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 News Archive 2007

 


 

South Asian Broadcasts of Radio Veritas Asia

The South Asian production centers for Radio Veritas Asia met in New Delhi from January 29 to 31, 2007. The conference was organized by the Social Communication Office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India in cooperation with the Office of Social Communication of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC).


It was the first time that a meeting with participants from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took place. Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha (Lahore), the chairman on the FANC Office of Social Communication presided over the deliberations.


The operation of RVA, beside Vatican Radio are the responsibility of the FABC. RVA language programs for South Asia include Hindi, Telugu, Bangali, Tamil, Urdu and Sinhala. All programs are initiated by the respective regional or national bishops' conferences.


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Asia Reflects on the Compendium of the Social Teachings of the Church


The "Asian Conference on the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" jointly organized by the FABC Office of Human Development and the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace reflected on the pastoral consequences of the Compendium released by the Holy See in October 2004.


In his opening talk, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino established the connection between the Compendium and the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia. The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said both documents place "social doctrine at the heart of the Church's mission." "Part of the preaching of the Gospel" is "taking "interest in human promotion," proclaiming the "rules for a new coexistence in peace and justice," and helping create "relations and institutions that are more human," the prelate said. "Directing our Christian witness in the social realities of Asia" need to (1) "defend human rights," (2) "promote the right to development," (3) "forge a good relationship with nature," and (4) "promote the right to peace."


Father Felix Wilfred said Christianity and the social doctrine could contribute to the "unity of the human family" in Asia, "understanding and interpretation of modernity," "social justice in our Asian societies," as well as peace and harmony which Asians value. Speaking on the "Compendium in Ecclesial and Social Context of Asia" the theologian and former member of the FABC's theological council pointed the need for "rootedness" in carrying out the doctrine, paying greater attention to Asian values, experiences, history and tradition. This could help Christian Asians "in their double task of being rooted (inculturation) and at the same time prophetic."


The meeting held at Bangkok's Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, Samphran, Thailand from January 25 to 27 saw 155 participants, 147 of whom came from 17 Asian countries, seven pontifical council officials and the world president of the international organization of Christian business executives (UNIAPAC) from Mexico. Some 63 lay people working in different Church ministries and representatives of the business community were present along with 20 Cardinals and arch/bishops, and 72 priests and religious.


The three-day discussions included the themes "Commitment to Building a Civilization of Love," and "Telling the Story of the God of Love in Asia," with talks on Asian socio-political and cultural realities, engagement by the laity as well as implications on pastoral ministry.


The first step of our commitment to "tell the story of God's love in Asia" is this "Asian presentation of the Compendium," Brother Anthony Rogers fsc said. A deeper understanding of the social doctrine of the Church is in line with "renewing passion for our evangelizing mission," a key element of the Asian Mission Congress organized by the FABC in October 2006, the executive secretary of the FABC Office of Human Development said.


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Modern Communication Technologies for Ministry


"Converging Communications for Ministry in Asia. Modern Communication Technologies for the Church" will be the theme of the sixth "Bishops' Institute for Social Communication" (BISCOM VI). The conference will take place from May 28 to June 2, 2007 at Assumption University Bang Na campus in Bangkok, Thailand. With a specialization on information and communication technologies (ICTs), the university is the appropriate venue for such a meeting. Experts from different Asian countries will discuss "Religion Online" and pastoral possiblities of digital media for the Church in Asia.


Sessions on "Converging Communication in Pastoral Ministry" and "Converging Journalism," "E-learning" and "Faith Formation through Internet" are part of the program. Participants will also discuss the modern communication situation from "Broadcasting to Pod-casting as New Tools for Old Concerns." "Intenet for Evangelization/ Interreligious Dialogue" is another theme to be treated. There will be special evening sessions for bishops who want to learn more about Internet and the concrete use of this new means.


The conference is open to all bishops from Asia. If there are places left, they will be reserved for communication personnel of bishops' conferences.


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Pentecostals in Asia


The "Challenges of Pentecostals" is theme of the latest FABC Paper (no. 119) published by the Central Secretariat of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences in Hong Kong. The study of Divine Word Father John Mansford Prior who is based in Indonesia gives an overview about the Pentecostal movements in five Asian countries followed by an overview of Church responses. He clarifies the terms "church sect" and "movement" before coming to the pastoral challenges to Asian Christianity. "The Catholic Church has opted for the poor," he writes "while the poor has opted for Pentecostalism." He finally pleads for a "culture of Prophetic Dialogue."


