He chairs the archdiocese’s Hope and Healing Committee, participates in special Masses for survivors, and works with parish-based “peace circles,” discussion groups open to anyone wanting to respond to abuse.

“I still need connection with our local church,” he said, “and they’re doing that, I can faithfully say.”
The archdiocese’s efforts to respond and educate about clerical sexual abuse have touched Hoffman’s family as well. As active members of their Chicago-area parish, he and his wife have undergone safe environment training. His now adult children received age-appropriate training throughout their time in Catholic schools.

The charter – and the accompanying norms approved by the Vatican that govern its provisions under canon law – has been mandated for use by dioceses and eparchies throughout the U.S. It encompasses 17 articles that prescribe specific actions in response to abuse allegations.

The document promotes healing and reconciliation with survivors abused as a minor; identifies procedures for responding to an abuse allegation; sets standards for ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries; mandates transparency in communicating with the public; requires the permanent removal from ministry of any priest or deacon when an abuse allegation has been substantiated; and establishes of safe environment programs. The charter also launched the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People to coordinate the response to clerical sexual abuse.

In addition, the bishops established the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection and arranged for an annual audit to be conducted to measure diocesan and eparchial compliance with the charter.
Journalist Jason Berry, whose investigative work into clerical abuse in Louisiana began in 1985 and continued for more than two decades, described the charter as an important step for the church.

He credited those bishops who have “been sensitized to the plight of survivors” and took extraordinary action to meet “with people they would have not met with before” after the scandal widened.
Despite such positive outcomes, Berry noted that the charter failed to cover bishops, who under canon law come under the purview of the pope when it comes to disciplinary measures for wrongdoing.

It took Pope Francis’ 2019 “motu proprio” “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” – which established procedures for reporting allegations of sexual abuse and for holding accountable bishops, eparchs and religious superiors who protect abusers – to prompt steps toward broader accountability on sexual abuse.

In March 2020, the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service began. It allows for confidential sexual misconduct allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs to be made through an online portal or via a toll-free telephone number.

The experience gained under the charter over the past two decades has allowed church leaders to better respond to abuse and the needs of survivors, said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the USCCB secretariat.

The church has moved forward in collaborating more closely with survivors and their families and has integrated the expertise of “competent laypeople” in its response to sexual abuse, he said.

Deacon Nojadera described how under the charter, church ministers and employees have been empowered with skills and resources. “If there is an allegation that comes forward,” he told CNS, “it is the ongoing, consistent and competent training that will allow us a church to respond in a manner that is courageous, compassionate and trauma-informed.”

In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the charter’s provisions are seen as “minimal requirements” for any church entity to follow, said Susan Mulheron, chancellor of canonical affairs.
“We’ve really gone beyond the charter,” Mulheron said, explaining that the archdiocesan review board also hears allegations of clergy misconduct beyond sexual abuse. “There’s a lot of benefits that we’ve found to that practice.”

She added, “Our review board, they’re fantastic. They’re an essential tool for us in the archdiocese. They bring that diverse expertise. And it also helps us keep honest and accountable.”

Following the Dallas meeting, the bishops also introduced the lay-led National Review Board, which collaborates with them in their response to abuse. It continues to provide updates to the bishops on progress in addressing abuse and recommendations for charter improvements.

Francesco Cesareo, who is retiring June 30 as president of Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts, chaired the National Review Board from 2013 to 2020. His tenure was the longest of the eight laypeople who have held the post throughout its 20-year history.

He helped craft the most recent update of the charter in 2018, a process that took five years to complete because of a lengthy legal and canonical review.

The changes tightened requirements for all individuals working with children while clarifying language in several articles.

Cesareo credited the charter for setting standards for dioceses in their response to abuse allegations. NRB members, he said, wanted to partner with the bishops to ensure that the response to allegations was effective and consistent.

For all the good accomplished under the charter, the NRB continued to urge that language be made more prescriptive and less ambiguous in some areas, Cesareo said. The concern focused on how bishops could interpret some sections of the charter differently and have their dioceses still be found in compliance with it.

Cesareo pointed to the need for diocesan review boards to investigate all allegations rather than just those referred by a bishop and that such boards be required to meet regularly rather than only when a bishop forwarded an allegation. The NRB also wanted to introduce specific language pertaining to boundary violations and clarity on safe environment training, he said.

