This afternoon I leave for St. Louis to attend the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) Annual Assembly; which runs from Monday through Thursday. I serve on the Leadership Team (LT) of the AUSCP. The LT meets monthly via ZOOM for 2 hours and we meet face-to-face in January and in June.
The AUSCP was formed in 2011 and the members are called to serve the People of God in parishes and other ministries. The primary purpose of the Association is to add priests’ voice to the public conversation within our pilgrim church, among bishops, laypersons, vowed religious, ordained deacons and others. We address the following concerns: good liturgy, social justice, the role of women in our church, immigration policies that reflect Gospel values, the dignity of all human lives, and a church that welcomes all the People of God. Our episcopal moderator to the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops is Archbishop John Wester from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM.
Our Mission: To be an association of U.S. Catholic priests offering mutual support and a collegial voice through dialogue, contemplation and prophetic action on issues affecting Church and society. Our Vision: To be a Priests Voice of Hope and Joy within our Pilgrim Church.
The AUSCP is the largest association of priests in the United States. All members are priests in good standing in dioceses and religious communities; new members are always welcome. Our present membership stands at a little over 1300 priests and 175 friends or associates. Our inspiration is the teachings of Vatican II and our primary pursuit is the implementation of those teachings. The Association is always open to the support of friends to whom and with whom we minister. Our intent is to be a voice of hope and joy, as we listen to our members and friends. We hope to be prophetic advocate in the following areas: priestly formation, re-commitment to Gospel non-violence, married clergy, youth synod, priest less parishes, reviewing the Roman Missal, caring for our common home, immigration, clericalism, anti-racism, bridges to the laity and end the death penalty.
This year’s Assembly will include a daylong retreat lead by Sebastian Gomes, writer, producer and host of Salt and Light Media's. His retreat topic will be "Go, Repair & Rebuild My Church: Reclaiming the Priesthood of the Faithful". Our keynote speakers and topics are: Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago: "Ordination does Not Annihilate Our Baptism", Richard Gaillardetz, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College: "To Form a Priestly People - Toward a NonClerical Theology of Priesthood" and Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley: "Today's Leaders in the Church".
The Assembly will also consider several resolutions or “white papers” addressing the following issues: Clericalism, Environment and US Church, Priestly Formation and Women’s Status in the Church.
In addition to the formal agenda there is the wonderful gift of fellowship among the members who are all striving to serve the Church in a more fulfilling fashion.
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,