Introduction – What the Encounter is About

Encounter 2012 of the Eastern Catholic Churches
Midwest-Cleveland, OH – September 20 – 23, 2012
East-Hillsborough, NJ – October 11-14, 2012
West-Los Angeles, CA – November 1-4, 2012

This is a real-time transcription of the welcome address at the Eastern Encounter 2012 (November 3rd) by Bishop Nicholas (Samra) of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton. Although it has been reviewed, it may contain errors, for which the webmaster unreservedly apologizes.

Speaker Bio: An active speaker and author, Bishop Nicholas has written extensively on the subject of ecumenism, Christian leadership and stewardship. He has also published a multi-volume history of the Melkite Church and a book on the legacy of Archbishop Joseph Tawil. He is the past president of the Eastern Catholic Association of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In April 1999, the Oriental Congregation in Rome called him to a meeting. They had an agenda to bring together the bishops in the Americas and Oceana for October 1999. This encounter took place in Boston by invitation only, with about 125 people in attendance.

  • The first day was about their relationships with their mother Churches
  • The second day was about their relationships with the Roman Church
  • The third day was about their relationship with the Orthodox Churches
  • The fourth day was about catechesis, religious education, etc
  • Rome then said, &lquo;God bless you! You’re on your own! Continue what you started!&rquo;

In 2006, they held a second Encounter on the theme of “Evangelization through the Mysteries”

  • It was again by invitation with bishops, clergy, religious, and a few catechists
  • At this encounter, they saw the need to open it to everyone

We’re now at the third Encounter in 2012

  • They thought it might be a catechetical congress, but it changed over time to a leadership theme for the whole church

Bishop Nicholas greeted the participants in the name of all the Eastern Catholic bishops in the United States, those in attendance as well as those who sent their blessings, including:

  • Bishop Nerses Bedros XIX, the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia for Armenian Catholics
  • Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio of the United States of America
  • Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, Major Archbishop Emeritus of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
  • Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio of Canada
  • Cardinal LUCIAN (Mureșan), Major Archbishop of Făgăraş and Alba Iulia of the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic.
  • Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches
  • Patriarch SVIATOSLAV (Shevchuk), Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
  • Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

We call the feast of Christ’s presentation in the temple an encounter, where he was getting to know His people.

  • It is important to mingle and get to know each other at the Encounter.

“Our uniqueness is not a ghetto mentality.”

  • We must come together and witness to the whole Catholic Church that it is important we are here.