Wednesday, November 30, 2022

First Saint of the Day for December


Saint Charles de Faucauld

Bl. Charles de Faucauld

* Canonized Saint May 15, 2022

Saint Charles de Foucauld Little Brother Charles of Jesus Charles Eugene, (Vicomte de) Foucauld 1858 - 1916 Died Age 58 Charles was left an orphan by the age of six, and he and his sister were brought up by their grandfather. By the time he was fifteen, less than a year after his First Communion, Charles had ceased to be a Christian and was an agnostic. In 1878, his grandfather died. Love for the old man had prevented Charles from indulging in the worst excesses, but at his death, Charles began to "live." On receiving his inheritance, he set about spending it in riotous living.  For a time he lived in Paris, where he took an apartment near a cousin, Marie de Bondy. Marie, who had first entered his life when he was about eleven, was a deeply spiritual young woman. Gradually, through her example, the gay and reckless young man began to change. His religion, when he rediscovered God, was a highly personal discipleship and love of the Person of Jesus Christ. Regarding his conversion, Charles said, "The moment I realized that God existed, I knew I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone." For a time after his return to the sacraments, Charles lived as a Trappist monk. Although he is remembered as an exemplary religious, the conviction grew that this was not his vocation. After being released from his temporary vows, Charles went to the Holy Land where he became a servant for the Poor Clare nuns.  Mother Elizabeth, the Superior of these Clarist sisters, was a woman of uncommon wisdom. She helped Charles to the realization that he should become a priest in order to serve God better. Charles finished his studies for the priesthood and was ordained in 1901. Later that year, he left for Algeria to take up the life of a hermit in the desert. Little Brother Charles of Jesus, as he called himself, thought up and wrote down a plan for two religious orders. The members of these orders would live a life patterned on the life of Jesus at Nazareth.  At the time of Brother Charles' death, neither his missionary contacts  nor his designs for new religious orders had borne visible fruit.  In 1916, living among the fierce Tuaregs of Tamanrasset, Charles de Foucauld was murdered in an attempt to warn two Arab soldiers of danger from a group of Senussi rebels.  The life of Charles de Foucauld was like the biblical seed which had to die before it sprouted into a healthy plant. Within twenty years after his death, there appeared three congregations which derived their inspiration, purpose, and Rules from Charles de Foucauld. These Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and Little Sisters of Jesus live in small groups all over the world, preaching by the lives they lead. Two other Orders, founded later, trace their heritage to Little Brother Charles of Jesus. Each of these groups bases its apostolate on the ideas of the Orders which the martyr of the desert had planned, but did not live to see. Knowledge of the life of Charles de Foucauld has spread throughout the Church. After preliminary investigations, all proved positive, and he was declared Venerable on April 13, 1978.

Preparing to Pray for the Pope's Intentions for December


Pope Francis’ 2022 Monthly Intentions


Volunteer Not-for-profit Organisations

We pray that volunteer non-profit organisations committed to human development find people dedicated to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.

Statement from Archbishop Aymond on the horrible events in Covington


A Statement from Archbishop Aymond

November 30, 2022
by Communications

The horror of the events that have unfolded here in Covington is beyond shocking. The pain, sadness, and disbelief that something like this could happen will stay with us but particularly those who are most directly affected for a very long time.

Today as we await confirmation of the second victim, I offer my prayers for both victims of this heinous crime. In a particular way we prayerfully remember Fr. Otis, a beloved pastor who touched the lives of so many with his faith, warmth, and pastoral heart. This is a loss for our church and for the entire community.

I extend my prayerful support and that of the clergy, religious, and laity of the archdiocese to the Covington community and in particular for the parishioners of St. Peter Parish. I also want to extend my gratitude and prayers to the law enforcement personnel, the coroner, and all authorities who have worked so carefully and thoroughly through these very difficult circumstances.

For all those who are hurting and asking how this could happen, may I humbly offer that we turn to our Lord Jesus in this time of mourning.

Let us continue to pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Otis and for Ruth Prats who remains missing, and for both their families and all who are suffering. Let us pray that we may all know God’s love, mercy, and hope.

