The 9th Plenary Assembly of the FABC opens on August 11, 2009 with a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Manila Cathedral presided by Francis Cardinal Arinze, Papal envoy to the assembly. In his homily, the cardinal brought special greetings and blessing of Pope Benedict XVI to this 9th Plenary of the Federation, which was actually founded in Manila in 1970.
The cardinal concelebrated with 6 cardinals and some 100 bishops and priests. In his homily, he underlined and elaborated on the theme of the assembly, “Living Eucharist in Asia.” He repeated the words of Pope Benedict asking the bishops, “in particular, to teach Christ’s faithful, the importance of participating in Eucharistic celebrations especially on Sundays, and of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation.” The Cardinal then made the sub themes of the assembly the main points of his homily, namely; 1. Transforming Power of the Holy Eucharist, 2. The Eucharistic Meal in the Service of Communion, 3. Rooted in the Eucharist, we meet other believers 4. Eucharist and Solidarity. 5. Eucharist and Evangelization.
The Eucharist empowers to live more worthily human lives, whether we are poor or rich. It entails communion in the teachings of the Apostles in the sacraments, and it is, as Pope Benedict XVI says, “the supreme sacramental manifestation of communion in the Church.” Finally, the Eucharist is a sacrament of love, a bond of charity and an invitation to harmonious living.” This is what the bishops will discuss in this Plenary. They will also immerse in the reality of Asian continent where 60 percent of all humankind lives and struggles and where Christian are very small minority.
The Assembly was also welcomed by the secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines government, Sec. Alberto Romulo, who considered it an honor for the Philippines – one of only two Catholic nations in Asia – to host the event. The Mayor of Manila, Alfredo Lim, also graced the opening, both at the Cathedral and in the program that followed in Pius XII Center. In his greetings, he specially remembered the late President Corazon Aquino as a living example of a true Christian, setting standards for the whole country and beyond. 110809