WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops will start 2019 with a spiritual retreat to pray and reflect on the important matters facing the Catholic Church.
Set for Jan. 2-8 at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, the retreat was planned in response to Pope Francis' request to a delegation of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops leaders during a meeting at the Vatican Sept. 13.
The meeting with the pope focused on the U.S. bishops' response to the widening clergy sex abuse crisis.
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, will direct the Ignatian style retreat, the USCCB announced Oct. 23.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, thanked Pope Francis for offering Father Cantalamessa as retreat director in a statement announcing the retreat.
In September, the bishops' Administrative Committee outlined actions to address the abuse crisis, including approving the establishment of a third-party confidential reporting system for claims of any abuse by bishops. They also initiated the process of developing a code of conduct for bishops and looking at policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of abuse of minors or adults.
The church's response to the sexual abuse crisis also will top the agenda for the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 12-14.
The bishops face a busy January, with the annual March for Life in the nation's capital Jan. 18 and World Youth Day in Panama Jan. 22-27.
Current issues of the day and references to the teachings of Pope Francis can be found throughout the materials approved by the U.S. bishops to supplement their existing document on Catholic participation in public life.
Parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and students at Mundelein Seminary are coming together to form relationships and to learn from one another as part of the Father Augustus Tolton Teaching Parish Program.
On the agenda for the U.S. bishops' Nov. 11-13 meeting in Baltimore were elections and discussions of key challenges in the church and the nation. Unlike recent previous meetings, their response to the clergy abuse crisis was mentioned but was not the primary focus.