Archbishop John Dew blogs from the gathering of the Federation of Asian Bishops in Vietnam. He is attending as President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania.
Greetings from the Xuan Loc Pastoral Centre In Vietnam.
This is an amazing experience to be here with the bishops of the Federation of Asian Bishops (FABC), there are about 120 altogether representing the 19 Conferences and 9 Associate Conferences which constitute the Federation.
We were given the most amazing welcome and been showered with hospitality as I have never experienced it before. The Pastoral Centre is enormous and magnificently decorated, there was a wonderful Opening Ceremony, representatives of the Government were present and very welcoming of all the participants and helpful in ensuring that everyone received visas to visit Vietnam, the Opening Ceremony was accompanied by much singing and dancing, incredible organisation ensured that all is running smoothly.
Yesterday, people such as myself representing other Federations or Conferences had the chance to give greetings and there was a very good presentation on the 40 years since the foundation of the FABC, I found that particularly helpful and inspiring for our own Federation.
Today we have been presented with what is seen as the mega trends which are challenging the Church in Asia, we will hear a lot more about them today and spend time in smaller groups discussing and reflecting on them. Some of the mega trends are things such as globalisation, culture, poverty, migrants and refugees, indigenous people's, religious freedom, ecology. These are just some which will be reflected on over these days. This will all be done in the context of the Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation. It is going to be an interesting few days and I am privileged to be here and to be part of it. It is of course a huge area of the world that we are talking about with an enormous percentage of the worlds population, but it is fascinating and very informative to see the work of another Federation.
With best wishes to all, I hope to post again in the next couple of days.