Category Solidarity & Activities

ALL Forum Online Course for Pemuda Katolik – Indonesia

ALL Forum successfully completed 4 sessions of Online Course for members of Pemuda Katolik in Indonesia. The Online Course was lead by Fr.Heru Prakosa SJ with the main theme “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue for Common Good: A Challenge for Catholic Youths in the Indonesian Context. Week wise we dealt with ‘Youth extremism’ in the first session, ‘Globalization and the role of media’ in the second session, ‘Significance of Interreligious education’ during the third session and ‘Challenges and opportunities: Indonesian youths and citizenship’ in the last session.

Every week around 25 participants actively joined and spent an effective 50 minutes of Lecture which was followed by 30-40 minutes of open forum for discussion. During the second and third session Globalization and the role of media and ‘Significance of Interreligious education’, two Muslim guest responders Nugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedy were invited to participate and share their views so that we could enrich our learning experiences. The participants found this format more interesting and useful as they were able to directly ask their concerns and discuss with Nugroho Noto Susanto and Kyai Ahmad Suaedy followed by their 30 minutes of sharing. All recordings of the Online Course can be found on Youtube Channel @ALL Forum Asian Lay Leaders. The reading material can also be found in the Archive section of our website. Please subscribe to stay updated and connected with ALL Forum.*

ALL Forum Moving School Bangladesh 2022

In August 2022 ALL forum facilitated Moving School in Bangladesh with the theme theme “Youth for Interreligious/Intercultural Dialogue and Collaboration Promoting Religio-Cultural Pluralism for Public Good” along with Bangladesh Catholic Students Movement (BCSM) students.

It was a very interesting experience to understand how Interreligious interactions take palace in communities, especially, among indigenous communities who have adopted Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Around 45 participants actively participated during this Moving School in Bangladesh. On the first day during community immersion the participants divided into 4 groups visited 4 different areas viz. Madhupur in Thangall District, Nalitabari and Jenaigati both in Sherpur District and Kalmakanda in Netrokona District.

Some participants of Moving School Bangladesh 2022

 

The first group visited Madhupur in Thangall District were engaged in learning about the land grabbing issues faced by the indigenous community living there by the Bangladesh forest department for the purpose of lake digging. Another group visited Nalitabari in Sherpur District to engage with three indigenous communities, especially to learn how they are able to live harmoniously amid preexisting cultural and religious differences between Koch, Hajong and Garo communities. The third group visited Jhenaigati area also in Sherpur District to understand and learn about the land grabbing issues and importantly about deforestation and rampant destruction by wild elephants in the area. And the last group of participants visited Kalmakanda in Netrokona District to spend time with the local communities and learn from their experiences when they were drastically affected by the recent July Floods in Bangladesh and also understand the issue of sand mining from river.

Followed by the Immersion, participants were engaged in 5 workshops spanning over 3 days. We dealt with thematic areas such as “Vicious Circle of Poverty and Corruption in Bangladesh: What Could, or Should Youth do about it?” With the morning session lead by Mr. Apurbo Mrong, the Regional Director, Caritas Mymensingh; who dealt with “Reason Why Poverty and Corruption Worsened in Bangladesh Today: Role of Civil Society including Church and FBOs” followed by the afternoon session lead by Br.Guillaume de Wolf, a Taize Brother and Social Worker; on “Promoting Religious Tolerance and Cultural Pluralism for the Peace between Religions and in the Society.

 

On the second day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area “Youth for Promoting “Synodality” or Synodal Church for Human Rights and Interreligious Dialogue/Cooperation with the morning session lead by Mr. Paul Hwang, Director, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Significance of Synodality and Its Implementation for Interreligious/ Intercultural Citizenship for Common Good followed by the afternoon session lead by Mr. Neilan D’souza, Coordinator, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum; on “Youth as Advocate for Human Rights especially Women in Bangladesh Co-facilitated by Mrs. Rosey Rongma, from Caritas Mymensingh.

