Dozens of bishops from our region met in Suva, Fiji, Fiji this week for the quadrennial gathering of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) to reflect on and pray about their shared mission in the region. The assembly brought together members of the bishops conferences of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands and the Pacific Islands.
The NZ Catholic Bishops Conference was represented by (pictured above from left) Bishop Michael Gielen (Christchurch), Bishop Steve Lowe (Auckland), Archbishop Paul Martin SM (Wellington) and Bishop Michael Dooley (Dunedin).
The assembly focussed on three themes: Care for the oceans; Becoming a more synodal Church; and Formation for mission.
An important aspect of the assembly was working towards the completion of the bishops’ response to the working document for the continental stage for the global Synod of Bishops. The Bishops spent sessions this week praying, speaking and listening to achieve that goal.
Keep coming back to this page for links to news items, reports and videos from the assembly:
• At the conclusion of the assembly on 10 February, the bishops also issued a statement affirming their deepening commitment to our Pacific Ocean home.
• Sr Bernadette Reis, fsp of the Vatican Press Office presents at this link an informative video and written overview of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) assembly which finished in Suva on Friday 10 February.
• Update Friday 10 Feb 6.30pm: The FCBCO assembly in Suva has finished with a Mass. The assembly has issued this Concluding Statement which reflects on discussions from the week. Here is a short concluding brief about the week.
• Update Friday 10 Feb 4.45pm: The Bishop of Broken Bay NSW, Anthony Randazzo, is the new FCBCO president, taking over from Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva. Bishop Michael Dooley (Dunedin) and Archbishop Paul Martin SM (Wellington) are the two NZ members of the eight-member FCBCO executive council. Read the details here.
• In this Vatican News interview from the assembly, Archbishop Rochus Tatamai of Papua New Guinea explains certain aspects of Melanesian culture that can be used to explain the Catholic Faith.
• The Catholic bishops of Oceania meeting in Suva have have sent a message of prayerful condolence and solidarity to Church and civic leaders in Turkey and Syria as the countries suffer the effects of devastating earthquakes. The message of prayerful condolence is here, and a statement about the message is here.
• Day Four Wednesday 8 February Vatican News assembly video wrap and report.
• Day Three Tuesday 7 February Vatican News video wrap and report.
• Day Two Monday 6 February Vatican News video wrap and report.
• Day One Sunday 5 February Vatican News video wrap and report.
• Opening address of Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Prefect for the Dicastry for Integral Human Development, highlighting two fundamental themes of the gathering: climate change and synodality.
Pictured below, Bishop Lowe celebrates the assembly's morning Mass for Day Four, Wednesday 8 February. He is pictured here with concelebrant Bishop Michael Gielen. In his homily, Bishop Lowe asked the bishops of Oceania to advocate for the poor, and the Earth, to be a breath of life. The New Zealand Mass wove in Māori tradition and language, ending with the hymn Mō Maria.
Pictured below is some of the congregation at the assembly's opening Mass on Sunday 5 February, celebrated by the Prefect for the Dicastry for Integral Human Development, Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, at Suva's Sacred Heart Cathedral.