Newest New York bishop inspired by Pope Francis' pastoral leadership while in Rome

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The week of ad limina meetings for U.S. bishops from New York concluded with a private encounter with Pope Francis. 

The newest bishop from Syracuse, Douglas Lucia, said the Holy Father spoke specifically about a few themes during their meeting. 

Bishop Diocese of Syracuse, New York

“I found a lot of discussion this week about our Catholic schools. That was another theme of the Holy Father today, the outreach to young people and to our families. So even when we visited the Congregation for Catholic Education, I found that we were talking more about our local Catholic schools and about how we can help to bolster Catholic education.”

Bishop Lucia said being true pastors with the smell of the sheep was another main topic the pope mentioned.

Bishop Diocese of Syracuse, New York

“He was saying don't forget, there are going to be times where you have to lead the people. There are times that you're going to have to be in the middle of the people. He said, that's what it might get smelly. Then he said, there'll be times when you're behind the people and you're going to have to just try to push them along, keep encouraging them. But I was just so taken by his very pastoral response.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the USCCB was meeting for their 2019 Fall General Assembly. While there, abortion was brought up to see if it was the preeminent issue to take on or not. 

The New York bishop said it's been an issue hitting his state hard since the Reproductive Health Act was signed into law in January 2019, allowing abortion up until birth. 

Bishop Diocese of Syracuse, New York

“For me, life in the womb is the seed of life. It is from the seed of life that all else grows. So for me, it is the preeminent issue. But that doesn't take away from the other issues of euthanasia, of capital punishment, of how we treat immigrants and everything else. But it begins with the seed of life.”

For him it's another aspect of accompaniment, caring for men, women and children who are vulnerable and in need of care and protection. 

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