FABC Papers are written by contributors from the region but do not necesarily reflect the official stance or policies of FABC or its member Episcopal conferences. They do try to "bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience and to develop critical analysis" of issues facing the Church in Asia.


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Colloquium on Inculturation in India


A national colloquium on inculturation is organized by the FABC Office of Evangelization (OE) at the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore from January 18 to 22, 2007. The colloquium aims to provide an opportunity to review past inculturation efforts in India and to plan for the future. The basis for considerations will be a source book on the subject titled "Rooting Faith in Asia" which the Office of Evangelization published in 2005. The colloquium is seen as a beginning for a series of similar meetings in different parts of Asia before having an Asia-wide consultation on the subject.


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FABC in 2007


The year 2007 is expected to be another year of FABC activities. The different offices together with the Standing Committee of the Federation will have a joint planning and coordination meeting at the end of February in the Documentation Centre in Bangkok. A conference on the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" jointly organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace together with the FABC Office for Human Development will open a series of different meetings of FABC offices on January 25 to 27 in Samphran, Thailand. The other offices will follow with different events in the course of the year. Visit FABC Calendar of Events. Also volume four of "For All the Peoples of Asia" with FABC documents and statements from 2002 till 2006 will be published this year with Claretian Publishers, Manila. The volume will have an appendix with listings of all FABC Papers published up till now.


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Computer Training for Bishops


A computer training for bishops will be offered as an optional program of the upcoming “Bishops’ Institute for Social Communication” (BISCOM VI) at Assumption University in Bangkok from May 28 to June 2. Bishops will learn how to access and use the different modalities of the Internet. They will also be introduced to Internet sites helpful for their ministry and to creating their own online pastoral programs. The five-day meeting itself organized by the FABC-Office of Social Communication has the theme “Converging Communications for Ministry in Asia. Modern Communication Technologies for the Church.” Participation is for bishops and for personnel of communication offices of bishops’ conferences.


Program and Registration Form


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FABC Offices Meet in Bangkok


The nine offices of the FABC are scheduled to meet in the new FABC Documentation Centre in Bangkok from March 1 to 3, 2007 for their annual planning and coordination. Beside general reporting on their activities, a review on the follow up from the last FABC General Assembly on Family (Daejeon, 2004) is foreseen as well as planning for the ninth FABC Plenary Assembly in February 2009 to be held either in Bangalore or Manila. The theme of the upcoming Plenary Assembly will be "Eucharist in Asia."


Along with the FABC offices, the Standing Committee of the Federation will also meet at the same time in Bangkok. The Standing Committee is a governing body of the FABC composed of five bishops elected from different parts of Asia. The committee meets between sessions of the Central Committee (presidents of FABC-member conferences) held every two years, and the Plenary Assemblies (FABC's highest governing body) which meet every four years. The meeting in Bangkok will also receive and discuss a report on an upcoming "Vocation Congress for Asia" proposed by Serra International.


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FABC Assistant Secretary General Visits India


Fr Ray O'Toole's first trip to India in December 2006 as FABC assistant secretary general included visits to Goa where the FABC Office of Evangelization is stationed, to Benaulim where Blessed Joseph Vaz was born, to Ranchi where he attended the consecration of the new Cathderal there, and to Mumbai where he joined the installation of Archbishop Oswald Gracias. Fr Ray assumed the FABC post in late 2005.


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Dialogue in Moral and Religious Formation in Education


The FABC Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy will hold a meeting titled "Empowerment of the Youth: The Evangelizers in Asia" in 2007. This follows its dialogue and values promotion series beginning with the "Module Making for Dialogue with Islam" conference in Manila, 2005 and the "Catholicism Encountering Confucianism, Taoism and Folk Religiosity" conference in Taipei, 2006. After the youth conference, the office plans to gather all "agents of dialogue" in a single congress together with Assumption University in Bangkok, and the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. These efforts aim for moral formation as the mission and essential dynamics of all educational initiatives and programs in Asia.


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FABC in Central Asia


The Assistant General Secretary of the FABC, Fr. Raymond O'Toole, SFM, was invited to a meeting of the Central Asia Bishops and Ordinaries in Tashkent on March 5 and 6, 2007. It was an occasion to familiarize with each other and to further develop the relations between Central Asia and the FABC. Central Asia is considered and accepted as part of the FABC since the Asian Synod in Rome 1998 where also Central Asia was present. Though many Catholics in this former Soviet coutries are of European origin, there is a strong feeling of being part of Asia.


