Office of Laity and Family (OLF)
AsIPA (BEC) Desk
The AsIPA (BEC) Desk of the FABC Office of Laity is based in Seoul, Korea.
It was set up to respond to the need to promote and
hold training for all member conferences of the FABC
towards their vision of Church in Asia for the third
millennium, as a Participatory Church, a Communion of
AsIPA Desk Plans for 2017-2018
1. A Preparatory Meeting for VIII AsIPA General Assembly
- Date: March 28 - 31, 2017
- Venue: Batam, the Diocese of Pangkalpinang in Indonesia
- Attendant: Local Organizing Team and Executive Secretary of AsIPA Desk
2. AsIPA Resource Team Annual Meeting
- Date: June 26 - 30, 2017
- Venue: Personal Development Centre, Bangkok in Thailand
- Attendant: 9 ART Members from 7 countries
3. Supporting BECs Workshops
3.1. AsIPA Workshop in the Archdiocese of Saigon, Vietnam
1) Preparatory Meeting
- Date: March 11 - 14, 2017
- Venue: Centre of CBCV in Saigong, Vietnam
- Attendants: Bibiana Ro, Fr. Michael (ART) and Local Pastoral Core Team for BECss
- Date: July 31th - August 4th, 2017
- Venue: Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Saigon, Vietnam
- ART Facilitators: Fr. Arthur, Br. Michael, Bibiana
3.2. AsIPA Workshop in Myanmar for Trainers
- Date: November 9 - 11, 2017
- Venue: Pastoral Center in Mandalay, Myanmar
4. Revising AsIPA Modules (AsIPA Texts: A, B, C, D)
5. Networking of BECs in Asia)
5.1. Assisting Thai Representatives' Exposure Programme on BECs in Korea
- Date: April 24 - 28, 2017
- Venue: The diocese of Jeju, Korea
- Participants: 63 Thai Representatives from 6 dioceses (1 Archbishop, 18 Priests, 20 Religious Sisters, 24 Laity) and 20 Korean Representatives
6. AsIPA Research Project in 2017 onwards
6.1 General Assemblies Documentations (seven times)
: Keynote addresses, final statements and other good articles of the GAs (1996-2015) will be collected, reviewed and edited.
6.2. Source Book on BECs/SCCs of Asia
: Valuable articles and resources on BECs/SCCs of Asia in theological and pastoral approach which have been published in a respective country of Asia will be collected, reviewed and edited.
6.3. Historical overview of the BECs/SCCs of local Churches in Asia with theological reflection
: The history, pastoral focus, structure, method, programs, achievement, difficulties, challenges and present situation and statistics of BECs/SCCs of each country or particular dioceses
in Asia could be examined and reflected by responsible persons.
7. VIII AsIPA General Assembly in 2018
- Date: October 17th - 24th, 2018
- Venue: Batam, the Diocese of Pangkalpinang in Indonesia
8. Supporting BECs Workshop in the local Church of Asia in 2018
AsIPA (BEC) Desk Plan for 2016
1. Supporting and Facilitating National/Diocesan Training Courses on BECs
1.1. BECs Workshops in Myanmars
: It has brought revival of BECs towards a participatory Church in Myanmar and formed/strengthened National/Diocesan Team for BECs
- SCCs Workshop in the Diocese of Kengtungin 2016
- Dates: January 25 (Mon.)-30 (Sat.) 2016(6 days))
- Venue: Diocesan Pastoral Center, Catholic Mission Compound Kengtung, Eastern Shan State
- Participants: (168 participants) Priests, Parish Pastoral Core Teams for BECs, delegates from other dioceses in Myanmar
- SCCs Workshop in the Diocese of Lashio in 2016
- Dates: July 4 (Mon.) - 8 (Fri.) July 2016 (5 days)
- Venue: Diocesan Pastoral Center
- Participants: (78 participants) Priests, Religious Sisters, lay leaders and delegates from other dioceses in Myanmar
- SCCs Workshops in the Archdiocese of Mandalay in 2016
- Dates: November 7th (Mon.)-November 12th (Fri.) 2016(6 days
- Venue: Diocesan Pastoral Center
- Participants: (104 participants) Priests, Religious Sisters, lay leaders and delegates from other dioceses in Myanmar
- SCCs Workshops in the Archdiocese of Yangon in 2016
- Dates: November 14th (Mon.) - November 19th (Sat.) 2016(6 days)
- Venue: Diocesan Pastoral Center
- Participants: (153 participants) Priests, Religious Sisters, lay leaders and delegates from other dioceses in Myanmar
2.1. National AsIPA Workshop for young priests in Multan, Pakistan
: Participants deepened and learned about a vision of the Church, the meaning of AsIPA, SCCs and methods of gospel sharing.
