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Statement from U.S. Bishops Chairman of International Justice and Peace Committee on Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s Pastoral Solidarity Visit to the Church in Cuba

WASHINGTON—Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“I would like to congratulate His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan on his recently concluded pastoral solidarity visit to the Church in Cuba. His Eminence, who traveled to the island at the invitation of the Cuban bishops, celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre in Santiago--the spiritual heart of Cuba--as well as at the Cathedral of Havana, the Adolfo Rodriguez convalescent home in Camaguey, the Carmelite Convent in Havana, among others.

“The Cardinal reiterated longstanding Holy See and USCCB policy on Cuba: Mutually beneficial trade relations, tourism, and cultural exchange with the United States are key in transforming Cuba and bringing prosperity to the Cuban people.

“Recognizing the Church's role in the development of Cuban civil society, His Eminence visited the Dominican-founded University of Havana and the tomb of Fr. Felix Varela, the great 19th century Cuban priest-patriot. The Cardinal also visited the Latin American School of Medicine and Caritas Cuba.

“In addition to expressing solidarity with our brother bishops in Cuba and meeting with Apostolic Nuncio Giampiero Gloder, His Eminence met with President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The Church in Cuba and the United States believe in the transformative power of dialogue, especially regarding the promotion of life, dignity, integral human development, and prosperity. I echo the Cardinal's expressions of solidarity and urge Cuban and U.S. leaders to work for concord and collaboration between our countries.”

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Cuba.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Catholic Response to Outbreak of Coronavirus

WASHINGTON - Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace; Sean Callahan, president of Catholic Relief Services; and Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, president of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, issued a statement addressing the Catholic response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Their joint statement follows:

“As communities and public health officials respond to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and closely monitor its presence and progression in other parts of the world, we join in solidarity and prayer for those impacted or working to treat those infected by the disease. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Health Association of the United States hope that governments will work together in partnership to improve all nations’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to this virus.

“The Catholic Church in the United States stands in solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus and their families, health workers who are valiantly trying to diagnose and treat patients, and those under quarantine awaiting results of their screening for the virus. We offer our prayers for healing and support those organizations, both domestic and international, working to provide medical supplies and assistance to address this serious risk to public health.

“In early February, the Holy See sent 700,000 respiratory masks to China to help prevent the spread of the disease. Within the United States, Catholic healthcare providers are at the front line of providing treatment and care to those impacted by the virus.  

“We also commend the U.S. government for transporting more than 17 tons of donated medical supplies to China. This response to the novel coronavirus demonstrates the critical importance of the need to work together and to invest in crucial health care systems here and in other countries, thus preventing and responding to community-wide emergencies. We urge the U.S. Congress to support these efforts by protecting access to domestic health care safety net programs and by providing additional emergency international assistance to areas impacted by the virus.

“We also urge individuals to stay informed as information becomes available by going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at”  

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services, Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Statement from U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Committee on Nuclear Disarmament

WASHINGTON — The Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following statement on nuclear disarmament.

During the recent visit of Pope Francis to Japan, the Holy Father took the opportunity to speak forcefully on the subject of nuclear weapons and the threat that they represent to the world. Speaking at Nagasaki, he emphasized the need for a wide and deep solidarity to bring about security in a world not reliant on atomic weaponry, stating, “A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations.” - Address of the Holy Father on Nuclear Weapons, Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki) Sunday, 24 November 2019.

Later that same day, Pope Francis spoke in Hiroshima, the other Japanese city to have known the horror of a nuclear explosion. Addressing the moral implications of nuclear weaponry he stated, “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral …” - Address of the Holy Father, Meeting for Peace, Peace Memorial (Hiroshima) Sunday, 24 November 2019.

The words of Pope Francis serve as a clarion call and a profound reminder to all that the status quo of international relations, resting on the threat of mutual destruction, must be changed. As Bishops of the United States, we have made similar appeals in the past when we stated, “the moral task is to proceed with deep cuts and ultimately to abolish these weapons entirely.” - The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace (1993).  