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Colloquium on Inculturation in India


A national colloquium on Inculturation is going to be organized by the FABC Office of Evangelization from May 27 to 31, 2007 at the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore. The centre itself and the commission for proclamation of the Latin Rite Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) will be co-sponsors of the conference. Delegates from the different regions of the country and representatives of Episcopal commissions toA national colloquium on Inculturation is going to be organized by the FABC Office of Evangelization from May 27 to 31, 2007 at the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC) in Bangalore. The centre itself and the commission for proclamation of the Latin Rite Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) will be co-sponsors of the conference. Delegates from the different regions of the country and representatives of Episcopal commissions together with their bishops are expected as participants. The colloquium aims to provide an opportunity to review past inculturation efforts in India and to plan for the future. The conference is seen as the beginning and testing ground for a series of similar meetings in other parts of Asia.gether with their bishops are expected as participants. The colloquium aims to provide an opportunity to review past inculturation efforts in India and to plan for the future. The conference is seen as the beginning and testing ground for a series of similar meetings in other parts of Asia.


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Book on "Asian Mission Congress"


A book with the proceedings of the Asian Mission Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand October 18-22, 2006 will be published under the title "Telling the Story of Jesus in Asia: A Celebration of Faith and Life at the First Asian Mission Congress." Fr Saturnino Dias, executive secretary of the FABC Office of Evangelization, will be the main editor and publisher is Asian Trading Corporation in Bangalore. Along with the transcripts of talks given at the congress, the book will also contain a special colored picture section with the highlights of the event. A DVD on the mission congress will be released at a later stage. All this should help enable people at the national or local levels to prepare similar congresses.

Sprouts of Theology from the Asian Soil

 

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FABC Offices' Coordination


The nine offices of the FABC are studying their purposes and goals to coordinate and streamline their activities and perspectives. The new initiative shall lead to a reformulation of their individual terms of reference, and provide better coordination. Some of these offices exist almost since the beginning of the Federation while others are of very recent origin. Therefore, a more clear restructuring shall be promoted. The considerations of the different offices are to be studied by a special coordinating committee and will be discussed at a special FABC offices' meeting in the very first days of September 2007.

 


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OLF Women's Desk holds Second South Asia Meeting on Women, Launches Book on Women


The Women's Desk of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family organized the second South Asian Meeting on Women in New Delhi, India April 16-21, 2007. Present where four bishops, 42 women delegates and three priests representing five countries of South Asia. After five days of prayerful reflection, sharing and exposure encounter, the participants put forward six recommendations including setting up of a Women's Desk or Commission at the national, diocesan and parish levels. See Final Statement


At the closing Eucharist on April 20, the same FABC office launched the book titled "Discipleship of Asian Women at the Service of Life" in the presence of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India.

 

 

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First Catholic Bishop of Nepal


Pope Benedict XVI raised the Apostolic Prefecture of Nepal to the status of Apostolic Vicariate and appointed Msgr Anthony Francis Sharma, sj as Vicar Apostolic and elevated him to the rank of Bishop. The Episcopal ordination took place on May 5 at Assumption Church in Kathmandu.


Msgr. Sharma has been head of the Church in Nepal since 1984, first as Ecclesiastical Superior, when Nepal was made a Missio Sui Iuris, then as Prefect Apostolic when the Church was raised to the status of Apostolic Prefecture in 1997, and now as Vicar Apostolic and Bishop.

 

 

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Pastoral Challenges for Families in Asia


"Approaches to the Challenges in Pastoral Care for Families" is the theme of an FABC "Bishops' Institute for Lay Apostolate" (BILA) to be held in Pattaya, Thailand from June 11-16. The conference is organized by the FABC Office of Laity and Family . Lay people will be invited to share their experiences in inter-faith marriage, divorce, migrant workers and similar situations to see how SCCs (Small Christian Communities) can be an instrument of pastoral care and support. The interest of youth in family issues expressed at the 2006 Asian Youth Day in Hong Kong will be studied as well.

 


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MA Theology Major in Social/Pastoral Communication, First Semester 2007-08


The MA Theology major in social/pastoral communication program at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila will offer in June “Introduction to Social Communication,” “Faith and Film” and “Pastoral Communication I” beside other related courses. The graduate program started in the school year 2001-2002.