- Dates: April 4th-6th, 2016(3 days)
- Venue: the Pastoral Institute Multan in Pakistan
- Participants: 34 young priests from 6 dioceses out of 7 dioceses (two bishops joined)
3.1. National AsIPA III Workshop in Bangladesh
: The Workshop achieved its objectives - To deepen the understanding of a vision of the Church, to realize how SCCs strengthen us to aware of Word of God and practice it in our daily life, to understand how SCCs empower the Laity to take part in the Mission of the Church and to acquire Gospel sharing method and a new leadership.
- Topics: The Word of God is the Seedbed of SCCs
- Dates: June 6th (Mon.) - 10th (Sat.) 2016(6 days)
- Venue: Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh Center, Mhommadpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Number of Participants: 76 participants from all eight dioceses of Bangladesh
2. Publication of the VII AsIPA General Assembly
: It was published in October, 2016. About 400 copies of the book with CDs enclosed and 200 additional CDs were produced.
It has been distributed to bishops and national/diocesan team for SCCs in Asia.
3. Revising AsIPA 15 Modules:
- 4 modules on Interreligious Dialogue
- 6 Modules on Spiritual Formation
- 5 Modules on Training of Trainers
4. AsIPA Resource Team Annual Meeting for Evaluation and Planning
- Dates: Aug. 9th - 13th, 2016
- Venue: Renewal Centre Kaloor, Cochin, Kerala in India
- Participants: 8 ART Members from 6 countries
5. Networking of BECs in Asia
5.1. Meeting SCCs Teams & Visiting Parishes/SCCs in Kerala Region in India
- Date: Aug. 13 - 19, 2016
- Venue: the Archdiocese of Verapoly, the Diocese of Cochin and the Diocese of Kottapuramin India
- Meeting: 6 BCCs of 5 parishes in the above three dioceses of Kerala
5.2. Meeting SCCs Teams & Visiting Parishes/SCCs in Sri Lanka
- Date: Dec. 5 - 8, 2016
- Venue: Mannar and Chilaw dioceses of Sri Lanka
- Meeting: SCCs diocesan pastoral core team, visiting Parishes/SCCs
6. Other Regular Works
6.1. Collaborative Works with the Office of the Laity and Family: Publishing the Laity Newsletter
6.2. Fundraising and Relevant Reports
AsIPA (BEC) Desk Plan for 2015
VII AsIPA General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand from 22 to 28 October, 2015
We are glad to announce that VII AsIPA General Assembly will be held in Bann Phu Waan Pastoral Training Center, Bangkok, Thailand from October 22 (Thur.) to 28 (Wed.), 2015. This assembly is organized by the AsIPA (BEC) Desk of the Office of Laity & Family of the FABC and Thai National Team for Basic Ecclesial Communities.
The theme is “Small Christian Communities/Basic Ecclesial Communities Living with People of Different Faiths and Beliefs”. The theme is very timely, urgent and important in Asia and the world.
We hope those who have been responsible for fostering SCCs/BECs at national or diocesan level can participate in VII AsIPA General Assembly. AsIPA General Assemblies have been a forum for AsIPA practitioners to share their experiences, useful resource materials and deepen communion among participants to further the mission for SCCs/BECs.
In the particular theme of this assembly and relevant programme, it will contribute to enable SCCs/BECs to be open to respect, understand and learn from people of different faiths and beliefs. Furthermore, we expect it could help to find creative ways of bringing about greater peace and solidarity with people of different faiths and beliefs at the grass-roots in Asia
The details of the VII AsIPA General Assembly are attached with an application form. We would appreciate your response and application form return by June 28, 2015.
