Immaculate Conception National Shrine, Washington D.C.

As a member of the Catholic hierarchy of the United States, Bishop Arias is also member of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB); he has served in Bishops' Commissions such as: Latin America, Hispanic Affairs, Fifth Centenary of Evangelization of America (1992), Communications and Campaign for Human Development.
The national headquarters of the Catholic Bishops of the United States (NCCB) is in Washington D.C. Also located there is the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States and, next to it, is the Catholic University. The Bishops of the United States meet annually in November in Washington D.C., and their Spring meeting in June is held by rotation in different regions of the country.

Ad Limina Visit with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican (1984 and 1998)

In the times of Christ, the Roman Empire stretched throughout a large part of the known world in Europe, Asia and Africa. Rome was its capital; it was an important city, not only because it was the see of the political power, but also because of its large population and the flourishing of its culture, arts, sciences and its spectacular monuments. Perhaps because of its importance in the world at that time, St. Peter decided to go there and plant the seed of Christian faith and it is there that he became the first Bishop of Rome. Peter acted from the beginning as head of the Apostles and his successors in Rome have always been acknowledged as successors of St. Peter. St. Paul also went to Rome to proclaim the gospel of Christ, even from jail. Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom and were buried in Rome. The two great Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul were erected on the likely places where they were buried. All Catholic Bishops go to Rome every five years to make their "Ad Limina" visit, a visit to the tomb of Peter and his present successor the Pope, to talk briefly over the pastoral situation of their dioceses and to hear from the Pope a message related to one relevant theme. During this visit, early in the morning one day, the Pope invites a small group of bishops to celebrate Mass with him in his private chapel and at noon to a lunch. On this occasion, the bishops take advantage of the trip to visit several of the Vatican Departments and talk over matters of their concern or interest; they also pay a visit to the four major Basilicas of Rome: St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John of Lateran and St. Mary Major. Bishop Arias has traveled to Rome with the Bishops of New Jersey and Pennsylvania on four "Ad Limina" visits, and on several other occasions for special events. On these occasions he has had the opportunity to speak, pray and personally dine with Pope John Paul II.


Bishop Arias at an Audience with King
Juan Carlos of Spain, Madrid 1992


Bishop Arias with President Reagan on his coming to Seton Hall University in 1984




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Catholic Bishops of the State of New Jersey

The Bishops of the United States are grouped into Ecclesiastical Provinces. The Bishops of New Jersey form one Province, with the Archbishop of Newark acting as moderator. New Jersey has a population of about nine million people of whom 50% are Catholic. Given the proximity of its dioceses, it is logical that the Church’s norms be implemented with harmony and unity in mind; in the same way, the efforts and plans to strengthen the faith and Catholic institutions of the State require coordination and mutual support.
Bishop Arias is a member of the Board of Bishops of New Jersey. This Board meets every month to analyze and coordinate matters that concern the five diocese of the State of New Jersey: Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton, Camden, in addition to two other dioceses from the Eastern Rite. It also deals with matters of civil legislation of the State that include moral, religious and social aspects.

Bishops of Newark Visit Pope John Paul II

Bishops of New Jersey and Pennsylvania Celebrate Mass with the Pope at his Private Chapel

Augustinian Recollect Bishops Get Together
at a Missionary Congress in Madrid


Bishop Arias Greets Mother Theresa of Calcuta
Cathedral of Newark

From Right to Left: Bishop Arias, President
Jose M. Aznar, Benny Castro and Jose A. Arias
on a visit of the President to New York City