AMERICA/BRAZIL - “Evangelisation and bearing witness - Mission of the Church to face challenges of the present day”: 43rd General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Brazil will focus on the dignity of human life and bio-technology, cultural and religious pluralism, ecclesial and social commitment

Thursday, 31 March 2005

Brasilia (Fides Service) - The Catholic Bishops of Brazil will hold their 43rd general assembly at Queen of the Apostle Retreat House Itaici, Indaiatuba (Saõ Paolo), from 6 to 15 April. This important church event will bring together all the country’s bishops, as well as special envoys, assessors and observers from other Churches to reflect on major questions in the life of the Church in Brazil and matters of particular pastoral interest.
The meeting will focus on the mission of the Church in the face of present day challenges: human life and bio-technology; bearing witness to the faith amidst cultural and religious pluralism; ecclesial and social commitments. Considering the complexity and sensitivity of the themes for discussion, a special commission was set up some months ago to draft a working paper which the Bishops examined in early March and made suggestions. The working paper will be discussed, resolutions adopted and approved by the plenary. The Bishops will also discuss collection of funds in various sectors of the Church (campaigns, collections, donations…) to identity common guidelines in this regard.
The assembly will be attended by about 440 people (324 archbishop and bishops, 3 special envoys from the Holy See and Institutes of Religious life, 114 observers, delegates and services). The opening ceremony will be presided by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri papal Nuncio in Brazil, the Prefect of Indaiatuba José Omério da Silva, and Archbishop Bruno Gamberi of Campinas.
The assembly programme will include discussion, reflection, prayer and cultural events. On Sunday 9 April the Bishops will take part in a retreat given by Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araujo, Archbishop emeritus of Belo Horizonte. Among the most significant events, an ecumenical prayer service on 11 April with representatives of other Christian communities and the opening of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Caritas Brazil. Two books will be presented during the assembly: the second edition of a book on the Bishops of Brazil (a biographical collection with photographs which reflect the face of the Church in Brazil) and a Brazilian-Portuguese translation of the Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops published by the Congregation for Bishops. The assembly will also revise and approve the National Directory for Catechesis. During the night of 7 April the Bishops’ Conference will officially launch its new web site, already on line experimentally but not yet finished. The new web site will be new in the structure of information with easier surfing and new graphics. (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 31/3/2005; righe 36, parole 476)