Formation of Formators a Priority for Eastern Churches, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2004 ( The «formation of formators» is one of the most urgent needs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, to which the universal Church must respond with its solidarity, John Paul II said.

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The Pope expressed this need when he received the participants in the annual meeting of the Assembly of Organizations for Aid to the Eastern Churches (ROACO).

Founded in 1968, ROACO offers financial support to communities of the Eastern-rite Churches, as well as to some countries of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aid to these Eastern Christian communities is particularly urgent since «they are subjected to harsh trials because of conflicts, terrorism and other difficulties,» the Holy Father said.

This year, ROACO has concentrated on aid to the Catholic communities of Iraq and to the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania.

ROACO encompasses about 30 organizations from the United States and Europe, coordinated by the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The Pope requested that, when aid is allocated, particular importance be given to «the formation of formators.»

«Your contribution,» he said, «will have to take into account the great needs which often exist in the seminaries and houses of formation, and the way in which priorities vary from one ecclesial community to another.»

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