- Dates and Venue
- Dates: October 22 (Thurs.) - 28 (Wed.), 2015 (7 days including arrival and departure)
- Bann Phu Waan Pastoral Center, Bangkok, Thailand
- SCCs/BECs Living with People of Different Faiths and Beliefs
- General Objectives
a. To be a forum for AsIPA practitioners to share their experiences
b. To deepen communion among all SCCs/BECs leaders to further the mission
c. To Identify resource materials found useful in building SCCs/BECs in different countries
- Specific Objectives
a. To discover the source of our inspiration for peace and solidarity in Word and Eucharist
b. To enable SCCs/BECs to bear witness to people of different faiths and beliefs.
c. To enable SCCs/BECs to be open to respect, understand and learn from people of different faiths and beliefs.
d. To find creative ways of bringing about greater peace and solidairty with people of different faiths and beliefs.
- This is an AsIPA General Assembly and all those working for the participatory Church through SCCs/BCCs are welcome
- Delegations coming should comprise National, Regional and / or Diocesan teams who work with SCCs/BECs and the Bishops in charge. Kindly pay attention to bring women and youth who are part of the the team with at least three years experience.
- Application should be sent to AsIPA desk through the national or diocesan SCCs/BECs team within the country by June 28, 2015 at the latest.
Invitation letter for AsIPA GA VII
Information Flier II for AsIPA GA VII
Information Flier III for AsIPA GA VII
Information Flier IV for AsIPA GA VII
Information Flier V for AsIPA GA VII
AsIPA (BEC) Desk Plan for 2014
1. BILA (BILA (Bishops Institute on Lay Apostolate) II on SCCs
We are glad to announce and invite you to BILA II on SCCs. It will be held from September 25th to 30th, 2014 in Camillian Pastoral Care Center in Bangkok, Thailand. It is designed for bishops and their pastoral core team for building up SCCs as a follow up to BILA I on SCCs in 2010. It is organized by the FABC AsIPA (BEC) Desk of Office of Laity and Family and the BEC National Team of Thailand.
Its proposed theme is ‘SCCs Leading to New Evangelization’. It aims at reflecting on “the value of basic ecclesial communities as an effective way of promoting communion and participation in parishes and dioceses, and as a genuine force for evangelization” (Ecclesia in Asia, no. 25). It also aims at deepening our understanding of SCCs and renewing a way of building up SCCs in our own context based on EVANGELII GAUDIUM. It will help participants find concrete examples and models of SCCs as an effective instrument for new evangelization.
We kindly request bishops to join it preferably as a team of 2-3 persons who are responsible for the implementation of the vision of SCCs. More details are given in the enclosed information flier with an application form. Please kindly send your application form by May 10, 2014.
- Dates and Venue
- Dates: September 25 (Thurs.) - 30 (Tue. )till afternoon 2014: (Arrival on Sept. 25th in the morning, before 16:00; Departure on Sept. 30th in the evening or Oct. 1th anytime)
- Venue: Camillian Pastoral Care Center in Lat Krabang Bangkok, Thailand
- Proposed total number of participants: maximum 80 persons
- Priority: Bishops and diocesan directors/key personnel for SCCs/BECs as a team at diocesan and national level
- Please kindly send your application form through the national SCCs/BECs team within the country by May 10, 2014
- Proposed Theme
- “SCCs Leading to New Evangelization"
- To strengthen the process towards the vision of the Second Vatican Council--communion of communities/a participatory Church--through SCCs
- To deepen our understanding of SCCs based on EVANGELII GAUDIUM
To discover concrete examples how SCCs become an effective instrument for new evangelization
: Mutual and enriching relationship between family and SCCs, renewing pastoral structure for participation and shared responsibility to support SCCs etc.
- To share and learn what is an important role of bishops and directors in animating SCCs
- To renew ourselves as ‘Spirit-filled evangelizers’ for building up SCCs
- To provide a forum for sharing experiences on SCCs in accompaniment
- Application form should be sent through the national SCCs/BECs team within the country by May 10, 2014.
Info. Flyer No. 1 with Application Form
AsIPA (BEC) Desk Plan for 2013
1. AsIPAThree International Training Workshop in 2013
We are glad to announce that we will have the AsIPA Three International Training Workshop to be held in Camillian Social Center in Lat Krabang, Bangkok Thailand from 7 to 12 October, 2013 organized by the AsIPA (BEC) Desk of the Office of Laity & Family of the FABC and BEC National Team of Thailand.
AsIPA (BEC) Desk has designed the AsIPA International Training Workshop Series as an on-going training course over three years for diocesan and national teams responsible for fostering SCCs/BECs towards a participatory Church.
- Dates and Venue
- Dates: 7 (Mon.) - 12 (Sat.) October, 2013: Arrival on Oct. 7th in the morning, before 16:00, Departure on Oct. 12th (before/ after lunch, Oct. 12th)
- Venue: Camillian Social Center in Lat Krabang, Bangkok Thailand
- To journey together as AsIPA (BEC) teams in building a participatory Church
- To deepen the understanding and develop skills in the following areas
- To improve to make own Awareness Programme
- To learn how to design Amos Programme
- To strengthen doing Group Response
- Problem Solving Skills
- Facilitating/ Listening Skills
- To understand social teachings of the Church
- To realize that the spiritual formation of leaders is essential for the promotion of SCCs
- Total number of participants: maximum 70 persons
- those who have attended AsIPA One and Two International Training Workshop
- those who have taken equivalent courses at national/ diocesan level
- AsIPA (BEC) practioners
- As a team
- Application form should be sent through the national SCCs/BECs team within the country by June 25.
Info. Flyer No. 1 with Application Form
Info. Flyer No. 2 AsIPA three
Info. Flyer No. 2-1 Personal Request
Info. Flyer No. 2-2 Map of Camillian Pastoral Centre-Thailand
Info. Flyer No. 3 AsIPA three
Info. Flyer No. 3-1 Guidelines for Country-Diocese Report for AsIPA
Info. Flyer No. 4 On AsIPA Workshop
2. Supporting National SCCs/BECs Training workshop in 2013
AsIPA desk will support two national SCCs workshops. One is in Myanmar, July. he other will be in Pakistan, November. AsIPA Resource Team will facilitate them with local training team.
3. Publishing the documentation of VI AsIPA General Assembly held in Nainamadama, Sri Lanka October 18-24, 2012. 040413
AsIPA (BEC) Plans for 2012
1. 6th AsIPA General Assembly
FABC OLF AsIPA (BEC) Desk & AsIPA National Team of Sri Lanka
Chintana Center, Nainamadama, Sri Lanka
18 - 24 October, 2012
- Dates: October 18th (Thur.) to 24th (Wed.) 2012
- The duration of the assembly: 7 days with arrival and departure.
- Participants to arrive by Oct. 18th and lunch at 12:30 p.m. (Registration will be from 10 am to 3 pm on Oct. 18th)
- Sri Lanka national SCCs rally will be held on Oct 24th (Wed.) 9:00-12:00, 2012 at Tewatte Basilica. Concluding ceremony will be incorporated into national SCCs rally and closing mass of GA.
- Departure date could be either on Oct. 24th (Wed.) in the afternoon or 25th (Thur.) in the morning.
- Venue: Chintana Center, Nainamadama, Sri Lanka.
- Nainamadama is situated in the Diocese of Chilaw. It is 17 Km from Katunayake International Airport (app. 30 mins. drive).
- “Go you are sent forth” (Mt.10:5) - following Jesus in mission Small Christian Communities serving and ministering.
- Total Number of Participants: about 165
- 110 overseas + 40 Local + 15 resource persons (ART and speakers): Full time participants
- Criteria of Participants: AsIPA (BEC) practitioners
- Applicants should be sent through the national SCCs/ BECs team within the country
Info. Flyer No. 1 with Personal Request Form
Info. Flyer No. 2
Guidelines for the National/ Diocesan Report for AsIPA GA-IV
Info. Flyer No. 3
Info. Flyer No. 4
2. 30 Days Theology Course of SCCs in 2012
- Dates: November 2nd (Frid.) to December 2nd (Sun.) 2011
- Duration: 30 days
- Venue: The Pastoral Training Center of Bangkok Archdiocese, Sampran, Thailand (a residential programme and full-time attendance is mandatory)
- Theme: RENEWING CHURCH IN THE NEW WAY THROUGH SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES (SCCs)-A Theological, Pastoral, Spiritual Study of SCCs And Its Integrative Power to Transform Parishes into Active Community
- Contents: Basic Understanding of What the Asian bishops meant when they called for Renewing the Church in Asia in a New Way; Theological Insight into What SCCs are; Church Teachings on SCCs; Method in formation of SCCs; New Way of Being church and Theological Issues; Insight into process of Integration; Exposure to and involvement in SCCs; Critical Reflection and Integration on the learning which happens during the course.