“The NRB was pushing the idea that the charter was a living document and just like a living document it needs to evolve based on the experience of the church and based on what the bishops were confronting because otherwise the charter was not going to address new realities,” Cesareo told CNS.

Another update of the charter has begun. The bishops’ voted during their fall general assembly in November to begin the process this year rather than wait until 2025.

Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, chairman of the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, told the assembly that several factors necessitated the new timeline.

They include changes in the Code of Canon Law regarding penal sanctions in the church that took effect in December; Pope Francis’ “motu proprio”; and the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Discussions began in May, Deacon Nojadera said.

Mulheron, the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocesan official, said that in talking with other diocesan chancellors and bishops, she has found they are taking the charter’s provisions seriously, are committed to compliance during annual audits and want to do what’s best for abuse survivors.

She said the check-the-box mentality seems to arise from frustrations in the audit process because of imprecise language in the charter, a point to which Cesareo, the past NRB chairman, agreed.

“It’s not fair to say dioceses are simply checking the box in terms of a commitment to a safe environment for children. I can’t conceive of a diocese that doesn’t believe in that and doesn’t take it seriously,” Mulheron said.

She called for the charter to “raise the bar” on how dioceses commit to supporting and engaging their review boards, based on her experience in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Hoffman, the abuse survivor from Chicago, invited Catholics – leaders and people in the pews alike – to review the charter and examine what it means to the life of the church.

“Major anniversaries are an important time to retell a story and to revisit and renew the commitment,” Hoffman said.

“We literally do evolve as people and we do evolve as church. So I’d like our priests and all other staff and all of us to evolve together. … Twenty years later, we’re not the same people we were when this thing (the charter) was published,” he continued.

“To keep evolving is where we should focus.”

Declaración de Obispos Joseph R. Kopacz y Louis F. Kihneman sobre fallo Roe v. Wade de Corte Suprema

La Señora Justicia ha puesto su atención en el llanto del niño por nacer escondido en el refugio del vientre de su madre.

Hoy la justicia no ha abandonado a ese niño por nacer y su capacidad de sentir dolor, pero aún queda trabajo por hacer. Junto con muchos en todo nuestro país, nos unimos en oración para que ahora los estados puedan proteger a las mujeres y a los niños de la injusticia del aborto.

La Iglesia Católica ha tenido un interés personal en este asunto: la dignidad y santidad de toda vida humana.

Los manifestantes contra el aborto se ven cerca de la Corte Suprema en Washington el 24 de junio de 2022, cuando la institución suprema de justicia anuló la histórica decisión de Roe v. Wade, despues de su fallo en el caso Dobbs, sobre una ley de Mississippi que prohíbe la mayoría de los abortos después de 15 semanas. (Foto del CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

A través de sus agencias de caridad y los esfuerzos independientes de sus miembros, la Iglesia Católica apoya a todas las mujeres además del niño en el útero.

La iglesia continuará acompañando a mujeres y parejas que enfrentan embarazos difíciles o inesperados durante los primeros años de la paternidad, a través de iniciativas como Walking with Moms in Need (Caminando con Madres Necesitadas). Con nuestros hermanos obispos, renovamos nuestro compromiso de preservar la dignidad y santidad de toda vida humana al:

• Garantizar que nuestras parroquias sean lugares de acogida para las mujeres que enfrentan embarazos difíciles
• Reconocer las necesidades de las madres embarazadas
• Ser testigos de amor y vida.
• Aumentar nuestra defensa de leyes que garanticen el derecho a la vida del no nacido, la construcción del bien común y la promoción del desarrollo humano integral.

De todas estas maneras y más, la Iglesia Católica es testigo de la santidad de la vida humana, desde la concepción hasta la muerte natural, y continúa trabajando para construir una cultura de vida en nuestra nación.

Para obtener más información comuníquese con la coordinadora de la Oficina del Ministerio de la Familia en la Diócesis de Jackson, a Charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org.

