Requests for information/interviews
Journalists requesting permission for interviews and/or filming on diocesan property please contact:
Jennifer Drow, Secretary of Communications
Senior Director of Communications
To be added to our media distribution list, please send an email including your name, title and full contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you should know about the faith
Catholic belief is succinctly expressed in the profession of faith or credo called the Nicene Creed:
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Someone new on the religion beat. A veteran journalist heading off to cover a story at the Vatican. A brand new diocesan director of communications. These and others are among the many callers who contact the Office of Media Relations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)…
The Mass is at the heart of the Catholic Church. It conveys the depth of Catholic theology, especially in the Eucharist, which is at its center. Rich in symbolism, the Mass provides a deeply sacred moment for those who participate in it, and even sometimes for those who merely observe it. The Office of Media Relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) developed this resource to assist the media in their important work of covering the church at prayer.
The Mass is public prayer, yet on many occasions, it is also a news event. Journalists can be found, for example, at an ordination of a bishop, at a wedding or funeral of a noted personality, at a gathering of people meeting around church concerns, or to commemorate a special occasion in society…
Here is a brief glossary of terms often used in the Catholic Church that may not be completely familiar to journalists who have not had a great deal of experience in covering church matters. One may hope that even more experienced journalists will find one or two new insights here. Terms are capitalized only if they are always capitalized. For example, archbishop is capitalized only when used as a title before a name, but College of Cardinals is a proper name in all uses—so the archbishop entry is lowercased but the other is capitalized.
Canon is the Greek word for rule, norm, standard or measure. It is used in several ways in church language:
- The canon of Sacred Scripture is the list of books recognized by the church as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
- Before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the single eucharistic prayer used universally in the Latin Mass was called the Roman Canon. Now that there are four eucharistic prayers in general use, they are usually referred to as Eucharistic Prayer I, II, III or IV, but they may also be called canons. The first of these is still called the Roman Canon because it is nearly identical to the original Roman Canon.
- Canon is another name for a law in the Code of Canon Law. (Adjective form is canonical.)
- Canon Law is a code of ecclesiastical laws governing the Catholic Church. In the Latin or Western Church, the governing code is the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a revision of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. A separate but parallel Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, issued in 1990, governs the Eastern Catholic churches. That document was the first comprehensive code of church law governing all Eastern Catholic churches.
The Office of Public Affairs represents the Catholic Bishops of the United States to the media and the media to the bishops. Responsibilities include preparing and distributing statements and other resources for the media, arranging for interviews with bishops and staff of the USCCB, organizing press conferences, responding to media queries and credentialing media for coverage of such events as the bishops’ annual meetings.
What you should know about the bishop
A bishop, from the Greek word episkopos (overseer), is a direct successor to the apostles. Bishops have, by divine institution, taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church. Below are some of the symbols associated with bishops:
The Bishop’s Chair
In ancient times, a chair was a sign of authority to teach. The bishop’s chair is called a cathedra from the Latin word for chair and it is the presence of the bishop’s cathedra in a church that makes it a cathedral. The bishop’s chair, then is a symbol of the bishop’s teaching office and pastoral power in his diocese. It is also a sign of the unity of believers in the faith that the bishop proclaims as shepherd of the Lord’s flock.
Coat of Arms
A bishop’s coat of arms is distinguished by a sign of his rank. That sign, placed over the shield, is a particular version of an ecclesiastical hat that was worn in processions, as late as 1870. The hat is low-crowned, flat, and widebrimmed. On a bishop’s coat of arms, the hat is green and hanging from it are 12 green tassels, six on each side. There’s also a processional cross above the shield. The cross on a bishop’s coat of arms has one bar; an archbishop’s cross has two. The design of the shield itself differs from bishop to bishop.
The mitre is the proper liturgical headdress for all bishops of the Latin rite, including the pope. The word comes from the Greek word mitra, meaning “turban.” It consists of two stiffened flaps of material joined by a headband with two fringed strips hanging from the back base of the mitre. The mitre as we know it today developed from the conical head-covering worn by the pope that appeared in the tenth century. At first, it was only used by the pope.
The pectoral cross gets its name because it is worn over the breast, or pectus, hanging from a green cord intertwined with gold threads. There are rules determining whether it is worn over or under whatever the bishop is wearing. If he’s in a suit and collar, the pectoral cross is usually placed in the vest pocket with the chain showing.
The crozier is a pastoral staff that is conferred on bishops (and abbots) at their installation. In the West, the top of the staff is curved to remind the bishop of the shepards crook and of his pastoral care of the people entrusted to him. It is a sign of the bishop’s need to keep watch over his whole flock, sustaining the weak and faltering, confirming the wavering faith, and leading back the erring ones into the true fold. Crosiers dating from as early as the fourth century have been found in catacombs. By the Council of Toledo in 633, the crosier is mentioned as a liturgical implement.
The bishop’s ring is a symbol of the bishop’s fidelity to and nuptial bond with the church, his spouse. It signifies the bishop’s symbolic marriage to the church or Christ. the bishop’s ring is usually made of gold with an amethyst. the bishop’s ring was first mentioned as an official part of the bishop’s insignia in the early seventh century.
The zucchetto is a skullcap worn, particularly by prelates, since the thirteenth century. The pope wears a white zucchetto; cardinals, a red zucchetto; and bishops, a purple zucchetto. Everyone else wears black.