United States

USCCB to renew the chairmanship of six commissions

The U.S. bishops' conference holds its plenary assembly in November. During the convocation, the bishops will elect their new secretary and the chairs of six standing committees.

Paloma López Campos-October 11, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

U.S. Bishops during a plenary assembly (CNS photo / Bob Roller)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will hold its fall plenary assembly Nov. 13-16. During those days, the episcopate will elect a new secretary and appoint the chairs of six standing committees.

Until November, the position of USCCB secretary is held by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, who also serves as chairman of the Priorities and Plans Committee. Archbishop Coakley has been in this position since the fall of last year, following the election of Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, former secretary, as president of the bishops' conference.

The six bishops who will head the standing committees will serve as elected chairpersons until the end of the plenary assembly 2024. Thereafter, each will begin a three-year term as committee chairmen.

Candidates for president-elect

The USCCB has made public the list of candidates to elected chairmen of the standing committees:

  • Catholic Teaching Commission: Bishop James D. Conley, Diocese of Lincoln; or Bishop David M. O'Connell, Diocese of Trenton.
  • Communications Committee: Bishop William D. Byrne of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; or Archbishop Christopher J. Coyne of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
  • Commission on Cultural Diversity in the Church: from the Diocese of Brooklyn, Monsignor Robert J. Brennan; or Bishop Earl K. Fernandez, from the Diocese of Columbus.
  • Doctrine Commission: Bishop John F. Doerfler, Diocese of Marquette; or Monsignor James Massa, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
  • National Collections Commission: Monsignor W. Shawn McKnight of the Diocese of Jefferson City; or the Bishop of the Diocese of Reno, Daniel H. Mueggenborg.
  • Committee on Pro-Life Activities: Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco; or Monsignor Daniel E. Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo.

What are these USCCB commissions responsible for?

Each of these committees of the U.S. bishops' conference has a mission, headed by a chairperson who oversees and directs it. Thus, the Catholic Education committee is responsible for guiding Catholic education in the United States in all institutional settings. The Communications Committee oversees and coordinates the wide-ranging communications efforts of the bishops' conference.

The Commission on Cultural Diversity is responsible for integrating into the Church all cultural and racial communities that participate in the Catholic faith. On the other hand, the Doctrine Committee assists the bishops and the other commissions in matters of faith and morals.

The National Collections committee assists bishops in promoting stewardship of collections at the national level. Finally, the Pro-Life Activities committee promotes and protects the dignity of human life from beginning to end.

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