(La versión completa de la declaración está disponible en el sitio web de la diócesis)

Participantes de reunión nacional comparten historias dolorosas, esperanzas de inclusión

Por Norma Montenegro Flynn

El último día de una reunión católica nacional en Chicago para líderes de ministerios culturalmente diversos y adultos jóvenes comenzó con un servicio de oración que incluyó música de adoración africana y oraciones en varios idiomas, incluyendo algunos idiomas de África y Medio Oriente.

La buena energía de los participantes reunidos en el evento “Vivos en Cristo: Voces Jóvenes, Diversas y Proféticas Caminando Juntas” era evidente.

Las conversaciones se centraron en los próximos pasos en un proceso que tomará varios años y cómo los líderes ministeriales pueden llevar su aprendizaje a sus parroquias, centros, y organizaciones.

Para muchos, como Semret Hailemariam, miembro de la comunidad católica eritrea del Rito Ge’ez, este proceso ha ayudado a construir puentes entre su comunidad católica y otras.

“Todo este proceso ha sido iluminador. Nunca hubiéramos tenido la oportunidad de compartir sobre nuestra rica liturgia, historia, y cultura si no hubiera sido por la invitación”, expresó Hailemariam.

Los grupos culturalmente diversos representados fueron: asiáticos e isleños del Pacífico, negros y afroamericanos, europeos americanos, hispanos y latinos, nativos americanos y nativos de Alaska, así como inmigrantes, refugiados, y viajeros.

La gente reza durante la misa inaugural del 23 de junio de 2022 de la reunión multicultural nacional “Vivos en Cristo: voces jóvenes, diversas y proféticas viajando juntas” en Chicago. Líderes del ministerio católico, adultos jóvenes y obispos de diócesis y parroquias de todo el país asistieron al evento del 23 al 26 de junio organizado por la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de EE. UU. y dirigido por varias secretarías de la USCCB. (Foto de CNS/cortesía de USCCB)

Unas 325 personas participaron en el evento nacional y unas 150 diócesis estuvieron representadas, además de organizaciones católicas nacionales, colegios y universidades, ministerios universitarios y movimientos apostólicos.

Los líderes de grupo compartieron los temas y sugerencias que resonaron en sus discusiones y planificación en las áreas de memoria histórica e inclusión, diversidad y superdotación, acompañamiento práctico y posibilidades de formación.

Las sugerencias y conclusiones de la reunión serán recopiladas y ofrecidas como recursos a diócesis, escuelas, organizaciones católicas, y movimientos apostólicos.

“La exclusión es dolorosa. Nadie quiere ser excluido de algo, por lo que tratamos de ser inclusivos con todos y tratamos de darles a todos la oportunidad de participar”, señaló un participante de Detroit.

Su grupo ofreció sugerencias, incluyendo la búsqueda de oportunidades para invitar a la diversidad a las parroquias y capacitar a los seminaristas para trabajar con comunidades culturalmente diversas.

Con respecto a la práctica de acompañamiento, otro líder de grupo dijo: “Hemos visto y hemos sentido el daño y el dolor que proviene de las parroquias y los párrocos que se niegan a ver nuestros dones, se niegan a tomarse el tiempo para escuchar, y se niegan a vernos a cada uno como adultos jóvenes amados. Este daño debe abordarse”.

Otras ideas expresadas incluyeron la necesidad de acompañar a los adultos jóvenes y a las comunidades culturalmente diversas; la necesidad de que las culturas estén representadas en las liturgias; apertura a nuevas formas e ideas en el ministerio; formar identidades católicas; y fomentar oportunidades de liderazgo entre jóvenes y adultos jóvenes.

Los diálogos sostenidos a lo largo de la reunión incluyeron algunas conversaciones difíciles y el compartir experiencias dolorosas del pasado, pero también tuvieron los bálsamos curativos de un viaje compartido y el sentirse reconocido y escuchado por una comunidad solidaria con diferencias y similitudes.

Algunos lo compararon con una reunión familiar de Acción de Gracias. Durante un diálogo con obispos y líderes laicos, el obispo Oscar Cantú de San José, California, comparó las conversaciones con una reunión familiar alrededor de la mesa, que, a veces, puede tornarse complicada.

“Ahí es donde se juntan las familias, y ahí es donde se nutren las familias”, indicó el obispo Cantú. “Ahí es donde se prepara la comida. Una comida de cordero, un cordero suntuoso, y un pan digno de los ángeles y de la humanidad”.

