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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Chairman Calls for Renewal of Prayers for Coptic Brethren After Latest Attacks in Egypt

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has issued the following statement on this morning's deadly attack on a Coptic Church and nearby bookstore in Egypt.

Bishop Bambera's full statement follows: 

"This morning, at least ten people were killed as armed men attempted to enter Mar Mina Church in Helwan City, south of Cairo and a nearby bookshop. Among the dead are two policemen. The assault took place as a gunman tried to breach the church's security cordon. It is estimated that over 2000 attacks on Coptic Christians by extremists have occurred in the last three years alone.

One week ago, on December 22, hundreds of Muslim demonstrators attacked an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people. Demonstrators chanted anti-Christian slogans and called for the church's demolition. The interior of the church was completely destroyed.

Earlier this year, on May 26, masked militants opened fired on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children on their way to the monastery of St. Samule the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya governorate. In that attack, 28 people were killed and 22 were wounded.

On Palm Sunday, April 9, twin suicide bombings struck churches in the coastal city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta. At least 43 people were killed and many others were injured. One of the bombings narrowly missed a Palm Sunday service which was to be presided over by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.

These attacks represent only some of the many attacks that have occurred over the past several years, targeting faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who account for almost 10% of Egypt's population. In the course of such rampant attacks, Muslims have also been targeted as well as police, military and members of the news media. On November 24 of this year, terrorists detonated a bomb at a mosque in Bir al-Abd in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt killing over 300 worshipers and spraying gunfire on those escaping. Sadly, attacks such as these represent countless numbers of ongoing acts of violence that continue to burden the Egyptian nation.

I ask Catholics and men and women of faith and good will to pray for peace in Egypt and the Middle East and for all victims of religious and political hatred. I especially ask Catholics to renew their support, love and prayers for our Coptic brethren who are enduring martyrdom for the sake of Christ. May all continue to receive from heaven the grace to witness to what is good and noble in the human spirit, recovery for all those who have been injured, and eternal rest for those who have died."

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Keywords:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Coptic Christians, Coptic Church, Cairo, Egypt, anti-Christian, Coptic Orthodox Church, terrorists, violence, peace, martyrdom.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

A New Year Reflection

A year is dead, a year is born: Thus time flies by on silent wing: Thou, Lord, alone canst guide our course And safe to heaven Thy people bring.  (Lapsus est Annus) Long ago, our ancestors greatly feared the passage of time. We experienced a bit of that years ago when we turned the page […]

Christmas is the Perfect Time for Building Family Rituals

When people want to make a major change in their lives, they usually make a New Year’s resolution. And that’s a good thing. However, we know that most New Year’s resolutions fail. Why? Because these resolutions mainly represent a clean break from previous behavior. Someone who was not exercising is not trying to exercise 3-4 […]

Let your Christmas Joy Shine Forth

Grant, O Lord, we pray, that we may draw new vigor from celebrating the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son, by whose heavenly mystery we have received both food and drink. Hi Everybody! Bishop Callahan here to wish you a Merry Christmas! Jesus Christ came to earth, He was born in a humble stable, and […]

“Child of The Christmas Heart”

This show for 12/23 and Christmas Eve is all special music not found elsewhere and also commercial free.  Airdate 12/23/17

Catholic Partners Urge 18-month Extension of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador

WASHINGTON—On December 20, 2017, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, was joined by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), and Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) in sending a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, urging an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador.

TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.

El Salvador's current TPS designation extends through March 9, 2018, however, the Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend TPS for the country by January 8, 2018. In their letter, the Catholic partners urged Secretary Nielsen to extend TPS for El Salvador, noting that "terminating TPS for El Salvador would likely destabilize this key strategic, regional partner, undermining the tremendous investments of the U.S. government."

As discussed in the USCCB/MRS trip report, Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle, El Salvador is currently in no position to safely accommodate the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans who have TPS. Noting the concerning country conditions, the Catholic partners urged Secretary Nielsen to "show compassion and patience as El Salvador continues to improve its citizen security and humanitarian capacity for reception, protection, and integration."

The letter also reiterated the Church's commitment to stand "ready to support measures to protect the well-being and dignity of Salvadoran families here and abroad."

Read the full letter here:

https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Catholic-Partner-Letter-to-DHS-Requesting-ES-TPS-Extension_12.20.17-FINAL.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, Center for Migration Studies, Department of Homeland Security, Temporary Protected Status, TPS recipients, TPS beneficiaries, Congress, Honduras, El Salvador, refugees, migration, prayers, families, legislative solution

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President Should Work with Congress Toward Acceptable Tax Bill, Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

WASHINGTON— After the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, drew attention to unacceptable problems that remain, and called on President Trump to insist that Congress fix them before he signs a bill into law.