- Total Number of Participants: 35 (Thailand and Others in Asia)
- Criteria of Participants: It is a certificate course, requiring a short integrative paper to be written. Participants’ competency in English usage is required
- Course fees: US$ 1,150
- Application: to the CBCT Secretariat by July 31, 2011
- Host: Host: Programme coordinated by CBCT and Pallottine Animation Centre, Nagpur, India( The course will be animated by Fr. Thomas Vijay and his team from India.)
30 Days Seminar
AsIPA (BEC) Activities in 2011
1. AsIPA Two International Workshop
- Dates: October 13th (Thur.) to 21th (Fri.) 2011
- Duration: 9 days including 2 days exposure and arrival and departure days
- Venue: Batam Island of Pangkalpinang Diocese, Indonesia (Pacific Palace Hotel)
- Contents: Exposure programme, Additional Gospel Sharing method/s, Making own Awareness Programmes, Strengthening of the pastoral tools and skills
- Total Number of Participants:80 only (60 from overseas and 20 from Indonesia)
- Criteria of the Participants: Priority is on Participants of AsIPA One and Those who complete equivalent workshops (as a team)
AsIPA (BEC) International Training Workshop
2. 30 Days Theology Course of SCCs
30 Days Seminar
3. Annual Seminar for Thai priests: "Priests: Pastoral Ministers of Communities of Christ's Disciples"
- Dates: July 11th (Mon.) to 15th (Fri.) 2011
- Duration: 5 days
- Venue: Baan Phu Waan, Sampran, Thailand
- Topic: Introducing SCCs as a Participatory Church of Communion in Thailand
- Contents: Our vision of a participatory church; Understanding Small Christian Communities; Enabling leadership in SCCs; Pastoral Tools for sharing the vision with our people: Gospel Sharing and Awareness Programmes
- Total Number of Participants:
- about 200 Thai priests)
AsIPA (BEC) Activities in 2010
1. BILA I on SCCs in Pattaya, Thailand
Focusing on the vision of the communion of communities and role of bishops in building SCCs. Specifically for new dioceses and new bishops.
This first BILA (Bishops Institute on Lay Apostolate) on SCCs (Small Christian Communities) was organized to introduce the vision of the Asian Church, “a Communion of Communities” as “a New Way of Being Church” through building SCCs which was articulated in the fifth Plenary Assembly of the FABC in Bandung in 1990s, to new bishops and their teams.
This BILA aimed at discovering and deepening the new way of being Church--a participatory Church, developing enabling leadership, understanding the nature of SCCs and participatory structures in the church, and experiencing Christ and the community through Gospel Sharing.
It gave participants opportunities to reflect and share the reality of implementing a communion of communities in forming SCCs, and to experience the value of gospel sharing and non-dominating leadership in SCCs. It reassured that SCCs are one of the most efficient ways to actualize this new vision of the Church in Asia. As a result, most of countries participated in this BILA designed some plans practically to embody a new vision of the Church, a participatory Church of communion. This BILA produced a final statement too.
- Dates: October 18 (Mon.)-23 (Sat.) 2010
- Venue: Redemptorist Centre, Pattaya, Thailand
- Number of Participants:
- 89 participants (including 8 resource persons): bishops 12, priests 44, religious sisters 9, laity 24
- From 14 countries: Bangladesh (13), Hongkong (2), India (6), Indonesia (2), Korea (1), Macau (1), Malaysia (2), Mongolia (1), Myanmar (2), Philippines (11), Singapore (4), Sri Lanka (7), Taiwan (13), Thailand (24)
BILA I on SCCs Final Statement
2. AsIPA One International Training Course
AsIPA desk has designed continued training courses in three years subsequently as on-going formation programme of Small Christian Communities (SCCs). This AsIPA One International Training Course was the first workshop of them.
This workshop aimed at learning the vision of a participatory church, understanding SCCs, knowing foundations for community building, acquiring key pastoral tools for SCCs and learning gospel sharing methods and awareness programmes. In their evaluation, participants gave the daily morning Gospel Sharing the highest appreciation. It seems that there is nothing that can improve on the simplest, most prayerful way to meet Christ and each other, through the Word of God.
