Bishops from America to Gather in Vancouver

Friday, February 18 2000

Ottawa (CCCB) — Bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America are to meet at the Westin Grand Hotel in Vancouver, February 21-24, 2000, for the First Meeting of the Bishops of America.

The bishops will meet in closed-door session to share information on the international debt, the life of the Church in Canada and throughout the western hemishere, the particular needs of the Church in Haiti and sharing information about the plight of the Church in Venezuela. The meeting is a forum to exchange views and is not a decision-making body.

The bishops attending the meeting are from the executives of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (USA) and the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM). Twenty-three bishops in addition to senior staff will be attending.

The bishops from America have been meeting informally once a year since May 1967 as the Inter-American Bishops’ Meeting. At their historic meeting in Cuba last year, as a response to the Papal Exhortation Ecclesia in America, the bishops decided to rename their annual gathering the Meeting of the Bishops of America.

Ecclesia in America was issued by Pope John Paul II in Mexico on January 22, 1999, in follow up to the special Synod of Bishops for America, held in Rome in the fall of 1997.

Two public events are planned during the Vancouver meeting: a Eucharistic celebration with Latin American communities at Holy Family Church, home of the Hispanic Catholic Mission, on Tuesday, February 22 at 6:30 pm, and a multicultural celebration of the Mass Wednesday at 6:30 pm at Saint Helen’s Parish in Burnaby.

The bishops attending the meeting are from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Dominican Republic, the United States and Venezuela.