Noticias de la Diócesis de Allentown

Local Woman Advised U.S. Bishops on Key Issues

An Allentown Diocese woman who helped advise United States bishops on key issues said the experience gave her a better understanding of the governance of the Church, and also deepened her faith.

“The opportunity to be part of the deliberations process, the ability to offer a different perspective at times and to feel reassured that your vote counts and your voice is heard brought me joy,” said Bernarda Liriano, a member of St. Paul Parish, Allentown.

At the recommendation of Bishop Alfred Schlert, Liriano served a four-year term on the National Advisory Council of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is made up of Catholics from around the country from a diverse range of backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and walks of life.

The 48-member advisory group has been called “the Church in miniature.” In addition to laity, it is made up of deacons, priests, religious sisters and brothers, and bishops from around the country.

The council is charged with reviewing and discussing agenda items that may be coming before the full bishops’ conference for review and vote, and expressing agreement or disagreement with the proposed action.

During Liriano’s term, the advisory council discussed Church topics of all kinds, including religious liberty, marriage, communication, evangelization, seminarian and priest formation, pro-life policies, Catholic education, youth and young adult ministry, and immigration, she said.

“I am humbly grateful to Bishop Schlert for choosing me and trusting me with such an important and valuable mission,” Liriano said. “I am honored and grateful for his words of encouragement. He told me that he recommended me because of my qualities as a woman of fidelity to the Church.”

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, then-president of the bishops’ conference, wrote to Liriano to thank her for being a part of the advisory committee. “Your service was an example of your generosity,” he said. “For your valuable collaboration and contribution, I extend my deepest gratitude, prayers, and best wishes.”