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Bishops group meets on critical issues

The imminent retirement of Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of Castries, the question of the decriminalisation of marijuana, and of unemployment in the region because of COVID-19 were among some of the issues discussed at the annual meeting of the Bishops of the Province of Castries.

The meeting, which normally takes place during the first week of December in one of the dioceses of the province was held virtually Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

The dioceses which comprise the ecclesiastical province of Castries include the Archdiocese of Castries, the Dioceses of St Georges-in-Grenada, Kingstown, Roseau, and St John’s-Basseterre.

This annual meeting provides the bishops the opportunity to discuss prevailing issues in the province as well as the regional and universal Church.

For the remaining part of the meeting other issues discussed included:

  • The Catholic population in the dioceses;
  • Meeting pastoral needs of parishioners and building capacity of clergy and laity;
  • Orientation of missionary clergy and religious;
  • Care for Family Life – marriage preparation in the dioceses;
  • The youth in the region and the decision to postpone the AEC Youth Assembly (AECYA);
  • Clergy fraternity;
  • Issue of diocesan finances;
  • Motu Proprio on the Safeguarding of Minors in the dioceses

A report from Our Catholic Community, a publication of the Diocese of Roseau, said that after revisiting some of the topics discussed at last year’s meeting, Bishop Clyde Harvey of St Georges-in-Grenada gave a presentation on Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity and Social Friendship), which he titled ‘From Word to Caribbean Life’.

He stressed the idea that the social encyclical needs to be integrated into the life of Caribbean people.

From the Pope’s reference to the story of the Good Samaritan, stress was placed on the need to envision an open spirituality, engender a fuller understanding of universal love, and promote a conversion to full compassion.

The implication for the reality of migration today; the death penalty and the Church’s call for an absolute ban; questions regarding the Church’s ability to develop and improve prison ministry; and the question of tourism and migration and the tendency of government to put tourism before its people, were emphasised.

The Permanent Board of the Antilles Episcopal Conference was expected to meet January 11–15 via Zoom.