Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Bishops from Latin America are very grateful for the opportunity to take part in the special Study Seminar for newly appointed Bishops organised in Rome by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. "This Seminar is important for all of us here. Some of the bishops were ordained as recently as three months ago" Fides was told by Bishop Luis Solé Fa, C.M. of the diocese of Trujillo in Honduras. "For me the Seminar is important for two reasons. First of all because it offers insight into the fundamental principles of the ministry of the Bishops which will be most useful in our daily activity. Secondly it is an opportunity to share experience, difficulties and results with other bishops … to hear how they tackle the same problems we encounter and this is most enriching and helpful". Bishop Solé speaks of four main priorities in his diocese: "the first is common to all our countries: vocation pastoral: scarcity of priestly and religious vocations. Vocations are scarce all over Honduras and the diocese suffers the consequences. We have several parishes without a resident priest. Another problem which affects life in our diocese and which demands attention and action, is a social problem afflicting the whole of Central America. In Honduras is being taken over by drug-traffickers. We have also connected problems, poverty, serious natural disasters. Storms and hurricanes are frequent on the north coast where we are and the damage they cause means the people are simply condemned to remain poor. Another serious problem is corruption which has taken root even in the lower sectors of society. The fact that our diocese are considered mission territories - Bishop Solè concluded - means our problems differ from those of other dioceses. Most mission territories are poor but this is not the main problem. We trust in Divine Providence but life is hard and demands great effort and energy".
Bishop Pedro Hernández Cantarero, C.M.F, Vicar Apostolic of the Apostolic Vicariate of Darién, Panama, is happy to take part in the Seminar which he is finding most helpful for his ministry to serve the Vicariate, "especially because I have no previous pastoral experience - says Bishop Cantarero -. I have hitherto been involved in formation of priests and now face the job of heading a Vicariate which has no few complications. I have to learn how to organise the local Catholic community, how to tackle a number of different problems, spiritual and material in the situation of harsh living conditions we have here in Latin America because of widespread poverty and illiteracy...". Bishop Pedro Hernández has been in the Apostolic Vicariate of Darién for 18 months. He says a major a pastoral priority is evangelisation: "The situation is not easy because little importance was given to evangelisation in the past and now we face a process of re-evangelisation. I face the great task of building communion among the people entrusted to my care and helping all to encounter Jesus Christ and to know the destination towards which we are travelling". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 15/9/2006; Righe 38 - Parole 566)