Next Head of USCCB Liturgy Committee: Gregory or Barres?


When the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meets in November, chairs for six standing committees will be elected, include the Committee on Divine Worship (BCDW). There are two nominees for each post.

The two candidates to chair the BCDW are Bishop John Barres (Allentown) and Archbishop Wilton Gregory (Atlanta).

Bishop Barres did his BA at Princeton (and also played JV basketball) and his MBA at NY Grad School of Business. He has an STB and STL in Systematic from CUA, and a JCL in canon law and STD in spiritual theology from Opus Dei-led Holy Cross University in Rome. Monsignor since 2000, bishop since 2009. He serves on the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s motto is: We Are The Lord’s – be sure to include the apostrophe! His 1980 doctorate in liturgy is from Benedictine-led Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. He was USCCB president 2001-2004. He has served on numerous conference committees, including as chair of liturgy (then BCL) 1991-1993. He has published numerous articles on the subject of liturgy, particularly in the African-American community. He has nine honorary doctoral degrees. As Pray Tell reported, he has spoken out publicly on concerns about the new missal translation.

The results of the election will be watched closely for indications of the mind of the conference and the direction it wants to go. Expect news stories and blog posts, some of them no doubt a bit simplistic, about whether the bishops are on board with Pope Francis’s pastoral vision. (All the nominees are listed below.)

Watch “Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations”: will the bishops select the conciliatory Tobin or the harsh-speaking Aquila? (Both are archbishops. It is always important to note who is a bishop and who is an archbishop in these things.)

“Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth” pits sharp-speaking Chaput (no, he’s really not against Pope Francis, he keeps telling us) against Caggiano, who opened up a path of dialogue in Bridgeport with the convoking of a diocesan synod. Chaput is arch, Caggiano isn’t, so it would be rather surprising if the archbishop candidate weren’t selected. But by how much? That will be watched closely.

Here are the candidates.

Conference Treasurer

  • Bishop John M. LeVoir of New Ulm, Minnesota
  • Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati

Committee on Catholic Education

  • Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis
  • Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio

Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations

  • Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver
  • Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Indianapolis

Committee on Divine Worship

  • Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta

Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

  • Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida
  • Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego

Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

  • Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia

Committee on Migration

  • Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
  • Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico






5 responses to “Next Head of USCCB Liturgy Committee: Gregory or Barres?”

  1. Lee Bacchi Avatar
    Lee Bacchi

    I would prefer Archbishop Gregory.

  2. Jeffrey Maurer Avatar
    Jeffrey Maurer

    Who is it now?

  3. Mike Burns Avatar
    Mike Burns

    Bishop Arthur Serratelli

  4. Ed Nash Avatar
    Ed Nash

    This vote for Liturgy Committee gives us two choices and the Bishops in their wisdom will have a choice to determine not so much direction but forcefulness of enforcement.

    The choice for family life is the scariest to me and if the US Bishops think the family life issues in this country can remain business as usual, the Liturgy Committee head will have to figure out what to do with so many empty pews.

  5. Dismas Bede Avatar
    Dismas Bede

    Time to forget about titles – what difference does “Arch” make – and choose/appoint/nominate people who will get the job done in the most effective way. Chaput has a lot to say and offer, but for Family Life AND Youth, the bishop of Bridgeport, who, no doubt, will soon be an “Arch,” is the man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *