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 News Archive 2008


New Dates and Place for 9th Plenary Assembly



The 9th FABC Plenary Assembly which was to take place January 12-19, 2009 is now set for August 10-16, 2009 in Manila, Philippines. Plenary Assemblies are the highest authority in the structure of the FABC. 211208

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The Catholic Priesthood - A Challenge of the Modern World
Final Statement




The FABC Office of Clergy organized a seminar for the priests of Asia from November 17-22, 2008 at the Assumption University (Suvarnabhumi Campus), Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss "Priestly Life as a Challenge of the Modern Life in Asia." Among the resource persons and participants were 1 Archbishop, 4 Bishops, and 78 priests from ten countries in Asia (India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam). The objectives of the seminar were:

  1. To rediscover priestly identity rooted in the concept of Communion in the Asian Context.
  2. To lead the priests to a deeper awareness of the Divine (God-Experience) in their priestly life and ministry.
  3. To help priests to re-capture the joy of priesthood by confronting the challenges of the modern world.  

The seminar was inaugurated with the Eucharist presided over by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus Cavite, Philippines. On behalf of Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio of Thailand, his First Counsellor Msgr. Marek Zalewski conveyed the Holy Father’s sentiments of closeness and solidarity with the participants as they deliberated on a very important topic relevant to the life of the Church in Asia.

The final statement of the participants underlines the need for a "life of profound priestly spirituality."  The priesthood is to be lived as a celebration of life.  In a situation of "tremendous difficulties and tensions," the seminar recommends, beside others, a holistic formation in seminaries, regular gatherings of clergy, regular prayer, liturgical life and spiritual direction for priests today.  There should also be "a more open, intimate and personal relationship between bishop and priests" which should also be reflected in a structure of dialogue at different levels and regular on-going and systematic programs of human and spiritual formation for priests at different stages of their lives." 151208

Final Statement


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Roadmap for Communication
Final Statement, Bishops' Meet '08




The final statement of this year's annual FABC-OSC Bishops' Meet, which was celebrated under the title "Communication Challenges for Bishops' Conferences" in Hua Hin, Thailand from Nov 17-22,  underlines the achievements of regular annual meetings of communication Bishops and communication secretaries of bishops' conferences in Asia.

"The regular meetings," the statement reads, "that reported, studied and reflected  on relevant and significant themes have provided a clear road map for the communication ministry by way of inspiration, orientation and recommendations."  They "provide a rich communication resource for ministries such as youth, interreligious dialogue, the formation of clergy, family, public relations, new communication technologies and managing communication in and for bishops' conferences."  The document sees, however, that "we still have a long way to go before this vision and priorities are realized in the dioceses."

The final considerations, which are always written by a team of participants, see further needs like the greater involvement of women in communication ministry but also the challenge of an emerging digital culture.  This was also referred to by Archbishop Claudio Ma. Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, who has opened and participated in the meeting.

The importance of spirituality of the communicator is seen as essential for pastoral communication but also the need for a better networking and especially a "need for much greater research and evaluation... in this rapidly changing world of communication."  In the situation of Asia, the dialogue between faith and culture cannot be neglected together with the importance of inter-cultural exchange and social networking." 081208

Final Statement


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Book on Radio Veritas Asia Published




RVA Book

The FABC-Office of Social Communication has published a new volume in its book series (no. 5) entitled "Radio Veritas Asia: Development of a FABC Project."  The 223-page publication presents, in the first part, testimonies and experiences of people who have been involved in the project in the course of some 40 years.  A part with documents follows together with descriptions of activities of the 15 language sections of this short-wave radio station.  Reactions and testimonies of listeners finally document, in the end, their own experiences with the programs and how this only continental Catholic radio station in the world touches their lives. "The invited contributors to this book," Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales writes in the Preface, "wrote freely and the promise on the promise, the frustrations and near collapse of the station."  The new book was edited by Franz-Josef Eilers, svd and is available at Logos Publications, Manila. 021208


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Pope Greets FABC Communication Meeting




Pope Benedict XVI sent his good wishes for the 13th annual "Bishops' Meet" of the FABC Office of Social Communication (FABC-OSC) in Hua Hin, Thailand from November 16 to 22, 2009. He prayed that "the Holy Spirit guide" the 35 participants from 15 Asian countries in their deliberations.


Archbishop Claudio M.Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, gave the keynote address under the title "Communication Challenges for Bishops' Conferences". In his presentation, he stressed the need for local Churches to "invest in people. The technologies will continue to change...What we need are people who are not mere technicians, but true professionals in the area of communication."


The participants reviewed the conclusions and final statements of former FABC-OSC meetings to make them more fruitful also for the future. There is a wealth of insights and proposals, the participants said.  Unfortunately, these have not been sufficiently realized by some Bishops' Conferences in developing the communication dimension of  "A new way of being Church in Asia." In their final statement, the participants emphasize among others the growing need for proper Communication Ethics, communication formation and new ways of reaching out beyond narrow Church boundaries.


