Noting that “we are all brothers in Christ and one Church working together for the Kingdom of God,” Bishop Joseph Strickland welcomed representatives from the Diocese of San Pedro Sula and the Diocese of La Ceiba in Honduras to Tyler for the 13th Hermanamientos Conference on Tuesday The delegation from the two Honduran dioceses is being led by His Excellency, Michael Lenihan, OFM, Bishop of La Ceiba.
This year, the conferees are discussing “The Family in America,” focusing on the challenges faced by families and what resources the Church can devote to assisting them.
“Hermanamientos,” loosely translated as partnership, is equivalent to the Sister Cities program. The dioceses work together toward a deeper communion and a common understanding of the issues facing the Church in their respective cultures, focusing on what they can do to assist and encourage each other with their mission in a spirit of solidarity.
The relationship developed following Hurricane Mitch in 1998 when Catholic Relief Services asked the Church in the United States to do more than just send money to the devastated Central American region. The Catholic Bishops of Texas began partnering with dioceses and Bishop Alvaro Corrada began the Diocese of Tyler’s relationship with the Diocese of San Pedro Sula in 2001.
Dioceses that participate in the Hermanamientos program take their spiritual guidance from Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, which called for Catholics throughout the Americas to be aware of their fellow Catholics and to develop real relationships with them.
Representatives from the Diocese of San Angelo in Texas are also participating. The visit continues through Sept. 4.