Archive photo: Archbishop Christophe Pierre (third from right), Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, speaks with US Bishops during an Assembly in 2018 Archive photo: Archbishop Christophe Pierre (third from right), Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, speaks with US Bishops during an Assembly in 2018  (AFP or licensors)

US Bishops vote to advance cause of Shreveport Martyrs

The Bishops of the United States conclude their Spring Plenary Assembly with a votes on the advancement of the causes of five 19th century martyrs of charity; while also discussing the upcoming National Eucharist Congress, this year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, and the ongoing Synod on Synodality.

By Christopher Wells

US Bishops voted on Friday to advance the cause for canonization of five French-born priests who gave their lives to serve others during a yellow fever epidemic in Louisiana in the late nineteenth century.

The priests are known collectively as the “Shreveport Martyrs,” having given their lives in defence of charity. When a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Shreveport in 1873, the priests chose to remain in the community and minister to the sick and dying, despite the dire conditions. Each, in turn, contracted yellow fever themselves and ultimately succumbed to the disease. In a voice vote at their Spring Plenary Assembly, the US Bishops affirmed their support for the cause of the Shreveport Martyrs, which now continues on the diocesan level.

Upcoming events

The American Bishops also looked ahead to several significant events in the life of the Church, both in the United States and globally.

In 2024 the Church in the United States will celebrate a National Eucharistic Congress, the tenth in the country's history. The Congress is taking place in the context of the National Eucharistic Revival, launched on the feast of Corpus Christi, 2022, and which focuses in successive years on Diocesan and Parish revival

On the level of the Universal Church, the prelates discussed their participation in the upcoming World Youth Day, which will see Pope Francis rallying Catholic youth from around the globe during the weeklong event in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Bishops also received an update on the ongoing Synod of Synodality. Following the conclusion of the Continental Phase of the Synod, the next major landmark on the synodal path will be the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will involve two sessions in Rome, the first in October of this year, and the second a year later.

Votes on pastoral initiatives

A press release from the USCCB highlighted several votes taken by the assembled Bishops, concerning the ongoing formation of priests; a pastoral plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry; a pastoral statement addressed to those with disabilities; and several “action items” dealing with revisions to the English translation of liturgical texts and the Committee charged with preparing them.

The statement from the USCCB also noted that “the Bishops chose to engage in further discussion on the priorities that will shape the USCCB’s Strategic Plan for 2025-2028 and withdrew the action item to vote on the strategic priorities.”

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17 June 2023, 14:08