The 40th meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America will take place in Tampa, Florida, 22 to 25 February 2016, with the presidencies of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM). This gathering gives an opportunity to the three major organizations of Catholic Bishops from the Western hemisphere to discuss recent developments and also a specific theme. The theme this year will be Jesus Christ, the face of the Father's Mercy with the Encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato si' and the Aperecida document as foundational documents. The Holy Father, when Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was the principal writer of the Aparecida document. The text was published by the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which met in Aparecida, Brazil, during May 2007.
More than 20 delegates will participate in the Tampa meeting, including Bishops and personnel from the secretariats of the CCCB, the USCCB and CELAM. The Canadian delegation will be headed by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the CCCB. He will be accompanied by the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of St-Jean-Longueuil and Vice President of the CCCB, and the Most Reverend Luc Cyr, Archbishop of Sherbrooke and Co-Treasurer of the CCCB, together with CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Frank Leo, Jr., C.S.S., and Mr. Kyle Ferguson, CCCB Advisor for Ecclesial and Interfaith Relations. The meeting this year is being organized by the CCCB.
The Tampa meeting is part of a series of informal gatherings previously known as the Interamerican Meeting of Bishops, held every few years since 1967. At the 1999 meeting in Cuba, however, in view of the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America by Saint John Paul II, the Bishops decided to change the name to the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, to emphasize the unity of the Church in the Western hemisphere.
The first meeting under this new name was in Vancouver during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, which focused on the cancellation of the debts of the poorest countries. The Bishops have also discussed immigration (Clearwater, Florida - 2001), the globalization of the economy (San Salvador, Brazil - 2002), the globalization of local cultures (Quebec City - 2003), the family (San Antonio, Texas - 2004), the media (Bogotá, Colombia - 2005), the laity (Toronto - 2006), the new evangelization and the secularism of society (Huntington, New York – 2008), the Year for Priests and humanitarian efforts in Haiti (Montreal – 2010), communion and communications (Baltimore, Maryland – 2011), and mission and new evangelization (Tampa - 2014).