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Caribbean dioceses to celebrate Mission

AEC bishops take a group photo after the Opening Mass of their Annual Plenary Meeting.

Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) say they are committed to an intentional partnership in realising the mission of the Church with a special emphasis on accompanying young people. This commitment, they said, will be marked by activities in all the dioceses in preparation for the 1st Mission Congress of the AEC, September 19–22 in T&T.

A release from the AEC said that this “momentous event” will be followed in October by the universal marking of the Extra Ordinary Mission Month themed Baptized and Sent. It said that the process in preparation for these events will be launched with ceremony and “splendid display” at Pentecost in each diocese.

The release also included details on the just concluded 63rd Annual Plenary Meeting (APM) held in French Guiana, May 4–11 at the St Therese Spiritual Centre. The experience, it said, was highlighted by two spirited and vibrant liturgical celebrations—the Opening Mass at the Cathedral Saint-Sauveur de Cayenne and the Confirmation of 622 young people.

The retreat theme St Oscar Romero, Option For the Poor, which was directed by Chair, Archbishop Romero Trust, Julian Filochowski, had a “faith transforming effect” on the bishops as they were led in “a moving review” that gave an intimate encounter with the Saint whose life was crowned with martyrdom. “We were led to embrace a profound understanding of the cross and discipleship as indispensable features of our Episcopal ministry,” the release said.

During the meeting, the bishops expressed solidarity with the Church of Venezuela and the many Venezuelans who are now migrants throughout the region. Solidarity was expressed for the dioceses that are following the call of Pope Francis to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees into their countries.

The release mentioned another highlight of the APM, brief reflections on Pope Francis’ papal document Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (You Are the Light of the World) which addresses the abuse scandal.

The bishops noted the need for each bishop to carefully read the instructions of the document as it indicates that no one is above the law, there is no immunity for stakeholders of the Church who are complicit with crimes of sex abuse against children or vulnerable adults, and abuse of power.

To this end, the AEC Bishops renewed their commitment to safeguard and protect the young and vulnerable from abuse, while taking steps to ensure that its ministers and stakeholders perform and manifest the values of the gospel as agents of the Church.