The full statement follows:

"Today, Congress passed its tax reform legislation, The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, and it has been sent to the President to consider. The legislation achieves some laudable things, like doubling the standard deduction, which will help many struggling families avoid tax liability, expanding the use of 529 education plans, and increasing the child tax credit.

However, the Act contains a number of problematic provisions that will have dramatic negative consequences, particularly for those most in need. Among other things, the Joint Committee on Taxation indicates that the bill will eventually raise taxes on those with lower incomes while simultaneously cutting taxes for the wealthy. This is clearly problematic, especially for the poor. The repeal of the personal exemption will cause larger families, including many in the middle class, to be financially worse off. The final bill creates a large deficit that, as early as next year, will be used as a basis to cut programs that help the poor and vulnerable toward stability. The legislation is also likely to produce up to a $13 billion drop in annual charitable giving to nonprofits that are relied upon to help those struggling on the margins.  This will also significantly diminish the role of civil society in promoting the common good.

As the President considers the tax bill before him, we ask that he take into account the full consequences of its provisions and work with Congress to remedy them before signing a tax bill into law."

Bishop Frank J. Dewane's December 6, 2017, letter analyzing the Senate and House bills prior to reconciliation can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/Tax-Conference-Letter-Congress-2017-12-06.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, tax reform bill, The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, tax cuts, Standard Deduction, child tax credit, Affordable Care Act (ACA), charitable giving, tax payers, health care reform, families, poor

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

USCCB PRESIDENT ON THE PASSING OF CARDINAL LAW

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement this morning upon the death of Cardinal Bernard Law. If you have been abused or know of someone who has been abused, contact the local diocesan victims assistance coordinator and, where you may have knowledge of a crime, local law enforcement. As we reflect on the legacy of Cardinal Law, it will likely bring back painful memories for survivors. The Church seeks to always respond as supportive pastors.

"Entrusting his soul to the mercy of Christ, I echo the statement released by Cardinal Seán O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and offer my prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Cardinal Law. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. At this time especially we keep close in our prayer the brave survivors of sexual abuse.  Their witness would lead to a comprehensive response from the Church in the United States to protect and heal the deep wounds of abuse. I pray they may find strength and peace in the mercy of Christ."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Seán O'Malley, Archdiocese of Boston, sexual abuse, prayers, condolences

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering February 3-6, Will Focus on Racism, Environment, Immigration

WASHINGTON—The 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will take place February 3-6, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Gathering, organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and 16 collaborating organizations, attracts more than 500 participants from around the country and seeks to equip Catholic leaders and emerging leaders to bring the voice of faith to the public square.

The theme for this year's Gathering is "Building Community: A Call to the Common Good." "The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering seeks to help Catholics respond to Pope Francis' call to be missionary disciples who work together to promote the common good and protect the life and dignity of God's children at home and around the world," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development.

Joining the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in organizing the Gathering are numerous other USCCB departments and national Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and others.

Bishop Dewane will celebrate a Welcome Mass on Saturday, February 3, and USCCB's president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, will celebrate the Sending Mass on Tuesday, February 6. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, will deliver the Keynote Presentation on "Where is your brother?".

Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism will address the ramifications of racism in society and the Church, and Mauricio López, Executive Secretary of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), will lead a panel presentation on the experiences of indigenous and rural communities and their connection to environmental matters in anticipation of the 2019 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon announced recently by Pope Francis.

A Plenary and Dialogue on "Moving from a Throwaway Culture to a Culture of Encounter" will include Sr. Patricia Chappell, Kim Daniels, Dr. Maryann Cusimano-Love, Dr. R.R. Reno, and Fr. Matt Malone.

Workshops include: Best Practices in Responding to Racial Unrest: Lessons Learned from Ferguson; Restorative Justice in Parish Life; the V Encuentro; a Catholic Response to Migration Policy; Nuclear Threats to the Common Good: Disarmament, North Korea and Iran; a Catholic Response to the Opioid Abuse Crisis; Common Ground on Climate Policy; Developing Affordable Housing for the Vulnerable; and others.

Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Reporters interested in covering the gathering can download a credential application form and submit it by email no later than January 12.

More information is available online: www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org/.

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Keywords: Catholic Social Ministry Gathering; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB; Bishop Frank J. Dewane; Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo; Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo; Catholic Relief Services, CRS, Catholic Charities USA, CCUSA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; racial unrest, racism, immigration, restorative justice, Ferguson, environment, migration policy, V Encuentro, nuclear threat, opioid abuse, affordable housing

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Advent is a time for stories.

Along with the Christmas Gospel read by Bishop Callahan, hear other stories of Christmas.  Airdate: 12/16/17