risu.org.ua - The annual meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Eastern Churches in Europe is taking place this year at Fatima (Portugal), 20-23 October at the invitation of the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Clemente, President of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference.
In this meeting-pilgrimage at the Marian Shrine of Fatima, which in 2017 is celebrating the centenary of the apparitions, the bishops representing 15 Catholic Eastern Churches in Europe, along with bishops representing various episcopal conferences from Western European nations (France, Germany, Portugal, England and Wales and Spain), will examine the challenge of pastoral care of Eastern Catholics in these countries. In effect, since the collapse of the totalitarian regimes in Eastern European countries, a massive flow of Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, therefore belonging predominantly to sui iuris Churches, have started new lives in Western countries. After twenty years, with a fairly constant flow of new migrants and the birth of the second generation among those first arrivals, the welcoming local churches, largely Latin Rite in the Western nations, are faced with new challenges in terms of the preservation of the cultural and ecclesial identity of these migrants.
At the Marian Shrine, along with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, participants will therefore analyse some issues and challenges linked to this particular migratory phenomenon. The economic situation of the countries of Eastern Europe which leads to migration will be examined with the help of the economist Prof. João Luís César das Neves; the issue of integration will be enriched by the tesimonies of a Romanian family and a teacher working daily with the “children” of migrants; and there will also be an examination of the relationship between the welcoming church and the church of origin.
The meeting, marked by the daily celebration of Mass in various Eastern Rites, testifying to the riches of the different liturgical traditions in the Catholic Church, also envisages a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Nazaré and a prayer of entrustment, in the Shrine at Fatima, presided over by the Secretary of the Vatican dicastery in charge of the Oriental Churches, Slovakian Archbishop Cyril Vasil’.
Participants at the meeting, organised by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), also include Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, attending his first meeting as the new President of CCEE.
The meeting will end on Sunday 23 October with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy presided over by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč, in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity and the procession through the Holy Door of Mercy.