On the third day of workshops we dealt with the thematic area The Cry of the Poor the Cry of the Earth: Justice and Peace for the Humanity and the Earth” with the morning session lead by Mrs. Suborna Poli Drong, the Executive Director, Shanti Mitra Somaj Kolyan Songshtha; on “Promoting Harmony and Reconciliation between the Nature and the Humanity by Practicing ‘Ecological Conversion’ and Sustainable Development in Asia”. We ended the workshops with a thorough synthesis which helped the participants connect and realise the need and importance of likely workshops. We closed the program with a closing mass followed by a Cultural evening where the Bangladeshi Youth transformed the evening with their wonderful talents through various song, music and dance performances.*

ALL Forum Successfully Completed Moving School Indonesia 2022 & Online Course for MAP

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, ALL Forum had to bring all of its physical programs to a stand still; ending with Moving School in Vietnam back in February of 2020. But now, Finally after 2 years ALL Forum was successful in organising its week long physical program called Moving School in Bogor, Jakarta, Indonesia. Moving School Indonesia 2022 was a great success, this time it was based on the theme “Synodal Church for Interreligious and Intercultural Citizenship in Indonesia”, held during 17th to 22nd July. We kicked off on the 17th with the opening ceremony held in the evening, post dinner and Introduced ALL Forum and our Moving School Program, Our internal policies including child safeguarding, the rundown of activities and exposure sites. On day 2 we set off for immersion by dividing ourselves into four learning groups and visited the following organisations and spots to engage with them and spend time learning how they function in society.

Morning prayer before start the program.

Morning prayer before start the program.

The first learning group visited Pesantren As-Salam Kampung Ingris, in Gunung Geulis; This Pesantren is indeed special, it is not only a place for religion study, but also international and modern style teaching. Although it is a Pesantran which is run by Muslims the land on which it was build and the fund including its construction was contributed by a Christian family. This place shares deep interreligious harmony and is quite important to learn more about them. The second learning group visited The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) & the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; AMAN is a Non-profit organization that focuses on women and peace. AMAN has been a pioneer in peace education for women at the grassroots, conducting community organizing through women’s groups and conducting national and international advocacy related to Women, Peace and Security.

Fr. Heru Prakosa is delivering lecture in Moving School Indonesia 2022

Fr. Heru Prakosa is delivering lecture in Moving School Indonesia 2022 

The group that visited AMAN also visited Ahmadiyya Muslim Community a revivalist movement in Islam, emphasizing the basic teachings of peace, love, justice and the sanctity of life. The third learning group visited the Indonesian Parliamentary Concerned Community Forum (FORMAPPI) which is a non-profit organization that highlights the performance of parliamentary institutions in Indonesia. FORMAPPI was founded in March 2001 with a background of concern over the development of the parliament (DPR/MPR) which tends to be arbitrary and so dominant over other political institutions. The fourth learning group visited the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) which was born in the midst of the reformation turmoil in 1998. It was fronted by several YLBHI activists. ICW stands with the belief that corruption must be eradicated because corruption has impoverished and undermined justice.

Some if participants with the children from Pesantren Assalam

Some 0f participants with the children from Pesantren As-Salam

The following days after exposure we had a series of five workshops; the 36 participants found the workshops very enriching because of the matters that were discussed. The First session was on “Dialogue with Muslim for promoting Intercultural Spirituality and Citizenship in Indonesia and Asia” by Fr. Heru Prakosa; The second by Ms. Ruby Kholifah from AMAN on “Working for Women’s Rights or Gender Justice Interreligiously in Indonesia and Asia. On the second day Mr. Lucius Karus, FORMAPPI lead the opening session on “Role of Catholic Youth Movements for Democratization in Indonesia Inter-religiously” followed by “Why the gap between the rich and the poor becomes polemic: Empowering Youth and Civil Groups including FABs for a Better World?” by Mr. Daniel Awigra from HRWG. And on the final day Dr.Paul Hwang on “Synodal Church or Synodality in the Final Document and the Papal Exhortation Querida Amazonia for the Better Church & World in Asia”. The program concluded with an enriching cultural night where all the participants showcased their talents and culture in various forms like dance, theatre, poetry, comedy and other forms.

