Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Petersburg, Plenary Eve

As previously noted, tomorrow sees the beginning of the USCCB Summer Meeting in St Petersburg, Florida... home of the mother of all episcopal blogs (...and one of the few outlets "accredited" to cover the week).

In keeping with the bench's quadrennial tradition, this June plenary sees the bishops on group retreat, with no formal conference business scheduled. That said, the host-crowd's of note: St Pete Bishop Bob Lynch is a former USCCB general secretary... and in a way, this meeting can be seen as the local metropolitan's coming-out party.

Not that Tom Wenski's ever been known for laying low, but two weeks after his installation as archbishop of Miami -- and, arguably, a "Southern anchor" of a kind the Stateside church has never seen -- the welcome wagon will be led in part by the new head of the church in the Sunshine State, who hit the ground running even before taking his hometown chair on the first of the month.

Along the way, the Florida church saw a policy setback on Friday as, in the face of a sizable ecclesial push (led by Wenski's pre-possession "urge" on the Miami Herald's op-ed page), Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill described as "the most significant pro-life measure in Florida's history," which would've required an ultrasound prior to any first-trimester abortion, and banned funding of abortions in the state health-care plan in the recently-passed Federal reform package. (Elected as a Republican, Crist is now running as an independent for the US Senate, having withdrawn from the GOP primary after trailing a more conservative opponent in the polls.)

Even so, the high-octane Miami prelate already had the church's next national legislative battle on his mind last week, delivering a powerful homily on immigration reform, globalization and church unity at a welcome Mass for the myriad ethnic communities of "our nation's new Ellis Island."

In full, here's the text:

As ever, more from the week as it emerges.

Cathedral of St Jude the Apostle, St Petersburg