En cuanto a los próximos pasos en el camino, es esencial ir más allá de mandar informes sobre la reunión a los obispos, agregó el obispo Larry Silva de Honolulu. Animó a los presentes a llevar las lecciones aprendidas más allá de sus parroquias: a sus comunidades.

“Siempre tenemos que hacer la pregunta de quién no está en la mesa y estar abiertos a traerlos”, dijo el obispo Silva.

Otro obispo expresó su interés en continuar con los esfuerzos de comunicación desarrollados durante el proceso “Caminando Juntos”.

Diana Hancharenko, presidenta del Equipo Asesor Nacional sobre el Ministerio de Adultos Jóvenes que sirve al Comité de Laicado, Matrimonio, Vida Familiar y Juventud de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, agradeció a los obispos que asistieron a la reunión y señaló que muchos obispos estaban ausentes.

También resaltó la necesidad de estar presentes y trabajar juntos.

Según la USCCB, solo 17 obispos estuvieron presentes en el evento. Y, según los informes, unos 60 obispos se han unido a las conversaciones durante el proceso “Caminando Juntos”.

El proceso comenzó hace dos años, inspirado por la exhortación del papa Francisco de 2019 sobre los jóvenes, “Christus Vivit”, y el Sínodo de los Obispos de 2018 sobre los jóvenes.

La iniciativa de la USCCB también buscó iniciar un encuentro, diálogo, acompañamiento, y respuesta pastoral a las esperanzas y desafíos de jóvenes culturalmente diversos.

Corte Suprema permite a Biden poner fin a política de era Trump

Por Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Líderes católicos elogiaron la decisión de la Corte Suprema del 30 de junio, que autorizó a la administración de Joe Biden rescindir una política de inmigración de la era de Donald Trump, “Quédate en México”, que requería que los solicitantes de asilo en la frontera suroeste de Estados Unidos esperaran en México para sus audiencias de asilo.

La decisión de 5-4 en Biden v. Texas fue escrita por el presidente del Tribunal Supremo, John Roberts; a él se unieron los jueces Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, y Brett Kavanaugh.

En su primer día en el cargo, el presidente Joe Biden suspendió los Protocolos de Protección de Migrantes de 2019 (o MPP, por sus siglas en ingles), implementados por el expresidente Donald Trump en un esfuerzo por frenar la afluencia de personas que llegan a la frontera sur en busca de asilo en Estados Unidos.

Una persona pasa frente al edificio de la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos en Washington el 13 de mayo de 2021. (Foto de CNS/Andrew Kelly, Reuters)

Biden buscó formalmente poner fin al programa meses después, pero los tribunales inferiores ordenaron que se restableciera la política en respuesta a una demanda de Texas y Missouri, liderada por los republicanos.

Desde enero de 2019 — cuando la administración de Trump inició el programa — hasta fines de 2020, casi 70,000 migrantes fueron enviados de regreso a México para esperar sus audiencias judiciales, según el Consejo Estadounidense de Inmigración. Defensores de la inmigración, incluyendo muchas organizaciones católicas, se han pronunciado en contra de esta política. Durante los argumentos orales a fines de abril, los activistas realizaron una manifestación frente a la Corte Suprema con carteles con el mensaje “seguro, no varado”.

El fallo de la Corte Suprema, la última opinión emitida para el período actual, señaló que la decisión del tribunal inferior sobre la política de inmigración “impuso una carga significativa sobre la capacidad del ejecutivo para mantener relaciones diplomáticas con México”, particularmente porque Estados Unidos no puede enviar migrantes de Centroamérica a México sin negociar estas acciones con funcionarios mexicanos.

Una disidencia — escrita por el juez Samuel Alito y acompañada por los jueces Clarence Thomas y Neil Gorsuch — expresaba que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional no debería tener la libertad de “simplemente liberar en el país un número incalculable de extranjeros que es muy probable que sean expulsados al presentarse a sus audiencias. Esta práctica viola los términos claros de la ley, pero el tribunal mira para otro lado”.