A Catholic Priest serves the Catholic presence in Qatar (the church is truly universal)


What it is like to be a Catholic priest in Qatar

Father Charbel Mhanna celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Qatar. Our Lady of the Rosary Church

When Father Charbel Mhanna needs to acquire altar wine for Mass, he must use a special card issued by the government of Qatar at the only venue that sells alcohol to residents of the country.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup’s stadium beer ban irked many soccer fans who traveled to the Arabian Peninsula for the international sporting event, but Qatar’s alcohol laws are just a minor restriction compared with what Catholic priests face ministering in the Muslim-majority country, where public displays of Christian religion are forbidden.

Father Mhanna has lived in Qatar for nine years. Originally from Lebanon, he ministers to Maronite Catholics living in Qatar as well as Italian and French-speaking communities at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Doha.

In an interview in Arabic with ACI Mena, CNA’s news partner in the Middle East, Mhanna explained that there are no bells or crosses on church buildings in Qatar.

“It is not possible to preach or grant the sacrament of baptism to the descendants of non-Christians or to convert from one religion to another,” Mhanna said.

He added that “churches are considered embassies” that deal with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Religious processions are only allowed to take place within the walls of the Qatar Religious Complex, a complex opened in 2008 that holds six different churches: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Syrian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and an interdenominational group for Indian expatriate Christian communities.

“Copies of the Bible can [only] be distributed inside the church complex campus,” Mhanna said.

On the other hand, the priest noted that he has not faced any censorship in his homilies and is free to go out to minister to Catholics in Qatar, many of whom are foreign workers.

“We give eucharistic Communion to patients in hospitals without any problem and we can pray in cemeteries, as there are tombs for non-Muslims,” he said.

“We also have every liberty to preach. No one ever interfered with my sermons. We recite our spiritual words without restrictions,” he added.

When it comes to marriages, however, the priest is only allowed to celebrate a wedding between two Christians. He said: “If a Christian wants to marry a Muslim, they cannot get married in our church. We usually invite them to marry in another country.”

The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia estimates that about 200,000 to 300,000 Catholics live in Qatar. All are migrant workers, mainly from the Philippines and India.

According to the vicariate, employment and camp rules can make participation in Catholic liturgies impossible for some of these workers. The Catholic community also struggles with restrictions on the number of priests allowed in the country and the limited capacity of its church inside the religious complex.

Mhanna is currently overseeing the construction of a new Catholic church in Qatar — a Maronite Catholic church that will have a capacity of 1,500 people.

“Qatar provided land on which we can build today a church in the name of St. Charbel,” he said.

Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite Catholic patriarch, laid the foundation stone for the church in 2018 at the invitation of Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“The church is in the process of being finished,” Mhanna said.

Being a priest in the smallest country to ever host the World Cup also comes with some perks. Mhanna was able to attend the opening match of the soccer tournament along with other Christian leaders who minister in the Qatar Religious Complex.

“We sat near the seats designated for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and church representatives were wearing pectoral crosses without any problem,” he said.

St. Andrew Novena Prayer or the Christmas Anticipation Prayer

 What is the Saint Andrew Novena?

It is a devotion, also known as the Christmas Anticipation Prayer, that starts on the feast day of St Andrew the Apostle, November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve. It consists in reciting the prayer found below 15 times each day of the novena period. Its exact origin is unknown, but it is believed to have begun in Ireland during the 19th century. This is a very meditative prayer that brings about graces, increases our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and prepares us spiritually for His coming.



Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Recite the above prayer 15 times a day from November 30 to December 24

Restrictions being lifted on returning to the Communion cup


Some U.S. dioceses are lifting restrictions on Communion cup

By: Carol Zimmermann

Date: November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As many restrictions put in place at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted, some Catholic dioceses around the country are returning, or already have returned, to offering consecrated wine in the chalice for Communion while others are waiting to do so.

Some dioceses lifted this restriction in June particularly for the feasts of Corpus Christi or Pentecost.

Most recently, the archbishop of New Orleans announced that parishes could once again offer the Communion cup.

Father Nile Gross, director of the New Orleans Archdiocese’s Office of Worship, announced the decision in a Nov. 25 column in the Clarion Herald, the archdiocesan newspaper, by saying: “The long hiatus is finally over!”

He said Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond “formally removed any restrictions on the offering of Communion under both kinds in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Effective immediately, parishes may reintroduce Communion from the Precious Blood from the chalice. Some parishes already may have begun the practice.”

The priest said the decision was made “with due diligence and with the support of local and state health officials. The health of the local community is among his (the archbishop’s) highest priorities.”

