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Let Us Love One Another
Bishop Richard G. Lennon

friday january 16 2015
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops tackles variety of topics

The Catholic bishops in the United States gathered this past November in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting. The meeting began officially on Monday, Nov. 10, and ended on Thursday, Nov. 13.

I wish to share with you some of the items which were discussed by the body of bishops. Regularly there are liturgical issues on the bishops’ agenda for the annual meeting.  2014 was no exception.

Over the years we have all grown accustomed to hearing about the liturgical books. This year we discussed a proposed translation of the book which addresses the dedication of a new church building and the dedication of a new altar.  While these projects are not happening on a regular schedule, their happenings are very significant in the life of a parish community that finds itself celebrating either the dedication of a new church building or the dedication of a new altar, or dedicating both.

Presently, two parishes are in the midst of construction and in 2015 they will be dedicating a new church building and altar. The parishioners of St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village and the parishioners of St. Agnes/Our Lady of Fatima in Cleveland will be the first to tell you about the excitement this has created in these two faith communities.

The bishops also considered an English translation of the Ritual Book entitled “Exorcisms and Related Supplications.” This pastoral book will provide assistance to those who may be troubled as they seek the Church’s pastoral care under the oversight of the diocesan bishop. The bishops are committed to helping people who are in stress.  My brother bishops and I were very supportive of this item.

Also, the bishops endorsed a new document to strengthen the Church’s ministry especially with children who experience various health situations which can challenge their reception of the sacraments and participation in the liturgy.  Overwhelmingly, the bishops again were in favor of doing all we can to facilitate children’s participation in the faith life of the parish.

Lastly in the area of liturgy the bishops voted for the translation of prayers to be used for the feast days of the saints who have been added to the general calendar since 1984.  This will broaden the availability of these saints for our knowledge and for our spiritual enrichment as we experience their lived holiness, which hopefully may inspire us to do the same.

Speaking about holiness, an agenda item invited the bishops to support the opportuness of considering for sainthood Father Paul Wattson who co-founded the Society of the Atonement in 1899.  Father Wattson was a strong advocate of Christian unity.  The bishops voiced their support that this cause be accepted.

The bishops talked about a proposed revision to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. Specifically, the issue is about Catholic health care entities entering into partnerships with non-Catholic entities.  With the strong support from the bishops, this item has gone to the Doctrine Committee so that revisions which will be offered will ensure that the Church’s health care involvement will not give scandal to the faithful or raise concerns about illicit material cooperation. I suspect this item will be shared with us in draft form, and then will be on the agenda for the June meeting in St. Louis.

I hope you found these items from the bishops’ November meeting of interest to you.

Best wishes for a blessed and happy New Year.

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