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Federation of Catholic Bishops Conference of Oceania representatives in Wellington, New Zealand (Supplied)

Migration across the Pacific and the pastoral care of migrants emerged as key points of discussion at last week’s executive meeting of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania in Wellington, New Zealand. Source: Broken Bay Diocese.

Oceania is as vast as it is diverse with few island nations sharing borders across the region. However the people have always been connected through a sea of islands where for thousands of years they have migrated across the waters seeking new settlements or trade. 

In recent decades migration has become the key to the region’s economy and sustainability. 

“Oceania has a long history of migration, which is still very much present today and is likely to continue into the future,” FCBCO president and Broken Bay Bishop Anthony Randazzo said. 

“Gathering as an executive, we heard the call of the vulnerable in our region, particularly those migrating across the many islands separated by vast bodies of water, in search of work, or to escape the impacts of domestic challenges, such as rising sea levels. 

“How we provide pastoral care for those affected peoples emerged as a core theme in our prayer and reflections, and we will continue to dialogue as we move forward.” 

The FCBCO is made up of independent and autonomous bishops conferences comprising the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, the Catholic Bishops Conference  of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific, which includes Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. 

The bishops experienced a microcosm of the multicultural diversity of New Zealand, including traditional Māori welcomes and the Miha or Māori Mass. 

They also visited the final resting place of Venerable Suzanne Aubert, or Meri Hohepa, a migrant missionary from France who came to New Zealand on a whaling boat in 1860. She founded the Sisters of Compassion and is now on the pathway to becoming New Zealand’s first saint. 


Pastoral Care of Migrants Across the Pacific Key Topic at FCBCO Meeting (FCBCO)