WASHINGTON (January 10, 2007)-- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will travel to the Holy Land, Jan. 11-18, where he will join representatives of bishops' conferences from North America and Europe in an effort to better understand the pastoral challenges facing the Church and the peoples of the region.
Bishop William S. Skylstad will represent bishops of the United States at the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land. The Co-ordination will meet with the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land. The Co-ordination, which has met annually six times, began at the request of the Holy See in 1998 and represents the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, the Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, and the Catholic bishops' conferences of Austria, Canada, England and Wales, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
Bishop Skylstad will be joined by Stephen Colecchi, Director of the USCCB International Justice and Peace office. Along with attending the meeting, they also plan to visit Gaza, Bethlehem and other Palestinian territories with representatives of Catholic Relief Services, the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community.
Representatives from the respective bishops' conferences are scheduled to meet with a range of civic, political and religious leaders during the eight day visit, including a possible meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. A meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been scheduled in Ramallah and will be followed by a public Mass.
The following is a list of participants attending the meeting.
Bishop Christopher Budd, Bishop of Plymouth, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales
Bishop Pierre Bürcher, Auxiliary Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva & Freibourg, Swiss Bishops' Conference
Most Rev. Gilles Cazabon OMI, Bishop of Saint-Jérôme (Province of Québec), Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Stephen Colecchi, Director, Office for International Justice & Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Mr. Alexander Des Forges, Director, Catholic Communications Network, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales
Bishop Mgr. Michel Dubost, Bishop of Evry, French Bishops' Conference
Msgr. Peter Fleetwood, CCEE (Council of European Bishops' Conferences)
Mr. Hermann-Josef Grossimlinghaus, Executive Director, German Bishops' Conference Commission for International Church Affairs, Vice-President of German Association of the Holy Land
Archbishop Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, Vice-President of Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales
Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales
Msgr. Stanislas Lallane, General Secretary, French Bishops' Conference
Fr. Paul Lansu, Pax Christi International
Bishop Reinhard Marx, Bishop of Trier, President of German Commission for Justice & Peace, Vice-President for German Bishops' Conference Commission for International Church Affairs
Msgr. Mario Paquette PH, General Secretary, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Fr. Robert Pellerin, Archdiocese of Montreal, Canada
Mr. Ulrich Poner, Director, German Bishops' Conference Department for International Church Affairs and Migration
Mr. Rateb Rabie KHS, President, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
Dr. David Ryall, Assistant General Secretary, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales International General Secretary, Holy Land Co-ordination
Bishop William Skylstad, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Dr. Rudolf Solzbacher, Director, Department for International Church Affairs and Mission, Archdiocese of Cologne, Board member of German Association of the Holy Land
Msgr. Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, Under-Secretary, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Italy
Bishop Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia, Bishop of Urgell and Co-Prince of Andorra, Spanish Bishops' Conference
Michael Whelan KGCHS, Lieutenant, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of England and Wales