Since 1996, "Bishops Meets" are annual gatherings of Bishops and Secretaries responsible for Social Communication in member conferences and associate members of the FABC.  The next "Bishops Meet" will be held November 16-21, 2009 in Bali, Indonesia.

Bishops' Meet 08


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Book on Pastoral Communication Now in Two Asian Languages




"Communicating in Ministry and Mission, An Introduction to Pastoral/ Evangelizing Communication" was recently published in Vietnamese and Indonesian translations.  The book written by Divine Word Father Franz-Josef Eilers, executive secretary of the FABC Office of Social Communication, serves as the text book for an MA Theology program at the Graduate School of the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.  This program is recognized by the Pontifical Theological Faculty of the university for students who wish to acquire a Licentiate at the same time.  The Vietnamese translation was done by Bishop Peter Van De, auxiliary bishop of Bui Chu, and chairman of the Vietnamese Bishops' social communication commission.



The book is also available in an Italian translation ("Comunicare nel Ministero e nella Missione - Un' Introduzione alla Comunicazione Pastorale ed Evangelizzatrice," Elledici) and in an Indian edition (Asian Trading, Bangalore).  Three other translations are underway - in Thai, Korean and Mandarin.  The MA/Licentiate program at UST has grown from a joint initiative of the FABC Offices of Social Communication (OSC), and Education and Faith Formation (OEFF).


A third and extended edition of the book is expected by mid-2009.  UST is the oldest university in Asia (1611.)  For details on the MA Theology program, log on to http://graduateschool.ust.edu.ph.


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FABC General Assembly Postponed



The 9th General Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) has been postponed and will be re-scheduled in the near future.  The assembly was originally scheduled for January 12-19, 2009 in Bangalore, India.  But since on these dates a bigger group of important Asian bishops will be unable to attend, the event had to be postponed.

FABC General Assemblies are held every four years.  The last assembly was held in Daejeon, South Korea August 17-23, 2004.  Instead of 2008, the 9th General Assembly was scheduled for January 2009 because of the Roman Synod on the Word of God in October 2008 which would have hindered a number of Asian bishops to attend.   The theme of the 2009 assembly is "Living the Eucharist in Asia."


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Vatican Official in FABC Communication Meet



Archbishop Claudio Ma. Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will participate in this year's annual meeting of bishops responsible for communication in Asia.  Some 40 bishops and national directors for communications are expected in the 13th annual "FABC-OSC Bishops' Meet" at the Salesian Retreat House in Hua Hin, Thailand November 17-22, 2008.  It will be the first time for the Archbishop to meet those responsible for communication in Asian bishops' conferences.  "Bishops' Meet" is an annual conference of bishops and secretaries responsible for communications in the conferences.  The meeting is always held in the third week of November, and is organized by the Office of Social Communication of the FABC since 1996.  The final statements of past Bishops' Meets and additional material are available in the recently published second edition of "Church and Social Communication in Asia - Documents, Analysis, Experiences" (FABC-OSC Books vol. 1, Manila: Logos Publications).


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Two FABC Bishops in Post-Synodal Council



Two chairmen of the FABC offices were elected members of the "12th Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops" (Post-Synodal Commission) at the last Roman Synod on the Word of God in the Life of the Church October 5-26, 2008.  They are Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, chairman of the FABC-Office of Evangelization, and Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, chairman of the FABC-Office of Theological Concerns.  Among the 12 elected members of the commission is Joseph Cardinal Zen, sdb, bishop of Hong Kong.  The Council is to observe and oversee the implementation of the Synod decisions in the coming years.  Thomas Menamparampil is the archbishop of Guwahati in Assam, India.  Luis Antonio Tagle is the bishop of the diocese of Imus, Cavite in the Philippines.  Beside the 12 elected members from all over the world, three additional members of the Council are appointed by the Holy Father. The Council has two members each from the continents: Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, and one member from Australia.


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FABC Youth Desk at Conference on Religions for Peace



The Youth Desk of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family (OLF) was part of the organizing committee in the Asian Religious Youth Leaders' Summit held October 12-14 in Davao, Philippines through the World Conference on Religions for Peace.  Some 90 youth leaders from different Asian countries and of various religious backgrounds met on the theme "Youth as Peacemakers: Gathering in Hope, Pledging Common Action."  The conference aimed to forge deeper solidarity for peace and justice especially on the prevailing issues in Mindanao, Philippines.  The Mindanao conference was followed by the General Assembly of the "Asian Conference of Religions for Peace" (ACRP) at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila October 17-21, 2008.

"Religions for Peace" is an international multi-religious organization with chapters in 70 countries world wide.


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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.