He also pointed out: “Not every parish may be ready to resume this practice, which is understandable. Some parishes never offered Communion from the chalice before the pandemic. Some pastors and pastoral councils may feel it is better to wait until after the flu season or some later time when fear and anxiety of the past few years has waned. The decision is a pastoral decision to be weighed by each individual parish.”

He stressed that even in parishes that offer this option, it is a personal decision to receive the Communion cup or not.

But he said Catholics in the archdiocese should “look at this as a precious gift.”

“The opportunity to receive the Blood of Christ at Mass connects us directly to the apostles, who received the chalice directly from Christ himself,” he explained. “It connects us to great saints throughout history who did the same.”

In the nearly three-year absence of the use of the Communion chalice, he reminded local Catholics that the consecrated wine “may not be offered in separate cups (plastic, paper, etc.) to individual communicants. If fear of illness exists, that person should refrain from the chalice.”

He also said intinction, dipping of the Communion host into the chalice, is only allowed for the clergy. “The lay faithful,” he said, “may not dip their hosts into the chalice themselves, as this is considered ‘self-communication,'” which the church prohibits.

Father Gross said the announcement on the return of the Communion cup “marks an important moment in the life of the archdiocese.”

“COVID happened and continues to pose serious health threats,” the priest said. “However, guided by prayer and the guidance of health officials, Archbishop Aymond has decided it is time to strengthen our liturgical life in this important gesture.”

The week before the New Orleans announcement, the bishop of the neighboring Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made a similar statement.

In a Nov. 12 letter to Catholics in his diocese, Bishop Michael G. Duca said that in order to “make a full return to our normal celebration of the liturgy,” he had told diocesan pastors that he encourages and allows “parishes to restore the practice of distributing Communion under both kinds beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, if the ministers and congregation are prepared to do so.”

The bishop said receiving Communion from the cup was still voluntary and that each parish could join in when they were ready.

He said parishes can move at their own pace “taking into account the time needed to prepare the lay ministers and the current desires and willingness of the people to receive, once again, from the chalice.”

Bishop Duca also took the opportunity to remind Catholics that “while receiving from the chalice is for many a spiritually meaningful experience, it is not necessary to receive the fullness of Christ in holy Communion. As always, receiving from the chalice when offered is an optional choice for the individual communicant. ”

The bishop said there may be challenges with reinstituting this practice but he did not think they would be insurmountable.

He said he hoped that with this final restriction removed, parishes could begin to return to spiritual and liturgical traditions in place before the pandemic.

While some bishops have not yet made a formal announcement lifting the restriction, others did so this summer, particularly for the start of three-year eucharistic revival in the United States.

Bishop David J. Bonnar of Youngstown, Ohio, announced in June that parishes in his diocese could begin offering the faithful consecrated wine on Pentecost, stressing that he made the decision after consulting medical professionals.

He pointed out, as other bishops also did, that the decision to resume this practice “isn’t an order. Parishes will decide whether to serve wine from a chalice at all Sunday Masses and other celebrations.”

A question-and-answer page on the diocesan website stressed that the “act of receiving holy Communion is an act of faith. The person makes this act of faith in the total presence of the Lord whether in receiving holy Communion under one form or under both kinds.”

The headline of an Aug. 15 column in America magazine by Terence Sweeney, adjunct professor of philosophy at Villanova University in Philadelphia and theologian in residence at the Collegium Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “It’s time to bring back receiving Communion from the chalice.”

“Since the beginning of COVID-19, we have been missing that something,” he wrote. “Withholding the chalice was a worthwhile precaution (even if there is little reason to believe drinking from the common cup brings a high risk of contracting COVID-19).”

He said that as previous pandemic restrictions are being lifted, “the time has come to reconsider this sacramental restriction.”

Sweeney said many people have “continued, legitimate concerns about COVID-19 and will make decisions about their own health.”

“Nevertheless, as we open society, we should not leave the chalice off limits,” he continued. “At many parishes, after Mass you can now grab a doughnut from a tray, pick up a Styrofoam cup of coffee and chat with fellow parishioners. But you cannot receive the Precious Blood.”

But not everyone feels this strongly about returning to Communion from the cup.

In the Sept. 6 “Ask an Apostle” section of U.S. Catholic magazine, one question was: “My parish has the chalice back at Mass and it makes me uncomfortable because of COVID-19. I do not think it safe. What can I do about this?”

Teresa Coda, who works in parish faith formation in Pennsylvania, wrote that in response the question writer could simply not receive Communion from the cup or could contact the pastor or parish council if the concern was for the health of all parishioners.

