On Tuesday, February 23, the twenty-third regular annual joint session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held at the headquarters of the CCB in Zagreb.
The Archbishop of Zagreb and Vice President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Metropolitan Cardinal Josip Bozanić, together with the Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Metropolitan Cardinal Vinko Puljić, presided. All the members of both bishops’ conferences participated, with the exception of the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar, who issued a message via video from the Varaždin Thermal Spa, where he is receiving medical treatment. After the working portion of the session, the bishops were addressed by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, who spoke about his recent meeting with Pope Francis.
After the bishops prayed the Breviary together and were addressed by Cardinals Josip Bozanić and Vinko Puljić, they listened to reports from the President of the Episcopal Commission of the CCB for the Pontifical Croatian Institute of St. Jerome on his official visit to the Institute from February 14 to 17, 2021. They expressed gratitude to the Institute administration for their dedicated management of this institution of particular importance to the Church among the Croats during the challenging time of the pandemic. The bishops also thanked the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and all those who contribute to the life and operations of the Institute. Among other things, they were informed that twenty-two priests from various dioceses of the Church among the Croats pursuing postgraduate studies at ten pontifical universities in Rome are currently living at the Institute. The bishops especially thanked Fr. Mihály Szentmártoni, who served for many years as the Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Institute, and wished blessings upon the work of the new Ecclesiastical Assistant, Fr. Alan Modrić.
The President of the Council of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croatian Pastoral Ministry Outside Croatia and the Director of Pastoral Ministry for Croats Outside Croatia submitted their annual reports and acquainted the bishops with the work of the Croatian Catholic missions and parishes throughout the world. It was noted that fourteen new missionaries were sent to minister to Croatians abroad in 2020. The Archbishop of Zagreb and the Bishop of Sisak were joined by all the members of both bishops’ conferences in expressing their gratitude to the many Croatian Catholic missions and parishes throughout the world who have launched many forms of assistance to those afflicted by the recent earthquake in the territories of the Archdiocese of Zagreb and the Diocese of Sisak. They rejoice that Catholic Croats living abroad have united with many in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond, who immediately came to the aid of the many people affected by the dire consequences of the earthquakes.
The Presidents of Caritas of the two bishops’ conferences reported on the implementation of Solidarity Week with the Church and People of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2020 and projects being financed from the funds raised during this campaign. The bishops thanked all the good people who have contributed to assisting those who, despite numerous challenges, are trying to survive in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They also thanked all those who are actively involved in charitable projects to assist the existentially endangered. They call for participation in the upcoming Solidarity Week, which will begin on March 7, the Third Sunday of Lent, with the celebration of Mass in the monastery of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in the Petrićevac section of the city of Banja Luka.
There was also discussion of liturgical matters at the session. The necessary guidelines were issued for the continuation of the joint work by the Episcopal Commission for the Liturgy of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Council for the Liturgy of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina on a new translation of the Missal. The members of the two bishops’ conferences were also informed abut the activities of the Episcopal Commission of the Croatian Conference of Bishops for the Liturgy and its collaboration with the Council for the Liturgy of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Another topic discussed at the session was the future organization of the Croatian Section of Radio Vatican within the context of the current reforms of the Vatican media, about which representative of the two conferences had spoken with the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See. Aware of the exceptional importance of Radio Vatican during the past ninety years of its existence, the bishops thanked all the past and present staff of the Croatian Section for placing their voices in the service of the good news. They are pleased that within the current reform, the Croatian Section of Radio Vatican, in accordance with new technological achievements, will continue to be the voice of the Church in the modern world, according to the statement issued by the secretariats of the Croatian Conference of Bishops and the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina.