Oceania Bishops welcomed in Wellington

The haunting sound of the conch shell welcomed more than 80 Bishops from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Pacific Island nations and New Zealand at a powhiri (welcome ceremony) in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand last Monday.

The Mass that followed incorporated some aspects of the pasifika cultures that are part of the local Catholic community.

During the Mass the Papal Nuncio to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Archbishop Martin Krebs, read a message sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State on behalf of Pope Francis.

In the message he offering his prayerful support and his hope that during their time together the Bishops would find inspiration and strength for their common mission in the service of God’s people.

At the dinner, on that same evening, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Bill English, welcomed the Bishops to New Zealand.

The Bishops have visited the Home of Compassion and met with the sisters there.

They heard about Suzanne Aubert, the foundress of the Compassion Sisters; her work for social justice in the wider community, the way she was embraced by the Maori community and her study of Maori herbal medicine and of Te Reo (the Maori language).

Aubert’s cause for sainthood is underway and should she be beatified she would be New Zealand’s first saint.

In workshop sessions, they have discussed with those working in Catholic schools and tertiary chaplaincy, the engaging of young people, and how those young people live their Catholic faith amid secularity.

The Bishops are gathered for the Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania which takes place in a different part of Oceania every four years.

It is 20 years since this Assembly was held in New Zealand when the inaugural Assembly was held in 1994 in Auckland.

It is a first for the Archdiocese of Wellington.

Media release and photographs supplied by Simone Olsen NZCBC

Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.