The Pastoral Communication studies can also be combined with any licentiate study in the Pontifical Theological Faculty of the university.

 

 

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FABC Theology Documents in one Volume


All documents elaborated by the former Theological Advisory Commission (1986-1992), presently the Office of Theological Concerns, of the FABC are now available in one volume entitled "Sprouts of Theology from the Asian Soil." The book contains all documents of the office from its beginnings with the first document released in 1987. The 418-page book is published by Claretians Publications in Bangalore, India and also available from Claretian Communications in Manila, Philippines. The book is edited by Redemptorist Father Vimal Tirimanna, executive secretary of the FABC-Office of Theological Concerns.


Sprouts of Theology from the Asian Soil

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FABC Documents on Women Concerns


Discipleship of Asian Women and the Service of Life

The documents and presentations from the first three "Bishops' Institutes for Lay Apostolate" (BILA) on Women are now available in one volume under the title "Discipleship of Asian Women and the Service of Life." The three meetings were organized by the Women's Desk of the FABC Office of Laity and Family (OLF) in 1995, 1998 and 2001. The objectives of these meetings were: "(1) to articulate women's theological reflection rooted in life, (2) to encourage theologians to integrate women's God experience into theological reflection, (3) to contribute towards a more holistic development of Asian theology." Editor of the 261-pages volume is Virginia Saldanha, executive secretary of the FABC-OLF. She is concurrently responsible for the Women's desk of this office. The book is published by the Claretians in Bangalore and also available with Claretians in Manila.


 

 

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Converging Communications for Ministry in Asia


25 bishops from 9 different countries and another 25 professionals and communication secretaries from bishops' conferences attended a study week on "Converging Communications for Ministry in Asia, Modern Communication Technologies for the Church" at Assumption University (AU), Bang Na Campus in Bangkok, Thailand. The 6th "Bishops' Institute for Social Communication" (BISCOM) from May 28 to June 2 was organized by the "Office of Social Communication" (OSC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).

From a general overview about information and communication technologies (ICT) the presentations went into concrete details for pastoral communication.

Presented were samples of 'Religion Online' where religious institutions and initiatives are presented on the Net, and "Online Religion" where religion is practiced on and through the Net. Examples came not only from Christianity but also from Islam, Hinduism and other religious initiatives.

The possibilities of new technologies for catechesis were demonstrated with samples of computer games and other software applications. An overview about the different ethical implications of ICT showed the special challenges for moral theology and the Church in general.

Half of the participants joined a special computer training course in the evenings with practical and hands-on exercises facilitated by ICT experts. The participants learned browsing websites, electronic mailing, online chatting and practical uses of Internet for pastoral ministry.


See picture gallery

 

 

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New FABC-related Dissertations


Two new doctoral dissertations examining the thinking of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences were recently completed. At Fu Jen Catholic University, in Taiwan, Jesuit Father Jeffrey Chang analyzed the FABC’s vision of ordained ministry. The FABC characterizes the priest in Asia as “a man of communion” and emphasizes ordained ministry’s relationship to the community’s ministerial life. At Weston Jesuit School of Theology, in the United States, Jesuit Father Bernardus Agus Rukiayanto explored the dynamics of inculturation in the church of Indonesia, especially as influenced by the FABC understanding of inculturation as threefold dialogue. Theological reflection on inculturation also offers some principles that might be useful for the universal church. These Spring 2007 dissertations join earlier studies in a growing body of reflection on the theological contributions of the FABC. Copies will be available at the FABC Documentation Centre, Bangkok.

 

 

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First BILA on Family in Asia


The first "Bishops' Institute for Lay Apostolate" on Family was celebrated from June 11 to 16 in Pattaya, Thailand. 66 participants from 13 Asian countries attended the conference which took the theme "Avenues/ Approaches to the Challenges in Pastoral Care to Families in the 21st Century." The considerations were based in the final document of the last FABC General Assembly (2004) on the Family in Asia. Archbishop M. C. Soosa Pakiam, chairman of the FABC Office of Laity and Family, emphasized the need to strengthen interpersonal relationships in the family, to support interreligious families and to develop an authentic spirituality which protects the family. The sharing of country reports from different parts of Asia reflected the Asian reality with a growing number of divorces, migration and interreligious marriages. A sharing on Youth and Family was included in the considerations and led by the Youth Desk of the Office.

