Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue

St Patrick's welcome for Oceania Bishops


Bishop Anthony Fisher
Photo: Alphonsus Fok and Grace Lu.

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP will welcome 10 Bishops from Oceania with Mass on Wednesday 12 May at St Patrick's Cathedral, as part of the Assembly of the Federation of Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) being held in Sydney from 10-14 May.

All are invited to join Bishop Anthony for the Mass, which starts at 7pm at St Patrick's Cathedral, 1 Marist Place Parramatta.

Held once every four years in different countries, the FCBCO assembly gives the Bishops of the Oceania ‘continent’ of the Catholic Church important personal contact as they gain professional development.

This year's event will bring together Catholic Bishops from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and other countries in the Pacific – the Mariana Islands, Guam, Noumea, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Tahiti. A representation from East Timor and the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference will also attend, along with the Papal Nuncios for Australian, PNG and the Solomons, New Zealand and the Pacific.

FCBCO President, Bishop Peter Ingham from the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, said: “The current Executive has worked over the past four years to ensure that this 2010 Sydney meeting, of the Pastors of the Local Churches of Oceania, will further progress our communion, our collaboration and our mutual understanding of the joys, hopes, grief and anguish through which we work in making Jesus Christ better known and loved among the peoples of Oceania, as we walk his way, tell his truth and live his life.

“The Church in Oceania is diverse and far-reaching, with different challenges in each of its countries. We come together for this Assembly to learn from and support one another as bishops and share the many gifts of our dioceses."

The opening concelebrated Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral will be led by Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Peter Ingham will preach. Sessions of the Assembly will be held at Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney.

Speakers from a number of Religious Congregations and Orders have been invited to give keynote presentations, including Fr Brendan Byrne SJ on scripture; Br Jonathan Williams OFM Cap on sacrament; Fr Richard Leonard SJ on communications; Fr Ioane Ono (Suva, Fiji) on theory of sacrament.  Sr Sheila McCreanor RSJ will speak on the canonisation process of Blessed Mary MacKillop during the bishops’ pilgrimage to Mary MacKillop Place.

Workshops will also be conducted by Sr Hilda Scott OSB (Jamberoo Abbey); Marita Winters (Catholic Enquiry Centre, Sydney); Fr Maurizio Pettena CS (Director of Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office) and Teresa Pirola.

The FCBCO assembly will conclude with Malcolm Hart, the ACBC Youth Project Officer, speaking on the challenges and fruits of World Youth Day.

Bishop Denis Browne of Hamilton in New Zealand will be the final speaker on 13 May.

The concluding Mass will be celebrated by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, and Vice President Archbishop Anthony Apuron OFM Cap of Guam, will preach.

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