TO: Members of the News Media

FROM: USCCB Office of Media Relations

DATE: September 3, 2014

WASHINGTON—A delegation of 18 U.S. bishops will travel to the Holy Land, September 10-19, to pray for peace. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will lead the pilgrimage, which will include visits and prayer at various holy sites in Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth and Bethlehem.

“Our pilgrimage could not come at a more critical moment,” Bishop Pates said. “The conflict between Israel and Hamas, the latest of far too many cycles of violence, has seriously eroded hope for peace in the Holy Land. Prayer for peace is needed now more than ever.”

USCCB and Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the U.S. bishops, are sponsoring the pilgrimage.

The bishops will pray alongside the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Catholics, Armenian Apostolic Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews. The bishops also follow in the footsteps of Pope Francis, who prayed for peace on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, May 24-26.

Other bishops participating in the pilgrimage are: Bishop John Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Archbishop Eusebius Beltran, retired archbishop of Oklahoma City; Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California; Bishop J. Kevin Boland, retired bishop of Savannah, Georgia; Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Bishop Tod Brown, retired bishop of Orange, California; Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico; Bishop Bernard Harrington, retired bishop of Winona, Minnesota; Bishop Howard Hubbard, retired bishop of Albany, New York; Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York; Bishop William Medley of Owensboro, Kentucky; Bishop Dale Melczek of Gary, Indiana; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York; Bishop Michael Pfeifer, retired bishop of San Angelo, Texas; Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Salina, Kansas; and Bishop Robert Coyle and Bishop Richard Higgins, auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Military Services.

Don Clemmer, USCCB interim director of media relations, will travel with the delegation and provide assistance to media seeking interviews or other materials, itineraries and documentation from the trip. He will also be sharing content at www.facebook.com/usccb, http://twitter.com/usccb and http://usccbmedia.blogspot.com.

His contact info is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., U.S. mobile: 260-580-1137. During the pilgrimage, he can also be reached at 00972-544959732 (from United States 011-972-544959732).