Report from Irish Bishops' Conference meeting

  CHILD PROTECTION The December 2004 meeting of the Irish Bishops' Conference opened with a presentation and briefing from its Child Protection Office (CPO). The CPO has commenced a national training initiative which has come about as a result of four pilot projects conducted over the last year. The objective of the training initiative is to train trainers in each diocese who in turn will train facilitators at parish level to deliver awareness sessions for best practice in working with children. The Conference also noted that the sponsoring bodies (Bishops, CORI and IMU) have progressed discussions, with Ms Maureen Lynott, in developing a comprehensive child protection policy for the Irish Catholic Church. Year of the Eucharist October 2004 - October 2005 In October Pope John Paul II published an apostolic letter Mane nobiscum Domine (Stay with us, Lord) which inaugurated a Year of the Eucharist. It began with the closing of the International Eucharistic Congress in Gaudalajara, Mexico and will end with the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome, 2-29 October 2005, on the theme: 'The Eucharist source and summit of the life and mission of the Church'. In his Holy Thursday 2003 encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul called on us to foster a Eucharistic heart and mind since the Church draws her life from the Eucharist. He has stated his aim for the Year: that dioceses and parishes recognise the Eucharist as the centre of the life of the Christian, that they foster a revival of the celebration of the Sunday Mass and an increase in Eucharistic worship outside Mass. Celebrations to mark the Year of the Eucharist in Ireland will take place at local level. Bishops discussed how best to celebrate this special year which allows us an opportunity to renew our commitment to the faith and the Eucharist. It was agreed that events would culminate with the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi on 29th May 2005. A pastoral letter, including a 'frequently asked questions' section, will be issued addressing the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. EDUCATION The Centre for Education Services at the Marino Institute of Education presented to the Bishops' Conference on the theme: 'The Catholic School Imagining the Future' which addressed its work concerning the formation of staff at Catholic schools. MEDIA The Irish Bishops' Conference has offered to host the next available meeting, which is in 2006, of the spokespeople and media officers of Europe's Bishops' Conferences (CCEE). This year's event, which dealt with various operational challenges and media issues that can arise for communications offices, included participants from Ireland to Russia. It was held in June, in Athens, and next year's venue will be Poland. The aim of the CCEE is to promote co-operation between the bishops of Europe. FAMILY The Irish Bishops' Conference's Committee on Family Welfare and Children will make a submission to the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution which is currently reviewing and examining those Articles in the Constitution relating to the family. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office

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