The Office for Consecrated Life of the FABC, the Benjamin of the nine Offices, formally established in 2004, has as its main purpose to contribute to the creation of an ambiance conducive to the building up of a participatory Church.
The Office for Consecrated Life of the FABC, the Benjamin of the nine Offices, formally established in 2004, has as its main purpose to contribute to the creation of an ambiance conducive to the building up of a participatory Church. It is to support and facilitate the work of the Bishops as they strive to fulfill their role in accord with the model of the Good Shepherd.
Its membership consists of: Religious Institutes wholly directed to contemplation contemplatives), Religious Institutes dedicated to apostolic works, Secular Institutes, Societies of Apostolic Life.
The administration of the Office is carried out by the Commission appointed by the Central Committee of the FABC and consists of a Chairperson who is a Bishop, three or four other Bishops, and an Executive Secretary who is not a Bishop.
The activities carried out by this office include the organization of meetings for Bishops and members of the Consecrated Life, such as congresses, symposia, etc. Documentation on relevant topics as provided for those concerned from time to time.
Personal contact with various Bishops and Episcopal Conferences and Conferences of Major Religious Superiors by the Executive Secretary is an important part of the ongoing communication with the hierarchy and religious.
As time goes on and the Office develops, more activities can be added.
The Role of Religious in the Building Up of the Local Church in Asia
From 19th-22nd July in the Year of the Eucharist 2005, we 15 Bishops, 53 Women Religious, 27 Men Religious and 7 Lay Persons coming from 20 countries of the Asian continent met at the Salesian Retreat Centre in Hua Hin, Thailand for the Symposium on “The Role of Religious in the Building Up of the Local Church in Asia”, its first, organized by the FABC Office for Consecrated Life (OCL).
Inspired and challenged by the Holy Spirit at work among us at this Symposium, we commit ourselves to pursue the building of communities imbued with the spirituality of communion under the fraternal guidance of our Bishops so that we can become credible and effective witnesses as well as courageous prophets in the building up of the Local Church in different situations of Asia.
Hence we resolve to:
- establish a clear, direct and personal communication at appropriate levels in the diocese in order to assure a participatory and collaborative Local Church;
- promote constant dialogue between Bishops and Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
- foster understanding and esteem among priests, religious and laity in the pastoral ministry;
- promote and incarnate values that sustain the human spirit and enable us to realize our call to holiness;
- enhance and strengthen greater knowledge, esteem and promotion of all forms of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, particularly that of Religious Sisters and Brothers;
- assume the attitude of continuous, humble, and loving dialogue with the poor, living traditions, cultures, religions and life-realities of the people;
- undertake positive, critical and dialogical discernment of cultures and religions in order to realize true inculturation of charisms;
- discover and identify the cultural, transcultural and countercultural elements(1) particular to each Institute’s charism in order to make a unique contribution to the Local Church;
- recognize and uphold Asian characteristics and values that are integral to the proclamation of the Gospel;
- put the Institutes’ particular charism at the service of the Local Church;
- engage in a mutual “interchange of gifts”(2) to foster greater collaboration and participation in the pastoral and missionary calling of the Local Church.
We pray that this reflection will help us understand more deeply the important and indispensable role that we play in communion with the Bishops, Diocesan Clergy and Laity in the Local Church. May we always be in profound communion with the chaste, poor, and obedient Christ. May we, like Mary, be ever open and attentive to the Holy Spirit who is our constant companion and guide in this challenging journey towards the building of the Kingdom of God.