THE CEPAC VISION
To know what their Conference is all about and to determine possible structures and programmes, it was necessary for the CEPAC Bishops to agree first on a common vision of the Conference. This is what they came up with:
The Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC) is a community of Catholic bishops led by the Holy Spirit to live and promote the Way of Christ and the Tradition of the Church among its multicultural peoples, under the protection of Mary, Mother of Peace.
Almost every word in this vision has been broadly considered:
“Community” for instance, implies that CEPAC members do not simply come together once a year but that they must continue to be in community with one another in between meetings.
The expression “Catholic bishops led by the Holy Spirit” makes it clear that CEPAC is not a conference of Churches. While choosing this formula the CEPAC bishops were very much aware that they do not own the Holy Spirit.
“The Way of Christ” This shows that bishops are not just Gospel preachers but would like to live and promote more than a knowledge of Gospel values.
The words “Its multicultural peoples” are used rather than “peoples of the Pacific” to respect the Pacific nations who do not belong to CEPAC.
No vision statement would be valid if not translated into objectives and programmes. The Bishops’ Conference agreed on the following objectives:
- Promote and share the vision of CEPAC
- Help our people experience and celebrate faith in community
- Promote the formation of our people and leaders on all levels
- Develop the spiritual life of each person, and unify faith and social life
- Promote the value and use of mass-media
- Make known the recent social / political teachings of the Church
- Promote the cause of Human Rights
- Foster unity and reconciliation
- Promote ecumenism in truth and in respect of different confessions.
These objectives had then to be expressed in concrete programmes, while testing at the same time if the existing CEPAC programmes would fit the objectives stated. Since one weakness of CEPAC’s structure has always been its wide diversity serious thought was given to the possibility of implementing programmes on a regional rather than a conference level. In order not to overload the conference with too many structures, it was decided to create 3 regions in an informal fashion: a northern region (Micronesia), a French region (Francophone) and a Central Region