The bishops of the dioceses of the Assyrian Church of the East in the United States held their first episcopal conference from October 30th to the 31st, in San Diego, California. The conference, blessed by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, was attended by: His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of the Western United States, the chair of the episcopal conference, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod & President of CIRED, and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern USA and President of ACERO USA. The bishops were also in San Diego to take part in the rite of the consecration of the altar of the Rabban Hermizd Parish, which took place after morning prayers on the First Sunday of the Hallowing of the Church, November 2, 2014. His Grace Mar Yosip Sargis, bishop emeritus, was also present for the consecration rite.
The meeting of the bishops’ conference was held at the offices of St. Rabban Hermizd Parish in San Diego, and was hosted by His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis. The items on the agenda for discussion and implantation in the United States dioceses included, among others: formulating a single Sunday School curriculum for the dioceses in America, preparing a program for the canonical preparation of marriage and baptism in the Church, finalizing the Constitution of the Youth Association of the Church in the US and other Youth matters, pastoral issues in dealing with the married, separated and divorced, unifying the ecclesiastical calendar in the US, the preparation of catechetical materials, strengthening the Church’s charitable ACERO foundation, and various liturgical matters. The episcopal conference also called for a meeting and retreat of all the priests of the three dioceses in the US to take place in early November of 2015. These matters and the decisions of the bishops’ conference will be communicated to the priests and clergy of each appropriate diocese at the next presbyteral council meeting of the diocese, respectively.
At the closing session, the bishops offered up prayers to our suffering brothers and sisters in the Faith, in Iraq and Syria, and prayed the Lord’s blessings and help upon our suffering People in those countries, and in the Middle East at large. The next episcopal conference will take place in the early Fall of 2015, to be held in the east coast of the United States.