So too, has the international community recognized the need to move away from the threat of mutual destruction and toward genuine and universal disarmament, as reflected in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article VI of that Treaty, which dates back to 1968, states each party of that accord will work in good faith for the end of the nuclear arms race by seeking nuclear disarmament based in “…a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Pope Francis has used his visit to Japan to remind the faithful and all actors, states or non-states, of the moral obligation to re-commit to the work of ridding the world of nuclear weapons and the threat that they pose. That obligation weighs on the consciences of all to find a means for complete and mutual disarmament based in a shared commitment and trust that needs to be fostered and deepened.

The Committee on International Justice and Peace is grateful to the Holy Father for this renewed effort to bring about a world of peace and justice that is not based upon fear or the threat of nuclear annihilation but justice and human solidarity. As such, we also call upon our own government to be part of and indeed renew its primary responsibility in that effort. The nations which have nuclear weapons must take the lead in mutual reduction of their weapons. The non-nuclear nations too must refrain from pursuing them if Article VI of the NPT is to be the effective instrument to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

“Come, Lord, for it is late, and where destruction has abounded, may hope also abound today that we can write and achieve a different future.” (Pope Francis, Hiroshima, November 24, 2019.)

Members of the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Chairman
Bishop of Rockford

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services

Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice

Most Reverend Michael Mulvey
Bishop of Corpus Christi

Most Reverend William F. Murphy
Bishop Emeritus of Rockville Centre

Most Reverend Alberto Rojas
Coadjutor Bishop of San Bernardino

Most Reverend Abdallah Elias Zaidan
Bishop of Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon



Bishop Consultants to the Committee for International Justice and Peace:

Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of Bridgeport


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Committee on International Justice and Peace, nuclear disarmament, Japan, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement on Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia

WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement regarding the release today of Pope Francis’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia. The exhortation follows upon the Special Synod of Bishops held in Rome from October 6-27, 2019 that focused on the Amazon region.

Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:

“Today our Holy Father Pope Francis offers us a hopeful and challenging vision of the future of the Amazon region, one of the earth’s most sensitive and crucial ecosystems, and home to a rich diversity of cultures and peoples. The Pope reminds us that the Church serves humanity by proclaiming Jesus Christ and his Gospel of love, and he calls for an evangelization that respects the identities and histories of the Amazonian peoples and that is open to the ‘novelty of the Spirit, who is always able to create something new with the inexhaustible riches of Jesus Christ.’
“He also calls all of us in the Americas and throughout the West to examine our ‘style of life’ and to reflect on the consequences that our decisions have for the environment and for the poor. Along with my brother bishops here in the United States, I am grateful for the Holy Father’s wisdom and guidance and we pledge our continued commitment to evangelizing and building a world that is more just and fraternal and that respects the integrity of God’s creation.”

Keywords: Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation, Querida Amazonia, Pan-Amazon, Synod of Bishops, Laudato Si’, encyclical, ecology, environment, Archbishop José H. Gomez, USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Media Contacts
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
(202) 541-3200


U.S. Bishops’ Annual Ash Wednesday Collection Supports the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe has announced February 26 as this year’s date for the special collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Dioceses may elect a different date to take up the collection to avoid conflicts with local activities. The funds collected support seminaries, youth ministry, social service programs, pastoral centers, church construction and renovation, and Catholic communications projects in 28 countries in the region.

In Baranovichi, Belarus, the parish of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn was established in November 2013 to meet the pastoral needs of the faithful in the region. Through local efforts and funding from the collection, the dream of building a parish home for the growing number of Catholics in Baranovichi is now becoming a reality.

“The Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe provides critical witness to our hope in God and the Risen Christ in places where many people still confront obstacles to practicing their faith freely and fully,” said Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of Steubenville and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. “Thanks to the solidarity of Americans through the collection, their ministries are supported through both prayer and financial resources with assurances that they are not alone.”

On November 10, 2019, the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe awarded $1.6 million in funding for 100 projects in 22 countries in the region. Information about the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, including the 2018 annual report, may be found at Promotional resources in English and Spanish for use in dioceses and parishes can be found at

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton, National Collections.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


National Marriage Week and World Marriage Day Uphold Marriage as the Foundation of the Domestic Church

WASHINGTON—National Marriage Week will be observed from February 7-14, 2020, in the United States. World Marriage Day will be observed on Sunday, February 9; it is annually celebrated on the second Sunday of February.

