The first day of the FABC General Conference, 13th October 2022, began with
a celebration of the Eucharist by H.E. Orlando Cardinal Quevedo.
At St Michael’s Hall, H.E. Charles Cardinal Bo led the representatives in the Adsumus, and the Morning Prayer, hosted by the country of Philippines, was conducted by the Daughters of St Paul.
An introduction to Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Centre, the home of the General Conference, was provided by Fr Suphot Rueksujarit, Rector of Baan Phu Waan, who gave an insight into the vibrant history and mission of the Centre. Fr Nigel Barret, from the FABC Press Office, provided a technical orientation to the representatives.
H.E. Oswald Cardinal Gracias, providing context for the creation and purpose of the FABC, outlined the proceedings and structure for the upcoming days of the Conference. He asked the gathered representatives to join in a short remembrance for those lost to the Covid 19 pandemic, and closed with a small prayer, with wishes for a fruitful Conference.
H.E. Cardinal Gracias also introduced the members, and invited input on, the commissions of the FABC; the Commissions involved in the planning and organisation of the General Conference, and the Commission for the Final Message and Commission for the Final Document. H.E. Cardinal Bo added words of encouragement and invoked the intercession of the Holy Spirit to guide the representatives of the Conference. The first segment of the conference, ‘Visiting Asia’, began with reports on the emerging realities from the countries of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Nepal and the three Rites from the country of India (Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Latin Rites).
The representatives of each country highlighted the various concerns and challenges faced by the Church and community, speaking with passion about their histories and the work of the Church. Showing support, concern, and seeking understanding from each other, the representatives will work together to find a path forward, fulfilling the purpose of the conference.
Aloysius John, of Caritas Internationalis, gave the gathered audience an overview of Caritas’ purpose throughout Asia, and the challenges set before the organisation; carrying out their mission in a post-pandemic world, and what role Caritas and its network could play as part of the Church. The session for the first day concluded with representatives breaking into groups for the workshop discussions and reflections, based on all they had learned from the reports. H.E. Cardinal Bo led the gathered audience in the evening prayer, bringing the day to a close.