Federation of Oceania Catholic Bishops’ Conferences meet

The Executive Committee of the Oceania Catholic Bishops’ conferences met in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 24 to 25 March. There are two bishops from each of the four Conferences on the Executive.

The Committee members

  • Expressed their solidarity and that of their Conferences with Bishop Jones and the people of Christchurch.  All the bishops have experienced disasters in their home countries and were heartfelt in expressing their prayerful support as the people work to recover, and the Church repairs damage and rebuilds.
  • Discussed  the health of priests in the countries of Oceania. The average age at which priests die in the Pacific and in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands is much lower than in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Discussed the need for qualified  people to teach in the region’s seminaries and the possibility of sharing personnel.
  • Shared information about the introduction of the Roman Missal in Australia and New Zealand and considered the needs of other parts of Oceania where English is one of the languages.
  • Archbishop Michele Calvet  provided information about progress on the French translation of the Mass which is some way behind the English translation.
  • Made progress on planning for the next Assembly of all the bishops of Oceania, which will be held in New Zealand in 2014.

The bishops visited the Port Moresby Cathedral and the Catholic Theological Institute at Bomana, which trains many of Papua New Guinea’s priests, both diocesan and religious. A new seminary has been developed in Solomon Islands and its first group of priests were ordained last year.

On the last night the Bishops concelebrated Mass with a number of priests in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, which is in the grounds of the Don Bosco Technical Institute.  Archbishop John Dew was the main celebrant, and the music was provided by the students from the Technical Institute and other schools nearby.  It was an uplifting and joyful occasion, especially as so many young people were present and took part with devotion and enthusiasm.

The next meeting of the FCBCO Executive Committee will be held in New Caledonia in May 2012.

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News category: World.