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'Breaking the Word' in Refugee Camps



Salesian Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon (Myanmar) shared on October 9, 2008 at the Bishops' Synod in Rome  his experiences after the devastating cyclone that hit Myanmar.  The archbishop, who is chairman of the FABC Office of Human Development, said: "Nearly 150,000 died and 2 million people became refugees in their own land.  The nation was in mourning.  With the help of the Lord, we have brought life back to many communities.  The churches became the refugee camps.  In those campls, we had a unique liturgy - of breaking the Word through our accompaniment and sharing the bread through assistance.  The world became our altar and we broke the bread of human fellowship with the shattered masses.  The Gospel preached was the food to the hungry that provoked life and the light that we gave the last five months."


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FABC at Rome Synod

Three leading bishops of the FABC have presented their considerations at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in Rome.  They are: Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, General Secretary of the FABC, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, Chairman of the Office of Evangelization, and Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Chairman of the Office of Theological Concerns.

Archbishop Quevedo referred to Asia as "rich in a marvelous mosaic of ancient cultures and religions."  "We are nevertheless a continent of the poor," he told the Synod, "of economic and political imbalances, of ethnic division and conflict.  Our profound sense of transcendence and harmony is being eroded by globalizing secular and material culture."  The archbishop, however, sees the Word of God calling on "thousands of Small Christian Communities of the poor" who are "heeding God's Word.  In so doing, they are building A New Way of Being Church...  For them the Word of God is faith-empowering urging them to participate actively within the Church and in social transformation.  They are Basic Ecclesial Communities, renewing families, parishes and dioceses into vibrant communities, witnessing to the Word of God, quite often "in a hostile, mutil-religious environment."

Archbishop Tomas Menamparampil referred to the power of the Word of God on Christianity's earliest beginnings in Asia.  This is reflected in the creative works of missionaries with Mother Teresa as a recent example.  This is backed up by the understanding of religious life in Asia where its relevance is very much recognized.  "For, there are native models of religious life belonging to other Asian religions.  Religious values like renunciation, austerity, silence, prayer, contemplation, and celibacy are highly regarded... Religious persons are considered the guardians of religious and human wisdom in Asia.  With adequate formation, young religious can grow up as effective announcers of the Christian message."  This has also special consequences for the theological formation in Asia which implies "the deepening of reflection on God's Word in the Asian context of poverty and injustice and also of a plurarity of religions, civilizations and cultures. It implies the use of categories of thought,symbolism, spiritual traditions that have meaning for Asians.  Here is a challenging task before the teacher of the 'Word.'"

Filipino Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle got an applause from the Synod when he demanded "formation in a holistic listening."  "People are dragged today," he said, "in a milieu of monologues, inattentiveness, noise, intolerance and self-absorption.  The Church can provide a milieu of dialogue, respect, mutuality and self-transcendence."  It is important to remember, he said, that God not only speaks in Scripture but listens as well "especially to the just, widows, orphans, persecuted and poor who have no voice... The Church must learn to listen the way God listens and must lend its voice to the voiceless."

More than 40 participants of the Synod come from Asia.  The FABC has organized a special secretariat for the Asian participants opposite to the Synod Hall, in the offices of the Philippine Embassy at the Holy See.

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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 asipa.tp@catholic.org.tw or Daphne Leong in Singapore daphneleong@catholic.org.sg


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FABC in Solidarity with Christians in India



A message of solidarity with the Church and Christians in India has been sent by the Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, to the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil.

"We are deeply concerned and troubled about the many acts and violence against the Church in India, its priests, religious, lay people, holy structures and sacred objects.  We are likewise very concerned about the sufferings of other Christians.  Daily we read the killings and destruction.  How tragic it is that the once idyllic image of India as a country of great religious harmony and tolerance is daily tarnished by surely a minority of religious extremists...

We pray to the Lord of love and peace through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary that the violence may stop and that all those who are inclined to do violence by reason of religious differences may return to their senses and discover the right path to a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with their Christian brothers and sisters."

"We strongly support your appeal," the message from Sept 25, 2008 continues, "your appeal to government authorities to stop the violence and bring the perpetrators to justice."


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Laity in Public Life



"Nurturing the Inner Being for a New Social Evangelization" was at the center of a "Colloquium on Laity in Public Life" organized by the FABC Office of Human Development in Bangkok Sept 15-19, 2008.  Some 30 participants from different Asian countries including China shared experiences from their ministries as lay people in the Spirit of the Church.  Themes like the Formation of Laity, Apostolate of Education and Catechesis, the Importance of Social Communication were taken up.  There was a lively exchange of personal and local experience, but also a more clear vision for the future.  The basis for the considerations was chapter 12 of the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church on "Social Doctrine and Ecclesial Action."  The keynote address was given by Prof. Felix Wilfred (Chennai) in the presence of retired Bishops Julius Labayen, ocd who was the first chairman of OHD in its history, and Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, the first bishop responsible on this area in the Thai bishops' conference.  Special themes to be further developed are interreligious dialogue, inculturation and good governance in cooperation with the respective FABC offices.  The Compendium was introduced to Asia thru a similar colloquium also organized by OHD in January 2007.