This summer in the Pittsburgh Diocese, there were mixed feelings when Bishop David A. Zubik announced June 24 that the diocese would allow each pastor to determine whether the Communion chalice should be reimplemented during Mass.

An article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review daily newspaper quoted a pastor who said parishioners had not asked for the return of the chalice and
another who said parishioners were very happy about its return.

Diocese spokeswoman Jennifer Antkowiak told the newspaper that Bishop Zubik “had been getting a lot of emails and messages from parishioners who really wanted to see (the cup) reinstated” and that after his announcement there had not been any major concerns raised from local Catholic community.

She said most people viewed the decision as a “sign of hope.”

No matter what steps dioceses are taking, the suspension of the Communion chalice and its reinstatement for some has been a period for explaining the significance of Communion in both forms in bishops’ letters and on diocesan websites.

Father Dustin Dought, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, explained earlier this year to the National Catholic Reporter what the church says about Communion in both species.

He said that since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has emphasized that while the distribution of both host and wine “more fully expresses Christ’s gift of himself at the Last Supper,” the fullness of sacramental grace is present in each form.

“When it comes to the sign, the sign is less full, the expression is less full,” without both forms of Communion, he said. “But when it comes to grace, there’s no deprivation of grace” without the Communion cup.

Papal delegation to Istanbul for visit on Feast of St. Andrew


Pope Francis and H.B. Batholomew I of ConstantinoplePope Francis and H.B. Batholomew I of Constantinople  (Vatican Media)

Pope to Bartholomew: Only dialogue and encounter can overcome conflicts

A Vatican Delegation led by Cardinal Sandri visits Istanbul for the occasion of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and conveys Pope Francis’ “fraternal affection” to the Ecumenic Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. In his message the Pope says that one of the most fruitful areas of cooperation between the Patriarchate and the Catholic Church is interreligious dialogue to promote peace.

By Lisa Zengarini

Following a long-standing tradition, on the occasion of today’s Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, patron saint of Constantinople, Pope Francis has sent a delegation to Istanbul to convey his greetings and the assurance of his “fraternal affection” to the Ecumenic Patriarch Bartholomew.

The annual exchanges of Delegations

The visit is part of the annual exchange of Delegations between the Holy See and the Patriarchate for their respective patronal feasts, on 29 June in Rome, the Feast of St. Peter and Paul, and on 30 November in Istanbul.

In his message Pope Francis notes  that these visits are “an expression of the depth of the bonds” uniting the Catholic and Orthodox Church of Costantinople and “a visible sign” of  their  “cherished hope for ever deeper communion”, which he  says is “an irrevocable commitment for every Christian” as well as  “an urgent priority in today’s world”.

“Today’s world is greatly in need of reconciliation, fraternity and unity.”

Divisions are the result of sinful action

The Pope further highlights the need to continue analyzing the historical and theological reasons at the origin of the ongoing divisions between the two Churches “in a spirit that is neither polemical nor apologetic but marked instead by authentic dialogue and mutual openness”.

Likewise, he continues, they must “acknowledge that divisions are the result of sinful actions and attitudes which impede the work of the Holy Spirit, who guides the faithful into unity in legitimate diversity”.

They are therefore called “to work towards the restoration of unity between Christians not merely through signed agreements but through fidelity to the Father’s will and discernment of the promptings of the Spirit”.

“We can be thankful to God that our Churches are not resigned to past and current experiences of division, but, on the contrary, through prayer and fraternal charity are seeking instead to achieve full communion that will enable us one day, in God’s time, to gather together at the same Eucharistic table”

The Pope remarks that as they journey together toward the goal of unity, the  Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are already working together for the common good of the human family in many areas including safeguarding creation, defending the dignity of every person, combatting modern forms of slavery, and promoting peace.

Dialogue and encounter are the only viable path for overcoming conflicts

One of the most fruitful areas of such cooperation, the message says, is interreligious dialogue.

The Pope recalls in particular his recent Apostolic Journey to Bahrain for the occasion of the Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence”, reiterating once again that “Dialogue and encounter are the only viable path for overcoming conflicts and all forms of violence”.

Prayers for the victims of the recent attack in Instanbul

Concluding his message Pope Francis recalls  the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Istanbul on 12 November, entrusting them to the mercy of God, while praying he will convert the hearts  of those who commit or support such evil actions.

