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28.04.2017 | 20:14 | IKA E - 189853/4

Statement from the 54th Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops

Zagreb, April 26–28, 2017

The 54th Plenary Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, chaired by the president of the CCB, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar, was held in Zagreb from April 26 to 28, 2017. In addition to the members of the CCB, participants included the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico; the President of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cardinal Vinko Puljić; the President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, Metropolitan Archbishop Stanislav Zore of Ljubljana; the President of the International Bishops' Conference of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Bishop Ladislav Nemet of Zrenjanin; the Delegate of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi of Trieste; Bishop Ivan Penzeš of Subotica and Bishop Đuro Gašparović of Srijem.

Welcoming the members of the CCB and guests, the President of the CCB, Archbishop Puljić, reviewed the events since the previous session and briefly presented the main topics of the current session. Reflecting on the symposium on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Directorate of Pastoral Ministry for Croats Outside the Homeland, which was held at the same time as the session, the president of the CCB noted that it is necessary to thank God for the gift of the faith of our people in foreign lands, as well as for the gift of their love for the Church and Homeland, which is evident in the gatherings in the missions and pastoral centers throughout the world. He added that the priests sent by their bishops to work among the emigrants have written bright pages in our Croatian history and the history of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Puljić also greeted the new General Secretary of the CCB, Dr. Petar Palić.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Croatia, Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, addressed the bishops and conveyed a special blessing and sincere Easter greetings from the Holy Father Pope Francis and the officials of the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Bishops. The Apostolic Nuncio spoke of the Church events in which he had the opportunity to participate, which are indicative of the dynamism of the faith and institutions of the Catholic Church in Croatia. The Apostolic Nuncio informed the bishops that his mandate in Croatia is coming to an end and he has been appointed by the Holy Father as the Apostolic Nuncio in Malta. He thanked the members of the CCB for their cooperation during his five-year mandate. The President of the CCB thanked the Nuncio for his service to the Church in Croatia and his presence at many Church events in all parts of our homeland. He spoke about the Nuncio's activities in the Church and in dialogue with representatives of political life and various religious communities. He wished him much success in his work in Malta, a country that is similar to Croatia in many respects.

The guest delegates from individual bishops' conferences briefly presented the challenges encountered by the Catholic Church in their countries.

In the working portion of the session, the bishops were informed about preparations for the Tenth Encounter of Catholic Youth, which will be held in Vukovar under the motto "Christ, our hope" (cf. 1 Tm 1:1), on April 29 and 30, 2017, and was being organized by the Office of the CCB for Youth Ministry and the Archdiocese of Đakovo-Osijek. More than 29,000 young people have registered from all parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Croatian Diaspora. The next Encounter of Catholic Youth will be held in Zagreb in 2020.

The bishops devoted special attention to the document "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation," i.e., the fundamental provisions concerning the formation and education of priests. This document was prepared and compiled by the Congregation for the Clergy in 2014 and approved by Pope Francis in October 2016. The national provisions for the formation and education of priests will be based upon this document.

The bishops expressed their support to the Sixth Social Week, which will be held in Split from November 4 to 12, 2017, on "Perspectives of Croatian Demography—Work and Family."
At the session, the strategic guidelines and reform of Caritas Croatia were approved, and the mandate of the current head of Caritas, Msgr. Fabijan Svalina, was extended for another five years.

There was discussion about the organization and activity of the Croatian Catholic Network, for which Msgr. Fabijan Svalina was appointed as the acting head.

The chairmen of the commissions, councils and committees of the CCB presented reports on said bodies.
At the end of the first day of the session, the members of the CCB participated in a Mass on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Directorate of Pastoral Ministry to Croats Outside the Homeland, led by Cardinal Josip Bozanić in the cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in Zagreb and concelebrated by a large number of priests who serve among Croatian Catholics throughout the world.

The bishops particularly expressed their friendship and solidarity with the Church and people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The need was expressed for a stronger connection between the two bishops' conferences in various areas, especially charitable and catechistic activities.
A meeting between the members of the CCB with religious superiors will be held on June 19, 2017, and the 55th Regular Session of the CCB will be held from October 10 to 12, 2017, in Zagreb.


Secretariat of the Croatian Conference of Bishops

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