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Bishops' Leadership Seminar for 2008 Cancelled



The FABC Pastoral Leadership Seminar for Bishops scheduled for October 26-November 2, 2008 in Bangkok has been cancelled.  The next seminar is scheduled for March 15-21, 2009 at the FABC Documentation Centre, St Louis Hospital compound, Bangkok.  Bishops are invited to join.  For details, contact the central secretariat at fabc@hkdavc.com.


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FABC-ICMC Cooperation on Migration



The Geneva-based International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and the FABC Office of Human Development are going to cooperate in the future on the concerns of migrants in Asia.  In a meeting hosted by the CBCP Migration Commission in Manila August 27-29, representatives from 15 different Asian countries proposed to develop a more close collaboration between ICMC and FABC-OHD.  Bro Anthony Rogers, executive secretray of FABC-OHD, states in an UCANews interview that the FABC "cannot do all this work on its own."  He stressed that pastoral care is needed but at the same time a permanent cure working for long term policy changes is necessary.  This cannot be reached on the local level alone, he added.  The ICMC was founded in 1951 with the blessings of Pope Pius XII and serves refugees, displaced persons and migrants on the international level.


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Filipino Bishops Elect Bishop-delegates to FABC Assembly



The 97th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) last July 5, 2008 elected six bishops as delegates to the 9th Plenary Assembly of the FABC in Bangalore, India January 11-20, 2009.  Along with the six bishops representing the regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, CBCP President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo will also participate in the assembly together with FABC's Secretary General Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, and Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus, who chairs the FABC drafting committee of the assembly's Instrumentum Laboris.


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Bangladesh Bishops publish Newsletter



The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh (CBCB) started publishing a newsletter in June 2008.  In the words of CBCB President, Archbishop Paulinus Costa, the newsletter is supposed to "communicate with people within and outside the country the happenings of the local church.  CBCB represents the church of Bangladesh."  "We wish," the archbishop continues, "to reach every corner of the country through this newsletter to share with you our news and views so that you could cooperate with us to establish the Kingdom of God."  The first issue of the newsletter covers the months of March to June 2008. For inquiries, email the CBCB Catholic Communications Centre: cbcbccc@infobd.net


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Academic Publications on FABC



The latest count of doctoral dissertations on FABC or FABC-inspired themes is registered at 25 as of August 7, 2008.  The first of these studies dates from 1985.  They were submitted to 14 different universities or theological faculties in Rome, Germany, Austria, the U.S., India and the Philippines.  Masteral or Licentiate theses are probably more in number but could not be fully listed up till now.  The details of this list have been elaborated by Fr Jeffrey L. Chang, sj in Manila who has also based his own doctoral thesis on FABC considerations.




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Family Catechesis: Contextualized Challenges



family cathechis

The "Challenges from Asian Realities" for Family Catechesis were the focus of a consultation organized in 2006 at Assumption University in Bangkok by the FABC-Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy (Office of Education and Faith Formation).  Now the presentations and deliberations of this conference are available in book form.  The publication presents, beside the Final Statement and Recommendations, national reports from eight different Asian countries as well as "key note resources" and viewpoints from different participants as well as workshop considerations.  The book is published and available at the FABC-Office of Education and Faith Formation (Pontifical University of Santo Tomas), Manila.


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Statement on "Creative Models of Evangelization in Asia"



The final statement of the consultation on "Creative Models of Evangelization in Asia" just released contains five main parts: "Stories to Inspire," describing the dynamics of the July 8-12, 2008 consultation in Hua Hin, Thailand; "Crossing Boundaries," which gives a theological background to the mission work of the Church in Asia; "Challenging Situations," briefly outlining the context upon which mission is done in Asia; "Boundless Opportunities," listing the possibilities for mission to flourish; and "Urgent Responses," which recommends for mission-- (1) "prayer and God-experience," (2) "sensitivity to Asian cultures," and (3) "small Christian communities and New Movements."  For creative mission, interactive programs via cyber-media, sign language with the deaf, networking, and a "central data-pool of basic information on evangelistic initiatives" are also recommended.  The consultation was organized by the FABC-Office of Evangelization.


Final Statement


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Colloquium on Laity in Public Life



A "Colloquium on Laity in Public Life" will be organized by the FABC-Office of Human Development from Sept 15-19, 2008 in Pattaya, Thailand.  The conference will be for invited participants, and is a follow up to the Asian presentation of the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" in January 2007.  This document will also be used as basis for the discussions (especially nos. 521-574) to create awareness of the essential link between the Social Doctrine of the Church and the inculturation of faith.  The conference further wants to examine the path to commitment of laity in public life and critically identify current trends in society to formulate relevant and creative services of the Church.  For details, please contact OHD at: ohdfabc@tri-isys.com.