Greetings to Bartholomew during the Wednesday General Audience

The Pope greeted  his “dear brother”  Bartholomew again during his Wednesday General audience. After his Catechesis, he asked the intercession of the Apostles Peter and Andrew for unity among Christians and peace in the world, and especially in “tormented Ukraine”

“May the intercession of the holy brother Apostles Peter and Andrew soon allow the Church to fully enjoy her unity and peace to the whole world, especially at this moment to dear and tormented Ukraine, always in our hearts and in our prayers.”

May St Andrew "teach us to seek the Messiah at every moment of our lives and to proclaim him with joy to all those around us", he then said addressing the Spanish-speaking pilgrims.

The Vatican Delegation

According to the Holy See’s Press Office, the Pope’s message was consigned to H.B. Batholomew by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and read out at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomew, in the Patriarchal church of St. George at the Fanar.

The Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches is  accompanied Mgr. Andrea Palmieri, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity. After the Liturgy presided over by the Ecumenic Patriarch, the Vatican Delegation, joined by the Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, Archbishop Marek Solczyński. met with the Patriarch and held conversations with the Synodal Commission in charge of relations with the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis General Audience 11.30.2022


Pope: Genuine consolation confirms we are doing God’s will

In his catechesis at Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis says genuine consolation in discernment is “a sort of confirmation that we are doing what God wants of us.”

By Christopher Wells

“How can we recognize authentic consolation?” Pope Francis asked at the beginning of Wednesday’s General Audience.

In his continuing catechesis on discernment, the Holy Father turned to the Spiritual Exercises of Jesuit founder St Ignatius of Loyola, who says we must examine our thoughts to see if they are inclined to the good in their beginning, middle, and end. If all are directed towards what is good, “It is a sign of the good Angel,” the Pope said; while if our thoughts and intentions propose something bad, or weaken or distract our soul, it is a sign that such thoughts “proceed from the evil spirit, the enemy of our profit and eternal salvation.”

Examining our thoughts and actions

The Pope gave several examples. An action such as praying is good in its beginning if it inclines us toward love of God and neighbour; and is bad if it is done in order to avoid our duties. Similarly, if praying leads me to pride and disdain of others, even a good action can be bad in the middle.

Finally, we can ask about the end of a thought or action. An action can be bad in its outcome if it distracts me from other goods I should be doing, or if I become aggressive and angry, or focus on myself to the point of losing confidence in God.

Importance of daily examination of conscience

Pope Francis notes that the enemy of the human soul is often devious, searching for a way into our hearts to corrupt our thoughts and actions. So, he continued, a patient examination of the origin and truth of our thoughts is “indispensable.” “This is why a daily examination of conscience is so important,” he said. “It is the valuable effort of rereading experience from a particular point of view.”

“Noticing what happens is important, it is a sign that God’s grace is working in us, helping us to grow in freedom and awareness.”

The Pope added that genuine consolation can serve as a kind of confirmation “that we are doing what God wants of us”, that we are on the right path.

What is good for me here and now

Finally, he reminded us that discernment “is not simply about what is good or about the greatest possible good, but about what is good for me here and now.” Discernment can help us to see what God expects of us at this moment, helping us to choose between different possibilities “in our search for the true good.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Another tragic unexpected death of a Priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans


Fr. Jimmy Jeanfreau, pastor of Marrero Catholic church, killed in tragic woodworking accident

Father 'Jimmy' Jeanfreau was pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish.

The Rev. James "Jimmy" Jeanfreau Jr., pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Marrero, was killed in a freak woodworking accident at a shop on the church campus, Jefferson Parish authorities said Tuesday. 

Jeanfreau, 60, sustained traumatic injuries while working with a lathe, a machine that rotates wood for shaping, the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office said. Investigators suspect he died Monday night. 

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office received a call about 9 a.m. reporting a medical emergency at the church campus, 4401 Seventh St., said Capt. Jason Rivarde, a Sheriff's Office spokesperson. Deputies found Jeanfreau unresponsive and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

"There is no suspicion of foul play," Rivarde said.

The campus also houses Immaculate Conception School, which was in session when deputies arrived. Students in grades third through seventh were told of Jeanfreau's death during an assembly at 2 p.m., according to a letter sent to parents by school Principal Kim DiMarco. 

"It is with great sorrow that I share the news of Father Jimmy Jeanfreau Jr.'s death. Out beloved pastor died in a tragic accident sometime last night and was found this morning by ICS staff," DiMarco said in the letter. 