 

 

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Asian Mission Congress Book Out


A book with the proceedings and experiences of the Asian Mission Congress has been published by Asian Trading Publishing in Bangalore, India. The 504 page book comes with a DVD on the congress which took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand last October 18-22, 2006. The editor of the book is Fr. Saturnino Dias, the executive secretary of the FABC office of Evangelization.

 

More...

Sprouts of Theology from the Asian Soil

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Formation of Priests


Human Formation of Priests, Some Current Concerns

"Human Formation of Priests, Some Current Concerns" is the title of a new publication of the FABC Office of Clergy. The 196 page book contains the presentations of a meeting for seminary rectors organized by the office in May 14-19, 2006 in Hua Hin, Thailand. The conference dealt with "human issues" related to priestly life in Asia. It was the first consultation organized by this office. Editor is Fr. Lawrence Pinto, the Executive Secretary. The book is available from the office in Mangalore, India. (See website of the Office for address)


 

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Academic Award for Fr Edward Malone and FABC


The "Bukas Palad" (open hands) Award of the Jesuit Ateneo de Manila University for this year was awarded to Fr Edward Malone, mm the long time Assistant Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). The award was given in a special academic convocation at the university on July 25. Together with this award, four additional awards were given for different kinds of services of organizations and individuals. The "Bukas Palad" Award commemorates Fr Manuel Peypoch, sj who was killed in 1924. Fr Edward Malone was assistant secretary general of the FABC from its beginning in 1970 till 2004. He is considered the "father of the FABC." With his vision and initiatives, the FABC developed into one of the most important Church bodies for theological and pastoral reflection on the bishops' conferences level in Asia. He now lives in the retirement house of the Maryknoll Fathers in their headquarters in Maryknoll, New York. The award was received in his name by the present general secretary of the FABC, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, omi of Cotabato, Philippines.


More...

 

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Respect for Life in Asia


"Respect for Life in the Context of Asia" is the title of the latest "FABC Paper" (no. 120) published by the FABC Central Secretariat in Hong Kong. The Paper was prepared by the FABC Office of Theological Concerns. After the describing the Asian context, it presents the "Asian Cultures and Religious Traditions as Resources." In the promotion of "Respect for Life" it concludes with the sources of Christian faith on the Sacredness and Dignity of Human life and the Obligations flowing out from this. The 50-page publication is available in the FABC Central Secretariat but should be soon also online via the UCANews website under "FABC Papers."

 

 

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"For All the Peoples of Asia," FABC Documents Volume 4 Published


The fourth volume of the FABC documents titled "For All the Peoples of Asia" is now available from Claretian Publishers in Manila. The book contains, beside the final statement of the FABC 8th general assembly (Daejeon, Korea 2004), all final statements of conferences and meeting organized by the nine different FABC offices from 2004 till 2006 inclusive. The first volume of the book was published in 1987 and that time edited by the now Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, and Fr C. G. Arevalo,sj. The succeeding volumes including the new one were edited by the executive secretary of the FABC Office of Social Communication, Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, svd. All volumes of "For All the Peoples of Asia" are considered essential source books about "the life and thinking of the Church in Asia."

For All the Peoples of Asia Vol. 4

The 311-page volume four has in addition a re-print of FABC Paper No. 100 with the annotated listing of the first 100 "FABC Papers" and a short listing of additional "FABC Papers" published by the Central Secretariat in Hong Kong till the end of 2006. These Papers are not official documents of the Federation. They "are designed to bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience and to develop critical analysis of the problems facing the Church in Asia from people on the scene. The opinions expressed are those of the authors alone."

Like all other volumes, "For All the Peoples of Asia" volume four is available at Claretian Publications, No. 8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman 1101 Quezon City Tel: (632) 921 3984. Check the Claretian online catalog at http://www.claret.org.

 

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FABC Papers No. 121 on Harmony Through Reconciliation


The latest FABC Paper released by the Central Secretariat of the FABC contains documents from the "Asian Consultation on Harmony Through Reconciliation." This was the theme of the seventh Faith Encounters in Social Action (FEISA VII) organized by the FABC-Office of Human Development (FABC-OHD) January 16-21, 2006 in Pattaya, Thailand to commemorate 40 years of the Vatican Council II document "Gaudium et Spes." The council document brought "a new vision of life to the Church especially also in Asia," says the editor and executive secretary of FABC-OHD, Bro Anthony Rogers.