Brochure    Reply Form


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Creative Evangelization in Asia



Creative Evangelization was at the center of a meeting organized by the FABC-Office of Evangelization in Hua Hin, Thailand.  Some 37 participants from nine Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines) shared about "creative ways for evangelization" and their own experiences in the ministry.  Specialized ministries like the one with youth, communication, charismatic movements and tribal missions were also part of the program.  The participants also tried to develop a better outlook and resolved to take up the challenge for creative evangelization in a more determined way.  In all presentations, the authenticity of the evangelizer was emphasized as playing an important role and also to be open to more creative ideas.


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FABC Plenary Dates in 2009, Adjusted



The dates for the upcoming 9th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) in January 2009 in Bangalore, India have been adjusted by one day.  The arrival of the participants is now foreseen for January 12 whereas the departure is on Monday, January 19.  This gives the assembly a full-week, from Monday to Monday, for their considerations.  The theme of the Plenary is "Living the Eucharist in Asia" and the venue is going to be the St. Peter's Pontifical Institute/Seminary in Bangalore, India.


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Communion and Spiritual Leadership in Asia



csl in asia

"Communion and Spiritual Leadership in Asia... in the Light of the Documents of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" is a new book related to the theology of the FABC.  The original title of this dissertation by Jesuit Father Jeffrey G. L. Chang was "Ordained Ministry in the Mission and Ministry of the Church in Asia, in Light of the Documents of the FABC (1970-2005)."  The thesis was submitted to the Faculty of Theology at FuJen Catholic University in Taipei and now published within the "Documenta Missionalia" series of Gregorian University in Rome as volume 33. 


After a presentation on the theology of the FABC, the author studies in a detailed way the vision of ministry, and finally evaluates the FABC mission. "This vision is a source of hope

and also a firm foundation for anyone concerned about issues of ecclesiology and ministry,"  the editor of "Documenta Missionalia" writes in his Foreword.  "The author offers in this book a solid introduction to the broader theology of the FABC that points out the systematic development of the ordained ministry and its relationship with the ministry of laity, showing how the entire people of God should be oriented to the glory of God by constituting among themselves this communion."  The book is available from the Publishing House of "Editrice Universita Gregoriana," Rome.


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Vocations in Asia



On the initiative of Serra International, the FABC Offices of Consecrated Life and Clergy organized a conference on "Asian Vocations Today" from October 22 - 27, 2007 in Samphran, Bangkok (Thailand).  The presentations of this meeting are now available in printed form as FABC Paper No. 123.  Beside considerations on the context and also the future of vocations in Asia, reflections on ascetism and family as "seed-bed" of vocations are treated.  Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle calls for a holistic and integrated approach to formation.  The final statement of the conference, which is also available on this website, concludes the publication.


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FABC Paper No. 124 on "Eucharist as Communication"



The latest FABC Paper published by the FABC Central Secretariat in Hong Kong contains the presentations and reflections of the 13th annual meeting of Bishops and secretaries for communication in FABC-member bishops' conferences ("FABC-OSC Bishops' Meet"). The theme of the meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand is "Eucharist as Communication." The Paper starts with texts from Church documents on social communication calling the Eucharist the "summit of every Christian communication." Deeper theological reflections follow. The role of food, meals and celebration in Asian cultures was discussed as well as the communication dimension of liturgical celebrations. The Paper also contains the reflections of a Buddhist Nun on meals and celebrations in Buddhism, and concludes with the Final Statement of the conference. The meeting organized by the FABC Office of Social Communication is in preparation for the 9th Plenary Assemlby of the FABC in January 2009 on the theme "Living Eucharist in Asia." Bishops' Meets are annual meetings organized by the FABC Office of Social Communication since 1996.


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Priests' Seminars for 2008



The FABC-Office of Clergy is organizing two seminars this year for Bishops and priests.  "Caring for Priests - A Need of the Hour" will be held Sept 8-14, 2008 at Assumption University, Bangkok.  The aims are to help Bishops "reflect on the identity of the priest in the Asian context, to identify obstaces which priests face in their life and ministry, and help care for priests with difficulties."  The second seminar themed "The Catholic Priesthood - A Challenge of the Modern World" will be held Nov 17-23, 2008 at Assumption University, Bangkok.  The aims are to help priests "rediscover their identity in the Asian context, lead them to a deeper awareness of God in their ministry, (and) recapture the joy of priesthood (amid) the challenges of the modern world."  For more information, contact Fr. Lawrence Pinto, msij at Fax: (+91 824) 2483895 Email: fabclpinto@yahoo.co.uk and fabckavoor@yahoo.com


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Meeting Reminds Bishops of Women's Contributions to Church



A meeting organized by the Women's Desk of the FABC Office of Laity and Family (OLF) sought to review the status of women's movements in the Church in Asia, and to help bishops be more appreciative of women's and women theologians' contributions to the life and mission of the Church.  Thirteen women, 10 bishops and two priests from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand attended the May 12-16, 2008 meeting themed "The Bishop: Harbinger of Hope - Bishops, Women, Gospel and Communion." It was held at the Redemptorist Centre in Pattaya, Thailand.  The meeting also aimed at helping the Church in Asia uphold women's dignity by encouraging their role in the life of the Church.  Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum (India) and Ms. Virginia Saldanha are OLF chairperson and executive secretary, respectively.


