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Balkans: joint session of the Bishops of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pastoral care for the faithful abroad and Caritas aid to the Bosnians

On 23 January, the 25th Joint Session of the Bishops of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was held at the premises of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference. The meeting was chaired by the respective presidents of the two Bishops’ Conferences, Mgr. Drazen Kutlesa, Archbishop of Split, and Mgr. Tomo Vuksic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna (Sarajevo). The focus was on the relations with the Croatian diaspora in the world, which is being addressed by both Conferences. The community of the Croatian faithful abroad is organized in 183 cities worldwide and is served by 184 priests, of whom 55 are diocesan and 129 religious. According to the Bishops, the pastoral care of these faithful who have left their homeland is very important and helps to preserve their identity. The prelates were also briefed on a report about the Pontifical Croatian Institute St. Jerome in Rome, where 22 Croatian priests currently live. An important factor uniting the two Bishops’ Conferences is the initiative by Caritas Croatia called “Week of Solidarity and Communion with the Church and people of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which has taken place since 2007. The Bishops were briefed on the 2022 activities. In 2023, the Week will take place from 5 to 12 March. Unfortunately, concrete material aid has decreased in recent years, and all, especially Diocesan community members in Croatia, are encouraged to support the needy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Items on the agenda also included the missionary activity of the Church in Croatia, the Croatian martyrology, and a Mass for the victims of Macelj. Before the session, the Bishops had a Eucharistic celebration in the chapel of the premises of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference, presided over by Mgr. Kutlesa, President of the Croatian Bishops.

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