Overview of Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) and the work of Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan for the promotion of FABC in Pakistan.

By: Alishbah Javed Akhtar (Directress-MAP)

I am feeling great honor to write an article on Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC). I am very thankful to Fr. Emmanuel Asi, Chairperson, Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) who supported and guided me to write on FABC. Through this, I would like to share with the readers an overview of FABC and work of Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan for the promotion of FABC in Pakistan.

FOUNDATION

Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences was founded in December 1970, on the occasion of Pope Paul VI’s visit to Manila. 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 gave birth to the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC).

MEMBERS

FABC has nineteen (19) Bishops’ Conferences from the following countries: Bangladesh,       India- CBCI, India – Syro-Malabar, India – Syro– Malankara, India – Latin Rite, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos-Cambodia , Malaysia- Singapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan – ROC, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam.

FABC has eight (8) association members, namely: Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

STRUCTURE

FABC function through a hierarchy of structure consisting of Plenary Assembly, the central committee the Standing Committee and Central Secretariat

The Plenary Assembly

The supreme body of FABC, is composed of all president of member-conference of their officially designated episcopal alternates, Bishop-delegates elected by the member-conferences, associate members and members of Standing Committee. The Plenary Assembly meets in ordinary session every four years.

The Central Committee

Composed of the presidents of member-conferences or their officially designated episcopal alternates, oversees the implementations and instruction of Plenary Assembly. This committee meets every two years.

The Standing Committee

Composed of five Bishops elected from different parts of Asia, implements the resolutions and instructions of the Central Committee. It provides direct guidance and support to the Central Committee. It provides direct guidance and support to Central Secretariat and other organs of FABC.

The Central Secretariat

The Central Secretariat is the principal service agency and an instrument of coordination within the FABC and with outside offices and agencies. To assist the Central Secretariat are the following Offices each handling specialized ministry / area of concern: Office of Human Development, Office of Social Communication, Office of Laity and Family, Office of Theological Concerns, Office of Education and Faith Formation, Office of Educational and Interreligious Affaires, Office of Evangelization, Office of Clergy, and Office of Consecrated life.

The Central Secretariat is the principal service agency of FABC and an instrument of co-ordination both within FABC and with outside offices and agencies.

The Functions of the Central Secretariat will include the following:

  • To serve an organ of continuing contact and collaboration among the member conferences;
  • To be an organ of exchange of information and experience;
  • To promote studies and research on problems common to member conferences, especially in the fields of evangelization, cultural, adaptation, justice and peace, and other aspects of total human developments;
  • To establish Liason with related pontifical organizations and international studies;
  • To sponsor conferences, consultation and seminars on relevant issues;
  • To sponsor dialogue with other Christians, followers of the great religions of Asia, and of all men and women of good will, in pursuance of mutual understanding and truth vis-à-vis the common problem of Asia.

FABC IMPORTANT INSTITUTES

BISA : Bishops Institute for Social Action

BILA: Bishops Institute for Lay Apostolate

BIMA : Bishops Institute for Missionary Apostolate

BIRA : Bishops Institute for Interreligious Affairs

Theological Advisory Commission (TAC)

Office of Theological Concern (OTC)

PLENARY ASSEMBLIES

FABC Evangelization in Modern Day Asia (Threefold Dialogue), in 1974 at Taipei, Taiwan.

FABC Prayer – The Life of the Church of Asia, in 1978 at Calcutta, India.

FABC The Church– The Community of Faith in Asia, in 1982 at Samphran, Thailand.

FABC The Vocation and Mission of Laity in the Church and in the World of Asia, in 1986 at Tokyo, Japan.

FABC The Emerging Challenges to the Church in Asia in the 1990s: A call to Respond, A New Way of Being Church, in 1990 at Bandung, Indonesia.

FABC (25 Anniversary) Christian Discipleship in Asia Today: Service to Life (Five Pastoral Priorities: Family, Women and Girl, Youth, Ecology, Displaced Persons) in 1995 at Manila, Philippines.

