WASHINGTON - The 40th meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America will take place in Tampa, Florida, February 22-25, bringing together representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM). This gathering with discuss the theme "Jesus Christ, the face of the Father's Mercy" with Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' and the 2007 Aparecida document of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean as foundational documents. Then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was the principal writer of the Aparecida document.
More than 20 delegates will participate in the Tampa meeting. Representing the USCCB are members of the Executive Committee, including Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, USCCB president; Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, USCCB secretary; and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, who also serves as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
The meeting is part of a series of informal gatherings previously known as the Interamerican Meeting of Bishops, held every few years since 1967, and called the Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, to emphasize the unity of the Church in the Western hemisphere, since the year 2000. This year's meeting is organized by the CCCB. Recent meetings have discussed debt cancellation of the poorest country, immigration, globalization of the economy and cultures, the family, secularism, evangelization, humanitarian efforts for Haiti and communications.