The new FABC Paper does not fully document the proceedings of the consultation but confines itself to three main papers presented: (1) "Joint Hope Amidst Grief and Anguish, the New Gospel for the 21st Century" by Cardinal Renato Rafaelo Martino from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, (2) "Asian Christianity and Modernity for the Years after 'Gaudium et Spes'" by Fr Felix Wilfred from Madras University, Chennai, and (3) "Searching for Ways of Peace" by Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil from Guwahati, India.

The full text will be available online through the UCANews section on FABC Papers. "FABC Papers."

 

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FABC Offices' Meeting


The nine offices of the "Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" will be meeting at the FABC Documentation Centre in Bangkok from September 1 to 3 to discuss further cooperation and streamlining of their activities and programs. Since there are many common concerns among the offices, a greater cooperation is envisaged. The considerations and possible results of the conference will be submitted to the Central Committee of the FABC which is composed of the presidents of the member bishops' conferences.

 

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Bishops Discuss Caring For Priests


Seventy-four participants, including one cardinal, sixty-eight archbishops and bishops and five experts met for a week-long conference at Redemptorist center in Pattaya, Thailand, from August 27 to Sept. 1, 2007 to discuss their responsibilities in caring for the clergy. The bishops reflected on their shepherding role in the Church, caring for the whole diocese, but showing special love for priests, and a particular need for ongoing formation so that priestly ministry can respond adequately to the needs of people.

The bishops were conscious of Asian values like spirituality, detachment from material possessions, strong family ties and respect for elders. These should be fostered as bases for developing vocations to the priesthood. Special care must also be given to priests with particular difficulties. The bishops felt a need to acquire skills to deal with such cases. The conference ended with a note of optimism and joy about the large number of dedicated priests in the Church in Asia.

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FABC-Related Book also published in Italian

 

An Italian translation of "Communicating in Ministry and Mission, Introduction to Pastoral and Evangelizing Communication" (Logos/Divine World Publications, Manila) has been published in Italy by the Salesian Publishing Elle Edici Leumann, Turin. The 300-page book with the Italian title "Communicare nel Ministero e nella Missione" was writeen by Franz-Josef Eilers, the Executive Secretary of the FABC-Office of Social Communication, as an introduction to pastoral and evangelizing communication. The second edition of the book (2004) which is also published in India with Asian Trading Corporation (Bangalore) is the basis for a traanslation into Thai and Korean languages. The publication

serves as basic textbook for an MA Theology program at the Graduate School of the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila which started in 2001 as a joint initiative of the FABC offices if social communication (OSC), and education and student chaplaincy(OESC).

 

The book is also the basis for an online course on "Pastoral and Evangelizing Communication in the "Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation"(VLCFF) program of the "Institute for Pastoral Initiatives" of the University of Dayton, Ohio in the United States.

 

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Vocations Symposium


A symposium on Asian vocations will take place at the Archdiocesan Training Center in Samphran near Bangkok, Thailand from October 22-27, 2007. The symposium is proposed and supported by Serra International and organized by the FABC offices for Clergy and Consecrated Life in cooperation with the respective offices of the national bishops' conference and the national seminary, Lux Mundi, together with the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations in Rome. Participants will be bishops in-charge of Clergy and Vocations at the different bishops' conferences as well as vocation directors and rectors of seminaries. The participants will be addressed, beside others also, by the chairmen of the two FABC offices Archbishop Peter Fernando (India) and Bishop Paul Tan (Malaysia). The symposium aims to highlight cultural and socio-economic contexts of vocations but also the nature of religious vocations as a radical following of Christ.

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FABC Solidarity with Myanmar


A message of solidarity was sent to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) in the name of the "Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" (FABC) by its Secretary General, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo. "We have read with great sympathy and understanding your official Bishops' statement on the events," the message reads. "On behalf of the FABC, may I express our solidarity with you on your stand." The prelate urges FABC-member bishops' conferences and associate members "to offer prayers and Holy Masses to the Lord of peace so that no further violence may take place."


The message which is addressed to the Chairman of the CBCM, Archbishop Paul Zinghtung Grawng of Mandalay, calls on all parties concerned that the problems of the country be "resolved through peaceful dialogue for the sake of the common good."

 

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Final Statement of Clergy Meeting


The final statement from the seminar on "Caring for Priests, Especially Those With Difficulties" August 27-31, 2007 in Pattaya, Thailand has been released. The text describes the situation of priests in Asia, presents the convictions of the participating Bishops and gives recommendations beside others. These proposals underline the importance of seminaries, the need for deeper spiritual life, they recommend courses for ongoing formation of clergy in spirituality, as well as pastoral orientation programs and the strengthening of relationships and support with each other.

