1 Sep 2004

Catholic bishops gather in Rome for meeting with Pope

10:12 am on 1 September 2004

The head of the Catholic Church in American Samoa Bishop Quinn Weitzel has departed for Rome where he and other Bishops from the South Pacific have an audience with Pope John Paul II.

A spokesman for the Bishop's Office says a meeting of the South Pacific bishops and the Holy Father takes place every five years.

In accordance with Canon Law Bishop Quinn Weitzel, submitted his resignation to the Pope two years ago when he turned 75.

During a diocesan synod last year Bishop Quinn asked delegates to nominate possible successors from among local and off island priests.

The papal delegate for the region also asked selected members of the clergy and laity for nominations.

Church sources say that a successor for Bishop Quinn, who has been bishop of the local diocese since 1986 will be finalized during the Vatican meeting.