At the last meeting standing committee it was decided to have an extraordinary one with the presence of the presidents of the Bishops Conferences members of IMBISA. The goal of the meeting would be to reflect together on the “vision” and “mission” of IMBISA. Though clear in our statutes, the reality of a context that has deeply changed and the appointment of so many new bishops in our countries, made it clear it was important to do so. Therefore we have come together in South Africa for three days (17 – 21 July 2017)
The opening Mass was presided by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).
In his homily he underlined how Providential this meeting is as the Church celebfrates 200 years of being “officially present” in the then Vicariate of the Cape of Good Hope.
He invisted us to move from being a “church of maintenance” to a church that looks for those searching for truth, compassion, healing…
He left us with three points to reflect upon:
- The need to deepen in our faith being salt and light, celebrating our sacraments aware of their deep meaning, moving towards a deeper relationship with God;
- The need for compassion towards the world. Reflecting on the experience of Thomas after the resurrection of Jesus, he pointed out that Thomas only recognised Jesus divinity when he was able to “touch” his wounds. “Conversion” will come not so much out of ideas but through compassion and tenderness;
- The need to always be missionary disciples, being a church that goes out, involving everyone in that process.