FABC A Renewed Church in Asia: Mission of Love and Service, in 2000 at Samphran, Thailand.

FABC The Asian Family Toward a Culture of Integral Life, in 2004 at Daejeon, S. Korea.

FABC Living the Eucharist in Asia, in 2009 at Manila, Philippines.

FABC at Fort Years: Responding to the Challenges of Asia– A New Evangelization Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

FABC The Catholic Family in Asia: Domestic Church of the Poor on a Mission of Mercy, in 2016 at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

FABC 50 Journeying Together as people of Asia “And they went a different way” (Mt 2:12).

FUNCTIONS OF FABC

The functions of FABC shall be:

  • To study ways and means of promoting the apostolate, especially in the light of Vatican II and post-conciliar official documents, according to the needs of Asia.
  • To work for end to intensify the dynamic presence of the Church in total development of the peoples of Asia.
  • To help in the study of problems of common interest to the Church in Asia and to investigate possibilities of solutions and coordinated action.
  • To promote inter-communication and cooperation among local Churches and bishops of Asia.
  • To render service to episcopal conferences of Asia in order to help them meet better the of people of God.
  • To foster a more ordered development of organization and movements in the Church at the international level.
  • To foster ecumenical and interreligious communication and collaboration.

MAJOR THEMES

Non-doctrinal character. These are concerns, orientations and guidelines. These are sharing of experiences and learning process, awareness. The major emphasis is on the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the Churches in Asia. The major themes are Mission, Ministries, Dialogue, Communion and Evangelization.

MINISTRY AND MINISTRIES

  • Ministries demanded by the earthly realities and demands of Mission in Asia
  • Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Charism
  • Services and Ministries
  • Ministries of Lay People (13)
  • Formation for Ministries of Lay People
  • Increasing involvement of Lay People (Women, Youth…etc.) in the Church
  • Formation: Priests, Seminaries, Religious
  • On-Going Formation and Renewal
  • Consecrated Life in the Church of Con temporary Asia

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

The Local Church

Focus of Evangelization in Asia today is The Building up of the Local Church

The Local Church must be Incarnate, Indigenous, A Church of the people.

Laity the “Marginalized Majority in the Church

The Role of Women in the Church

Youth- The Struggle for life

A liberative way of being Church in Asia

Integral Human Development

Signs of hope in our Communities in Asia

Signs of presence of the Spirit and renewed power of the Word of God

Participation and Co-Responsibility (Collegiality) as Principle

MEDIA AND MASS COMMUNICATION

Proclamation of the Gospel in Asia

BASIC THEOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS

a. The Universality of Grace

b. The Jesus of the Gospel and the Cosmic Christ

c. The Final Stage of the History of Salvation is now underway

d. The “relatively” of the Church

PUBLICATION

FABC publications are suitable for pastoral workers but also researchers who would like to know FABC’s stances on issues pertaining to religion, faith, cultures, and societies in Asia.

This listing has nine sections:

  • FABC in general
  • Social Communication
  • Evangelization
  • Interreligious Dialogue
  • Human Development (Justice of Peace)
  • Laity and Family
  • Education and Faith Formation
  • Theological Concerns
  • Clergy

FABC also publishes FABC PAPERS to bring to wider audience critical analyses of problems facing the Church in Asia.

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) is a fruit of FABC and working in Pakistan since 1989 for the empowerment of Laity. Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) is peoples’ forum for contextual Theologies in Pakistan. Since its birth in February 1989, Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) has been committed to empower laity in the Church by providing them training and opportunities for appropriate theological formation through seminars, consultations, training programs, and workshops.

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) also publishes books in Urdu (the national language of Pakistan) around the Themes of Third World Contextual Theologies, local spiritualities, history and culture, social teachings of the church and global human issues.

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan’s (MAP) publications also include Pakistani reflection on struggle for liberation, reports of seminars and consultations organized by Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT), Asian Theological Conferences (ATC), Federation of Asia Bishops (FABC) and Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP).

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) follows and inspired by the teachings of Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences and Vatican Council II. MAP has keen interest to introduce church teachings to the lay person. It gives them voice to think about the church perspective in broader way.

Revisiting Teachings of Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences (FABC)

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) launched a four years (2018-2021) program a series of seminar in different catholic dioceses of Pakistan. The following heads covers the required topics for seminars in different diocese. The FABC papers introduced by Clergy, lay women and men. Solemn opening was held at Theological Institute for Laity by Archbishop Joseph Arshad.

Dioceses Dates

Solemn Inauguration-At TIL, Sadhoki 19-21 April,2018

Archdiocese of Karachi 22-26 August,2018

Diocese of Quetta 22-26 May,2019

Diocese of Hyderabad 07-11 November, 2019

Diocese of Faisalabad 23-27 April,2020

Diocese of Multan 05-90 November,2020

Archdiocese of Lahore 22-27 April,2021

Diocese of Rawalpindi-Islamabad 23-27 September,2021

Solemn Closing-at TIL, Sadhoke 11-14 November,2021

 

Following topics were discussed during four years project:

  • Theological Concerns (Christology, Ecclesiology)
  • Evangelization and Mission
  • Education and Faith formation
  • Inter Religious Dialogue
  • Laity and Family
  • Human Development (Justice and Peace Issues
  • Social Communication

MAP celebrated Golden Jubilee of Vatican Council II 1962-2012. It was a four years project for seven dioceses of Pakistan.

MAP is one of the institutes in Pakistan who is working to introduce teachings of Vatican council II and documents of FABC in Pakistan. MAP has a plan to celebrate 60 year (1962-2022) of Vatican Council II in October,2022 at Theological Institute for Laity.

ALL Forum and MAP both are working for the empowerment of Laity and working in collaboration since many years. May God bless both institutes for their fruitful journey for the empowerment of laity.

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) organized a Four Days Live-In Seminar on Art and Spirituality

Maktaba-e-Anaveem Pakistan (MAP) organized a Four Days Live-In Seminar on Art and Spirituality in collaboration Hast-o- Neest (Institute of Traditional Studies and Art) from 9- 11 December 2021 at Theological Institute for Laity (TIL), G. T. Road Sadhoke, Distt: Gujranwala. The main theme of the seminar was “Sacred Art and Spirituality”. Total 45 participants from different places and religions attended the seminar.

The Aims and Objectives of the program of the seminar was led by Mr. Kamil Khan Mumtaz. He said that prejudice is far from spirituality and through these seminars we can bring people towards spirituality. Nowadays, when it comes to religions, everyone is running to kill each other. But when it comes to art and science, everyone agrees and accepts each other.

The main purpose of every art in all societies and all over the world is to bring it to reality. The purpose of art is to draw mankinds attention to reality, which leads us to follow to God. Adding on He said that according to Christian tradition, respect for other religions is a common duty of all of us and through it, we can reduce violence.

The role of religion in society is to bring God among the people with its reality. The creator of the universe from the beginning has called the environment heaven (Firdaus or Aden). God has given it to mankind as a protector. This land is turning into barrenness of unrest. We have to perform our responsibility sincerely with God. We have to strive not only for peace but also to play an important role in reforming and modernizing humanity. No religion in the world can monopolize God. No religion can discriminate against God by measuring its beliefs, principles, rules, acts of piety, and faith truths.

Doing these kinds of actions that religious exploitation of God and religious violence. Such platforms help us to become better human beings and believers. We human beings must strive for interfaith understanding, human unity, solidarity and cosmic balance and peace.

The seminar was divided in five Sessions as follows:

First Session: God, Man & Cosmos

Second Spirituality: Christian Traditions

Third: The World of Today- “The End of World”

Fourth Session: Folk Music

Fifth Session: Views from the participant