120 New Bishops Gather for Prayer — and Pointers

Vatican Congregation Convokes 10-Day Meeting

ROME, SEPT. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- New bishops from around the world have gathered for a 10-day meeting that touches on practical episcopal concerns ranging from prayer and vocations, to dealing with troubled priests.

The Sept. 15-24 meeting, called by the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, is also a pilgrimage of sorts for 120 bishops from 33 countries, who are dedicating time to prayer and reflection.

This is the second year for the Vatican-organized event. The attending bishops were appointed by John Paul II between June 2001 and last August.

The most numerous of the new bishops are the Brazilians (16), followed by the Italians (11), Peruvians (10), Americans (9), Filipinos (8), Canadians (7), Ukrainians (7), French (6), Australians (5) and Chileans (4).

The meeting, being held at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, the university center of the Legionaries of Christ, offers new bishops the opportunity to hear from experienced fellow prelates.

Among the speakers is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who addressed the topic “The Bishop: Teacher and Custodian of the Faith.” He stressed the need to “promote education in the faith,” paying special attention to “the teaching of the catechism and of religion in schools.”

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, focused on “The Bishop: A Man of Prayer and of Spiritual Life.” And Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, explained the role of the bishop in fostering vocations and supervising seminaries.

Cardinal Francesco Pompedda, prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the Church’s supreme court, discussed the question of “Ecclesiastical Tribunals and Annulment Processes of the Sacrament of Marriage.”

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, talked about “Family Pastoral Care” in the episcopal ministry. For his part, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, spoke on ecumenism.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, discussed the everyday issues in the “governance of the diocese,” as well as “juridical questions, diocesan curia organization and pastoral visits.”

Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, Wales, addressed concerns about priests, especially those with psychological or moral problems.

On Sunday, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, will preside over a concelebrated Mass of bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica.

John Paul II will receive the participants in private audience Monday at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

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