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The delegates visit an extraction mine and hear about the impacts on the river and its ecosystem (ACBC)

The bishops of Oceania encountered the scriptural and practical realities of God’s creation on Monday, hearing the Creation story at morning Mass and later seeing the effects of climate change in Fiji. Source: ACBC Media Blog.

On the second day of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania assembly, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB celebrated Mass, at which the first reading included the first four days of the Creation story in Genesis.

Part of Archbishop Costelloe’s homily reflected on what that story says to those gathered for the assembly – bishops, religious and laity.

“We gather here today as members of God’s living Church, ready and anxious to embrace our vocation to be stewards, carers and protectors of God’s wonderful creation,” he said.

But, Archbishop Costelloe continued, those gathered must do so “by embracing our vocation to be members of the Lord’s priestly people, his chosen race, a community called together to sing the praises of God and to be, together, the sacrament of his ongoing presence in the world”.

In the afternoon, assembly delegates visited Togoru and Nakavu Village, where locals explained how changes in the climate and commercial enterprises are damaging the planet.

At the first site, the effects of extractive mining of a local riverbed for gravel were described, with the river level having dropped several metres over the past two decades of local mining, and the entire ecosystem of the river being changed drastically.

At the second site, the impact of rising sea levels on the coastal region was explained, with a local landowner explaining that what was a 10-acre property a few years ago is now half that size as erosion intensifies and the sea level rises.

Bishop Michael Dooley of Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, said while that observation has been important, resulting action from the Church and its leaders on climate issues is necessary.

The assembly runs until the evening of Friday, February 10. Stories and content will be shared during the week at, on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Media Blog and through CathNews.


Care for creation a focus for Oceania bishops’ assembly (ACBC Media Blog