Each year, National Marriage Week and World Marriage Day provide the opportunity to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting, promoting, and upholding marriage and the family.

The theme chosen by the USCCB to celebrate National Marriage Week, “Stories from the Domestic Church,” was announced by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth in a letter to his brother bishops. The theme was chosen to demonstrate how “spouses are consecrated and by means of a special grace build up the Body of Christ and form a domestic church” as Pope Francis reminded the faithful in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (n. 67).

Among the resources provided to dioceses for National Marriage Week to use in their parishes are a preaching aid for priests, a bulletin insert or flyer prayer intentions, and a seven-day virtual marriage retreat for married couples, available in English and Spanish. These resources are available for download at in English and Spanish.

This year’s retreat features testimonies of couples who live out the call of love and form “domestic churches” within their immediate and extended families. The term “domestic church” can be used to describe how “the Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion”. (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, n. 21) The retreat, which runs from February 7 to14, offers married couples an opportunity to pray and reflect about marriage in God’s plan.

A rosary for married couples and families in need of healing will be live-streamed from the chapel at the USCCB in Washington on the Conference’s Facebook page on Wednesday, February 12 at 3:00 pm ET.

The USCCB offers resources to uphold marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman through its dedicated websites,, and

National Marriage Week USA is a national movement promoting education about the benefits of marriage for reducing poverty and benefiting children. It was launched in 2010 as part of International Marriage Week, with 20 major countries around the world now mobilizing leaders and events to strengthen marriage in their countries. For information and resources, visit: World Marriage Day was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter as a marriage enrichment program.  

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, National Marriage Week USA, World Marriage Sunday, marriage, family, For Your Marriage, Marriage Unique for a Reason.
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Education Committee Chairman for U.S. Bishops Applauds Administration’s Efforts to Expand Parental Choice in Education Inner City Philadelphia Catholic School Welcomes Vice President Pence

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration’s commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration’s parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

“The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, ‘Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.’ We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child’s educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state’s largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration’s Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship Videos Inspire Catholics to Prayer and Action in Political Life, Apply Teachings of Pope Francis

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released videos to inspire prayer and action in political life and to help Catholics apply the Church’s teaching as handed down by Pope Francis. The scripts for the videos were approved by the full body of bishops at their November General Assembly in Baltimore. The videos complement Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops’ teaching document for the faithful on the political responsibility of Catholics, and they seek to help the faithful participate in public life, prioritize faith over partisan politics, engage with civility, and respond to pressing issues of our day. Each video ends with a prayer.

The videos, which are available on the USCCB’s YouTube channel in four languages (English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese), are titled:

Catholics Participate in Public Life
•  Catholics Protect Human Life and Dignity
•  Catholics Promote the Common Good
•  Catholics Love their Neighbors
•  Faithful Citizens Work with Christ as He Builds His Kingdom (a compilation of the four videos)

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, served as chairman of the working group on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. He emphasized the importance of these videos in advance of a heightened political season saying,

“The bishops of the U.S. invite all Catholics to bring their faith into the public square. Political engagement and participation are important ways that together, we can work to protect the unborn, welcome immigrants, bring justice to victims of racism and religious intolerance, support families, accompany those experiencing poverty, and advocate on behalf of all who are vulnerable. As we enter an election year, these Faithful Citizenship videos are meant to help the faithful reflect on this call, and we hope they will be widely shared.”

In addition to several young adult voices, the videos also feature several bishops. The English language videos feature: Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles. The Spanish language videos feature: Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop-designate Nelson J. Perez of Philadelphia, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville. The videos in Tagalog feature Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City, and the videos produced in Vietnamese feature Auxiliary Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen of Orange.

