Eighty Catholic bishops from Oceania gathered in Wellington New Zealand from 12th to 16th May 2014. Bishops came from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and the rest of the island nations in the Pacific. Bishop Peter has been attending these meetings since 1993. They are very important as our Ukrainian Eparchy caters for the whole territory. Many of the bishops have been here for a long time and they have become friends.
This year’s meetings took on a special significance because of the current turmoil in Ukraine. The bishops have a very good understanding of the situation. They have followed the news. Many wanted to talk, to ask about Ukraine and its people. They offered their prayers an expressed their support.
The fact that Fr. Ihor Kolishnyk C.Ss.R will start his work in New Zealand in February 2015 created a lot of interest from the New Zealand bishops. They all welcomed the news and expressed their support. Fr. Ihor will live in Auckland but will visit the whole country. Bishop Peter informed the bishops that he will formally establish a parish in New Zealand soon. This structure is necessary for a more organized mission in the Island Nation.
Public masses were held in various places around Wellington. This became an opportunity to present the Ukrainian Catholic Church to the clergy, sisters, and schools. Many of them had never seen Eastern Catholic bishops before. They wanted to know “who is that?”, “why do they dress like that?”, “are they Catholics?” Good questions and always a start for a conversation.
The next meeting of the Bishops of Oceania will be in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 2018.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian