Highlights of US bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore

Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, center, looks on as the U.S. bishops’ gather for their annual fall assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

BALTIMORE (CNS) — During the Nov. 12-13 public sessions of the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, the bishops:

  • Approved their first document on preaching in 30 years, “Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily,” encouraging preachers to connect the Sunday homily with people’s daily lives.
  • Rejected a fast-tracked statement intended to offer support and hope to people who are suffering because of the economic downturn.
  • Approved an exhortation encouraging Catholics to take advantage of the sacrament of penance.
  • Endorsed the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement.
  • Approved an expanded memorial for Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, a German-born Redemptorist priest who ministered in antebellum-era America for more than 20 years
  • Agreed to begin a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours — updating hymns, psalms, various canticles, psalm prayers, some antiphons, biblical readings and other components of the liturgical prayers used at various parts of the day.
  • Approved the hiring of a public affairs director as efforts to reorganize the conference’s Communications Department.
  • Heard a request that they broaden support for national collections, which have had a decline in diocesan participation, leading to reduced income since 2009.
  • Adopted a strategic plan for the next four years to shape conference programs and activities.
  • Approved a 2013 budget of $220.4 million, agreed to hold a national collection for the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services.
  • Participated in a pre-meeting workshop on using new forms of media, such as tweeting, blogging and using Facebook.

Get more details: www.usccb.org