Another Caribbean voice at Vatican

AEC president appointed to CEP

By Lara Pickford-Gordon - Catholic News, Trinidad, 19th September 2014

President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC), Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, Bahamas, has been appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the body responsible for the transmission and dissemination of the faith. The good news comes six months after Archbishop Emeritus Kelvin Felix of Castries, St Lucia was appointed a Cardinal.

On September 13 the Holy See made the announcement of Archbishop Pinder and 17 other appointments to the Congregation, including cardinals, archbishops, priests and a nun. “It is the first time that a Bishop from the AEC has been appointed to such a high office in the Vatican,” the AEC said in a release issued last Tuesday.

Contacted via email about the announcement, Archbishop Pinder said, “I view this appointment as an expression of care and pastoral concern which Pope Francis has for the Church in our region. This is also an opportunity for the Church in our region to serve the wider Church throughout the world, especially the developing world.” Archbishop Pinder said the announcement by the Holy See was made last week Saturday (Sept 13) and he had not yet been briefed as to the “full nature and scope of the appointment.” He added, “Certainly, I will do all in my power to make the reality, the challenges and the gifts of the dioceses and peoples of the AEC known where it matters most.”

FLASHBACK: Archbishop Patrick Pinder (right) addresses a Nov 30 press conference at the Seminary during the visit of Cardinal Fernando Filoni (centre). Archbishop Joseph Harris looks on.

Archbishop Pinder invited the prayers of all the faithful of the region to ensure that he had the “wisdom, good health and grace to serve the Church well in this new responsibility”.

According to the AEC release, the Congregation “is one of the dicasteries (a department of the Vatican) that assist the Holy Father in the governance of the Universal Church. All mission countries (e.g. all the dioceses of the AEC), come under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, whose responsibilities include making recommendations to the Pope for his appointment of Bishops.”

The release said Archbishop Pinder will continue his pastoral ministry as Archbishop of Nassau, and also “be expected to participate actively in the work of this dicastery, being directly involved and consulted when important decisions are made.”

The release noted that last November, Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Fernando Filoni visited the region and held talks with AEC bishops.

“Since then the AEC received the appointment of its first cardinal, Cardinal Kelvin Felix and now this new appointment of Archbishop Pinder. We offer our sincere congratulations to Archbishop Pinder and assure him of our prayers,” the release said.

Archbishop Joseph Harris said of the news, “This is a very good appointment. For us in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean it means that our Holy Father has recognised that we are a region with gifts and talents that can serve the Church, that we have something to say and that we are not simply an appendage to North or South America.”

Archbishop Harris, who was in Rome for a series of meetings with department heads including Cardinal Filoni, said the appointment also meant that when decisions concerning the Caribbean region are made, “We will have more direct input in the decision-making process.”

During Cardinal Filoni’s visit last November-December the AEC raised the matter of Caribbean representation at the Congregation to improve the information flow between the AEC and Roman Curia and better represent the “reality of the region.”

Recalling this suggestion, Archbishop Harris said, “We have got much more. This means that we are truly coming of age as a regional Church. This appointment brings with it responsibilities which we cannot shirk, the chief being the duty to evangelise all sectors or ministerial spaces in the Caribbean and that we take the mission ad gentes seriously.”

Among other appointees to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples are the following:

  • Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
  • Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York, USA.;
  • Cardinal Luis Antonio G Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines;
  • Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire;
  • Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, Archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
  • Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops;
  • Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples;
  • Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Apostolic Nuncio to the Principality of Monaco, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations Organisations and Organisms for Food and Agriculture;
  • Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications;
  • Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia;
  • Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic;
  • Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy;
  • Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam;
  • Fr. Michael Anthony Perry OFM, minister general of the Order of Friars Minor;
  • Fr Louis Lougen, OMI, superior general of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate;
  • Sr Luzia Premoli, SMC, superior general of the Combonian Missionaries.
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