- Dates: October 25 (Mon.)-30 (Sat.) 2010
- Venue: Redemptorist Centre, Pattaya, Thailand
- Number of Participants:
- 88 participants (including 6 resource persons): bishops 1, priests 50, religious sisters 12, laity 25
- From 13 countries: Bangladesh (13), India (6), Indonesia (1), Korea (1), Macau (1), Malaysia (6), Mongolia (1), Myanmar (2), Philippines (10), Singapore (1), Sri Lanka (2), Thailand (39)
Final Statement of AsIPA General Assembly
The Final Statement of the Fifth AsIPA General Assembly is now available on the respective section of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family. The meeting of 225 participants from 17 countries took place at the Regional Major Seminary in Davao, Philippines from October 20-28, 2009. 231109
View the Final Statement
AsIPA Calendar 2009
January to December 2009
Collaborative Research Project of East Asian Pastoral Institute (Manila) and AsIPA desk FACB-OLF
Research and Evaluation of AsIPA process in five countries.
Participating archdioceses & dioceses:
Cheju – S. Korea
Kurunegela – Sri Lanka
Mangalore – India
Nueva Segovia – Philippines
Thare & Nonseng – Thailand
AsIPA Training Programme
Sta. Catalina Center of Spirituality, Baguio City, Philippines
14 – 25 September 2009
AsIPA 5th General Assembly
Regional Major Seminary (REMASE), Catalunan Grande, Davao City, Philippines.
20-28 October, 2009
Theme: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19)
Bread broken and Word shared in SCCs/BECs
AsIPA Leadership Team
The AsIPA Leadership Team of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family (OLF) met in Singapore Sept 29 to Oct 3, 2008 to prepare, coordinate and edit the final texts of the AsIPA modules. Thest texts are either in full or in part translated into more than 30 Asian languages. The members of the team come from six different Asian countries. The meeting was the last one under the leadership of Ms. Cora Mateo who is to be succeeded by Ms. Wendy Louis from the Singapore Pastoral Institute (SPI) as the new AsIPA Desk Coordinator of FABC-OLF. The next AsIPA General Assembly which is also prepared by the leadership team will be held in 2009 in Davao, Philippines.
AsIPA Training for Priests
A training session and exchange of experiences on the "Asian Integrated Pastoral Approach" (AsIPA) program of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family will be held in Singapore Nov 11-15, 2008. The participants will have an exchange and training with Fr. Jose Marins and his team. Fr Marins is a pioneer in Basic Ecclesiastical Communities (BEC) Approach for pastoral work in Brazil, Latin America. Beyond priests from Singapore, the training is also open to priests from other countries. The main topic of the session will be the role of priests in BECs and BCCs (Basic Christian Communities). For more information, contact the FABC-OLF AsIPA Desk: Cora Mateo email@example.com or Daphne Leong in Singapore firstname.lastname@example.org
AsIPA Courses 2008
The AsIPA Desk of the FABC Office of Laity and Family announces the following courses this year:
- In India, the Pallotine Animation Centre in Nagpur offersa 40-day in 2004. This year's course lasted from January 8 to February 17, 2008.
There were 53 participants from India and Sri Lanka.
For all these courses, please contact email@example.com
General Assembly in November
AsIPA, the “Asian Integrated Pastoral Approach
initiative of the Office of Laity and Family of the FABC, will have
their fourth general assembly Nov 8 to 15, 2006 in Trivandrum, India.
The theme of the assembly will be SCC's/BEC's towards a Church of
Communion.” The conference seeks to study how the Integrated
Pastoral Approach can strengthen the Church as communion, which
effective steps are to be taken for nurturing small Christian communities
and especially how to live the Eucharist and the sacraments in small
Christian communities. The meeting is also supposed to discover
effective structures and plans for exchange and sharing of resources.
