Catholic Mission extends its prayers and best wishes for a successful meeting of the Conferences of Bishops of Oceania, convening in Sydney, 10-14 May 2010.
Under the banner of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) this gathering of diocesan bishops from across the Pacific region happens once every four years. This year’s conference theme is “Real Issues of Oceania in the Light of God’s Word and Sacraments.”
Bishops from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and other countries in the Pacific – the Mariana Islands, Guam, Noumea, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Tahiti will be attending.
Catholic Mission’s National Director, Martin Teulan, said FCBCO “is a vital forum for discussions and strategies for the Church’s mission in our region.”
“Oceania includes the diversity of peoples and cultures of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Catholic Mission is proud to be a sponsor of the meeting. This is a forum where the voice of multiculturalism is heard in the context of the Church’s gospel mission to God’s people.
“Members range from large, resources-rich countries like Australia and Papua New Guinea to tiny, environmentally vulnerable island nations like Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu.” Mr Teulan said. “Each country has its own needs and priorities for growing the faith and caring for the needs and welfare of its people.”
He said Catholic Mission both in Australia and internationally provides millions of dollars of funding each year for projects in Oceania that reflect the priorities of local Catholic communities.
“The need comes from each community. It may be repair work on schools, building a church, cathedral or community hall. Elsewhere, training catechists or seminarians, or publishing the Bible in Samoan, or installing a solar electric plant on Nissan Island, Bougainville.”
Mr Teulan said every project supported by Catholic Mission has to have a local contribution of money or labour to qualify. “This means the projects that get off the ground are the ones the community wants and has ownership over.”
FCBCO President, Bishop Peter Ingham, said the Sydney meeting is about making Jesus Christ “better known and loved, as we walk his way, tell his truth and live his life.” In Oceania, he said, evangelisation presents “different challenges in each of its countries”.
Catholic Mission, which is a sponsor of the FCBCO meeting, shares Bishop Ingham’s concern that faith sharing, service to the poor and social justice are intertwined in the Church’s mission work in Oceania.