Archbishop Vigneron one of two candidates to serve as next USCCB secretary

In this 2013 file photo, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron gets an early start on the second day of the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. Archbishop Vigneron is one of two candidates on the ballot to serve as the next secretary of the USCCB, who will vote during their meeting Nov. 13-14 in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

WASHINGTON — In November, the U.S. bishops are scheduled to elect the next secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a religious liberty committee chairman and chairmen-elect for five committees, as well as hear an update from the bishops’ working group on immigration.

They will gather for their fall general assembly Nov. 13-14 in Baltimore.

The bishops also will hear several updates, including on last summer’s Convocation of Catholic Leaders in America, preparations for next year’s Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino ministry and the 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth.

The nominees for secretary include Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit. New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond is the current secretary. His successor will serve one year as secretary-elect and then start a three-year term in office at the close of the conclusion of the 2018 assembly.

The secretary serves as chairman of the Committee on Priorities and Plans, keeps minutes of the plenary assemblies and of the meetings of the Administrative Committee.

Archbishop Vigneron currently serves as the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, to which he was elected in 2014 for a three-year term.

Last year, the bishops elected Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez to three-year terms as USCCB president and vice president, respectively. Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr is treasurer of the USCCB.

The bishops will vote for a new chairman for the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty and chairmen-elect for the Committee on Communications, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Committee on Doctrine, Committee on National Collections and Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The chairman of the Committee on Religious Liberty will assume his duties at the conclusion of the assembly. The others will serve for one year as chairmen-elect and begin their three-year terms at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2018 fall general assembly.

Bishop-members for the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services also will be elected.

The assembly will vote on the International Committee on English in the Liturgy translation on the Order of Baptism of Children.

There also will be a discussion and vote on the USCCB 2018 budget.

A voice vote was planned on endorsement of the canonization cause for Nicholas Black Elk Sr., a Lakota holy man and medicine man who became a Catholic teacher. Bishop Robert D. Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota, will present the action item.

Several reports are on the agenda from:

  • Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
  • Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
  • Bishop George V. Murry, chairman of the newly established Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.
  • Share the Journey campaign on accompanying immigrant and migrant people launched by Pope Francis Sept. 27.
  • Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.
  • The National Advisory Council.

Archbishop Jose Ulloa Mendieta of Panama will provide an update on preparations for the 2019 World Youth Day.

As the conference opens, a Mass marking the USCCB’s centennial is planned for the evening of Nov. 12 in downtown Baltimore.