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Pontifical Counsil for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

XV Plenary Session

Interview with His Excellency the Most Rev. Agostino Marchetto,
Secretary of the Pontifical Council

From Monday, April 29th to Wednesday, May 1st, the Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People will meet in the offices of the Dicastery for the Fifteenth Plenary Meeting.

The Members and Consultors who will be present, a total of 30 persons, are Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and priests from various nations around the world. Their task will be to deal with the questions of greatest importance to the Dicastery.

1.Your Excellency, what is the theme for this plenary, and how long ago was the preceding one held?

This Fifteenth Plenary takes place three years after the last one held in 1999. The theme that has been chosen, Relations between the Sea and Migrations, and Between the Sea and Tourism, encompasses the Dicastery’s three pastoral sectors which, albeit in very different situations, are connected with the sea: the Apostleship of the Sea, Migrations and the search for asylum, and, lastly, Tourism. One speaker for each of these sectors will illustrate its particular problems in an interdisciplinary context, that is, by keeping the other sectors in mind as far as possible.

2.What particular aspects of the sea and migrations will be dealt with?

First of all, the Plenary will open with an intervention by the Most Rev. Luciano Pacomio, the Bishop of Mondově; he will make an overall reflection on the sea in life and culture, with particular reference to the sea in Sacred Scripture. Next, Deacon Ricardo Rodrigues Martos, the Director of the Barcelona “Stella Maris”, will present the real situation in which sea professionals live and work—a complex reality which, all things considered, is not well known by the public at large—in a schematic presentation that will also have to do with the seafarers’ families and the response the Church ought to give.

Father Beniamo Rossi, the Superior of the Scalabrinians of Europe, has been given the task of presenting migrations by sea, together with the increasingly troubling phenomenon of clandestine migrations which includes the “traffic in clandestine persons”.

3.And what about tourism?

Most Rev. Ramon de la Rosa y Carpio, the Bishop of N. Senora de la Altagracia in Higuey, Dominican Republic, will deal with the pastoral care of tourism involving the sea and highlight the aspects that define tourism to the seaside and on cruises today in order to point out the main needs and the pastoral responses that derive from them

Lastly, the Bishop of Frosinone, Veroli and Ferentino, the Most Rev. Boccaccio, will make a reflection on tourism in the mission of the Church, based on an analysis of the “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Tourism”, a document recently published by our Dicastery.

4.What influence will the Plenary have on the normal activities of the Pontifical Council?

Our reflection will not be limited to the area of our activities in the three sectors mentioned earlier; first of all, it will have to do with making a review of the activities carried out during the three years since the last Plenary, with particular attention to the most significant ones.

The 1999 Plenary pointed out some questions for our Dicastery to follow up. In the Assembly that opens on the 29th, the results will be presented.

Lastly, some projects and guidelines for the future will be indicated, including an up-dating of the Instruction De Pastorali migratorum cura, and the Fifth World Congress of the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees.

5.Your Excellency, what does the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People expect from this Plenary?

To get a deeper understanding of the pastoral situations I mentioned earlier, and to draw up strategies, so to speak, to develop our specific pastoral care and integrate it better into the overall pastoral care of the whole Church.