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FABC's five decades of existence: Journey of gratefulness, grace, says Cardinal Bo

Cardinal Bo delivering the Inaugural Address at the FABC 50 years celebrations in Bangkok on August 22.

The President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, said FABC's 50th year has been a time of grace and thanksgiving.

"Praise God the Almighty, who has guided the church through all these years. Asia is the cradle of many religions," said Cardinal Bo in the inaugural speech about the birth and FABC milestones on August 22.

The FABC was established in 1970 when 180 Catholic Bishops of Asia met in Manila, the Philippines, for a week. At the conclusion of the summit, Saint Pope Paul VI attended. At this meeting, 180 bishops set up a permanent way for the Episcopal Conferences of Asia to work together.

"Fifty years ago, the Asian Bishops came together in a wonderful Pentecostal moment provided by the Second Vatican Council to establish the FABC. It is set upon to respond to the creative apostolic impulses provoked by the Council and set the world on fire for renewal," the prelate said.

Bo said that this long journey has given the Asian Church a strong identity and challenges all to be a missionary church.

"We gather amidst suffocating clouds of conflict and displacement, the collapse of the economy, frightening climate change, pandemics, and the starvation of millions. Secularism is ascending in the traditionally Christian world," he said.

The cardinal appealed to the Asian churches to become prophets of peace in an increasingly anxious world. Citing Pope Francis, he urged Asian Christians to consider every challenge as an opportunity for change and a strong renewal.

He asked: "What is the Lord’s Call to the Asian Church?  The Salesian cardinal challenged the Church to take advantage of this great chance to spread the Gospel.   

"This century can be the Asian Christian Century if people pray, plan, and work hard to spread the Good News and work for peace and justice in the world."

He concluded, "We can look to our preparation for the FABC's 50th anniversary and General Conference as the work of the Holy Spirit." 

Cardinal Gracias addressing the audience at FABC50 Inaugural Function in Bangkok on August 22

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and Convenor of FABC, spoke about the future of FABC and the people of Asia.

"FABC 50 will try to trace a new vision for the Church in Asia. As a church, we do not exist for ourselves but are at the service of all the peoples of Asia as we continue to build up the Kingdom of God," he said.

"We turn again to God and search for the face of Jesus in Asia. Despite our differences, we will seek out Jesus, who lives within each of us. We are encouraged by our encounter with Jesus," Gracias said.

Bangkok, Thailand, will host the General Conference of FABC's 50th anniversary from October 12 to 30.

"FABC 50: Journeying together as peoples of Asia and ...and they went a different way" (Mt.2:12) is the conference theme.

The Cardinals Bo, Gracias, and Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanich (Archbishop of Bangkok) rang the gong to kick off the FABC’s 50th anniversary. The Gong is widely recognized as a symbol for communicating the good news to everyone.

The FABC is a voluntary association of Asian episcopal conferences that was established with Holy See approval. Its goal is to foster solidarity and co-responsibility among its members for the good of the Church and society in Asia. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.