FOTO: Bernard Čović/Glas Koncila // Početak 63. plenarnoga zasjedanja HBK
The Sixty-Third Session of the Croatian Conference of Bishops was held at the headquarters of the CCB in Zagreb from October 19 to 21, 2021, with the President of the CCB, Archbishop Želimir Puljić of Zadar, presiding.
Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Croatia, participated in the beginning of the session. Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljić of Sarajevo, the President and Delegate of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about the current situation of the Church and society in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Welcoming the attendees at the opening of the session, the President of the CCB, Archbishop Želimir Puljić, extended a special greeting to the new Bishop of Subotica, Slavko Večerina, who was attending a session of the CCB for the first time as a guest. Archbishop Puljić also congratulated the recently appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Srijem, Msgr. Fabijan Svalina, and thanked him for his many years of service to the Croatian Conference of Bishops in various capacities.
During the working portion of the session, the bishops reflected upon the synodal path to which Pope Francis has taken the Church, to culminate with the Sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in Rome in 2023, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission. The history of the Synod of Bishops as a permanent institution of the Catholic Church, established by Pope Paul VI in 1965, was presented. Pope Francis’ preparatory document for the Synod was presented, with particular focus on the bishops’ conferences. It is anticipated that at the end of the first stage of the synodal procession, which will take place in particular churches, the bishops will send summaries of their thoughts and conclusions to the Diocesan Conference. It was thus decided that prior to the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 2022, summaries would be submitted by the archdioceses and dioceses to the Croatian Conference of Bishops and contents prepared, which will then be sent to the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome by the end of April 2022. The bishops are familiar with the experiences of the holding of synods in the Archdiocese of Đakovo-Osijek and the Archdiocese of Zagreb, as well as the recently begun Synod in the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna (Sarajevo). Particular attention at the session was focused on the Year of the Family, Amoris laetitia, which began on March 19, 2021, together with the fifth anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation of the same name on the beauty and joy of love in the family. It is planned for the year to end on June 26, 2022, with the Tenth Anniversary of the World Meeting of Families in Rome and throughout the world. The main goal of the Year of the Family is to offer the Church an opportunity to deepen understanding of the content of this apostolic exhortation. This is the year in which it is desired to encourage recognition of the importance of the family, which should become a central concern of the Church and society. In addition, the importance of excellent preparation for the encounter was emphasized.
At the session, there was also a presentation of the Ecumenical Vademecum, the Croatian translation of which was published several days ago. In the context of reflection upon the ecumenical activity of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, the bishops chose the members of the Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism: Bishop Tomislav Rogić of Šibenik and Bishop Vjekoslav Huzjak of Bjelovar-Križevci. Bishop Antun Škvorčević of Požega was chosen to serve as the chairman of the Commission.
After detailed analysis and discussion, as well as certain amendments, at this session the Regulations of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, which for the past five years had been issued ad experimentum, were approved. At the session, chairmen of various CCB commissions, councils and committees submitted their reports.
It is known that the planned National Encounter of Croatian Catholic Youth in Zagreb had been cancelled due to the earthquake and pandemic. Therefore, the bishops decided that the next encounter would be held in Bjelovar on September 17, 2022. In addition, it was confirmed that the Fourth National Encounter of Catholic Families would be held in Ludbreg on May 21 and 22, 2022.