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Insights: Pope Announces New Bishop Assignments; Poverty Stats Released

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March 8, 2019

Bishop-Elect Aclan for LA; Bishop Brennan Moves to Fresno

This week, the Vatican announced the appointment of a new California bishop and the assignment of a new shepherd for the Diocese of Fresno.

Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Alejandro D. Aclan as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. The 68-year-old priest has served in the Diocese for 25 years, most recently as the LA Archdiocese’s vicar for clergy. 

The Pope also announced the appointment of the Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan as new Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno. The 64-year-old Brennan will succeed retiring Bishop Armando X. Ochoa, a former Los Angeles auxiliary bishop who has shepherded the Fresno Diocese since 2012. 

Brennan is the current Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and has served as episcopal vicar for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the last three years.

Aclan’s nomination makes him the second Filipino-American priest to be named bishop in the U.S. The first was Bishop Oscar Solis, who served as an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles from 2004 until 2017, before Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Salt Lake City. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest Filipino immigrant community in the United States.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez called Aclan a “proud son of our vibrant Filipino community” in a March 5 statement.

“Bishop-elect Aclan is a man of prayer and he has a true heart for Jesus — and a deep concern for the people he is called to serve. And I know he will be a voice for Filipino Catholics, who are a beautiful sign of growth and renewal in our Church here in Los Angeles and throughout the country,” said Archbishop Gomez.

Brennan is a native Californian who was born in Van Nuys. The ninth of ten children, Brennan has a twin brother who currently resides in the Fresno Diocese. 

“Over the years, I have come to know Bishop Brennan as a man of great faith, extraordinary talent, and love of his call to serve God’s people with the heart of Christ,” said Bishop Ochoa in a released statement.

“After seven wonderful years as Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, I know that the clergy, religious men and women, and all God’s people will welcome Bishop Brennan with open arms and open hearts,” Ochoa said.


Several Ways to Enrich Your Lenten Experience Right Now

Are you aware there are more than 40 days during Lent? Or that Sundays during Lent are not prescribed days of fasting and abstinence? The explanations behind these and other questions, as well as a variety of resources to nourish your faith and shepherd your Lenten experience are available to you online now.  

The USCCB has published a Q&A about Lent and Lenten practices. In it you will find the answers to questions about the duration of Lent, which foods count as meats and when to abstain from them, and whether you should take advantage of those specials on fish on Fridays.

Many Catholic organizations offer Lenten reflections to help us enter more fully into the season:

Santa Clara University invites you to join them in prayer and reflection each morning as members of the Jesuit School of Theology and the Santa Clara University community offer a reflection on that day’s Scripture readings. Sign up here to receive the daily email that is being sent to subscribers each morning.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) is offering its annual series of Lenten reflections to enable you to reflect on the meaning of this season by downloading and listening to the weekly offerings. The reflections are available in two formats: video and hardcopy. They provide great avenues for reflection for both individuals and groups.

The Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) has also published Lenten Reflections for each Holy Day of Lent. The compilation includes a reflection from the CCC’s own Executive Director Andy Rivas.


USCCB Applauds Title X Decision; State AGs Sue

Last Friday, the USCCB applauded the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services, which announced it had finalized “The Protect Life Rule,” that will require clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.

The same day, California Attorney General Xavier Bacerra, in addition to 19 other state attorney generals and the District of Columbia filed suits to block implementation of the rule.

“I applaud the Trump Administration for reaffirming that abortion is not family planning. Abortion ends the lives of families’ most vulnerable members, as well as damaging the spiritual, mental and physical health of mothers,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities in a released statement.

The Protect Life Rule bars Title X grant money from any clinic that performs abortion. This will especially impact Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Though the Supreme Court has previously ruled in favor of the government’s right to establish rules determining the funding eligibility of family planning programs, President Bill Clinton reversed that regulation while he was in office. 


Video Series on Guadete et Exsultate Streaming

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has released the first video in a series examining Guadete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.

In the Exhortation the Pope examines each of the Beatitudes, describing them as “a Christian identity card,” and urges the faithful to “listen once more to Jesus, with all the respect that the Master deserves.”

The first video is an introduction to what it means to be poor in spirit, and in need of Christ’s love and redemption.

Two videos will be released each week.  The Pope uses the version of the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Click here to watch.


Catholic Charities of California Releases Disheartening Poverty Stats

Catholic Charities of California (CCC) has published its updated list of the poverty conditions within each county in California.

More than 5.2 million people live below the poverty line in California. CCC compiled poverty rates of each county by diocese against a backdrop of unemployment rates, the number of undocumented and uninsured individuals, high school dropouts, illiteracy, the number of Cal Fresh subscribers and living conditions such as homelessness, housing burdens, and life expectancies.

The data shows a staggering number of people living below the poverty line in the Diocese of Fresno. There is a poverty rate of at least 21 percent and as high as 24 percent in five of its eight counties, juxtaposed that to the national and state rate of just over 13 percent.

The data also suggests affordable housing is in crisis around the state, revealing that at least a third of all residents in each county demonstrate burdening hardships related to cost-of-living expenses.

Click here for more.


The Earned Income Tax Credit is a reward for work to California's working families and individuals. This tax season, the CalEITC will be available to approximately 1.7 million eligible families. Find out if you are eligible here.


March 8, 2019

Vol. 12, No. 7

En Español