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CELRA Plenary in Amman

CELRA Plenary in Amman

AMMAN – The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA) met in Amman from September 17 to 20, 2012.. The  Instrumentum Laboris on the New Evangelization and the recently issued Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente were the main topics for discussion.

Words of welcome were expressed by His Beatitude Fouad Twal and Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, Apostolic Nuncio in Jordan. A round table exchange and discussion on the present situation in the CELRA-member countries and their dioceses.

The Instrumentum Laboris …

The Instrumentum Laboris of the New Evangelization was discussed followed by answers to be submitted regardinglegal questions raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

September 19 began with a debrieif and discussions about the Holy Father’s visit to Lebanon.  A visit to the American University of Madaba was made followed by a pilgrimage to Mount Nebo, on the theme: “A look of faith and hope in the future …”

Finally, prayers were offered for all the victims of sufferings in the Arab region.


The  Apostolic Exhortation …

There were discussions on The Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente” was signed and presented by the Holy Father during his visit to Lebanon. “Today, in the framework of the Year of Faith,  which marks the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, we need a strong faith that is a  characteristic of martyrs.” For the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “The real challenge posed by the two Synods (for the Churches in the Middle East and the New Evangelization, ed.) to the Eastern Churches, the Apostolic Churches of the Middle East is that of fidelity to Christ and the Church He founded, of “communion and witness.”

Patriarch Twal recalls:   “Our mission is called to measure itself with the changes due to the progress that has translated into a growing mistrust towards what has been handed down, or even a total indifference to what the Church proposes.  This … mission of the Church is the duty of every baptized person.” To do this, the Patriarch stressed four points:

1) To rediscover the faith of the first Christian community starting from Jerusalem and returning to the Incarnate Word of God and the Apostolic sources.

2) To clarify our perception of the changes in society that challenge the way we think and believe.

3)  To analyze tools that are available for the transmission of the faith, which are not based on form and content: the important thing is to know how to use them.

4) To look at and understand the new context (the Arab Spring) in which we are called to proclaim our faith.

The Patriarch concluded:  “It is not enough to make a few ‘touch ups’ to our pastoral activities.  We know well that in every diocese there are specific challenges: diminishing communities, secular contamination of the laity, de-Christianization of the elites, the temptation of  emigration, the problems caused by the presence of the Christian minority and the relationship with Islam,and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict … “

Laurent Charnin

* Present at this meeting in  Amman:

HB Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, President;

HE Paul Dahdah, Latin Apostolic Vicar of Beirut, vice-president;

HE Camillo Ballin, Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait

HE Jean Sleiman, Latin Archbishop of Baghdad;

HE Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti, Apostolic Administrator of Modadiscio;

HE Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Arabia;

HE Giuseppe Nazzaro, Latin Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo;

HE Maroun Lahham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan

HE Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo,  Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel

HE William H. Shomali, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem

Rev. Herrera Diaz, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus.

Rev. Pietro Felet, SCJ, Secretary General

(Absent: Rev.  David Neuhaus, Patriarchal Vicar of the Hebrew Speaking Catholics)