The Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) is an Assembly of Catholic Bishops referred to as a CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS. In most cases such Conferences are National in their make up as the Dioceses coming together to form the Conference are from the same country or nation.
The Antilles Episcopal Conference is somewhat unique in this regard as it brings together nineteen Dioceses and two Independent Missions comprising of thirteen independent countries, three departments of France, two parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and six British Colonies.
Languages spoken in the Conference are English, French and Dutch but there are also other languages that are native to some of the territories. It is referred to as the ANTILLES because most of the territories included in the Conference are from the Lesser Antilles. However, also included in the Conference are Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana on the South American Continent together with Belize in Central America.
The Conference aims at uniting the Bishops in prayerful discernment so that they can exercise together certain pastoral services for the benefit of the faithful in their territories. This is achieved through mutual sharing of views, experiences and needs, especially through forms and purposes of the apostolate adapted to our different situations.
Internationally, sun and sea are recognized as descriptive of the Caribbean.
The name Antilles Episcopal Conference is shown over the sea.
It is the responsibility of the Bishops of the different territories to promote within the Caribbean both Christ Himself and the redemption He brings to its people.
These responsibilities are symbolized first by the brightening sun (Jesus Christ, Light of the World) and then by the cross as it increases in size.
The Church too is the Light of the World. The twenty-one different juridical territories of the Church in the Caribbean are represented by the twenty-one rays of the Sun.
A dove then emerges from the Cross. It signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit flowing from the side of Christ, bringing the reconciliation with God, the forgiveness and the peace, won for us by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
The final picture of the Cross and Dove with the Sun and the Sea within the ambit of the Antilles Episcopal Conference depicts God’s covenanted People of the Caribbean.
Where are we?
Politically, within the five Provinces there are thirteen independent nations (Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, The Bahamas, St. Kitts-Nevis, three Departments of France (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique), two parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands having complete internal autonomy (Curacao + and Aruba ), and six British colonies (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands).
To strengthen and support the Caribbean Church through the united efforts of all Bishops.