Una declaración conjunta emitida por los líderes de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, la Red Católica de Inmigración Legal (o CLINIC, por sus siglas en ingles) y Caridades Católicas USA, dijo que la decisión de la Corte Suprema “reconoce y preserva la capacidad del poder ejecutivo para revertir políticas insostenibles, ilegales, e inmorales, independientemente de quién esté en el cargo”.

También dijeron que la política de asilo “obstruyó el debido proceso y sometió a las personas a los mismos peligros que los obligaron a buscar refugio en Estados Unidos”. “Con este fallo, damos la bienvenida al final del MPP”, manifestaron el obispo auxiliar Mario E. Dorsonville de Washington, presidente del Comité de Migración de la USCCB, la hermana dominicana Donna Markham, presidenta y directora ejecutiva de Caridades Católicas USA, y Anna Gallagher, directora ejecutiva de CLINIC.

Los líderes también señalaron que el fallo de la corte no “resuelve los desafíos actuales en la frontera suroeste de nuestro país”, pero dijeron que ayuda a “preparar el camino a seguir”.

Los tres grupos habían presentado informes “amicus curiae” en el caso. En una serie de tuits del 30 de junio, Dylan Corbett, director ejecutivo de Hope Border Institute, dijo que acogía con beneplácito la decisión de la corte de permitir que el gobierno de Biden ponga fin a la política que “devuelve inhumanamente a solicitantes de asilo y migrantes vulnerables a condiciones peligrosas en México”.

Pidió el fin de esa política y de “todas las políticas que niegan el derecho a buscar asilo en nuestra frontera, incluyendo el Título 42”, una política de la era de la pandemia bajo la cual la Patrulla Fronteriza ha rechazado a cientos de miles de migrantes en la frontera de Estados Unidos con México en los últimos dos años.

Corbett dijo que su organización conoce de primera mano “el daño irreparable causado por estas políticas” y también sabe que el proceso de recibir a los solicitantes de asilo puede ser “seguro, humano, y ordenado”.

Joan Rosenhauer, directora ejecutiva del Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados de Estados Unidos, expresó una opinión similar y también señaló que los solicitantes de asilo obligados a esperar en México a menudo se encontraban en circunstancias peligrosas e inciertas con acceso limitado a vivienda, educación, oportunidades laborales, y asesoría legal.

“Nuestro personal en la frontera escucha historias todos los días de familias con niños que escaparon de circunstancias horribles”, dijo, y agregó que está complacida de que aquellos que han esperado tanto ahora puedan presentar sus solicitudes de asilo y buscar protección en Estados Unidos.

“Seguiremos trabajando con estas familias para garantizar que se satisfagan sus necesidades”, acotó, instando a la administración de Biden “tomar todos los pasos necesarios para terminar rápidamente con el MPP y establecer un proceso de asilo efectivo y eficiente”.

El Mundo en Fotos

Los manifestantes agarran una bandera estadounidense gigante mientras participan en el desfile del Día de la Independencia en Port Jefferson, Nueva York, el 4 de julio de 2022. (Foto de CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
A pesar de la lluvia y el viento persistentes, el primer día de la Segunda Asamblea del Quinto Consejo Plenario de Australia se inauguró en Sídney con una ceremonia indígena de fumar. (Foto del CNS/Giovanni Portelli, The Catholic Weekly)
A migrant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is seen near the “Kiki Romero” temporary migrant shelter Aug. 1, 2021, after being rescued by the police from inside a house where human smugglers kept migrants and others. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters)
Se ve un triciclo cerca de la escena de un tiroteo masivo en el suburbio de Highland Park, Illinois, en Chicago, el 4 de julio de 2022. (Foto de CNS/Max Herman, Reuters)
Las mujeres indígenas rezan sobre los ataúdes del padre jesuita Javier Campos y Joaquín Mora durante su misa fúnebre en la iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús en Chihuahua, México, el 25 de junio de 2022. Los dos sacerdotes fueron asesinados en la parroquia el 20 de junio cuando ofrecían refugio a un guía turístico en busca de protección. (Foto CNS/José Luis González, Reuters)
Partidarios posan con banderas chinas y de Hong Kong en Hong Kong el 1 de julio de 2022, en el 25 aniversario de la entrega de la antigua colonia británica al gobierno chino. (Foto del CNS/Paul Yeung, Reuters)
Las plantas de soja dañadas afectadas por el agua de mar salada que fluye hacia el río Po, afectado por la sequía, se muestran en Porto Tolle, Italia, el 23 de junio de 2022. El río Po, el más largo de Italia, se extiende desde los Alpes en el noroeste hasta el Mar Adriático en el este. No es sólo la falta de lluvia el problema. La Agencia Espacial Europea dice que las altas temperaturas y la falta de nieve en las montañas que alimentan el río también están empeorando la situación. (Foto del CNS/Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters)
Debra Ponce, a la izquierda, y Angelita Olvera de San Antonio lloran el 28 de junio de 2022, cerca del lugar donde decenas de inmigrantes fueron encontrados muertos dentro de un camión de remolque el día anterior. (Foto del CNS/Go Nakamura, Reuters)
El presidente de Filipinas, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Louise Araneta-Marcos, esposa de Louise Araneta-Marcos, observa el desfile civil y militar durante la ceremonia de inauguración del Museo Nacional en Manila, Filipinas, el 30 de junio de 2022. (Foto de CNS/Eloisa López, Reuters)
El padre Daniel L. Mode, capellán jefe de la Guardia Costera de EE. UU., se encuentra en el gran atrio de la sede de la Guardia Costera en Washington. Detrás de él hay un enorme muro de banderas e insignias del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional y la Guardia Costera de EE. UU. (Foto de CNS/Leslie Miller, Heraldo católico)

