Oceania Catholics’ strong community

Last month Wellington hosted the four-yearly plenary assembly of the bishops of the Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania (FCBCO).

But it would be no surprise if anyone attending the opening Mass thought they had been carried off to the Pacific Islands, with the vibrant contribution of the Samoan and Tokelauan communities.

It was one of those moments when I realised how deep is the communio, the life of the Trinity we share at baptism that binds us together as the Catholic Church in Oceania.

When you look at a map or, better still, a globe of Oceania, you realise how huge it is, covering more than one-third of the earth’s surface. What a responsibility comes with this beautiful gift of God’s creation and the people who live here.

As bishops we were aware of this, especially when, on the opening day, Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin addressed the question of Australian immigration policy, detention centres and the treatment of asylum seekers who are currently detained on Manus Island, Nauru, Christmas Island and several camps in Australia.

These places are located in three of the four FCBCO areas, but it also challenges us as New Zealanders – are we doing all we can to respond with gospel hospitality towards those who approach our shores? Continue reading.

John Dew is Archbishop of Wellington, and outgoing President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania.

Source: WelCom

Image: WelCom

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