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Asian Glossary and Style Book




An "Asian Church Glossary and Style Book" is the latest publication in the FABC-OSC Books series of the FABC Office of Social Communication. The 150 page volume is a collection of words, expressions and style proposals for journalists or other people working in Communication in and for Asia. The book is the fruit of some 50 years of journalistic experience of Hector Welgampola, a long time editor of the catholic weekly "The Messenger" in Colombo (Sri Lanka) and later up to his retirement the Chief Editor of the "Union of Catholic News" (UCANews)  Hong Kong and Bangkok (Thailand). The publication is volume 8 in the FABC-OSC Books series with ISBN 978-971-510-201-8.

Published by: Logos (Divine Word) Publications

P.O. Box 4145 1099 Manila, Philippines

Tel: (+63 2) 711 1323 Fax: (+63 2) 732 2736

Email:logossvd@csi.com.ph or logos@greendot.com.ph


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Leadership Seminars for Bishops



Pastoral Leadership Seminars for bishops will be resumed within the FABC program. The first two of these seminars will be "standard  seminars" for basics while the third one will build on the other two for advanced training. The first seminar is scheduled from October 26 to November2, 2008 in the FABC Documentation Centre in Bangkok while the other two are planned from March 15 to 22, 2009 and October 11 to 18, 2009 also in Bangkok. The seminars are under the direction of Fr. Anthony D'Souza sj, Mumbai, India.


Such leadership seminars were regular features of FABC programs in the past and are now resumed. They are organized by the Central Secretariat of the Federation.


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FABC Office Re-named



The FABC "Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy" is going to be re-named into "Office of Education and Faith Formation". The new name was proposed by a group reformulating the terms of reference for the nine FABC offices and approved by the FABC Central Committee meeting April 15-19,2008 in Bangkok. It was felt that this way the real services of the office assisting Bishops' Conferences in their responsibility for faith formation in areas like catechesis would be better expressed.


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FABC Central Committee and Offices Meet



The Central Committee of the FABC, which comprises the  presidents of the member Bishops' Conferences and the nine FABC Offices of the Federation met from April 15 to 19 in the FABC Documentation Center in Bangkok, Thailand. With the official acceptance of the Bishops' Conference of Kasakhstan (Central Asia) the Federation now comprises 15 Bishops' Conferences and 10 Associate members, which are are Church territories with less than three dioceses or ecclesiastical territories from the Asian continent.

At the beginning of the meeting the different offices reported about their activities and programs which was further developed and deepened later by separate meetings of the offices between themselves, while the Central Committee discussed and decided on other questions concerning the structure, activities of the Federation including the terms of reference for the different offices.

The Central Committee also re-elected for another three year term Archbishop Orlando Quevedo omi, the present Secretary and for another four year term the Assistant Secretary General Fr. Raymond O'Toole.

Planning for the upcoming General Assembly of the FABC, the highest decision making body of the Federation was another important discussion point. This assembly is to take place in Bangalore, India with the theme "Living the Eucharist in Asia". Similar to preparations for Roman Synods also here an "instrumentum laboris" (working document) is to be developed by the Office of Theological Concerns in close cooperation with experts from the different Bishops' Conferences and the other FABC Offices. General Assemblies of the Federation are to take place every four years. In between the Central Committee serves as the governing body of the Federation. The cooperation between the offices is beside others also secured through an e-group for regular exchange of experiences and  planning.


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FABC Honors Cardinal Michai Kitbunchu of Bangkok



cardinal mitchai


The Central Committe of the FABC and its offices honored Bangkok Archbishop, Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu, in a special ceremony on April 17, 2008 to commemorate his silver jubilee as Cardinal.  The presidents of FABC-member bishops' conferences comprising the Central Committee, along with other FABC officials, thanked the prelate for his long affiliation and support to the Federation. During the ceremony, Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Mumbai) was also felicitated as the newest member to the Cardinalate, together with  Bishop Vianney Fernando, president of the Sri Lankan Bishops' Conference, who celebrates his silver jubilee as Bishop this year.

At the same occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with Bangkok Archdiocese for the "FABC Documentation Center" to continue to be of service to the different FABC offices and activities in its current location within the city.  The MOU will be valid for 10 years to be renewed thereafter.


