Zajedničko zasjedanje HBK i BK BiH
Members of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina held their twenty-first regular annual joint session on January 21, 2019, at the headquarters of the Croatian Conference of Bishops in Zagreb.
The session was chaired by the presidents of the two bishops’ conferences, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar and Archbishop and Metropolitan Vinko Cardinal Puljić of Sarajevo. During the introductory part of the session, the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, addressed the gathering and emphasized the importance of the joint session and the spirit of collegiality, which is the spirit of cooperation at various levels among bishops.
Greeting those assembled, the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Želimir Puljić, remarked that the two bishops’ conferences are not only connected administratively but also pastorally, humanly and spiritually. He added that the bishops, as members of the umbrella church institutions of the same nation, have shared responsibilities and need regular annual meetings and fraternal discussions on common topics and tasks.
Cardinal Vinko Puljić greeted those present and thanked the bishops from Croatia for their neighborliness, solidarity and support for the Church and the Croatian nation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He pointed out that the joint session is a powerful sign of hope, community and support for the Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are currently facing numerous difficult challenges.
After discussing the activities of the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome, the bishops issued the necessary guidelines for the work of the joint commission for this institution.
The annual report on the work of the Council of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Ministry to Croats Abroad and the Directorate of Pastoral Ministry for Croats Abroad was presented to the bishops. The president of the council, Auxiliary Bishop Pero Sudar of Sarajevo, expressed gratitude on behalf of all the Croatian priests and pastoral workers in the parishes, missions and communities in foreign countries, and especially on the behalf of emigrants, and thanked all the bishops and religious superiors for the support they provide to the Croatian ministry abroad. The bishops discussed specific issues in connection with Croatian pastoral activity in foreign countries and this year’s commemoration in Bleiburg. Aware of the continued emigration of Croatian Catholics from Croatia and from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the bishops urge all to foster connections with the Croatian Catholic missions and parishes wherever they go and also to maintain ties with the land of their birth and the parishes they left behind. In a special way, they thank all the personnel in the Croatian ministry abroad for their considerable efforts on behalf of those who, for various reasons, have emigrated to other countries. After listening to an exhaustive report on the work of the directorate, the bishops decided to entrust a new five-year mandate to its current head, Fr. Tomislav Markić.
At the session, the bishops were informed by the presidents of Caritas Croatia and Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina about a campaign entitled Week of Solidarity with the Church and People in Bosnia and Herzegovina, There was also mention of the initiative Sunday of Solidarity, which was launched by the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the objective of helping small parishes with few Catholics. It was reiterated that all the members of the Church among the Croats should foster community and mutual ties, which should be particularly evident in concrete acts to help those in need.
Another topic of the session was the work of the Commission of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croatian Martyrology. It was noted that in past years a large number of parishes and religious communities of the Church among the Croats have sent priests, nuns and religious to take a course in Rome on becoming a postulator in order to conduct causes for the beatification and canonization of those who, among the large number of innocent victims in the wartime and postwar periods in the twentieth century, suffered martyrdom while persevering in their faith. Aware of the numerous initiatives for the commemoration of victims, the bishops urge respect for the Church organization, which means that it is necessary to take the competences of the local pastor and diocesan bishop into account.
The bishops from Bosnia and Herzegovina acquainted the members of the Croatian Conference of Bishops with some current events in Church and public life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several important social issues were mentioned, including the demographic status of Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina and mutual solidarity within the Church. It was particularly emphasized that the funds donated from the Republic of Croatia should primarily be invested in creating jobs and economic development because these are among the most important prerequisites for Croatian Catholics to remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bishops also consider it important to support those who are launching an initiative for the return of people to the regions from which they fled or were expelled. The bishops are especially grateful to all the diocesan communities in the Republic of Croatia, led by their bishops, for their numerous prayers and signs of solidarity. The bishops of the Croatian Conference of Bishops expressed their support for their confrères in their righteous efforts to ensure the survival of the Catholic Church and the Croatian nation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zagreb, January 21, 2019
Secretariat of the Croatian Conference of Bishops
Secretariat of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina