U.S. Bishops Conference Names Theresa Ridderhoff as Associate General Secretary Upon Retirement of Linda Hunt

 September 10, 2018

WASHINGTON—Theresa Ridderhoff has been appointed as Associate General Secretary for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Ms. Ridderhoff is currently Executive Director of the USCCB Office of Human Resources.  She has been appointed to the new role upon the retirement of Ms. Linda Hunt, who has served the conference for the past 22 years and as the USCCB’s Associate General Secretary since 2011.  Msgr. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment which will take effect at the end of the calendar year.

Ms. Ridderhoff will function as chief operations officer for the ongoing management of Conference administration.  She will also join the USCCB Executive Leadership team in conducting the regular business of the General Secretariat and in collaboration with USCCB staff.

“I express my gratitude to Theresa for accepting this major responsibility in service to the Conference. Theresa brings many years of experience in both the for profit and not for profit worlds.  During her time with the Conference, she also collaborated on major projects including in the General Secretariat and has always been an invaluable and dedicated partner in the significant work of the Conference staff,” said Msgr. Bransfield. 

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Stonehill College, Theresa went on to receive a Master of Arts in Education (in Instructional Technology) and a Certificate in Human Resource Management, both from George Mason University.  She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute and the SHRM-SCP from the Society for Human Resources Management.  Before joining the Conference, Theresa served at Sallie Mae most recently as Senior Director of Human Resources. Additionally, she has worked as a human resource consultant and in retail training and management.  Theresa joined the Conference in 2011 and has served successfully since then in the important position of Executive Director of the Office of Human Resources.  She is a practicing Catholic, married for 18 years, and is the mother of two sons.  She regularly volunteers at her parish in Petersville, Maryland, and in local community organizations.     

“The successful and effective fulfillment of the mission of the USCCB depends greatly on the high caliber of persons that serve the Church and bishops through their work as Conference staff.  I count among them as an esteemed colleague Ms. Linda Hunt, Associate General Secretary, who informed me earlier this year of her intention to retire at the end of this calendar year,” said Msgr. Bransfield.  “For more than two decades, Linda has devoted countless hours of dedicated service to the work of the USCCB and for this, we are deeply grateful.”

Ms. Hunt began her tenure with us the USCCB as Associate Director of the Office of Human Resources followed by her subsequent appointment as Director two years later. In 2010, Linda began service in the General Secretariat as Associate General Secretary.  Her love of the Church, her leadership in the area of management and operations, and her professional and friendly interaction with us all, will be sorely missed.

World Youth Day Cross Now on Historic Tour of U.S.

August 23, 2018

WASHINGTON—To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first and only World Youth Day (WYD) in the United States (in Denver, Colorado, in August 1993), the official World Youth Day Cross and Marian Icon will make a five-city tour across the United States in August 2018. 

From August 19 to 27, the WYD symbols are making stops in Chicago (Aug 19-21), Miami (Aug 21-23), Houston (Aug 23-24), Washington DC (Aug 24-25), and Los Angeles (Aug 26-27).

Each of the five locations will feature special events and liturgical celebrations in commemoration of this historic journey. After leaving the United States, the WYD Cross and Marian Icon will continue onto Panamá, where it will tour that country in advance of the next international WYD with Pope Francis, which is being held there in January 2019.

At least ten U.S. bishops will be part of the pilgrimage including Abp. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles; Abp. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore; and Abp. Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami; Bp. Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport; Bp. Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of Richmond; Bp. Roy E. Campbell and Bp. Mario E. Dorsonville-Rodríguez, Auxiliary Bishops of Washington; Bp. George Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago; Bp. George A. Sheltz, Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston; and Bp. Marc Trudeau, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. Abp. José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A., Archbishop of Panamá and host of WYD 2019, will also be present at the events in Miami and Washington DC.

The visit of the WYD symbols takes place 25 years since their last organized tour within the USA, when they preceded the August 1993 WYD celebration with St. John Paul II. Over 500,000 young people traveled to Denver for that landmark event. Since then, the U.S. has actively participated in the global WYD celebrations, held every 2 or 3 years in different cities around the world. 

“We want women and men of all ages to come out and encounter these important symbols of faith when they are here in our country,” said Bp. Caggiano, who also serves as the USCCB’s chief liaison for WYD. “In addition to those preparing to go to Panamá, we hope that young people and young adults who are unable to travel to World Youth Day next year will be part of these local celebrations. We also hope that veterans of past World Youth Days, including those who went to Denver in 1993, will have a chance to join us along the way.”