Participants with their own traditional wear before culture night.

Participants with their own traditional wear before culture night.

On a similar note ALL Forum concluded its online course for MAP – Pakistan on Synodality with a special discussion session. The discussion session was very fruitful and we were able to understand various perspectives on Synodality emerging from Pakistan. You can catch up on all sessions of Synodality Online Course on our Youtube Channel.*

Woori Theology Institute (WTI) Conducted a Monthly Online Seminar on June 2022

Woori Theology Institute (WTI) conducted a monthly online seminar on “Peace on the Korean Peninsula beyond Discrimination and Exclusion” in Seoul on June 28, 2022. The speaker working for the Committee for Reconciliation of Korean People in Masan Diocese in the local Church, focused on how to achieve reconciliation and peace between the two Korean groups, how to heal the deep wounds caused by war and division, and furthermore, how to cultivate a spirituality of peace that goes beyond discrimination and exclusion in Korean society. It is no exaggeration to say that the deepest wounds in current Korean society system from the forced division of the countries and confrontation between them.

Due to war and division, the South and the North Koreans have expressed feelings of hate and exclusion that are close to a curse between the peoples. In fact, deep-rooted feuds between peoples of the same ethnic group underlie all the feelings of ‘hate and exclusion’ that surround Koreans. Also, within South Korean society, many people were sacrificed and had to walk the path of hardship due to the so-called ‘red gang’. The authoritative regimes for some 70 years after the war have used and maximized the ‘redneck or spy device’ against ordinary people especially in South Korea which killed all the political opponents until today. Now with the increasing number of North Korean defectors, the question of how to well embrace them is emerging.

Two days later, a Symposium was held in Seoul on June 30, 2022 by the Woori Theology Institute (WTI) and the Korea Catholic Culture Research Institute. Themed “The Korean Catholic Church in the Post-Covid19 Era”, the joint conference was firstly conducted offline since the deadly infected disease has spread all over the world in 2020. There were three presentations with the themes of “Reflection on Korean Religions and the Korean Catholic Church during the Covid19 Pandemic”; “Post-Covid19 Era, the Path of the Catholic Church in Korea”; “Theological Reflection on the Covid19 Pandemic” each. The three talks with different approach from religious studies, pastoral angle and theological reflection respectively had 6 commentators including two from Italy and the US. Dr. Paul Hwang who is senior researcher of WTI and the director of ALL Forum joined as moderator and commentator in the seminar and the symposium respectively.

ALL Forum Online Course on Synodality for Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP)

Starting in the month of June, ALL Forum organised online course on Synodality for 32 participants from Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP). This online course is currently ongoing and has completed all of its 4 sessions. During this course we have been mainly discussing on Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church (SLMC) the document released by the Pontifical International Theological Commission in 2018.

During the first 2 weeks we have discussed chapter 1 to 4 of the SLMC document, covering Meaning of Synodality; Synodality in the Bible and early church; Vatican II and Synodality; Theological basis of Synodality; Implementing Synodality; People of God and Synodality; Synodality on All Levels; Synodal Renewal of the Church; Spirituality and Communal Discernment. In the 3rd week we engaged in learning about “Synodality in Amazon synod and Thereafter” understanding the Preparation of Amazon Synod and Its “Working Document”(Instrumentum Laboris); Final Document and Its Significance; Opposition to the Synod: Vatican’s Response to the Synod: Foundation of ECA, Ecclesial Conference of Amazon.

During the 4th week we observed the “Possible Cases Synodal Churches in the World” diving deeper in understanding the Cases of Infanta and PCP II in Philippines & CCRI in India; Chilean Church and Peoples’ Synod; Sex Scandals and Peoples Synod in the US; Women driven Synod “Root & Branch” in the UK; Synodal Path in Germany; Synodality as a Way of Church Reform. We will also be having a 5th week session which be dedicated mainly for discussion so that we reach a better understanding of Synodality. Until now the recording of the sessions are available on our Youtube channel. Please be subscribed to it so that you will receive updates as and when new content is available.

