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John Wester

Bishops discuss upcoming synod, pope's visit, traditional marriage

The U.S. bishops gathered in St. Louis for their spring general assembly heard presentations on the pope's upcoming encyclical on the environment, the U.S. church's ongoing work in promoting traditional marriage and the need to remain vigilant in protecting children from abuse.

On the first day of their meeting Wednesday, there also were reports on the bishops' efforts to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and their help in rebuilding work in Haiti, which is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

USCCB to launch mobile app ahead of Pope Francis' US visit


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will launch a mobile app ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States to help church leadership and Catholics at the parish level engage with each other.

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, N.M., discussed the app, which will be called Catholic Church, Wednesday at the USCCB spring general assembly.

Wester said 98 percent of parishes have websites, but only about 4 percent have mobile apps. Users are increasingly going mobile, and “we need to do the same,” Wester said.

US bishops' spring assembly opens with rapid start to communications

A few hours before the U.S. bishops' spring general assembly opened Wednesday in St. Louis, the meeting already had begun.

Tweets were trickling out from bishops, media and observers using the hashtag #usccb15. Among their first items to share: a link to the live stream of the proceedings, bishops making their presence known and media types encouraging followers to watch their live coverage.

Utah bishop John Wester named to head Santa Fe archdiocese


Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., and named Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City to succeed him.

Sheehan, who has headed the Santa Fe archdiocese since 1993, turned 75 last year, the age at which bishops are required under canon law to submit their resignations to the pope.

A San Francisco native, Wester, 64, has headed the Salt Lake City diocese, which encompasses the entire state of Utah, since 2007.

Bishops who are named to head archdioceses immediately assume the title of archbishop.

Utah bishop decries governor's decision to sign firing squad measure


By reinstating the use of a firing squad as a method of execution in Utah, "it seems as if our government leaders have substituted state legislation for the law of God," said the state's Catholic bishop.

"They argue that, because executions are lawful, they are then moral. This is not so. No human law can trump God's law," Salt Lake City Bishop John Wester said in a March 24 statement. "Taking a human life is wrong; a slap in the face of hope and a blasphemous attempt to assume divine attributes that we humble human beings do not have."



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November 20-December 3, 2015


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