MEMBERS of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are set to return to their home in Manila as they hold the 125th Plenary Assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center from January 28 to 30, 2023.

For the first time since the onset of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, Filipino bishops and archbishops are set to gather at the traditional venue of the Plenary Assembly in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“The January 28 to 30 gathering will bring together the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines for in-person meetings for the second time since the pandemic struck in early 2020,” said CBCP News, the official news agency of the CBCP.

The Plenary Assembly last July 2022 held in Tagaytay City was the first face-to-face meeting of the prelates since pandemic struck.

Prior to it, the January 2021, July 2021, and January 2022 plenary meets were held online.

It should be noted that the Plenary Assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of the CBCP, only convenes twice a year — in January and July.

CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Bernardo Pantin said that on the agenda of the meeting is a broad range of topics affecting the faithful in the country.

These include the updated Ratio Nationalis, which a program for the formation of candidates for the priesthood; the Praedicate Evangelium and its implications to the local conferences; and the proposal for a Permanent Diaconate in the Philippines.

He also said that the meeting will be preceded by a three-day bishops’ seminar.

“The seminar is being held so that there will be a levelling of the idea about the nature and functions of the episcopal conference, especially among the new and old bishops,” Pantin said.

The CBCP is currently composed of 88 active bishops/archbishops, two diocesan priest-administrators, and 38 honorary members/retired bishops.

CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David is set to preside over the biannual meeting. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)