U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Reaches Historic Milestone

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By Emily Drooby

A historic milestone was reached by an overwhelming majority on Nov. 12 when America’s Catholic bishops elected Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles as the new president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during their general assembly. 

The Mexican native is the first Latino to hold the title. 

“I’m humbled by your support and I think it’s a special blessing for the Latino community as we always reflect on how important it is to take care of our people,” said Archbishop Gomez, who begins his 3-year presidential term Nov. 13 at the conclusion of the meetings. 

He currently leads the largest and most diverse archdiocese in the country – and has long been a champion for immigrant rights.

He made clear that it would remain a priority for both him and the Bishops’ Conference, saying, “we have the situation at the border which is a tragedy, and we are constantly talking about immigration and especially encouraging our elected officials to do something, to come up with immigration reform that is reasonable and possible.”

The bishops also elected a new vice president: Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit. Six others were selected as chairmen of committees. 

On the agenda for day two of the national meetings: a new hymn translation being approved for use in the Liturgy of the Hours. Students from Washington’s Catholic University performed the accompanying music at the conference.

The bishops also voted in favor of a new letter in connection with ‘Faithful Citizenship,’ the bishops’ official voting guidelines. The guidelines are being updated to include issues close to Pope Francis’s heart, like the environment.

They also remained firm in that the protection of life and opposition to abortion are the most important social priorities of our time.