Faisalabad: (PCP) Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) had its preparatory Consultation in Jesuit Reflection Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia, February 1 to 3, 2020, in preparation of the 50 year Celebration of the visit of Pope Paul VI to Manila, Philippines, at the end of November 1970, which laid the foundation of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences.
Fr. Bonnie Mendes as one the full timers of the early Commission, namely the Office of Human Development, was invited as a Consultant. He was invited as a Member of the Justice and Peace workers. The 50th anniversary of FABC ‘s celebration will be in Bangkok, Thailand, November 03 to 29, 2020,
In the first session on February 1, Bishop Yvon Ambrosias, Chairman of OHD suggested that Fr. Bonnie Mendes be given the task of writing the early evolution and history of FABC, as he is one of the living witnesses of the early days. This suggestion was strongly supported by all present. This included 7 Asian Bishops, 6 priests one Sister and 20 lay people including the JP workers. The non-Asian were Beatrice Lauer from Misereor and Dr. Sandy Cornish from Australia. Fr. Bonnie Mendes and Mr. Shahid Anwar (Coordinator NCJP-Faisalabad office) were also invited for this preparatory meeting to share the emerging realities in Pakistan.
On the first day the participants highlighted the Challenges they saw present. They listed Social Media, fighting poverty, urbanization, population explosion, religious extremism, migrants and refugees, rightist governments, use of violence
The second day suggested responses to Challenges and future structural changes to FABC. How does one make a Working Paper in a digital world?
The use of digital, social media is a way to reach out, give better formation of personnel - both lay and Religious, rural development, good governance, how does one have virtual relationships, and should we have virtual relationships at all? How to impart new skills of communication.
The composition of the Assembly in November 2020 came up for discussion. With large number of Bishops at the Assembly, how to get many lay young people and women for the Assembly? That was a challenge for the Organizers.