Bishops' Seminar in Rome and Audience with the Holy FatherBishops from South Africa

Among 102 Bishops, who have been appointed in the last two years (2008-2010) in the ecclesiastical circumscriptions that depend on the Missionary Congregation (Propaganda Fide), 8 bishops from the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, were in Rome participating in a Seminar sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The bishops, from 40 nations: 24 nations from Africa (57 bishops), 11 nations from Asia (39 bishops), 3 nations from the Americas (4 bishops), and 2 nations from Oceania (2 bishops).

Bishop de Gouveia with Pope Benedict XVIThe seminar, which took place at the Pontifical College of St. Paul the Apostle, began with the celebration of Vespers on Sunday, September 5, and conclude on Saturday, September 18 with a concelebrated Holy Mass at the tomb of the Apostle St. Peter.”

On 11 September the participants attended an audience with Holy Father Benedict XVI after which each had the opportunity to speak personally with Holy Father. After the audience the bishops had lunch at Mater Ecclesiae College, where Religious Sisters from missionary countries reside while studying in Rome.

The aim of the seminar, which continues a tradition started in 2003 by the Missionary Congregation, is to provide all newly appointed bishops with time to pray, reflect more deeply on their life and on their episcopal ministry, which especially in the early years may pose difficulties and problems.