A.C.O.H.L. Plenary Assembly/ March 2-3, 2021
HAIFA - The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land held their ordinary plenary assembly in Haifa at the Stella Maris Pilgrims Center, as guests of Carmelite Fathers on March 2-3, 2021. Many members were present in person, others were connected via Skype, while others in unity by offering their physical sufferings or the difficulties of isolation for the success of the work of the assembly.
Taking advantage of the place dedicated to the veneration of the prophet Elijah and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Ordinaries concluded the day of Tuesday, March 2, with an intercessory prayer to Our Lady and a reflection under the title "The Church of the Holy Land prays in time of coronavirus". Prayers were accompanied by the choirs of the Catholic parishes of the city, Melkite, Latin and Maronite, recorded and subsequently broadcast on social media by the Christian Media Center. Religious communities joined the intercessory prayer at the same time, while young people and families were invited to do so at the time of its later transmission.
Three main points put on the agenda of the Assembly.
1. The Ordinaries read, clarified and approved the Pastoral ecumenical guidelines for the Catholic Churches of the Holy Land. After obtaining the 'approval' of the Holy See, the document will be consigned to priests as a guideline for clearer and more respectful ecumenical pastoral care of the faithful. In it, the parish priests will find the answers on how to conduct themselves during the Eucharistic celebrations, the administration of some sacraments in case of necessity, and the celebration of mixed marriages.
Arbitrary interpretations of canonical norms do not help ecumenical dialogue, while clarity of purpose and transparency of action undoubtedly activate the path towards unity in faith despite the diversity of ecclesial traditions.
2. Ordinaries always have at heart the future of Catholic schools and the mission to which they are called: the integral formation of the human person, the formation of citizens who are culturally, socially, and professionally committed, the formation of convinced Christians, capable of bearing witness to Christ in their lives.
The statistics, collected and presented by the Secretariat of Solidarity, were useful for understanding the current situation of Catholic schools and provided the basis for dialogue with the general secretaries of the offices of Catholic schools or Christian educational institutions. The discourse will be resumed and deepened to help Catholic schools energetically reclaim and remain faithful to the ideals for which they were created.
3. Pope Francis has established the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family”, to be inaugurated on March 19, 2021, and will conclude on June 22, 2022. Having retraced the purpose and objectives of this announcement, the Ordinaries agree that it is not a question of celebrations to be organized, but rather for the formation of young people and engaged couples, for the accompaniment of young families and to be close to those in difficulty or in a situation of suffering. The Apostolic Exhortation 'Amoris Laetitia' offers great incentives to renew our pastoral care for the family, made up of parents, children, grandparents. Much has been done, but there is much more to do in a manner that is more organized and incisive. It is important for parish priests to be available to accompany families, to be assisted by competent people when it is necessary to resort to human sciences, and to involve mature and committed families as credible witnesses.
A. The Legal Consultation Office and the Safeguarding Center, whose preparation phase is completed, will be operational from Easter at the Secretariat of the Assembly. There will be an official announcement to clarify the mission and objectives of these offices.
B. The next plenary assembly will take place in Nazareth on October 5-6, 2021. During that occasion, the Catholic Ordinaries will participate in the celebrations, already planned in honor of St. Joseph in this year dedicated to him.