Washington D.C., Nov 8, 2012 / 12:09 pm
At their upcoming general assembly, the U.S. bishops are slated to discuss the issues of how to preach more effectively, the use of new technology for evangelization, and the state of the economy.
The annual Fall assembly is set for Nov. 12-15 and will be held in Baltimore.
A document on Sunday homilies has been prepared and will be considered by the bishops. According to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, it is the first substantial work on preaching issues by the U.S. bishops' conference in 30 years.
He said the document's preparation has taken a year and a half, and encourages priests and deacons to connect Sunday homilies with their parishioners' daily lives.
"References to the most popular cultural expressions – which at times can be surprisingly replete with religious motifs – can be an effective way to engage the interest of those on the edge of faith," the document says.
Homiletics programs at American seminaries have been responding to mixed verdicts about the effectiveness of preaching, said Archbishop Carlson.
A document titled "Contemporary Challenges for the Teaching Ministry of the Diocesan Bishop" has also been drafted.
The document on the challenges to episcopal authority comes as more and more bishops embrace blogs, iPads, and Facebook.
It notes that "a bishop's voice on the internet can appear to be just another in the competition for attention," and that bishops therefore need to explain their teaching authority.
However, the benefit of new media is that "they offer the bishop the possibility of communicating with people in a relatively unmediated fashion."
The document on the economy will "demonstrate the new evangelization in action" and will "advance the bishops' priority of human life and dignity," according to the assembly's press release.
The assembly will also consider revisions to fund raising and a proposal to establish a collection for the national military archdiocese.
On liturgical matters, the bishops will evaluate the implementation of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, will discuss the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours, and will examine a document on Confession.
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, auxiliary of Newark, will present on World Youth Day 2013, and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson will report on the status of the Anglican ordinariate for the United States.
Both Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the conference, and Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will address the plenary assembly.