|Focus of bishops at Guyana meeting: Getting Catholics to reflect on Scripture - Apr 22|
|2012 - News|
|Saturday, 21 April 2012 22:18|
How to encourage Catholics to read and reflect on Sacred Scripture more often?
That will be one of the questions to be addressed when the 16 bishops who head the Catholic Church in the English, French and Dutch-speaking Caribbean gather for their annual general meeting in Georgetown, Guyana, this week.
This will be the third time in the 64-year history of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) of Bishops that they will meet in Guyana; they previously met there in 1974 and 1977. Decisions are taken at these gatherings to help the Catholic Church in this region to better respond to the realities and expectations of Caribbean peoples.
Last year’s meeting in Barbados approved a pastoral letter on Catholic Education, renewing the commitment of the Church to education at all levels and promoting “ongoing faith formation and professional development programmes” for Catholic educators across the region.
This year’s April 21 -27 meeting will be officially inaugurated today (Sunday) with a 4.00 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, known locally as Brickdam Cathedral. Following an old tradition, the most recently ordained bishop – Bishop Kenneth Richards of the diocese of St John’s-Basseterre (Antigua, Barbuda and St Kitts) – will deliver the homily. The meeting will also welcome two other recent Episcopal appointees – Archbishop Joseph Harris of Port of Spain, and Bishop Jason Gordon of Bridgetown, Barbados and Kingstown, St Vincent. With these appointments and the upcoming ordination of an auxiliary bishop in Belize, only one of the 19 dioceses in the AEC will not have a bishop resident in the territory.
The inaugural Mass will be preceded by a retreat on Bishops’ Spirituality, and a Study Day on Collegiality and Cooperation among bishops. Both will be led by Archbishop Emeritus Alfred Hughes of New Orleans in the US.
On Monday, AEC president Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Bahamas and Bishop Francis Alleyne of Georgetown will pay a courtesy call on President of Guyana, His Excellency Donald Ramotar.
Port of Spain-based papal representative to the Antilles, Italian Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, will accompany the bishops on the courtesy call. Later that day he will present his diplomatic credentials as Vatican representative.
The bishops plan to also meet with the local Church leadership and representatives of diocesan organisations at St Paul’s Pastoral Centre in Better Hope, located on the East Coast of Demerara.
The working sessions of the bishops will include a review of plans by the AEC to sponsor the training of a Caribbean trauma team of psychologists, social workers and counsellors in June in Trinidad, who will help in the Church’s response to victims of natural and man-made disasters. The one-week seminar will be directed by an international expert in the field of Trauma Response.
Another item on the agenda is a review of the VIRTUS programme, a region-wide programme for the protection of God’s children from sexual abuse through ongoing and in-depth training and motivation of all Church personnel.
The bishops will also finalise plans for July’s AEC Youth Assembly in St Lucia, expected to be attended by more than 1,000 Catholic youth. The Assembly theme is: “Your Word is a lamp to my steps, and a light to my path.” (Psalm 118:105).
Given the renewed priority of Sacred Scripture following the 2007 Conference of Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean held in Aparecida, Brazil, and the Synod on the New Evangelisation set for October in Rome, the bishops will discuss ways of promoting reading of the Bible and meditation and action on Sacred Scripture by Catholics across the region.
About 2.2 million people or one quarter of the total population of the countries that make up the AEC are Catholic.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources