Havana (Agenzia Fides) - About 100 priests from Latin America and the United States members of OCSHA (Hispanic-American Priestly Cooperation) have gathered this week for a meeting for Spanish priests on missionary service in America being held in Havana. Representatives of the Missions Commission of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, Bishop Ramón del Hoyo, and Rev. Anastasio Gil, director of OCSHA and vice director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Spain are also present.
The meeting opened with Mass on 14 January. On 15 January an address of greeting by Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, Archbishop of Havana was followed by two conferences: Bishop Emilio Aranguren of the diocese of Holguín e Las Tunas, spoke on the situation of the Church in Cuba and Bishop Ramón del Hoyo presented the situation of the Church in Spain. In the afternoon the participants shared experience of social-religious situations in the different countries and discussed missionary challenges and the contribution OCSHA priests can offer. Today 16 January the participants will make an excursion. On Thursday 17 they will take part in a retreat led by Bishop Ramón del Hoyo, followed by Mass presided by Cardinal Jaime Ortega. The meeting will end on 18 January with the presentation of an OCSHA report and conclusions. The closing morning Mass will be presided by the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi.
The Meeting “is an important opportunity to reflect on the present situation in the life of OCSHA and identify future prospects for missionary collaboration between the Church in America and the Church in Spain”. OCSHA councillor, Fr. Juan Robles Diosdado, said “the Meeting will also be an opportunity to share view points on missionary challenges in the different countries and the specific contribution which OCSHA priests can make. The participants will also examine the conclusions issued by CELAM 5 Aparecida”.
OCSHA was founded in 1949 by the Spanish Bishops' Conference to offer missionary help to the Church in Latin America. In more than 50 years of service, OCSHA has sent over 2,300 priests to service in America. Of the 800 Spanish priests serving in America today, about 400 are members of OCSHA. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 16/1/2008; righe 32, parole 409)