Additional supplemental resources are available at and

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, political participation, political engagement, elections, voting, videos, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop Robert Barron, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Bishop Nelson J. Perez, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop Oscar A. Solis, Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Statement from U.S. Bishops’ Chairman of International Justice and Peace Committee Upon Release of Trump Administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” Plan

WASHINGTON— In response to the release of the Trump Administration’s “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People,” Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, stated in a recent letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo:

“Intrinsic to a fruitful discussion is the necessity that each state recognizes and supports the legitimacy of each other. The future peace and flourishing of life in the Holy Land depend on such a mutual recognition that calls for concrete steps in mutual counsel and collaboration, before the fundamental agreements can be achieved. The United States and all other interested parties who offer their counsel and aid must do so as contributors to strengthen bilateral agreement between the two principal entities. As such, we are concerned ‘Peace to Prosperity’ makes propositions without these requisite conditions being met.

“May the good offices of our nation assist Israel and Palestine to travel the road of mutual recognition and mutual legitimacy to its intended goal. As Pope Francis declared when he visited Israel in 2014, ‘The two-state solution must become a reality and not merely a dream.’ We shall be one in our prayers that both Palestinians and Israelis be able to live side by side with sovereignty, dignity, and peace.”

The full text of Bishop Malloy’s letter can be found here.

Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop David J. Malloy, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Peace to Prosperity, Trump Administration, Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo.

Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Repent and Believe: The Call to Metanoia

By Father Dave Pivonka, TOR

“This is the time of fulfillment.”

Those are the first words Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel of Mark. For 14 verses, he says nothing. He meets John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descends upon him, and he faces temptation in the wilderness. But through it all, he doesn’t say a word. Then, finally, Jesus speaks: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

The temptation, for most of us, is to hear those words in the past tense. We hear them as something Jesus said long ago to Jewish people in Roman-occupied Galilee.

But that’s not how the Scriptures work. They’re not simply a record of things that were said 2,000 years ago. They’re not a collection of history books like we find at our local library. They are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword . . . and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

This means Scripture speaks to us today. Jesus speaks to us today. Right here. Right now. This is the time of fulfillment. This is the time Jesus invites us to know him and follow him and encounter the Kingdom of Heaven. But he doesn’t just invite us. In Mark 1:15, he also tells us how we answer that invitation: “Repent, and believe.”

The Greek word used there for “repent and believe” is metanoia. It implies a turning or a change of mind. So, what Jesus says is, “Turn away from sin, and turn toward me. Change your focus—from sin, from the world, from a culture of distraction—and focus on me instead.” Ultimately, he issues a call to conversion, a call to a new way of thinking and a new way of living. And he issues that call, not just to Peter, James, John, and the rest of the 12, but to you and me.

Which means the question for us is: how do we answer that call? How, here and now, do we repent and believe? How do we experience metanoia?

Last year, the team from 4PM Media and I attempted to answer that question, when we spent 17 days in the Holy Land, filming Metanoia, a new 10-part video series on conversion and discipleship.

But the trip turned out to be much more than that.

Shot on location in some of our faith’s most sacred places, including the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan, and the desert of temptations, Metanoia invites viewers to an encounter with Christ in both Scripture and history. It also invites each of us to look deep into our hearts, so we can hear how Christ is calling us to conversion.

For many Catholics, it’s tempting to think of conversion as a once and done event. It’s equally tempting to think of it as something other people need: that Jesus is calling other people to repent and believe—“those bishops and priests” or “those people who are in serious sin”—but not us. No, we think, it’s those people who need conversion. Never us. But in reality, it is always us.

Every one of us struggles in some way to live the Gospel. Every one of us has some area of our life that we have not handed over to Jesus. Every one of us, to some extent, bears some responsibility for the problems in the Church and world today.

That’s why conversion is a process each and every one of us must continually enter into. It’s a lifelong journey of being transformed by Christ and conformed to Christ. It’s never done. At least, not until we see Jesus face to face and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

And so, over the course of 10 weeks, Metanoia will invite Catholics to become the witness the world needs us to be and the disciples Jesus calls us to be. It does that by asking us to look at different areas of our life and faith—from our understanding of who Christ is and what it means to pray, to how we approach the Church’s more challenging teachings. It then invites us to think and pray about how Jesus calls us to conversion in those areas.

The whole series is really one big invitation to let God into every aspect of our life and transform it all.

Metanoia launches on Monday, February 3. Episodes will be available to watch at I hope you join us. Because this is the time of fulfillment. Jesus is here. He has something for us right now. But we will never experience it if we don’t repent and believe. We will never experience it without metanoia.