National Advisers Meeting
The National Advisers Meeting (NAM) was held on July 10-12 at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. This is a first gathering of National Advisers convoked by the USCCB/Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church. The ethnic and people on the move pastoral leaders from around the nation gathered to discuss the future of pastoral care for migrants, refugees, and travelers in the United States. The theme of the NAM was "The New Evangelization in a Multicultural Society for the Future of the Church". Attendees participated in prayer, workshops, presentations, and group discussions during the fruitful weekend of communication and planning.
Representing the USCCB Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers (PCMRT) in the NAM meeting were: Bishop Rutilio Del Riego, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino and Chairman of the PCMRT Subcommittee, Bishop Edgar de Cunha, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark and Episcopal Liaison to the Brazilian Apostolate, Bishop Frank Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice and Episcopal Liaison to Circus and Traveling Show Ministries, and Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Episcopal Liaison to African Catholics.
It was indeed wonderful to invoke God in our presence with the spirit filled opening prayer and gathering ritual. The participants offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord; they offered their sorrows, joys and anxieties and lifted themselves up to the Lord. A symbolic offering of hope and challenges were offered from the various PCMRT communities. The participants shared and reflected on the meaning and the hopeful sentiments the symbols bring. For example the Unity Symbol which is treasured throughout Africa as a symbol of the African struggle for freedom, a symbol of family and the unity of the people, teaches lessons of love, life, and harmony. Bishop Frank Dewane, Bishop Edgar de Cunha and Bishop Rutilio del Riego in their remarks prayed and exhorted the national advisers to be good examples, to take care of their various communities and to help all members of the community in building up the Body of Christ. During the panel of Bishops, the participating bishops encouraged the national advisers to heed Jesus’ message, to be His witnesses and to preach the Good News. It was a great day of remembrance as the national advisers, five bishops and staff of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church gathered for the first National Advisers meeting.
The celebrant and homilist at the closing mass was Bishop Perry, who also serves as Vice President of the Board for the National Black Catholic Congress. Bishop Perry granted an interview about his experience at the 2014 NAM.
National Adviser Meeting Report
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Photographs by Buteau Espiegle