LAMIN held the Graduation Ceremony for its 2021-2022 Batch

The Lay Mission Institute-LAMIN held the Graduation Ceremony in Archbishop’s House, Yangon on 15 May 2022. There were totally 69 graduates from classes/Academic Year of 2021 and 2022. Students comprised of Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindu. A huge thank you to all who are walking our theological journey.

Lay Mission Institute-LAMIN held the Graduation Ceremony in Archbishop’s House, Yangon on 15 May 2022.

LAMIN also extends its gratitude to Cardinal Charles Bo, SDB, DD for continuous support and for delivering graduation inauguration speech. The 2022–2023 Academic Year will begin June 2022.

Asian Sacred Wisdom (ASW) Organizes Webinar on “Towards Indigenous higher Education? The Decolonial Potential of Intercultural Universities in Mexico

Asian Sacred Wisdom (ASW) Organizes Webinar

Asian sacred wisdom had organised a lecture on the “Towards Indigenous higher Education? The Decolonial Potential of Intercultural Universities in Mexico” on the 24th of April, where around 15 participants from across Asia had joined. This interesting lecture was lead by Dr.Gunther Dietz. Gunther Dietz grew up in southern Chile and in northern Germany.

Asian Sacred Wisdom (ASW) Organizes Webinar

He studied anthropology, philosophy and philology in the Universities of Göttingen and Hamburg. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Hamburg University. He has been teaching at the Universities of Hamburg, Granada (Spain), Ghent (Belgium), Aalborg (Denmark), Veracruz (Mexico) and Deusto (Spain).

Asian Sacred Wisdom (ASW) Organizes Webinar

Currently he is a research professor in Intercultural Studies at Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa (Mexico), where he works on multiculturalism, ethnicity, interculturality and intercultural / inter-religious education. His current project “Indigeneity and Pathways through Higher Education in Mexico” is carried out jointly by the University of Bath (UK), by UNAM and Universidad Veracruzana.

The Lecture elaborated on the problems faced by indigenous youth due to the practices/structures of the education system in Mexico and the efforts of Universidad Veracruzana along with local & regional NGOs and Social Movements in developing ‘Intercultural Universities’ for the upliftment and development of IP’s in Mexico. Lets look forward for the recording of this interesting session to be uploaded so that we can revisit and learn to adopt such projects in our own regions where need be.

“The Disability of Church Without the Disabled” Webinar by Woori Theological Institute (WTI)

Webinar by Woori Theological Institute (WTI)

This is the voice of Na Jong-cheon, who has been blind for more than 60 years, at an online seminar by Woori Theology Institute (WTI) on April 19. Although it may be due to my lack of knowledge of the pastoral area, I have never heard of such a clear and extraordinary pick-up of the present of the church’s ministry for the disabled people.

It was surprising, indeed, to hear what he said by melting his arduous life and faith into the Bible and Catholic Social Teachings while listening to the lecture of him. It was as if he wrote “a well-organized laity theology on the disabled.” The same was true of coherent words from him such as “Rights for Church Life”, “Mutual Evangelization”, “Spiritual Disability”, and “Disability of the Church without Presence of the disabled.”

In addition, it should be considered one of the “voices of the periphery” which the synod of People of God is to listen to. Although we have discussed and planed to have a series of online seminars in the first half of this year with “discrimination” as the main topic, Na Jong-cheon’s
story was more precise than expected demanding more concentration.

One of them is the term “Rights to Faith Life.” The Church life that has been taken for granted
to many church goers but not to Na who has seen a right to be restored which would galvanize many faithfuls for sure. Indeed, it was amazing to have approached Church life as one of the important rights and struggled to realize it.

What he wants to convey is broad, but the central message is not complicated. “The disabled live proudly in the region with ordinary believers and furthermore with residents in the same region, not in quarantine”, he pointed out. Therefore, he stressed out that it is wrong to create a separate parish for the audiovisual disabled or the deaf. This judgment seems to have originated from his experience rather than any theory.

