11/18/2005, 00.00
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Lebanese bishops: forming lay people to uphold Christian presence among Arabs

by Youssef Hourany

Adult formation is at the heart of the 39th assembly of patriarchs and bishops. There is an appeal for economic backing for Christian means of social communication.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Christian formation of families, adults and university students and the role which could be played by Catholic means of communication are at the heart of deliberations of the 39th assembly of Catholic patriarchs and bishops of Lebanon. The assembly is being held in Bkerke (seat of the Maronite Patriarchate) under the presidency of the Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir and focusing on the theme of "Adult formation".

The coordinator of today's first sitting, the Maronite Archbishop of Tiro, Mgr Nabil El Hajj, emphasized the "necessity of delving deeper into our Christian formation to be able to build and maintain our Christian presence in the East". In this perspective, the bishop told AsiaNews about the importance of the university pastoral mission, which "is a very important step, in fact one of the most critical steps, because it takes place during a phase of physical, mental and emotional evolution, and lays the foundation for significant future decisions".

The role of means of social communication as useful instruments for re-evangelisation of the Arab world was discussed by bishops participating in the assembly. Development in technical and editing spheres in Catholic means of communication in Lebanon was underlined: Tele Lumiere, the radio Voice of Charity, the Free Lebanon radio, the LBCI television and many other channels which transmit programmes of Christian formation. The bishops expressed hope of greater backing for these means, necessary to spread the Word of God; they launched an appeal for contributions to cover the enormous costs of maintaining them.

The fathers also expressed satisfaction for the reopening of many "centres for religious and theological formation" in many dioceses and they pledged to follow teachings in these centres carefully to ensure they offer adults Catholic and human formation – in line with Church teaching – which equips them to face the challenges posed by religious sects seeking to harm one's knowledge.

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