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Kazakhstan: New FABC Member




The Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan was officially accepted as new member of the "Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" at the ongoing Central Committee meeting of the Federation. The Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan consists of the archdiocese of Astana, two additional dioceses, and two Apostolic Administrations. From the 15 million inhabitants of the country some 60 percent are Shiite Moslems, while some 40 percent are Christians, mainly Orthodox. There are approximately 250,000 Roman Catholics. With the new member conference, the  FABC is firmly established within the region of Central Asia.


Visit the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan website.


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Radio Veritas Asia Launches Year-long 40th Anniversary Celebration



Some 100 guests and staff of Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) joined the Eucharist presided by San Fernando, Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto on April 11, 2008 to launch the year-long 40th anniversary celebration of the station.  In his homily, Archbishop Aniceto reminded those present that "RVA is the response of the Asian Bishops to the missionary mandate of Jesus Christ."  Amid the "continuous promotion of the 'culture of death' in Asia thru wars, abortion, anomalies as well as graft and corruption in governments," RVA is "challenged to promote the counter culture of peace, unity, solidarity and life," the prelate said.  Archbishop Aniceto is member of the Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center (PREIC), RVA's legal body in the Philippines.  Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez and priests of RVA concelebrated the Eucharist. The year-long Ruby anniversary celebration culminates on April 11, 2009.  RVA, a project of the FABC, beams in 16 languages throughout Asia and parts of Russia.


rva-mass rva-mass

Fr. Roberto Ebisa, general manager of RVA together with guest speaker Ambassador Francisco Benedicto and Archbishop Paciano Aniceto; the Prelate celebrating the Eucharist


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Eucharist in Education



"Eucharist and Education in Asia" is the theme of a consultation organized by the FABC Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy for May 25-30, 2008 at Assumption University, Bangkok.  The consultation is co-sponsored by the Office of International Catholic Education (OIEC) and the Directorate of the National Commission on Education of Sri Lanka.  The meeting will gather the heads of various Episcopal Commissions for Education and Catechesis in Asia as well as representatives of other educational organizations.  The consultation wants to reflect especially on the consequences for Education of the Apostolic Exhortation "Sancramentum Caritatis," and will be at the same time a preparation for the upcoming 9th FABC Plenary Assembly on the theme "Living Eucharist in Asia."


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FABC in Central Asia


"Eucharist and Education in Asia" is the theme of a consultation organized by the FABC Office of Education and Student Chaplaincy for May 25-30, 2008 at Assumption University, Bangkok. The consultation is co-sponsored by the Office of International Catholic Education (OIEC) and the Directorate of the National Commission on Education of Sri Lanka. The meeting will gather the heads of various Episcopal Commissions for Education and Catechesis in Asia as well as representatives of other educational organizations. The consultation wants to reflect especially on the consequences for Education of the Apostolic Exhortation "Sancramentum Caritatis," and will be at the same time a preparation for the upcoming 9th FABC Plenary Assembly on the theme "Living Eucharist in Asia."

Thus, the FABC has four regions within Asia which include beside Central Asia, the regions of South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal), Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, Laos-Cambodia, Thailand and Philippines) and East Asia (Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Taiwan and hopefully, soon China).

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Fr. Henry D'Souza, communication secretary of India, appointed Bishop


Fr. Henry D'Souza, the communication secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), was appointed on March 15, 2008 as the new Bishop of Bellary diocese, Karnataka. Fr. Henry was for seven years secretary of the Communications office of the Indian bishops' conference and was instrumental in restructuring and depeening social communication for the whole of India. His consecration as Bishop will take place middle of June 2008 in Bellary, the place of his new assignment.

The announcement of Fr Henry's elevation as bishop and details of his life are published in the CBCI website at www.cbcisite.com Check out more Church-communication news

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42nd World Communication Day Pontifical Message and Liturgical Text on Feb/Mar 08 issue of 'Communication INFO'


The Introductory Comment and Liturgical Guide for World Communication Day 2008 is now available on the February/March 2008 issue of "Communication INFO" newsletter. The theme of this year's celebration is "The Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others." The Holy Father's Message was released on January 24, Feast of St. Francis de Sales - patron of journalists.

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FABC Central Committee Meets


The Central Committee of the FABC will meet together with officials of the nine FABC Offices from April 15-20, 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand. Beside reports on the activities and plans of the different offices, one of the main discussion points will be the preparation for the 9th FABC Plenary Assembly from January 11-20, 2009 in Bangalore, India. The theme of the upcoming Plenary will be "Living Eucharist in Asia."


The Central Committee will also welcome the Kazakhstan bishops' conference as a full-fledged member of the Federation, raising the number of member bishops' conferences to 15 in all, with 10 additional "associate" members (Church territories with less than 3 dioceses).


The Central Committee is composed of the presidents of the member-bishops' conferences of the Federation and meets every two years.

