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With ever greater commitment

· Archbishop Kurtz elected President of the USCCB ·

Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville has been elected as the new President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The election took place on 12 October, the second day of the bishops' annual General Assembly in Baltimore which is currently underway. Archbishop Kurtz, 67, who was previously Vice President of the USCCB, was elected to a three-year term on the first ballot receiving 125 votes. The Archbishop will succeed Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan of New York. The General Assembly also elected Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston as the new Vice President of the USCCB.

In a statement to Catholic News Service agency, Archbishop Kurtz called Pope Francis' example a model of awareness, listening and collegiality. Speaking of the Holy Father, the new President of the Bishop's Conference said: “he's asking us to go beyond what we've been doing”. Kurtz added that “if it was a car, I guess we're moving in to high gear”.

Archbishop Kurtz, while he was Bishop of Knoxville, prepared the text for the rite of blessing for children in the womb, which received the Holy See's approval. The text of the rite is available in two languages, both English and Spanish, in response to the growing number of faithful Hispanic immigrants in the country. The blessing, Kurtz explained, was prepared for parents who are expecting children, to encourage prayer in communities, to recognize the precious gift of motherhood and to promote the respect for life in society.

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