Bishops of America Meeting in San Antonio: The Role of the Family in Today’s World Being Examined

Friday, February 13 2004

(Ottawa – CCCB) Is the institution of the family threatened in America? That is the question Bishops from Canada, the United States and Latin America will be discussing in San Antonio, Texas, February 16-19, 2004, during the 32nd Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, the fifth since the 1999 Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America by Pope John Paul II.

According to Ecclesia in America, “Many insidious forces are endangering the solidity of the institution of the family in most countries of America, and these represent so many challenges for Christians” (No. 46). What are these challenges? How are they being met in the different parts of America? What steps do we take to promote the family? How does the Church accompany families in meeting the challenges of their daily lives? These are few of the questions that will be discussed by the more than 20 bishops at this annual meeting.

The bishops attending the San Antonio meeting are from the executive committees of the episcopal conferences of Canada, and the United States and the Episcopal Council of Latin America (CELAM) as well as some of their staff. The six-member Canadian team includes CCCB President Archbishop Brendan M. O’Brien, Saint John’s; Archbishop André Gaumond, Sherbrooke: Vice-President; Archbishop James Weisgerber, Winnipeg, Co-Treasurer; Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, P.H., General Secretary; Msgr. Mario Paquette, P.H., General Secretary Elect and Ms. Michèle Boulva, Co-Director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).

These informal meetings of the bishops have been held annually since 1967. At their 1999 meeting in Cuba, the bishops decided to change the name from Interamerican Meeting of Bishops to the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America to signal the unity of the Church in the American hemisphere. The first meeting under this new name was held in Vancouver during the Jubilee Year 2000.

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