In Baltimore, the Wheels Are Turning….

In Baltimore, the Wheels Are Turning…. November 11, 2012

View from my hotel window of Baltimore’s scenic Inner Harbor

Day Two in Baltimore. Well, that depends on how you look at it: The U.S. Bishops’ 2012 Fall General Assembly doesn’t officially convene until tomorrow.

This weekend, though, the bishops are busy in committees and subcommittees and liturgies, finalizing the reports which will be brought before the full Assembly in the next couple of days.

The media office has not yet opened, and I’ve not received the full schedule of activities; but I can give you a quick “heads up” regarding some of the things you can expect this week:

On Saturday, November 10, committees and subcommittees met to discuss issues including
• Clergy, consecrated life and vocations
• Latin America
• African American Affairs
• The Catechism
• Defense of Marriage

In addition, Priorities and Plans. And there’s a lot of dialogue going on among members of the National Review Board.

Today, the Latin American committee continues its work; I know, too, that the National Review Board continues its meetings this afternoon.

On Saturday evening, there were two private dinners: for the North American College, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

I had a delightful surprise visit from Mark Shea and Kevin Knight. Two really bright historians, those guys are a treasure trove of trivia.

I fulfilled my Sunday obligation—twice. I attended a small mass last evening, organized by the CCHD, with Bishop Jaime Soto celebrating. Early this morning, I attended a concelebrated liturgy with, oh, maybe 150 bishops.

Friends: Lisa Hendey, Steve Nelson, Thomas Pringle, Mark Shea, Mary DeTurris Poust

After Mass, a posse of Catholic writers gathered for breakfast in the hotel restaurant: Mark Shea, Steve Nelson, Lisa Hendey, Mary DeTurris Poust, Thomas Pringle and me! (Here’s a group shot, courtesy of Lisa Hendey—but I had just walked away.)

So what’s happening this week?

Expect approval this week of a statement on preaching, titled “Exercising the Ministry of Faith: The Sunday Homily.” 

Coinciding with the Bishops and Bloggers Meeting and the Vatican’s increasing emphasis on use of social media, the Bishops will consider a proposed statement on opportunities to use new media—including blogging and social media—in exercising their teaching authority.  “Contemporary Challenges for the Exercise of the Teaching Ministry of the Diocesan Bishop” has already been distributed, and revisions are being proposed and considered.

And following up on a September 2011 letter from Cardinal Dolan, encouraging bishops and priests across the country to preach about “the terrible toll the current economic turmoil is taking on families and communities,” the bishops will consider a statement on work and the economy.  “Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy” is expected to advance the bishops’ priority of human life and dignity to demonstrate the new evangelization in action.

There will be more, of course.  One item I’ve just learned is a vote on the next canonical step toward canonization of Dorothy Day.

In the hotel restaurant, here I am (center) with Lisa Hendey and Mary DeTurris Poust

It’s just minutes until the Big Event: The Bishops/Bloggers Meeting. I’ll tell you more about it later.

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