Details about the specific events in each city can be found at

National Religious Retirement Office Distributes $25 Million for Care of Elderly Catholic Sisters, Brothers, and Priests in Religious Orders 

WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities to aid in the care of senior members. The funds were made possible by the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. The most recent appeal raised just over $28 million and was held in a majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2017.

In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religious communities. The NRRO coordinates the annual appeal and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities.

“Traditionally, women and men religious served for little to no pay,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director. “Today, hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings. Proceeds from the annual collection enable our office to distribute financial assistance that helps communities provide for aging members.”

The funding disbursed in June is known as Direct Care Assistance and represents the bulk of financial support distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet a wide range of expenses, including prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for religious communities with the greatest needs and for ongoing education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery. Roughly 94 percent of donations directly aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder are used for administration and promotion of the annual appeal.

“Our mission is to provide financial support and educational assistance that enable religious communities to meet eldercare needs while developing long-range retirement strategies,” said Sister Still. “We are profoundly grateful to the donors across the nation whose generosity and prayers sustain these efforts.” 

The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Visit to learn more.

U.S. Bishop Delegates Approved for Upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment

July 23, 2018

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has ratified the members elected by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to represent the United States at the upcoming XV Ordinary General Assembly: Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. The Synod will take place October 3-28.

The delegates are:

·         Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

·         Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

·         Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

·         Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Diocese of Bridgeport, member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

·         Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis

The XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops has been convened by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, along with the Vatican Synod Office. In preparation for this Synod, the USCCB and other episcopal conferences, as well as ecclesial movements, associations, and experts in the field, were consulted throughout 2017 on the topic of "young people, the faith, and vocational discernment." In addition, the Vatican collected responses from an online questionnaire aimed at youth and young adults conducted last year. In March 2018, over 300 young adult delegates gathered in Rome, where Pope Francis convened a pre-synod gathering to listen directly to the voice of young people from around the world. The gathering produced a Final Pre-Synodal document. . . .

The Working Document. . . ("Instrumentum Laboris") for the October Synod was released in late June 2018 and includes a summary of all the Synod consultations to date. It describes the purpose of the 2018 Synod of Bishops as an opportunity for the Church "to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love," realizing that "taking care of young people is not an optional task for the Church, but an integral part of her vocation and mission is history." 

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., of Newark, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, welcomed the recent release of the Synod Working Document, saying:

"After a lively discussion with our brother bishops at the Spring 2018 General Assembly on the topic of the Synod, we are happy to receive this Instrumentum Laboris, and look forward to exploring how it sheds light on the pastoral challenges of United States. The 2018 Synod will powerfully renew the Catholic Church's engagement with youth and young adults, and provide a deeper understanding of vocational discernment."

The official Vatican website for the Synod, which is inclusive of the Pre-Synod gathering, is . .

The official USCCB webpage for the Synod is

Chairman of U.S. Bishops' Conference Committee on Pro-Life Activities Calls for National Prayer Effort that Every Human Being is Protected in Law and Welcomed in Life 

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement today inviting all people of good will to join in a prayer campaign that the change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.

Cardinal Dolan’s full statement follows:

As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee, we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.

Each Friday, from August 3 - September 28, 2018, I urge all people of good will to join me in prayer that this change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life. The USCCB Call to Prayer network will share prayers and educational resources and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for the healing of our nation and our people from decades of abortion on demand.”

Call to Prayer materials will be accessible at Those wishing to join this nine-week prayer effort can sign up at to participate in this and subsequent Call to Prayer initiatives via email or text message.

Pope Francis Names Bishop Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Oscar Cantú as Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose, California. Bishop Cantú was up until now Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on July 11, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Cantú was born in Houston on December 5, 1966. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dallas, and received his Masters in Divinity and Masters in Theological Studies from the University of St. Thomas, also in Houston. He also attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) as well as his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.). Bishop Cantú was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Houston in 1994. 

He spent his priestly career working in parishes throughout the Houston metropolitan area. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Christopher Parish. He also taught at the University of St. Thomas and at St. Mary’s Seminary. He served as pastor at Holy Name Parish. He was involved in the Christian Family movement; conducted retreats and worked with the Engaged Encounter ministry. Bishop Cantú was also involved in The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) that addresses social issues in the community. 

Bishop Cantú was appointed and then ordained Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio and Titular Bishop of Dardano in  2008.  In 2013, Bishop Cantú was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, NM. He was installed as bishop on February 28, 2013. 

Bishop Oscar Cantú is the former Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace. He is currently a member of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America and Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. 

Most Rev. Cantú was one of two delegates chosen by the Bishops’ Conference to represent the USCCB at Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico in 2016. 

The Diocese of San Jose is comprised of 1,300 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 1,918,044 of which 620,000 or 32.32 percent are Catholic. 

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