Preview released for Sister Thea Bowman documentary

By Joanna Puddister King
A trailer has been released by NewGroup Media and the Diocese of Jackson for the upcoming documentary on Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman.

The trailer has been making the rounds on social media and gives a glimpse into the life of the future Black Catholic saint. The documentary is entitled “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood” and it encompasses her life from her childhood in Canton, her rise to fame as a public speaker and evangelizer, to her death from cancer at age 52 in 1990.

The documentary features testimonies from Sister Thea’s friends, fellow sisters, former students, acquaintances and admirers. It also includes live-action reenactments from moments in her life. The reenactments were filmed in various locations around the country, including locally in Canton featuring local talent, with St. Joseph Catholic School student Madison Ware, as young Bertha Bowman.

Early reactions on social media platforms included:
“These 6 minutes make me wish I had known her so much earlier! Thank you!”
“She deserves this and so do the people!”
“Sister Thea will hopefully one day be the first saint from Mississippi.”

The trailer can be viewed on YouTube at https://bit.ly/SrTheaShootingStar. The film will be released this fall and is due to air on ABC.

Screengrab from the trailer of the upcoming documentary on Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman. The film is due to be released this fall, airing on ABC.

Eucharistic processions on feast of Corpus Christi will launch revival

This is the logo for the U.S. bishops’ three-year National Eucharistic Revival. On June 19, 2022, the feast of Corpus Christi, archdioceses and dioceses across the U.S. will hold eucharistic processions to launch the revival, which will culminate in the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024. (CNS photo/courtesy USCCB)

By Gabriella Patti
DETROIT (CNS) – Belief in the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist is waning among professed Catholics, and the U.S. bishops are trying to do something about it.

According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, roughly two-thirds of U.S. Catholics do not believe that the bread and wine at Mass become Christ’s body and blood during the consecration – a core dogma of the Catholic faith and the “source and summit” of the church’s life, according to the catechism.

In response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is initiating a three-year grassroots revival of devotion and faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, culminating in the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States since 1975. The congress will take place in Indianapolis in 2024.

On June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi, the National Eucharistic Revival will be launched with eucharistic processions taking place in archdioceses and dioceses around the country.

In the Detroit Archdiocese, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will lead a two-mile eucharistic procession from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament to Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Mercy Sister Esther Mary Nickel, director of worship for the archdiocese, said this “is an opportunity for Jesus to draw people to himself, and so we take Jesus to the streets, and we pray.”

Sister Nickel told Detroit Catholic, the archdiocesan news outlet, that she remembers participating in Corpus Christi processions in Rome with St. John Paul II, when onlookers would join as the congregation moved through the streets.

