Postcard from Bishops meeting in Rome

by Michael Sean Winters

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"Distinctly Catholic" is pleased to present a "postcard" from the annual meeting of new bishops, which is currently being held in Rome. Bishop David M. O’Connell, newly ordained coadjutor bishop of Trenton, New Jersey, sent this report:

The meeting of the new bishops of the world is taking place these days at the house of formation for the Legionaries of Christ, Regina Apostolorum, on the outskirts of Rome. Well over 100 recently ordained bishops have gathered together from all over the world at the invitation of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops to study and discuss the roles and responsibilities attached to episcopal service in the Catholic Church. The United States has the largest group in attendance with 25 bishops, two of whom were ordained only within the last week. The meetings will last until September 17.

Beginning with morning prayer and Mass each day at 7:30 am, the bishops are assisted by hundreds of seminarians belonging to the Legion. The facilities and grounds are spectacular and the Legionaires have been superb hosts. Meals are well prepared and served by members of the community who have demonstrated an uncanny ability to anticipate virtually every need.

Talks have been substantial and the sessions intense, each lasting 90 minutes with an additional 30 minutes for questions and observations. Topics so far have included episcopal spirituality, episcopal governance, fraternity with and care for priests, use of the media for evangelization, relations with eastern churches and so forth. Society of Saint-Sulpice Cardinal Marc Oulette, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, has presided over the daily sessions -- making himself available informally to his younger brothers for conversations throughout the day.

There is a very evident good spirit among all the bishops and a genuine openness as they discuss their dioceses and their needs.

On Sunday the bishops gathered at St. Peter's Basilica for Mass and an individual emotional veneration at the tomb of St. Peter, below the main altar.

On Monday the bishops will travel to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.

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