Spring Plenary 2015

The Bishops of England and Wales met in Rome for their spring plenary meeting from 18-20 April 2015.

In April, the Bishops of England and Wales met in Rome for a week of reflection and discussion.

In addition to the Bishops’ own reflections, there were a number of talks:

Fr Wojciech Giertych OP, the Papal Theologian, who spoke on Philosophical and Theological Anthropology.

Fr Nicolas Steeves SJ, Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, who spoke on the Imagination and the Person.

Mons. Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who spoke on the Church in a Digital World and how we communicate Good News.

Two specific areas items of interest arose from the meeting:

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales welcomes wholeheartedly the initiative of Pope Francis in announcing the Jubilee Year of the Mercy of God, the “beating heart of the gospel,” recognising that mercy needs to be continually proposed with renewed enthusiasm and pastoral action, as a central theme of the New Evangelisation (see Misericordiae Vultus, 12)

It agrees that this proclamation finds practical expression in our dioceses in the following ways:

  • To have a Holy Door at the Cathedral and at designated shrines
  • To encourage people to go on pilgrimage as a sign of the ongoing journey of conversion and renewal to which we are all called, and invite others to join us on pilgrimage
  • To recognise and promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the Sacrament of the New Evangelisation with particular celebrations for this on 4 – 5 March 2016 involving Eucharistic adoration and opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament
  • To look at practical ways to encourage local missions of mercy (see MV, 18)
  • To see the Catholic school as an important threshold for proclaiming God’s mercy
  • To have a special attention for priests who show the merciful face of the Father through the sacramental ministry to people in their care
  • To explore creatively our outreach to others through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, especially those most in need.
  • To recognise that mercy provides a fruitful avenue of dialogue with other Christians, other religions and non-believers and that the practice of mercy teaches us tenderness for the world God has created
  • It agrees that Proclaim ’15 constitutes a significant moment in the development of local evangelisation initiatives and in encouraging dioceses to prepare for this Jubilee of Mercy.
  • It agrees that this work be directed in the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis through the Standing Committee of the Conference.

The Bishops also encouraged all people to exercise their democratic right to vote in the forthcoming General Election, asking the Catholic faithful to pray for all concerned in the election on the eve of Polling Day, 6 May 2015.

As communicated by Baronness Berridge, on 6 May “7:14 – Election Prayer UK”, is organising a joint prayer from Christians of every denomination at Parliament Square in London from 7:14pm for one hour.

The time chosen reflects the passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”