VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Assembly of Societies for Aid to Eastern Churches (ROACO) will focus their next meeting on finding ways to support the clergy, especially in Europe and the Middle East.
A note from the Congregation for Eastern Churches, which oversees the assembly, explained that this 82nd session will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in the Vatican.
The focus on clergy was inspired by the Church's celebration of the Year for Priests.
The communiqué stated that "following the changes of 1989, the Eastern Catholic Churches of Central and Eastern Europe have had the joy of being able to ordain numerous young priests, including married ones, in keeping with the ancient tradition of their Churches."
It continued, "Because of the modest economic conditions of their countries, and the absence of self-financing ecclesiastical structures, the maintenance of priests has been guaranteed to a large extent by the Churches of the West through the aid agencies, members of ROACO."
The congregation stated that "after twenty years, the time has come for an evaluation of each effective projection for the future."
Regarding priests in the Middle East, this evaluation will particularly focus on health care and old age. The session participants also plan to give attention to the situation of the Eastern Churches in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Iraq.
The meetings will be held in the conference hall of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Representatives of some twenty Catholic agencies from ten Western countries will participate in the meeting along with the apostolic delegate to Jerusalem, Archbishop Antonio Franco, and the apostolic nuncio to Sudan and Eritrea, Archbishop Leo Boccardi.
ROACO is an organization that was founded in 1968 by the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Twice a year it brings together agencies committed to the support of these Churches in their dimensions: worship, clergy, pastoral formation, education, health care and social aid.