The institute, which falls under the USCCB’s Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, will focus on finding new ways to promote and teach catechesis on local levels in consultation with the bishops, dioceses, Catholic publishers, and catechetical consultants.
Also on the agenda is the bishops’ new mental health campaign aimed at destigmatizing mental health struggles and advocate for those suffering with mental illness.
The National Catholic Mental Health Campaign, launched by Bishop Barron and Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, began on World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, with a nine-day novena of prayers.
Also at the assembly, the bishops will hold a consultation session on the cause of beatification and canonization of Servant of God Isaac Thomas Hecker. Hecker, the son of German immigrants who was born in New York City, founded the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle, known as the Paulist Fathers, in 1858 to evangelize in the United States. He was named a Servant of God in 2008.
A consultation will also be held supporting the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which is petitioning the Vatican to name the 19th-century cardinal St. John Henry Newman a doctor of the Church.
Additionally, the bishops will be voting on the conference’s 2024 budget and will be holding a discussion regarding the reauthorization of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, which aims to educate about the inherent dignity of all humanity in response to the sin of racism.
Just about one year ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election, a discussion and vote is expected to be held on a new introduction and materials related to the bishops’ teaching document on Catholic political responsibility, the USCCB’s press release said.
That document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, was approved by the bishops in 2015, and new introductory letters have been introduced since then.
The document is reviewed “regularly” prior to each election cycle and resources are often updated or added, Chieko Noguchi, a spokesperson for the bishops, told CNA. However, the document is also expected to be reviewed after the 2024 election as well.
Discussion and votes are also expected to be held for a framework of ministry to Indigenous peoples; several updates related to liturgical texts; and replacing the conference’s strategic plan, which is scheduled to guide the bishops from 2021–2024.
The plan, which is a thematic guide for the bishops throughout a certain period of time, will be proposed to be replaced with a new “mission planning process,” the USCCB’s press release said.
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At the meeting, six new chairmen for committees and a new conference secretary will be chosen.
Once chosen, the bishops will each serve one preliminary year as chairman-elect and begin their three-year tenure as chairman following the fall assembly in 2024.
For USCCB secretary-elect — and chairman-elect of the committee on priorities and plans — Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City and Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, are the nominees.
Springfield, Massachusetts, Bishop William Byrne and Hartford coadjutor Archbishop Christopher J. Coyne are nominees to lead the committee on communications.
For the committee on cultural diversity in the Church, the two nominees are Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan and Columbus Bishop Earl Fernandes.