Two email addresses have been created for further
contacts and informations: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Report on 4th AsIPA General Assembly
On 8th November, 2007, approximately 300 delegates and chief guests to the 4th AsIPA General Assembly were welcomed in the traditional style of the culture of Kerala by coming into the venue (Maria Rani Centre, Archdiocese of Trivandrum) in a procession accompanied with dancers and musicians. His Excellency, Abp. Pedro Lopez Quintana, the Papal nuncio to India, inaugurated the assembly and delivered the inaugural address. Other guests of honour who joined the nuncio in lighting the traditional lamp and delivering messages were Abp. M.C Soosa Pakiam, local ordinary of the host diocese and Chairman of the FABC Office of Laity.& Family, Bp. Gratian Mundalan, Vice-President of CBCI, Abp. Stanislaus Fernandes, Secretary General of CBCI, Aux. Bp.. Joshua Mar Ignathios, of the Syro Malankara Archdiocese of Trivandrum, Mr. Abraham Arackal, Vice President of the Catholic Council of India and Ms. Cora Mateo, coordinator of the AsIPA Desk of the FABC Office of Laity & Family. Abp. Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for Laity sent a message to the Assembly.
The inaugural Eucharist was presided over by Abp. Quintana and concelebrated by 18 bishops and 130 priests delegates of the assembly.
The country reports shared on the 9th November helped to review the progress made in the Church in Asia towards the vision of a Participatory Church, a Communion of Communities, articulated by the FABC in Bandung in 1990. The keynote address by Bishop Fritz Lobinger, on 10th November emphasized the ministry of lay people in the building of SCCs (Small Christian Communities). Bishop Peter Kang of Korea spoke about The Multiple Dimensions of Church, pointing out that the SCC is an opportunity to form lay people to participate actively in the mission of the Church. Bishop Bosco Penha of India spoke about "The Eucharist as the Theological Foundation of SCCs and stressed the connection between the celebration of the Eucharist and our lived reality saying that "The Eucharist has to become a reality in our neighbourhood towards social transformation. Fr. Paul Puthanangady SDB, of India, spoke on "Living the Sacraments in SCCs - Initiation into the sacraments and the Role of the SCCs". Finally Fr. Arthur Pereira of the AsIPA Resource Team, gave a presentation on the effective steps in nurturing SCCs. That evening Abp. MC Soosa Pakiam hosted a colourful cultural programme and dinner for the delegates at his residence in Trivandrum.
On 11th November, the delegates discussed their "Role in the SCCs in the light of the inputs of the previous day". Bishops, priests, religious women and lay leaders did some serious and soul searching reflection which they shared with each other later in the afternoon.
November 12th, was a day that will be remembered by delegates for a long time. They visited various parishes in the Trivandrum archdiocese where they were given a warm welcome, participated in the Sunday Eucharist with the local community and shared lunch in a SCC group. They visited families in the parishes, listened to the stories of peoples lives, and learnt how the SCCs have become the basic structure of the Church in the archdiocese which is working towards the vision of a new way of being Church. On 13th November the delegates reflected on their immersion experience and shared how they were greatly inspired by the animating role of parish priests as well as the active participation of laity in the functioning of the SCCs. They ended the day with cultural presentations from their respective countries/regions.
On 14th November they will join in the celebration of the Eucharist at the Rally of SCCs in the Archdiocese of Trivandrum which is the culmination of the celebration of the year of the SCC in the diocese. The assembly ends on 15th November with the presentation of the final statement and the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Cardinal Telespore Toppo of India.
The assembly has reinforced the vision of the FABC towards building a Communion of Communities. It has effectively evaluated the progress made thus far and pointed out areas for improvement. The delegates present renewed their commitment to working towards the vision of a new way of being Church using the AsIPA programme.
A Short Background History of AsIPA
During the 5th Plenary Assembly the Asian Bishops
expressed the response of the Church, at the level of
its very being, to the demands of evangelization in the
third millennium: the Church (must become) a
“Communion of communities where laity, religious
and clergy recognize and accept each others as sisters
and brothers…it must be a Participatory Church
…” (FABC IV, 8.1.1-2)
Part of this vision on a “New way of Being Church” was
the growing concern to discover a more contexualized pastoral
approach that would take into consideration the cultures and
needs of the local churches. In various meetings and during
visitation with individual dioceses and church leaders,
the FABC OL was regularly requested to introduce and share
materials that would meet the formation needs of people today.
Among the many materials was the approach, developed by the
Lumko Missiological Institute associated with the Bishops Conference
in South Africa. The FABC OL facilitated a number of Lumko exposure
Programs in Asia and discovered that there were many positive responses.
