Bishop participates in USCCB meeting • Religious freedom is focus for Solemnity of Christ the King • Support urged for CCHD collection on behalf of poor

Bishop participates in USCCB meeting • Religious freedom is focus for Solemnity of Christ the King • Support urged for CCHD collection on behalf of poor

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., joins other U.S. bishops for the annual USCCB Fall General Assembly held Nov. 15-18 in Baltimore.  

It was a great reunion at the U.S. Bishops’ Assembly Nov. 16 when Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Diocese of Trenton, former president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, joined Dr. John DiGioia, current president of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, to address members of the USCCB on topics related to Catholic colleges and universities in the United States. Bishop O’Connell spoke on the purposes of American Catholic higher education and Dr. DiGioia addressed elements of American universities and colleges. “It was wonderful,” Bishop O’Connell remarked, “to catch up with Jack again. He was a great friend and colleague during my Washington days.”

This will be the first in-person meeting of the full body of bishops since November 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 2020 spring meeting was canceled, and the November 2020 fall meeting and June 2021 spring meeting were held in a virtual format.

The 2021 assembly opened with a Nov. 15 Mass in The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Topics expected to be addressed include: the Eucharistic revival initiative and approval of a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024; an update of the “Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines”; a statement on the Eucharist, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church”; the proposal to add St. Teresa of Calcutta on the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States as an optional memorial on Sept. 5; new English and Spanish versions of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults; a translation of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery Outside Mass; “National Statutes for the Catechumenate” in English and Spanish, and the USCCB’s 2022 budget.

To view the livestream of the USCCB Fall Assembly, click here.

Caption for main photo: Bishop O’Connell participates in a Nov. 16 assembly during the U.S. bishops meeting. Staff photo

Bishop O’Connell issued this message to mark the Solemnity of Christ the King which falls Nov. 21:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has shared these reflections for the consideration of all Catholics throughout our country. As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I am happy to offer them to you for your thought and prayer. On the last Sunday of each liturgical year (this year, Nov. 21), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King.

In its core document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty,” the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty “urge[d] that the Solemnity of Christ the King – a feast born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty – be a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.”

Let us pray fervently that we will help others encounter anew Christ, our King, bringing the Gospel to the margins of society, that all might bear witness to Him before others.

To read Bishop O’Connell’s full message, click HERE.

Responding to the call of all Christians to remember and care for the poor, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development will conduct its annual collection the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov. 20-21, in parishes around the Diocese of Trenton and nationwide.

The need, as with many social service programs, has become more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, with in-person donations thwarted by restrictions.

“We collected less than half of what we normally do in 2020,” said Brenda Rascher, diocesan executive director of Catholic Social Services and acting director for CCHD. “Financial requests far exceed the amount we can give.”

Known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ anti-poverty program, the collection will go toward the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty, helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities. “CCHD offers a hand up, not a handout,” the USCCB entity advertises on its website.

To learn more, visit this CCHD report on The Monitor’s website.

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