Oceania Bishops Meet in Wellington

Bishop McKenna is among the 86 Catholic Bishops currently gathered in Wellington for the meeting of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO).

Bishops attending come from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the countries of the Pacific and from Australia and New Zealand. The week-long gathering is a unique time of prayer, fellowship, reflection and discussion on topics which are of concern throughout the region. The Assembly takes place every four years in a different part of Oceania and is a valuable opportunity for collegial support.

“As we reflect on the matters of particular concern we will discuss what we are able to do to work together. We know we will be strengthened as individuals but also as a community to be a stronger voice in this part of the world. Within Oceania there are many small and isolated countries as well as small and isolated dioceses both with limited material or human resources and together we are better able to face the challenges in our region.” said Wellington's Archbishop John Dew, who is President of the Federation and is hosting the Assembly in his Diocese.

Workshops will include developing young people with Catholic hearts and minds, faith amid secularity and living not for ourselves but for others. The theme throughout will be evangelisation in the spirit of Pope Francis and much of the spirit of the formal and informal conversations will come from the Pope Francis' inspiring exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 'The Joy of the Gospel'.

The Assembly opened on Monday with the powhiri (Maori welcoming ceremony) and opening Mass in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington. On the Tuesday the bishops visited the Home of Compassion at Island Bay, and at dinner, were welcomed by New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Bill English. On Wednesday, the bishops will celebrate Mass at St Patrick’s College with students from the Catholic colleges in the region.

This Assembly marks the end of Archbishop John Dew’s four year term as President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania. A new President and Executive Committee (made up of two Bishops from each Conference) will be elected during the Assembly.

Courtesy of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference

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