I greet you from Washington, D.C., this week. The bishops of our
country are gathered here for the semi-annual meeting of the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Between Monday morning and Thursday noon, we will be covering a wide
range of issues. We hope, for example, to give final approval to
pastoral statements on the following themes: popular devotional
practices; food, farmers and farm workers; concelebration of the
Eucharist, Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest; stewardship
and young adults; and marriage and same-sex unions.
In addition to those pastoral items, we will be spending time on
such organizational matters as budgets, priorities and plans, and the
election of conference officers and committee chairmen.
Several informational or report items will claim some of our agenda
time. Most of these involve updates about ongoing conference or
committee work. For example, we’ll have a report from the Committee on
Catechesis, and one from a committee reflecting on how to make as
beneficial as possible for all the experience of priests from other
nations ministering in the dioceses of our nation. Of course, we give
more attention to our continuing work to implement our “Charter for the
Protection of Children and Young People.”
At this meeting, we will hear from bishops from other nations.
Diarmuid Martin, coadjutor archbishop of Dublin, will address the theme
“War and Peace 40 Years After Pacem in Terris”. Archbishop Martin
participated for many years in the Holy See’s Mission to the United
We will also hear from Cardinal Frederic Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi,
archbishop of Kinshasa and president of the Catholic Episcopal
Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His address will
introduce a general discussion about the church in Africa. Our
conference committee on international social policy has been the
catalyst of this opportunity. I am quite sure that this will be a
significant step toward a deeper, ongoing discussion of this critical
One of the enjoyable features of our national assemblies is the
opportunity they provide to begin or deepen fraternal relationships
with other bishops. This evening, for example, I will be joining a
group of bishops who gather for dinner some time during every general
assembly. These sessions are informal. We enjoy a meal. We talk about
matters of common interest. Laughter is always a part of the mix, as is
a sharing of pastoral experience. I find our time together most
rewarding and encouraging.
When we adjourn on Thursday, 50 of us will be going to Houston to
participate in the National Catholic Youth Conference. I look forward
to this very much. It is always a joyful and hopeful experience of the
young church. In a special way, I am eager to spend as much time as I
can with the members of our diocesan delegation to the event. I am
delighted that our diocesan group will number close to 900. And, I
understand that ours will be the largest group in Houston, save for the
delegation of the host diocese, Galveston-Houston.
Please pray that God will keep them all safe, and that their
experience in Houston will be a time of special grace and growth for
our beautiful young people. They give much to the life of today’s
church; they will be key leaders in tomorrow’s church.
Thanks to you and all whose encouragement inspires our young people
to participate in such ventures. Thanks also for your financial
support, which is such a great help to them as well.
Peace to all.Tags: Bishop Matthew H. Clark