Asian bishops committed to migrants and HIV-AIDS patients

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Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Care and support for migrants as well as a greater commitment to people living with HIV/AIDS, a disease that continues to spread across Asia, are the guidelines set by the Office of Human Development (OHD) of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) for Catholics to follow this year.  

In order to understand better the situation of migrant workers, 40 participants from 25 countries took part in January in a health care seminar held at the Camillian Pastoral Centre in Lardkrabang, Bangkok. They included 21 members of the Bishops' Institute of Social Action (BISA) and 19 lay people. As part of the conference, participants also met migrants in Samutsakorn province and people with HIV/AIDS in the Camillian Social Centre in Rayong.

In the near future, the experience gained from meeting the poor and the sick will help launch the second phase of the field action. This will highlight the Catholic Church's commitment to and care for the weakest sectors of society. The final resolution that will be adopted by Catholic leaders will be presented in every diocese, parish and basic ecclesiastic community for actual implementation.

Mgr Philip Banchong Chaiyara, bishop of Ubon Ratchathani and head of the OHD, said that migrants remind the Church of its commitment to the poor. He called on everyone to work to "improve standards of living" by participating in the poor's life and suffering.

In his message for World AIDS Day, the prelate, who is also president of the Catholic Commission for AIDS, also urged "the faithful, priests and religious to pay special attention to HIV/AIDS prevention."

Fr Vichai Poaktawee, chaplain of the Commission for the Migrants, said that it was important to understand the value of migrant workers and "help them through sustainable development."

In his address, Fr Albert Rosario, from Bangladesh, said, "Asian bishops, priests and religious must work hard for the poor."