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Oceania Bishops’ Conference will finalize the continental document on synod in the upcoming assembly

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong is the current president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (Photo credit Bishops' Conference of Australia)

Federation of Catholic Bishops Conference of Oceania (FCBCO) will hold the quadrennial assembly at Fiji from February 5 to 10 to prepare the document of the Continental stage of Synod, one of seven being developed worldwide.

The federation consists of four Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania and the Eastern Catholic Churches. The assembly will bring together members of the bishops’ conferences of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands, and the Pacific Islands.

The central theme of the assembly will be mission formation and synodality, or "walking together," in the Church.

Drawing on the voices of Oceania, a group of clergy and laity in Melbourne in mid-January prepared the draft submission, which will be reviewed and finalized during the assembly.

FCBCO assembly will discuss about the Pacific Ocean, particularly the intersection between the People of God and the seas.

The current president of the Federation, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, said the bishops of Oceania must address the reality of rising sea levels in their place “because if we don't, no one else will.”

“We will speak about the small island nations and the Pacific Ocean in a way that we who live in the islands and live on the ocean know the importance of the ocean and its significance in terms of the Earth’s whole ecosystem,” the federation president insisted.

While in Fiji, the bishops will visit to assess the effects of rising sea levels and extractive mining on low-lying island nations.

Archbishop Chong asked Oceanians to pray for the bishops' assembly in Fiji and their collaborators, including synod writers, and the assembly's success.

“Because of the importance of this assembly from the 5th to the 10th of February, I humbly request your prayers for those who are there – mostly bishops, but also lay people that are working to make the assembly happen,” he stated. - With inputs from Australian Bishops' Conference Media Blog


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