MILESTONES OF AsIPA
Visit of Pope Paul VI – After Vatican II, challenge to be Church in Asia, to make visible the Asian face of Jesus, the Christian faith rooted in Asian soil; to implement the vision of Vatican II
Start of the study to set up an Office for the Laity within the FABC with background of the document
on Laity, – “Apostolicam Actuositatem”
- “The Mission of the Church in Asia” – this assembly reflected on the effort needed to carry out the task of evangelization in Asia with the people at the heart of the process.
- The Bishops established that evangelization could significantly take place within a TRIPLE DIALOGUE – with the POOR, with CULTURES and with OTHER FAITHS.
The Committee for the Laity was officially started as a concrete step to become a full Office of Laity (which later became Office of Laity and Family after FABC 8).
Arch. Joseph TiKang (Taiwan) was the first Chairman, Fr. Jess Breña as Executive Secretary
The first Bishops’ Institute on the Lay Apostolate (BILA) – a search for a formation program to awaken the laity to their vocation to holiness and to be co-responsible for the mission of the Church.
We started to give training courses in Asia using the Lumko method (first at BILA 1)
- The Fourth Plenary Assembly of FABC on “The vocation and mission of the Laity in the Church and in the World of Asia” declared the committee on the Laity as a full-fledged Office of the Laity (FABC OL)
- Fr. Tommy Murphy (Taiwan) was Executive Secretary
- More training was given using the Lumko Method
- The Fifth Plenary Assembly of the FABC in Bandung, Indonesia.
- The Bishops declared that the Church in Asia will have to be “A Church of Communion,… a participatory
Church, …witnessing to the Risen Lord…where the gifts of the Holy Spirit to all: priests, religious, lay people be recognized and put to use…”
- The Bishops at FABC5 requested that formation courses be started to enable the local churches to move towards this “new way of being Church” responding to the challenges of the new millennium.
- A mandate was given to FABC OLF to start these courses, using the Lumko method at first.
- First international courses in Chinese (Taiwan) and in English (Thailand) with Fr Oswald Hirmer and Fr Fritz Lobinger. (They both became Bishops later in South Africa)
- Bishop Oswald Hirmer who was with us from the start, was 6 months based in Asia, living in Singapore and accompanying our processes in different countries for the next 5 years.
- 1992 – 1993 – many local level programmes were conducted using the Lumko materials and method.
- A Consultation was held in Kuala Lumpur where there was an evaluation of the courses and the name AsIPA emerged, meaning an Asian, Integral, Pastoral, Approach, in a joint meeting of FABC Office of Human Development, FABC Office of Laity, Bishop Oswald Hirmer and members of the Asian Lumko training team.
- Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (Philippines) was 2nd Chairman of FABC OLF
- Ms. Cora Mateo (Taiwan) was Exec. Secretary
- Asian Laity Meeting in Korea was an occasion to produce materials that would follow the method of Lumko to address local issues and use a simpler format.
- This was the beginning of the AsIPA Texts. AsIPA texts were gradually evolving in the format as they are now, more contextualized, easy to translate.
- The goal of the Meeting was to find ways to popularize the Social Teachings of the Church.
- First AsIPA General Assembly made decision to organize national courses for basic training and international courses for the advanced training.
- An AsIPA Editorial Board was formed with Ms. Wendy Louis, Fr. Thomas Vijay, Ms. Estela Padilla and the Exec. Secretary to continue producing texts and to give courses. Guiding our process was Bishop Oswald Hirmer.
- We went to several countries in Asia to conduct training courses: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia, where we were invited, to run national courses and later to assist the local teams.
- Translation of the materials also started during this period. (At present in more than 30 Asian languages).
- 2nd AsIPA General Assembly (Thailand) saw an exchange of locally produced materials coming from different countries and responding to local needs.
- The Editorial Board became the team to finalize the different modules as AsIPA texts, adapting the
Lumko materials and adding some original content.
3rd AsIPA General Assembly – became more and more an exchange among national and diocesan teams, and the Editorial Board became ART = AsIPA Resource Team with 9 members from 6 countries: India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, and still expanding.
4th AsIPA GA in India, with a good immersion experience in their SCCs. We were given a chance to see a different stage of development of SCCs which is able to help the people go beyond their church-intra and be concerned about social issues, about inter-religious dialogue… in the Archdiocese of Trivandrum with almost 2,000 SCCs.
- 5th AsIPA GA in Davao City, Philippines, and there was a handover to the new Executive Secretary
for the AsIPA Desk – Ms. Wendy Louis. After 27 years, the FABC OLF office in Taiwan was closed and the AsIPA Desk, moved to Singapore.
- GA5 was an experience to be with participants using different methods to build SCCs. We were almost 250 participants a growth from the 26 that gathered for GA1 in Bangkok in 1996.
Bibiana Joo Hyun Ro was appointed the new Executive Secretary for AsIPA Desk
6th AsIPA General Assembly in 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka
The Theme was meant to push us to develop more ministries within our SCCs to develop a greater sense of mission and service among our SCC leaders and members:
GO, YOU ARE SENT FORTH! FOLLOWING JESUS IN MISSION: SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES SERVING AND MINISTERING
- Held in Thailand in 2015
- Highlighted the importance of DIALOGUE with neighbours of different faiths.
- Held in Batam, Indonesia in 2018
- Theme was: “SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES EVANGELIZING FAMILIES FOR COMMUNION & MISSION – a family and a home for everyone”
- Following the Synods on the Family and the FABC Plenary Assembly 2016 on the Family.
- SCCs as a ‘Family of Families’
- Executive Director from March 2019 is Rev (Dr) Thomas Vijay of Nagpur, India.
- New Chairman of the FABC OLF is Archbishop Gilbert Garceras of the Philippines.
- New Executive Secretary of the FABC OLF is Fr. Emmanuel K. Rosario of Dhaka, Bangladesh.