U.S. Bishops Approve Document on Eucharist and Investment Guidelines at Baltimore Meeting

Bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Bishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop William E. Lori of Baltimore concelebrate Mass at the National Shrine Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on November 15, 2021 in Baltimore during the Fall General Assembly of Bishops. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first in-person meeting of bishops since 2019. (CNS Photo/Bob Roller)

When the U.S. bishops met in Baltimore Nov. 15-17, they discussed a number of topics, including adopting a document on the mystery of the Eucharist and approving a Eucharistic revival plan. of three years that will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress in 2024.

The bishops also heard from Bishop Christophe PierreApostolic Nuncio to the United States, who encouraged bishops to listen to their people, to each other and to the Holy Spirit.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has met in person for the first time since 2019. The global pandemic has moved its past three biannual meetings online.

Bishop Jose H. Gomez, conference president and archbishop of Los Angeles, said Nov. 16 he was happy to meet in person, as it was his first meeting as president that the bishops were face to face. He began his three-year term as president at the end of the November 2019 meeting. “We can talk to each other and share the situation in our diocese.”

He said it was important for the bishops to begin their Nov. 15 day with a day of reflection, including prayer, reflection and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They met in an executive session in the afternoon to hammer out the details of revisions to a long-awaited document, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.”

On the evening of their first day, more than 200 bishops and archbishops and six cardinals gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Mass, where Bishop William E. Lori gave a homily centered on synodality.

In their discussions and actions, the bishops updated their socially responsible investing guidelines, which was last updated in 2003. The policy adds guidance in areas such as telecommunications, media and social impact investing, and expands consideration of stages from no investment in corporate engagement in their business practices. A footnote added when the guidelines were amended discusses the progressive divestment of the fossil fuel industry.

The bishops also voted move up the timeline on a review of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which had been mandated for 2025, but will start earlier.

Bishops wearing protective face masks pray during a November 16, 2021 session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first in-person meeting of bishops since 2019. (CNS Photo/Bob Roller)

The conference approved new statutes in English and Spanish on the catechumenate and accompanying liturgical rites for the Order of Adult Christian Initiation, formerly known as the Rite of Adult Christian Initiation, RCIA, in which those who are not baptized are brought into the church. and to welcome into full communion with the Church those who may have been baptized into the Catholic Church or into another Christian denomination.

Archbishop Lori said Nov. 17 he was pleased the Eucharist document passed with an overwhelming majority of bishops, 222-8, noting it showed “a unity of mind and heart.” .

“The document is meant to be a resource,” the archbishop said. “It is intended to emphasize points of Eucharistic doctrine and practice which may have been overlooked over time – which in our time require new attention.”

He said the teaching contained in the document will be made accessible to people of all ages and cultures in many forms and formats.

The bishops also heard a presentation from Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of St. Paul-Minneapolis on a Eucharistic revival project that will begin in June 2022, culminating in a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in June 2024. Bishop Cozzens, who The recently appointed Bishop of Crookston, Minnesota, chairs the Evangelism and Catechesis Committee, which will oversee the ERP, which has the theme “My Flesh for the Life of the World,” and the convention.

He noted that the USCCB meeting made adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available around the clock, and many bishops took advantage of it during the night.

He outlined plans for the next three years of the ERP, with diocesan phases in 2022-23 and parish phases the following year. He said organizers expect 80,000 to 100,000 people to attend the National Eucharistic Congress.

Bishop Lori noted that the Archdiocese of Baltimore had already begun a year of the Eucharist in June 2021. He said the local effort is “kind of a first taste of what will unfold nationally as we experience together, throughout our country, a renewal of faith in the Eucharist, a renewed experience of the presence of Christ among us, meeting him one another in our Eucharistic celebrations, inviting our Catholic brothers to return to Mass , helping young people realize how the Eucharist is a beautiful gift they face the challenges of growing up in our culture.He also noted that the Eucharist is “the source of all our works of justice and charity.”

The bishops also heard a presentation from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, on an effort launched by USCCB in 2020 to help mothers in case difficult pregnancy, “Walking with Moms in Need.

The effort hopes to engage each of the country’s 17,000 Catholic parishes as a place to provide resources to expectant mothers, offering practical assistance to children and mothers.

The goal of Walking with Moms in Need is not to turn parishes into pregnancy centers, but to make parishes and the wider community aware of the resources that already exist available to pregnant women and their families. Already in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 45 parishes are active in the program.

Archbishop Lori, who will assume the chairmanship of the Pro-Life Activities Committee at the end of this year’s USCCB meeting, called the project “a very nice pro-life effort.”

“He recognizes the immense obstacles and challenges that women face in the event of a difficult pregnancy. And it is a gathering of the Church community to surround women in such situations with love, care, protection and concern,” Bishop Lori said.

Bishops wearing protective masks attend Mass Nov. 15, 2021 at the National Shrine Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore during the fall general assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. United. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first in-person meeting of bishops since 2019. (CNS Photo/Bob Roller)

The initiative shows the goodness, beauty and truth of the church’s pro-life teaching, he added.

In his address to the bishops, Bishop Pierre, the pope’s representative in the United States, praised Walking with Moms in Need as a synodal program because it listens to women in order to understand their situations.

“Many pregnant women often suffer from loneliness and common events, such as baby showers, are not part of their reality,” the nuncio said. “Parishes, by listening to some of the spiritual, social and emotional needs of people, can support women – even with small acts of kindness.

“Concrete gestures, not mere ideas, show the motherly and tender face of the Church which is truly pro-life,” Archbishop Pierre said.

Archbishop Lori acknowledged that a variety of societal conditions are driving the prevalence of abortion, including poverty, misinformation and other factors, which the Church must address as best it can. she can.

“We must also recognize that there are many powerful forces in our society that promote abortion, not as a necessary evil, but as a positive good, and this must also be confronted directly and spoken about honestly,” the Bishop said. Lori.

The bishops concluded the public portion of their meeting Nov. 17 and were scheduled to reconvene in executive session Nov. 18.

Email Christopher Gunty at [email protected]

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