Annual Meeting of Bishops of the Church in America

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The 35th meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America is held in Huntington, New York, 11 to 14 February 2008, attended by Bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America.

This annual 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 focus this year will be a document published by the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which had met in Aparecida, Brazil, during May 2007, and which Pope Benedict XVI also attended. Among the questions discussed at Aparecida were new evangelization and the growing secularism of society. The Huntington meeting will also give participants an opportunity to discuss pastoral plans and the ongoing challenges facing the Church in America.

More than 20 delegates will participate in the Huntington meeting, including Bishops and personnel from the secretariats of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM). The Canadian delegation will be headed by Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the CCCB. He will be accompanied by the Vice President, Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Baie-Comeau, the Co-Treasurers, Most Reverend James M. Wingle, Bishop of St. Catharines, and Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, together with CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H. The Canadian representatives will also take advantage of the meeting to talk about the 49th International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Quebec City, 15 to 22 June 2008, where thousands of pilgrims from around the world are expected, especially from the American continent.

Tradition since 1967

The Huntington 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 Pope 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 debt of the poorest countries. The now annual gatherings 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), and the laity (Toronto - 2006). The Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America was cancelled last year, because of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which Bishops from Canada and the United States also attended.

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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On January 13th 2010, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen became Canada’s first Catholic Bishop of East Asian descent. He is the great-grandson of a Vietnamese Martyr.