The school plans to make counselors available for faculty, staff and students for the rest of the week. A prayer vigil is also scheduled for 6 p.m. at the church. 

Jeanfreau was ordained as a priest in 1992 and served at a number of New Orleans area churches, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse, St. Catherine of Siena Church in Metairie, St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Slidell and St. Jerome Church in Metairie. 

He was also the director of the Pontifical Mission Societies at the time of his death.

USCCB moves to emphasize anti-Semitism is evil


U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Emphasizes Recommitment to Relationship with Jewish Community


WASHINGTON - In 1965, Pope Paul VI issued the Vatican Council’s declaration about other world religions, Nostra Aetate (“In our time”), marking a key milestone in the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism. As the 60th anniversary of this prophetic document approaches, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has issued a statement urging all believers in Christ once again to decry all “hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” (Nostra Aetate, 4).

The full Committee’s statement follows:

“More than ever, members of the Body of Christ must now become aware of their spiritual ties to the Jewish people chosen first to hear the Word of God. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul spoke of the Church as wild shoots grafted onto an olive tree, that is, the Jews. He cautioned: “you do not support the root, the root supports you.” (Rom 11:17-24) As a result, the Church must take care to protect that same root from which she continues to draw sustenance as all await in varied ways the coming of the Messiah. (cf. Nostra Aetate, 4). The rising trend of antisemitic incidents has become even more painful in light of the Church’s relationship to the Jewish tradition and our connections to the Jewish people in dialogue and friendship.

“Beginning with the leadership of St. Paul VI, who guided the drafting and approval of Nostra Aetate through the Second Vatican Council and continuing without interruption to the present day with Pope Francis, the Catholic Church has continually fostered and recommended that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues. (cf. Nostra Aetate, 4)

Over the last six decades, the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has been proud to build partnerships with the National Council of Synagogues, the Orthodox Union, and the newly established Modern Orthodox Group, promoting those positive relations so encouraged by the Council. In each of these exchanges, leaders in the Catholic and Jewish faiths have learned to encounter each other in a spirit of good will and a sincere desire to encourage our respective faithful to live together in a society increasingly diverse in its racial, ethnic, religious, and political makeup.

“Today, however, these same lessons are being challenged by the re-emergence of antisemitism in new forms. Outraged by the deeply hurtful proliferations of antisemitic rhetoric, both online and in-person, and the violent attacks on Jewish individuals, homes, and institutions, we wish to convey our sincere support to the Jewish people. As Pope Francis has stated, ‘A true Christian cannot be an antisemite.’ (Address to Members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, June 24, 2013).

“We must remain ever vigilant of the various ways in which these dangers arise. In unequivocal terms, we condemn any and all violence directed at the Jewish people, whether motivated by religious, racial, or political grievances. We furthermore denounce any rhetoric which seeks to demonize or dehumanize the Jewish people or Judaism as a religious tradition. We continue to remind ourselves of the shared spiritual patrimony that remains the foundation of our relationship with the Jewish people. We affirm that the Jewish people cannot be held responsible for the death of Christ or be depicted as rejected or accursed in theological discourse. It must always be remembered that Jesus, Mary, and his apostles were all Jewish. Finally, we remain firm in our dedication to a just political solution - a secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestine.

“As partners and neighbors, we seek to foster bonds of friendship between members of the Body of Christ and the Jewish people. With this in mind, and in light of the upcoming 60th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, we recommit ourselves to broadening the implementation of the teaching found within that prophetic document. In the nearly six decades since the promulgation of Nostra Aetate, the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people has continued to grow and strengthen with mutual respect and admiration. May God continue to bless us with a renewed friendship and a mutual understanding that one day will allow us to address the Lord and stand as brothers and sisters to serve him ‘shoulder to shoulder.’ (Soph. 3.19).”

Members of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs:

Most Reverend David P. Talley, Chairman
Bishop of Memphis

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton

Most Rev. David D. Kagan
Bishop of Bismarck

Most Reverend Denis J. Madden
Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore

Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville

Most Rev. Wm. Michael Mulvey
Bishop of Corpus Christi

Most Rev. Mitchell T. Rozanski
Archbishop of St. Louis

Most Rev. Alfred A. Schlert
Bishop of Allentown

Most Rev. Peter L. Smith
Auxiliary Bishop of Portland in Oregon