More than a month ahead of the archdiocesan procession, it was is drawing interest, she said.
“One of the (Detroit police) officers from the precinct who will help us with safety asked, ‘What is this about? What are we really doing?’” Sister Nickel said. “I responded and said, ‘It’s a pilgrimage, and we’re not here to stay. We’re on our way to heaven, and this is a symbolic representation of how we’re on our way to heaven together as we go to the streets.’”

Following these eucharistic processions, U.S. dioceses will develop parish teams of revival leaders to help their fellow Catholics reflect deeper on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the church.

In the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, for example, parish initiatives will begin immediately June 20, said Jenny Haug, assistant director of catechesis for the Office of Faith Formation.

The office, which is leading the revival initiative for the diocese, will be collaborating with parishes and the priests in the diocese to find a point person in each parish, she told the Tennessee Register, Nashville’s diocesan newspaper.

“The only prerequisite is that they have this beautiful devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist already and that they are willing to encourage those that they know within their parish that we need to do this together,” Haug explained.

“It is going to be three years diving deeper into the meaning of the Eucharist through catechesis, liturgical celebrations and prayer,” she added.

Catechetical resources will be made available throughout the diocese, said Brad Peper, director of the Office of Faith Formation.

In addition, there will be retreats for lay leaders and a catechetical conference each year “focusing on different consecutive themes regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist – presence, sacrifice and communion/consummation,” he said.

There also will be collaboration with religious education directors and the Catholic schools to plan curriculum that focuses more on the teaching of the Real Presence.

“The Eucharist is at the very heart of our faith,” Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre of Louisville, Kentucky, told The Record, the archdiocesan newspaper. “It is the real presence of Jesus Christ, how the Lord strengthens us to do everything he has entrusted us to do.”

And we are called to share the Eucharist with others, he said. The Corpus Christi procession provides a literal way to do so. It will start at the Cathedral of the Assumption after a noon Mass and travel several blocks in downtown Louisville and return to the cathedral.

“We are called to take Christ to the world,” said the archbishop. The procession “is a manifestation of how we are called to bring Christ to the world, as we take the eucharistic Lord to the streets, we take the word of the Lord into the world to all the places we go, as well.”

The U.S. bishops approved plans for the revival and the congress last November during their fall general assembly in Baltimore. Both are being spearheaded by the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chaired by Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota.

“We are really aware in these times that we live that the church needs to become more missionary. The culture itself doesn’t support what we do anymore as Catholics,” Bishop Cozzens said in a statement. “All Catholics are invited into a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, especially those Catholics who don’t fully understand the power of the Eucharist.”

As people are seeking deeper connection more than ever before, “this is a time not to be ashamed of the Gospel but to proclaim it from the rooftops,” he added.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB president, called the Eucharist “the gateway key to the civilization of love that we long to create.”

“Jesus promised that he would be truly present in the sacrament of the altar – but also in the flesh and blood of our neighbors, especially those who are poor and suffering,” he said. “If we ever hope to end human indifference and social injustice, then we need to revive this sacramental awareness.

“In every human person we meet – from the infant in the womb to our elderly parents drawing their dying breaths – we must see the image of the living God.”

Among other components of the National Eucharistic Revival is the selection of 58 priests as National Eucharistic Preachers. They will soon be fanning out to dioceses across the country.

Representing individual dioceses and religious orders, the priests are hoping to inspire people to become better aware of the Eucharist in daily life, said Father Jorge Torres, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, who is working as a specialist for the revival at the bishops’ conference.

The preachers will begin to respond to invitations from dioceses to speak at clergy convocations, gatherings of diocesan and Catholic school leaders, diocesan holy hours and youth and young adult events to help build interest stronger connections with the Eucharist and build interest in the congress.

In about a year, Father Torres said, the priests will begin speaking at parishes and smaller gatherings.

“The preachers have been asked to enter into this role because of their love for the Eucharist, their ability to communicate, their schedule for allowing flexibility,” Father Torres told Catholic News Service in early May.

“The goal is to not only speak about the Eucharist but to eventually share the testimonies of who Jesus in the Eucharist is to me and how that affects me whether I am a pastor at a parish or a mom on the way to the soccer game,” he explained.

(Patti is a news reporter on the staff of Detroit Catholic, the online news outlet of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Contributing to this story were Katie Peterson in Nashville and Marnie McCallister in Louisville.)