BRIEFER ON THE 2023 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
As we begin the Year 2023 within the continuing pandemic season, we wish to inform the whole Church that we are taking definite measures to lead us to the holding of the 2023 General Assembly. While initial actions were already done and continuing at the level of the Obispado Maximo, the mother unit of the Church, to prepare for such a conduct of the General Assembly, we had additionally undertaken series of virtual conferences involving SCB Officers and Chairpersons of Regional Conferences, Diocesan Bishops of the Regional Conferences in Mindanao, Visayas, South-Central and North-Central Luzon and Presidents of the NLC and National Lay Sectors in August last year and subsequently with the Bishops at September 2022 SCB Meeting to circulate and interact with certain information relative to the 2023 General Assembly. This briefer therefore intends to provide the overview of what we intend to be doing relative to the 2023GA,
That invoking and following the actions of the past Execom to prepare the 2020 General Assembly which was cancelled due to the covid pandemic and lockdown
1. We have scheduled the 2023 General Assembly on May 7-10, 2023 with the same GA Theme: “Witnessing faithfully to God’s love in Christ in every place and time in the power of the Holy Spirit” [Acts 1:8]. The use of the same theme will maximize the kit already prepared for last 2020GA to be usable for this year.
2. Through the help of Mr. Jerry Navarrete, we have booked the Mella Hotel in Las Pinas City to be the 2023GA Venue. While we are experiencing the easing down of pandemic restrictions at the moment, we feel that it is best for us to have a venue where we can acquire possible guarantee from the local government unit in case situation changes and permission is needed from a local government unit for mass gathering. Mella Hotel has been used as quarantine facility during the height of the pandemic lockdown and the management has the experience to handle such a gathering in the midst of the continuing pandemic season. It is also highly accessible, as it is located along the highway, relatively close to the airport terminals, to the Obispado Maximo, and to the National Cathedral where we hope to open the 2023GA.
3. We shall use the Execom-approved 2020GA Budget as reference in our budgetary consideration for the 2023GA. We had asked the General Treasurer and General Auditor to go over with the 2020GA and compare it with the rates at Mella Hotel under this pandemic season and with increases of rates amidst an ongoing economic crisis through a current budget. We sought advice from members of the former CBF led by Mr Jerry Navarrete and examine the said budget which incorporates new adjustments to suffice our 2023GA spending. The General Treasurer had presented possible increases during the SCB Meeting in September 2022 for the bishops’ information and reference.
4. We shall likewise use the list of the 2020GA delegates duly elected by their respective diocesan convention as reference for the official delegates of the 2023GA, subject to the election of surrogates in cases where the said delegates are no longer available, through official action of the diocesan conventions which can be scheduled after February 8, 2023. Since we are still in pandemic season, we must require the full vaccination of all official delegates attending. We shall limit the attendance to official delegates only to prevent cramming up of the hotel space and allow observance of proper distancing within the duration of the 2023GA.
5. The pandemic season has brought some uncertainties and in case situation changes adversely in the next months, we shall be ready to shorten the 2023GA to prevent prolonged confinement in enclosed space, but retaining the necessary agenda of the 2023GA to accomplish its canonical purposes.
6. As shared during the series of virtual conferences and the September 2022 SCB Meeting, we had undertaken measures to finalize all these, and sooner issue the waves of Circular Letters for the Convocatory Letter of the 2023GA to set off the whole Church to prepare, to update everyone on the extent of the preparation, and to hasten the workings of various bodies tasked to assist the Obispado Maximo prepare the 2023GA.
We ask the prayers from everyone in the Church for God’s help, guidance and inspiration in these undertakings, that we may all strive to pursue what is expected from us as Church in these difficult and trying times of the pandemic. May God bless us all as we faithfully work out tasks and responsibilities to make the IFI persists in its mission and ministry, trying to be a “sort of different church,” in the words of ABC Justin Welby, during the covid crisis.
10 January 2023