More

 

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BICA II: The Migrant Family in Asia


Migrants and refugees will be the main concern of the second "Bishops' Institute for Christian Advocacy" (BICA II) organized by the FABC Office of Human Development (OHD) December 4-8, 2007 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The theme of the conference will be "Migrant Family in Asia Reaching Out and Touching Them." The participants will examine the migrants' and refugees' realities, the impact on their families and formulate pastoral perspectives and priorities to develop more creative and collaborative programs. The considerations should also help to deepen the understanding of the social doctrine of the Church in this field.


The conference will be hosted by the diocese of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Sabah is a state in Malaysia which receives more than a million migrants and refugees but also sends their own people to other parts of Malaysia and Asia at large.


The participants will be mainly bishops and their close collaborators in this apostolate.


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FABC-OSC Board Bishop Elevated Cardinal


Archbishop Oswald Gracias, 63, from Mumbai, India will be elevated to Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI on November 24, 2007 in Rome. The Archbishop, soon to be Cardinal, is a board member of the FABC-Office of Social Communication since January 2004 and has inspired the communications work of the Church in Asia since then. All FABC offices have a board of three to five bishops responsible for their work.

Beside other responsibilities, Archbishop Gracias is also the chairman for social communications of the All-Indian Bishops' conference (CBCI) in Delhi. He has attended all FABC-OSC meetings since 2003 and was most of the time part of the editorial committee for the final statements of the assemblies. All board members and staff of the FABC-OSC congratulates him and his fellow archbishops who will be elevated to Cardinal. This includes Archbishop John P. Foley, the former President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome, and another close friend and supporter of FABC-OSC.

Archbishop Ossie Gracias at BISCOM VI
Assumption University, Bangkok, May 2007

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Dialogue in Education


"Dialogue in Moral and Religious Formation in Education" was the theme of a meeting organized by the FABC-Office of Education and Student Chaplaincies from October 24-28, 2007 at Assumption University in Bangkok. 30 participants tried to bring a "holistic approach on dialogue to institutions of learning" especially in relation to family as the "domestic church." The office had already organized a meeting on "Family Catechesis" last year. This year's follow up conference included a presentation of Filipino Bishop Socrates Villegas as well as Redemptorist Father Vimal Tirimanne of the FABC-Office of Theological Concerns on "Dialogue in Moral Formation."


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Asian Vocation Symposium


An Asian vocation symposium took place from Oct 22-27 at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, Samphran outside Bangkok. Some 150 participants including 58 priests, 49 sisters, 26 brothers and 12 bishops from 16 different countries participated. They represented especially those people and organizations from all over Asia which are responsible for religious and priestly vocations.

The symposium was organized by the two FABC Offices of Clergy and Consecrated Life and sponsored by Serra International. Under the heading "Asian Vocations Today" the following sub-themes were treated: (1) Presentation of Vocation in a Changed World, (2) the Church Community, as Seedbed of Vocations, and (3) Screening Candidates to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.

The final statement of the assembly refers to the need of mutual support between the Asin churches, God's call for following Christ, the Family as Seedbed for Vocation, and the formation towards maturity and radicality in Christ. The text ends with some nine recommendations which include beside others better cooperation between lay organizations, a proper planning and training and a greater mission awareness.

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Eucharist as Communication


"Eucharist as Communication" is the theme of this year's "Bishops' Meet" organized by the FABC-Office of Social Communication. The theme was chosen in view of the upcoming FABC Plenary Assembly in the beginning of 2009 with the theme "Living Eucharist in Asia." The 12th annual Bishops' Meet will start from the Eucharist as the "most intimate form of communion between God and men possible in this life" (Communio et Progressio, 11). From there, it will explore the "Role of Meals and Celebrations in Asian Cultures," the "Communication Dimension of Liturgy" and "Eucharist and Inculturation."


The "Bishops' Meet" is, since 1996, an annual gathering reserved for bishops responsible for communication in Asia and their secretaries in the episcopal conferences. The participants will give reports about their work in their respective countries. At the end of the meeting, a Final Statement will be published on the considerations and recommendations of the participants.


This year's meeting will be held at the Gabrielite Center in Bangkok, Thailand November 26- December 1, 2007. Last year's "Bishops' Meet '06" was held in Manila, Philippines on "Managing Communications for Bishops' Conferences."