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AsIPA Courses for 2008


The AsIPA Desk of the FABC Office of Laity and Family is organizing several courses within their program. The courses will be held in the Philippines and Singapore while an annual course in India given already in January 2008 will be repeated in 2009. AsIPA stands for "Asian Integrated Pastoral Approach" and is the application of the Lumpo method for Bible sharing and Basic Christian Communities developed by the Lumko Missiological Institute in South Africa. AsIPA is an FABC initiative.


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South East Asia Meeting on Women: Final Statement

The final statement of the South East Asia meeting on "Challenges to Women in the Family in the 21st Century" which was held from January 27-31, 2008 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia is now available. The resolutions of the some 31 women participants, three bishops and one priest from six Asian countries underline the need to recognize the dignity of women but also to build "partnership and balance of responsibility for men and women in the family." Formation programs for the youth are encouraged as well as the need to develop "couple relationships." The conference was organized by the Women's Desk of the FABC-Office of Laity and Family.



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SMS for Radio Veritas Asia

Radio Veritas Asia, the continental short-wave radio station in the responsibility of the FABC, has in her almost 40 years history received thousands of letters as reactions to its programs in fifteen different languages. The Bangla service of the station beamed to Bangladesh and West Bengal, India has experienced a growing number of text messages (short messaging system or SMS) via cellphones instead of letters being mailed by post. The program has adopted even a special "mobile conference" using cellphones within the regular programming. This strength was confirmed in a recent Listeners' Meeting in Rajshaji, Bangladesh on Feb 8, 2008 with some 400 listeners and representatives of Listeners' Clubs present, 90 percent of whom being Muslims and mostly young people.


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FABC Central Committee Meeting 2008

A meeting of the Central Committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) is in preparation for April 2008 in Bangkok. One of the main points of the agenda is the preparation for the 9th Plenary Assembly of the Federation foreseen for January 2009 in Bangalore, India. Together with the Central Committee also the nine offices of the Federation will meet to report to the Central Committee but also to contribute to the Plenary 2009 with the theme "Living the Eucharist in Asia." The Office of Social Communication has already taken up the theme under communication perspective in the last annual meeting of Asian communication bishops in November. The Office of Education will follow in a similar way in 2008.

The Central Committee of the FABC is composed of the presidents of the member-bishops' conferences.


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"Eucharist as Communication" Statement

The final statement of last year's 12th annual Bishops' Meet November 26-December 1, 2007 in Bangkok on "Eucharist as Communication" is now available. Beside the introduction with general descriptions and insights of the concerns of the meeting, the document lists eleven recommendations. They underline, beside others, the need for a "Eucharistic communication spirituality," the communication dimension of the Eucharist in formation programs, and the promotion of the transforming power of the experience of the /Eucharist as communication/ in ministry and apostolate.



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FABC Paper no. 122 on "Caring for Priests" Published

Caring for Priests was the main theme of a consultation for Asian bishops organized by the FABC Office of Clergy from August 27-31, 2007 in Pattaya, Thailand. The three papers of this meeting are published in this edition of the FABC Papers. Fr Vimal Tirrimana, executive secretary of the FABC of Theological Concerns, writes about "Identity and Vision of Priesthood in the Asian Context." Bishop Vianney Fernando from Kandy, Sri Lanka speaks about "Relational Issues and Problems of Priests Affecting Pastoral Ministry and Priestly Life." Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, omi, the FABC general secretary, reflects about "Ongoing Formation and Helping Measures in Caring for Priests."

FABC Papers are designed to bring the thinking of Asian experts to a wider audience. They are available from the Central Secretariat in Hong Kong but are also listed and made available online via the website of the Union of Catholic Asia News.

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Challenges to Women


"Challenges to Women in the Family in the 21st Century" is the theme of the South-East Asia regional women assembly in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from January 27-February 1, 2008. Participants are coming from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and the Philippines. Topics include the various challenges of women in the family. The meeting is organized by the FABC Office of Laity and Family.


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Evangelizing Mission

"Relaunching Our Evangelizing Mission" is the title of a new publication of the FABC Office of Evangelization. The 238-page book contains the presentations of a national colloquium organized by the FABC Office for India in the follow up of the FABC-organized "Asian Mission Congress" 2006 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The main concern of the assembly, with representatives from different parts of India, is expressed in the subtitle calling the colloquium "A Renewed Encounter Between Gospel and Cultures in India." The final statement talks about "Rekindling the Fire," about "Culture as a Major Concern," the need for an "Incarnational Spirituality," together with a life-related Inculturation. "Evangelization of Cultures" means, the final statement says beside others, "evangelization of collective consciences of societies by bringing about a revolution of values in the light of the Gospel."

Re-Launching Our            Evangelizing Mission

The new book is edited by the former executive secretary of the FABC Office of Evangelization, Fr. Saturnino Dias, and published by Asian Trading Corporation in Bangalore, India.

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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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