(ZENIT News / Roma, 03.23.2023).- Mgr. Mariano Crociata, Bishop of Latina, is the new President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE). He was elected by the Bishop Delegates of the EU Bishops’ Conferences, gathered in Rome for their 2023 Spring Assembly.
Mgr. Crociata, 70, takes over as President from Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ for the period 2023-2028. Upon his election, the Bishop of Latina expressed his gratitude to the members of the Assembly for their trust. “This is a crucial time for Europe and for the Church. Unity and solidarity are needed more than ever. They should guide us through the many transitions our societies are faced with”, Mgr. Crociata stated.
“I am particularly referring to the need for a just and sustainable recovery from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure leaving no one behind, as well as renewing the vocation of the European Union to be a source of development and a promise of peace for our beloved continent and the world”, he continued.
The new President is the Delegate of the Italian Bishops’ Conference to COMECE since 2017. In the period 2018-2023, he served as First-Vice President of COMECE. Click here to read his biography.
The Assembly also elected four Vice-Presidents, mirroring the geographical and cultural diversity of the Church in the European Union. The Vice-Presidents are: Mgr. Antoine Hérouard (France), Mgr. Nuno Brás da Silva Martins (Portugal), Mgr. Rimantas Norvila (Lithuania), Mgr. Czeslaw Kozon (Nordic Bishops’ Conference). Mgr. Hérouard is the First Vice-President.
Following the election of the new Presidency, the Assembly welcomed Cardinal Secretary of State His Eminence Pietro Parolin. Together they exchanged on the humanitarian, geo-political and social implications of the war in Ukraine, and on ways for the Catholic Church to encourage and contribute to EU’s role as global peace actor.
On Thursday 23 March, the EU Bishops will also have a dialogue meeting with H.E. Alexandra Valkenburg, EU Ambassador to the Holy See. In the afternoon, H.E. Mgr. Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States will address the Bishops of COMECE. In the evening, they will visit the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and celebrate the Holy Mass with H.Em. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi.
Finally, the COMECE Assembly will have a dialogue meeting with Antonio Tajani, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice-President of the European Popular Party (EPP) and former President of the European Parliament.