Because of the level of interest in Lumko, one of the workshops at the
5th Plenary Assembly of FABC in Bandung, Indonesia in 1990 was devoted
to introducing some of this material. As a result of the enthusiasm of
the bishops who participated, the FABC OL was requested to organize 2
international Asian level Lumko training courses. The first of these
was co-sponsored with the Pastoral Center Taiwan and was in Mandarin,
the second took place in Thailand and was conducted in English.
In November 1993, a Consultation sponsored by the FABC offices of
Human Development and Laity was held in Malaysia. It was during this
consultation that AsIPA (Asian Integral Pastoral Approach) was born.
The FABC Consultation in 1993 gave a positive evaluation of the formation
programs conducted by the FABC OL and encouraged them to continue the
adaptation process of Lumko materials into Asian context and to develop
its own materials.
AsIPA is the achievement of a long process: As the importance of the
role of the laity became more accepted, the local Churches also realized
there is a corresponding need for lay formation, so that lay people could
play their rightful role in the Church. In some early attempts at lay formation,
the emphasis was on an academic approach which led to the realization that a
different model of formation was needed:
A model that would incorporate the principles of adult education,
respect for the experience of the participants and be open to the real
situation and needs of the local community.
The meaning of AsIPA (Asian Integral Pastoral Approach)
AsIPA is Asian because it seeks to implement the vision articulated
by the Asian Bishops and to face the realities of the Asian peoples
that challenge the Church in Asia: our pluralism, the existence of the
great Asian religions, the vast numbers of young people and their vitality,
massive poverty, the women’s movement, the ecological movement etc.
It is Integral in that it seeks to achieve a balance between the
“spiritual” and the “social”, between the individual and the community,
between the hierarchical leadership and the co-responsibility of the laity.
It is therefore integral in both its approach and its content.
It is Pastoral in that its goal it to implement the vision of the new
way of being Church, and particularly to train lay people to carry out their
mission in the Church and in the world .It thereby constitutes a demand that
priests be trained to encourage the co-responsibility of the laity and to
work in teams. This requires a new style of leadership.
As an Approach, AsIPA is a process of realizing the
vision of a participatory Church. It addresses the entire people of God.
It is a pastoral approach, which is “Christ- and community-centered”,
allowing the participants of training courses to search for themselves
and to experience a “New Way of Being Church”.
Training programmes on international and national level
(for pastoral leaders, priests and lay people) with exposure to BCCs
have proved to be effective tools to see the vision and to acquire the
skills needed in a Participatory Church (e.g. new leadership style,
Gospel based communities, participative formation programmes)
To date, there are four series of materials with specific
objectives that will assist the facilitators and the participants
in a training course: These AsIPA texts are compiled by trainers
who are involved at the grassroots level. They can be used for
small communities, for neighborhood groups and even for sessions
with larger groups in a parish hall. They are prepared as a guide
for a participatory process and compiled in such a way that with
minimum preparation, a facilitator can use them following the
instructions in the text. AsIPA texts have been translated into
more than 15 Asian languages.
Current Status of AsIPA
The Second AsIPA General Assembly in October (2000) gave a clear
picture how far the effort has gone. It gathered 105 participants
from 12 Asian countries and Papua New Guinea for an exchange of experiences,
to share locally developed materials and to deepen into the methodology.
The Assembly identified 4 main challenges: inculturation, becoming agents
for change, harmony and dialogue, and collaborative style of leadership.
It also recommended that a general assembly of diocesan and national teams
be held once every 3 years to be a continuous forum of exchange and deepening
in the vision of a Participatory Church. The first General Assembly was in 1996
attended by trainers from 8 Asian countries and Papua New Guinea.
An Editorial Board was set up to develop new training booklets. In some countries,
locally produced texts are also being used and through the Editorial Board, some of
those materials are designed to be suitable for the wider Asian formation sessions.
After the second General Assembly, an Editorial Consultation Network was created to
meet increasing demands from local teams.
To date, the different AsIPA courses at Asian, national and diocesan levels
have reached almost all the member conferences of the FABC, in 17 countries.
There are AsIPA teams in 12 countries to coordinate efforts. Six are national teams.
The FABC-OL AsIPA Desk has been taking charge of international coordination and
organization to form the Asian facilitating teams.