(Bratislava) – Over 200 lay Catholics from various areas of life of the Church, representatives of religious communities and priests met with Slovak bishops in the past days to discuss current challenges and activities of the Church in the Slovak society. The aim of the annual meeting in Ruzomberok held under the motto “Vocation to live mercy” was to “deepen mutual communication, exchange of information and views on important topics of everyday life, and to gather pastoral inspirations for year 2016.” According to Mgr. Stanislav Zvolensky, president of the Bishops’ conference of Slovakia, “it seems that if we want to be really concrete and topical in our deeds of mercy, we need to focus on the areas like migration crisis, poverty, pastoral care of families – especially those with more children, and spiritual guidance of Roma people. Archbishop encouraged lay and consecrated persons to participate in March parliamentary elections by voting for candidates “who live in accordance with the Gospel”. Bishops see the main challenge in facing the wave of migration in Europe and encourage the faithful to “be willing to help”. All participants of the meeting agree that the role of the Church is to “build bridges of solidarity and empathy” in all spheres of the society, especially in regard to the integration of refugees into Slovak society.