USCCB Administrative Committee cancels U.S. bishops’ June assembly

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y., gestures during a news conference at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore Nov. 13, 2019. Also pictured are: Chieko T. Noguchi, director of the Office of Public Affairs for the USCCB, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Va., and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has canceled the U.S. bishops’ spring general assembly that was planned for June 10-12 in Detroit.

“Given the current situation with the coronavirus that has been classified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, the Administrative Committee of the USCCB voted earlier this week to cancel the June assembly,” said a USCCB news release issued the afternoon of April 8.

This marks the first cancellation of a plenary assembly in the conference’s history.

“The Administrative Committee made this very difficult decision with consideration of multiple factors, but most importantly the health, well-being and safety of the hundreds of bishops, staff, observers, guests, affiliates, volunteers, contractors and media involved with the general meetings, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, said in announcing the decision.

“Additionally, even if the numerous temporary restrictions on public gatherings resulting from conditions associated with COVID-19 are lessened by June,” he said, “the priority for the physical and pastoral presence of the bishop in his See will be acute to tend to the faithful.”

The USCCB bylaws state that a plenary assembly is to be convened at least once a year. As such, the November 2020 general assembly meeting in Baltimore — scheduled for Nov. 16-19 — would fulfill this requirement.

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