In 1970, on the occasion of Pope Paul VI’s visit to Manila (November 28 – 30), the Asian bishops came together for the first time. From that meeting flowed the desire to strengthen the collegiality among them and a need to define and articulate what it means to be ‘Church in Asia’ in the spirit of Vatican II. This, then, gave birth to the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference - FABC.
The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of that significant moment. To observe this landmark, the FABC intends to gather in a General Conference to commemorate and to chart the direction for the coming years.
The underlying premise of this Conference would be to reflect on the key questions:
How can the Church in Asia continue to become ‘Good News’ in light of the emerging realities?
How the FABC could more effectively serve and support the Bishops and their Conferences in Asia?
How can the Church in our continent contribute to a better Asia?
As the FABC celebrates 50 years of its existence, it desires to follow Jesus more faithfully in our times. The Gospel passage (Mt 2:12) forms an integral part of the infancy narrative and grounds this desire for renewal.
“Wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage’.”
(MT 2: 1-2)
The General Conference begins with honouring the journey and the “stars” that have guided our path for the past 50 years.
“When King Herod heard this he was perturbed and so was the whole of Jerusalem.”
This verse invites the Asian church to reflect on, what “troubles” us concerning the emerging realities in Asia.
“... And falling to their knees they did him homage.”
Amid the emerging realities, we need to keep our focus on the person of Jesus, who then leads us to steer the Church through the different challenges confronting the Asian peoples.