Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The 10th General Assembly of the Bishops' Conference of Asia (FABC), scheduled from 11 to 16 December next, will bring "a breath of fresh air" to the Vietnamese Church and all Catholics in the country, says the Archbishop of Saigon, JB card Pham Minh Man. The meeting will be held at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Xuan Loc, in the south of Vietnam. The closing ceremony is foreseen for Ho Chi Minh City, with a concluding Mass - December 16th at the cathedral - during which the final message and content of the five days of meetings and discussions will be announced. December 1, Benedict XVI sent a letter to Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, Papal envoy to the FABC. In the text, the pontiff recalled the fundamental theme of the "new evangelization" and proclaiming the Gospel.
For the archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City the meeting will be the "communion of bishops" in the region and an "opportunity" to discuss, exchange experiences on pastoral activities and promote mutual understanding. The cardinal hopes hopes that "we will become more and more brothers and sisters" in the name of a "common spirit" of mutual aid in the context of current realities.
The10th meeting of the Asian Catholic Bishops' Conference of the continent will be an opportunity to "promote communion and proclamation of the Gospel", which is why the bishops are calling the faithful to pray and support their work. Accompanying the papal delegate Card Rosales, there will also be Msgr. Peter Nguyen Van Tai, Vietnamese and director general of Radio Veritas Asia and Don Antonio Maralit, a Filipino priest.
In preparation for the conference, the organizing committee within the FABC has sent a draft of the main topics of discussion at the Council of Asian bishops. The Vietnamese delegation will be headed by Msgr. Paul Bui Van Doc, of the diocese of My Tho. In preparation for the meeting, organizers stress that they had received "all permits" from the authorities, including "information on how to request an entry visa" for 118 participants from abroad. All procedures confirms the Auxiliary Bishop of Saigon, Peter Nguyen Van Kham, "went smoothly." An aspect not to be taken for granted, in a time when Hanoi appears to want to clamp down on religions, further constraining on the practice of worship and the movement of members of the clergy along the lines of the "Chinese model" (see AsiaNews 03/12/2012 Decree 92: Hanoi chooses Chinese model and clamps down on religious freedom).