Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - On August 22nd, at the Shrine of Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung in Bangkok, Thailand, the General Conference of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) will open, during which - after being postponed for two years due to the pandemic - this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Federation. The FABC was founded in 1970, on the occasion of Pope Paul VI's visit to Manila, when the Asian Bishops met for the first time. After the inaugural ceremony - which will be broadcast online in virtual form - the works of the actual General Assembly, in which all the bishops of the countries of the continent will take part, will be held in Bangkok from October 12th to 30th, 2022.
The Bishops intend to strengthen collegiality and reflect, pray and discuss what it means to be "Church in Asia", starting from the Second Vatican Council, up to the challenges of today. Guidelines for the coming years should also be discussed and developed.
With the opening of the General Conference on August 22, the FABC invites believers in Asia to participate in this important process and to pray until the General Assembly in October.
A prayer was published on the occasion of the "FABC 50", as the event is called, to "create awareness, interest and a sense of participation" in the various Asian countries.
"The Church is looking for new ways to continue to be at the service of the people and peoples of Asia. Let's reflect, develop ideas and participate together to be a new kind of Church in Asia. In the words of Pope Francis we are called to prepare the future", comments to Fides Archbishop Joseph Arshad, Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi and President of the Bishops' Conference of Pakistan, who will attend the upcoming FABC conference. The Archbishop invites the faithful to pray "so that the Church may continue, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to be a sign of God's love in Asia and in the world".
Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM speaking to Agenzia Fides emphasizes: "As Bishops of Pakistan, we promote the pastoral synodal approach of the Church. We work with the youth and the laity and do our best to bring them into leadership roles so that we grow in the faith and are witnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask the faithful to accompany the conference with their prayers". (PA/AG) (Agenzia Fides, 20/8/2022)