In 1979, he established the “Catholic Blind Mission of Korea” and worked hard to expand it to each parish and nationwide. And 12 years ago, he carried out welfare activities for the blind based on the parish near his home. As a result, in 2019, it was possible to establish a disabled apostolic organization. His emphasis on “Disabled Ministry” rather than “a Devotional Group” is deeply related to his suggestion of “mutual Evangelization” between physically disabled people and ordinary people who may have mental or spiritual problems. In short, the visually impaired are not the object of benefits, but the subject of evangelization.

Therefore, the meaning of learning and practicing with each other as equal partners in the realization of the Reign of God in his speech is permeated in a mild but indomitable manner. Now he proposes a Theological Institute for Disabled. This is because in order to establish a realistic and reasonable pastoral policy, it is urgent to transfuse new blood to the Korean church, which is barren of theology and pastoral backups for disabled people.

IMCSAP webinar on ‘Empowering Women in the Church and Society

On the 31st of march 2022 International Movement of Catholic Students hosted a Webinar with the theme ‘Empowering Women in the Church and Society’. The resource person for the webinar Professor Dr. Ana Maria Bidegain, from the International President, International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA-Pax Romana) shared her insight on three key aspects.

  • Equality between man and woman – a central dimension of Christianity: Biblical perspective and the teaching of the church.
  • What empowerment is and how the forms of power in the society and church work
  • The experience of IMCS building a Synodal Church has allowed for women’s empowerment.

She further explained on how the ‘Rise Of Women’ in church and society is a ‘Sign Of The Time’ and also expressed how the movements have given birth to a ‘New Theology’ entailing a pedagogical and theological maturity which is the basis of Liberation theology and also of Catholic Feminist Theology.

The webinar was joined by around 35 catholic Youth from Asia. This Webinar also marks the launch of IMCS AP’s Comission on Women Empowerment And Gender Equity.

Woori Theology Institute (WTI) held a Webinar in Solidarity with Oversee Muslim students in Korea

On February 22, WTI held an online seminar in which it invited Abu Masoon Abdul Yekeen, a Muslim student from Nigeria, in Kyungbuk National University to listen to what he and his colleague students have been experiencing around reconstruction of a small mosque for them. He has explained what happened.

Reconstruction work has been suspended for a year due to the strong objection and protest of some residents near the mosque whose ownership belongs to Muslim students. The university has Muslim students from various countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan. Abdul Yeekin is one of the 150 graduate students taking mater’s or doctoral programs in it. In 2012, they rented a space near the university and used it as a prayer room.

In 2014, because of the rental fee was sharply raised they decided to buy a house around the mosque with the money they had saved every month to prepare a better place for their religious activities. But the old house was not good to be used as a Islamic center because it used to leak during rains and had poor heating infrastructure as it was too old and small. In 2020, it was decided to purchase a building near the center and then proceed to reconstruct the building. It was smooth until the stage of demolishing and reconstructing the identical building.

However, on February, 2021, residents filed a petition in the district office against the reconstruction of the mosque. On the following day, the district office released an order of suspension of the reconstruction work. Residents said that many people would come to the mosque making lots of noise and bad smell coming from very strange culture for Koreans. They are also worried that when the Islamic temple is built, it will become a Muslim village which would threaten to ruin their life there. Concerned, the Muslim students designed the building with the sound and smell proof device and said that they will offer the joiners to stay inside the temple only during Ramadan. But negotiations did not take place.

Pastor Park Sung-min, a commentator in the webinar, who has been in solidarity with the Muslim students, said that it is “discrimination” that the district office ordered the suspension of construction just one day after residents filed a petition against the reconstruction of the mosque. He said that it would have been different if it were a church, a Buddhist temple, or a cathedral, not a Muslim mosque. Their opposition and conflict has been deepened due to the administrative order of the office. He said that “If religion and race are different, can’t they be neighbors?” is a key question. If we can’t accept the Muslim students as our neighbors, it’s like breaking our community. Rather, creating a community with diversity is what we should aim for, he stressed.