Gulf Pine Catholic

Volume 40, Issue 22 June 23, 2023 G ulf P ine C atholic Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Biloxi U.S. bishops advance pastoral initiatives to strengthen church amid discussions on Eucharist, priesthood, synodality BY PETER JESSERER SMITH ORLANDO, Fla. ( OSV News ) -- Meeting in Orlando for their spring assembly, the U.S. bishops moved ahead on some efforts to advance the church’s mission in the U.S., including new pastoral initiatives aimed at activating Catholics as missionary disciples. The gathering’s June 15-16 plenary sessions proved relatively smooth, but featured moments of vigorous discussion at a few points, particularly around the formation of priests. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services gave his first address as U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president presiding over the bishops’ plenary assembly. He covered a variety of issues of concern to Catholics, such as the need for Congress to pass a com- prehensive immigration reform and for an end to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. “We cannot fail to see the face of Christ in all of those who need our assistance, especially the poor and the vulnerable,” he said. The papal nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, made his case to the U.S. bishops June 15 that synodality, oriented to Jesus Christ as their “true north,” unleashes missionary activity. “The purpose of walking this synodal path is to make our evangelization more effective in the context of the precise challenges that we face today,” Archbishop Pierre said in his address at the U.S. bishops’ spring ple- nary assembly in Orlando. The archbishop also singled out Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell of Los Angeles, who was shot to death earlier this year, as “a model of synodal service, combined with Eucharistic charity.” The U.S. Catholic bishops gathered voiced their approval for the advancement of a cause to canonize five missionary priests from Brittany, France, known as the “Shreveport martyrs.” “They demonstrated heroic charity during the third worst pandemic in U.S. history,” said Bishop Francis I. Malone of Shreveport, noting they were all young men who voluntarily sacrificed their own lives to journey with the dying and bring the Eucharist to the faithful. In their message to Pope Francis, the bishops also strongly condemned an execution that the state of Florida carried out June 15 in the evening following their meeting. Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, updated the bishops on the progress of the 2023-2024 global Synod on Synodality. Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, presented on the National Eucharistic Revival, and outlined how the “small group initiative” in the parish year could help deepen people’s relationship to Christ in the Eucharist. “We all know how much our church needs to move from maintenance to mission ... this is really the heart of what we’re attempting to do,” he said. Most votes taking place had near unani- mous approval, such as the agenda items related to retranslating the Liturgy of the Hours into English, including having the future edition include some prayer texts in Latin. The bishops approved the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministry with 167 in favor and two against and two abstentions. The 62-page plan seeks to respond to the needs of about 30 million Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the U.S. and strengthen Hispanic/Latino ministries at the national, local and parish level. Ahead of the vote, Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose, California, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, told OSV News there was a great need to “get moving so that (the new pastoral plan) can be implemented in our dioceses and parishes.” A day before the vote took place, Detroit Auxiliary Bishop J. Arturo Cepeda, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, called the plan a sign of the times that recognizes Hispanic/ Latino Catholics -- who account for more than 40% of U.S. Catholics -- as “missionaries among us” that can reinvigorate the life of the church. The most contentious discussion took place regarding the proposed second edition of the “Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.” Some bishops took to the floor to object they had not had time to read the document, or that it was so lengthy priests would likely not read it and dismiss its contents. Other bishops expressed concern that the discussion on “spiritual fatherhood” needed to be fleshed out, expressing concern that otherwise it could fuel the “nar- cissistic tendencies” and “hubris” of some priests. SEE ORLANDO23 WRAP, PAGE 13 Bishop William A. Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., and other prelates listen to a speaker June 16 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spring plenary assembly in Orlando, Fla. OSV News photo/Bob Roller