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Monday, December 19, 2011

CHRISTIANS IN OCEANIA MUST REDISCOVER THEIR MISSION


VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Synod of Bishops today published a communique concerning the tenth meeting of the Special Council of Oceania, which took place on 9 December under the presidency of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod, and was attended by most of the prelates of Oceania, currently in Rome for their "ad limina" visit.

  The council focused its attention on the application of John Paul II's 2001 Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania" to the daily lives of the particular Churches of the region. The participants highlighted how the Exhortation maintains all its validity in the current social and ecclesial situation, "which has undergone a certain degree of radicalisation, especially in the process of secularisation and particularly in Australia and New Zealand. At the same time, there are signs of hope, such as the openness of young people and of certain intellectuals to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although these aspects involve a minority, they are important signals and nourish hope for the future".

  The challenges facing the Church in the region include human rights, bioethics, ecology, the family, charity, inculturation, and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. At the same time, "the 'ad gentes' mission is a pressing necessity in Oceania, where the particular Churches are committed to continuing the mission of the evangelisers who first announced the truth of Christ. It is important to continue along this path, both in the context of secularised societies and among the traditionally religious peoples of the Pacific, paying particular attention to indigenous peoples. ... The announcement of the Gospel requires fresh ardour from all Christians, including the laity, who must rediscover their missionary vocation".

  The meeting also examined the preparations underway for the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican in October 2012.
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