Organizing an effort to listen "as widely as possible" to Catholics views on various issues takes time and dedication, as previous synods show.
The tents on the southeast corner of the National Mall were nearly empty this afternoon, with the activists inside receiving visitors quietly and with little fanfare.
Just two blocks west of the U.S. Capitol, those inside have pledged to a daily fast until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.
Organizers of the campaign, called "Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship," have set up visits to those fasting by members of Congress, prominent organizers, and faith leaders.
As an icy wind whipped the sides of a packed tent, five activists committed themselves Tuesday to fast from food and drink and to camp in front of the U.S. Capitol until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.
"I know that there are going to be difficult days ahead of me," said Eliseo Medina from the Service Employees International Union. "I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger.
The farm bill, already one year late, could be even later if the House-Senate conference committee working on the compromise version takes its sweet time.
According to Bob Gronski, a policy analyst with the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the lawmakers are taking the bill one "title" at a time until the conference committee is satisfied with the result.
The most contentious issue is likely to be the nutrition title, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development deserves the full support of the U.S. bishops because of its success in fighting poverty, said a group of Catholics on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall general assembly Nov. 11-14 in Baltimore.
In a letter addressed to all of the bishops, 47 Catholic leaders, including three retired bishops and former USCCB staff members, urged the prelates to "redouble your commitment to social ministries that lift people out of poverty," especially CCHD.
Passing comprehensive immigration reform is "a matter of great moral urgency that cannot wait any longer for action," New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a letter Thursday.
Keeping undocumented immigrants "as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation," said the cardinal, who will step down as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the group's meeting next week.
Pope Francis has named Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington, Vt., to head the diocese of Rochester, N.Y.
He succeeds Bishop Matthew Clark, who retired in September 2012.
The appointment was announced Wednesday in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Matano's installation Mass will be Jan. 3.
He was introduced as Rochester's ninth bishop at a news conference, where he said one of his first priorities will be "to bring people back to Mass."
In a letter to the U.S. senators, the chairmen of three U.S. bishops' committees outlined their opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, emphasizing the bill to protect gay and lesbian workers goes beyond the scope of prohibiting unjust discrimination and "poses several problems."
The bishops stressed that "all people are created in the image and likeness of God" and have "human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected by other persons and by law."
On an otherwise dull agenda for the fall assembly of the USCCB, one item has seen much discussion inside and outside the conference.
Comparing notes from recent Vatican statements, it is hard to decipher whether the Vatican's call for consultation is unprecedented or something that's happened for decades.