Vatican City, 1 February 2016 (VIS) – This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the book "Witnesses of the Resurrected", the proceedings of the annual formation course for new bishops organised by the Congregation for Bishops, edited by the Vatican Publishing House (LEV). The speakers were Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari, secretary of the same Congregation, and Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto, rapporteur of the Course.
"This experience began from afar", said Cardinal Ouellet. "Indeed, the Synods held during the last decades have shown that there is a need for the formation of all those who form part of the Church: laypeople, priests, men and women religious, and also bishops. … In the light of these declarations, the Congregation for Bishops, after careful discernment, began its experience of the course for new bishops. The first event, coordinated by the then-prefect, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, was carried out in late June and early July 2001. The next will therefore be the sixteenth edition. Bishops from all over the world will travel to Rome for this initiative, under the patronage of the Congregation for Bishops, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and, occasionally, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples".
"This means that more than 1500 bishops have started their pastoral mission via this experience of eight or nine days of cohabitation, fraternal exchange, conferences, debates and, above all, encounters with the Holy Father and representatives of the Curia Romana and the episcopate worldwide. The content shared in this course is published in this book and made available to the public, to allow observations and suggestions to be made that may be useful for improving the experience".
Archbishop Francesco Cacucci explained that "in a moment of hyperactivity and fragmentation, the bishop is called upon today more than ever to be a man of synthesis and to help priests, "brothers and friends", to share the essential. … The Congress of Italian Churches, held in Florence last November, was encouraged by the Holy Father to live an effective synodality. Walking together (synod) with priests, consecrated persons and laypeople may be tiresome but it is an expression of love, of the communion in the Church. It may be said, after St. Augustine, that when one loves, even hardship is beloved. Therefore, to be a 'witness of the Resurrecetd', the bishop is called upon to be a man of prayer, especially of prayer for intercession".
Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari added that during these sixteen years the number of bishops participating has always been more than a hundred, and explained that after the first meetings, the Congregation for Oriental Churches joined in the experience, sending more bishops. "This presence has enabled us to obtain a better knowledge of the situation of these churches, which often face problems or are in minority situations, so as to strengthen fraternal relations with them", he concluded.