 

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Dialogue in Education-Final Report


"Dialogue in Moral and Religious Formation in Education" was the theme of a conference at Assumption University in Bangkok organized by the FABC Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy from October 24-28, 2007. The final report about the meeting, which was attended also by Catholic student organizations, lists the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for this in political environments and academic programs, Church situations and religious factors. The paper concludes with recommendations from the youth and confirms that "the hope to produce other Christs in education takes its rootedness in the Eucharist."


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BILA II on Youth: Living the Emmaus Story


The second "Bishops' Institute for Laity" (BILA II) on Youth was celebrated from November 10-14, 2007 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Some 100 people including 13 bishops and 33 priests from 19 different countries participated in the gathering taking the Biblical Emmaus story as their framework. "Like the disciples of Emmaus walking with Jesus for an effective youth ministry in Asia." Especially the young participants gave reports on their experiences and needs as challenges for youth ministry based on the Word of God, the Eucharist and social action. The final statement recommends, beside others, a full-fledged Office for Youth within the FABC structure. The statement also assures the Catholic youth in Asia "for not being alone. Jesus walks with you at every step of life even when you are not aware."


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newly installed Cardinal, Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India

FABC-OSC Bishop as Cardinal


Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India was elevated Cardinal of the Catholic Church on Nov 24, 2007 in Rome. The new Cardinal is a member of the Board of the FABC-Office of Social Communication since 2004. In all these years, the Cardinal has shown a special concern and support for social communications of the Church in Asia. We congratulate him whole-heartedly and are looking forward to a further close collaboration.


Together with Cardinal Gracias, also Archbishop John P. Foley, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was elevated to Cardinal. Archbishop Foley always supported in a special way the communications work in Asia. In 2004, he gave the keynote address to the Plenary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India in Trichy on Social Communication. Congratulations to both of them.


Every office of the FABC has five bishops as their governing board. These bishops are responsible for the program and activities of the offices, which are then carried out by an executive secretary.


 

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Eucharist as Communication


Eucharist as Communication" is the theme of the 12th annual "Bishops' Meet" organized by the FABC-Office of Social Communication at Gabrielite Center, Bangkok Nov 26-Dec 1.  The meeting of 35 bishops-chairmen for social communication and their secretaries from 15 countries took an inter-discipinary approach to expound the theme.  Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus, Philippines gave a theological explanation on the subject.  Communication scholar Fr Sebastian Periannan of St Peter's Pontifical Institute, Bangalore, India discussed the "Eucharist in the New Media Age."   Buddhist Nun Dhammananda Kabilsingh from Thailand explained the meaning and significance of meals and celebrations in Buddhist culture, while Fr Jacob Theckanath from India discussed the Eucharist and inculturation.  Fr Sebastian Michael, svd from India discussed "Meals and Celebrations in Asian Cultures," while Fr Amelito Racelis, sdb explained the "Liturgy as a Communication Happening."  A "Festschrift" on the life and work of Divine Word Father Franz-Josef Eilers, executive secretary of the FABC-Office of Social Communication, was launched on Nov 29.  Present at that occasion were Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu, archbishop of Bangkok, and Bishop George Yod Phimphisan, president of the Thai bishops' conference..

The participants of Bishop's Meet '07

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The Migrant Family in Asia: Reaching Out and Touching Them


“The Migrant Family in Asia: Reaching Out and Touching Them” was the theme of the second Bishops’ Institute for Christian Advocacy (BICA II) held at Borneo Paradise Beach Hotel, Sabah, Malaysia December 4-8, 2007. The meeting, organized by the FABC Office for Human Development, was attended by one Cardinal, seven bishops, 14 Priests and 42 religious and lay participants from 18 countries.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of the Migrant and Itinerant People, gave the keynote address, echoing the Holy Father’s message of the 2007 World Day for Migrants and Refugees. He stressed the need for enhancing pastoral care for ALL migrants and refugees. The Church should become a Good Samaritan in a globalized world, he added. The participants discussed the immediate needs and concerns of migrants in their countries with their counterpart Church and NGO organizations.

 

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FABC Papers are designed to bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience and to develop critical analysis of the problems facing the Church in Asia. The opinions, however, do not necessarily represent the official policies of FABC or its member Episcopal Conferences. FABC Papers on-line is a special service of the Union of Catholic Asia News

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