Pope to Asian Bishops: What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
Pope Francis encourages members of the Federation of Asian Bishops gathered in Thailand this month to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to them, while maintaining fraternity and embracing the poor, young people, and dialogue.
Pope Francis is urging the Catholic bishops of Asia to authentically embrace their mission as a Church for the poor and young people, always in dialogue.
The Holy Father offered this encouragement in a video message sent on Wednesday to members of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, on 12-30 October.
Now a 'true community'
In his message, the Pope recalled the origins of the Church in Asia, and his predecessor Pope St. Paul VI's visit to Asia in 1970, where - Pope Francis suggested - he found a continent of mainly young people, home to many cultures and religions.
The Bishops at the time, Pope Francis said, "noted that the masses were awakening from fatalism to a life worthy of man; even the young people were awakening; they were idealistic, aware, worried, impatient and restless; culturally diverse societies were awakening to become a true community of peoples."
“This meant that the Church in Asia was called to be more authentically the Church of the poor, the Church of the young, and a Church in dialogue with Asian brothers and sisters of other confessions.”
Fraternity, exchanging ideas
At the same time, Pope Francis looked to the future, urging Asia's Bishops to look to the future, and try to discern what the Holy Spirit is asking them today.
"You will come together now," he said in his video message, "and I wish in some way to accompany you in the work of fraternity and exchange of ideas that you will carry out."
What Holy Spirit is saying to Church in Asia
“It is important that the Regional Conferences meet with a certain assiduity, in doing so the Church is forming; it is strengthening on the way, and the fundamental question is: what is the Spirit saying to the Churches in Asia?”
And this, the Pope continued, "is what you have to answer."
Importance of laity
The Pope also dedicated some special words to laypeople.
“May the laity assume their baptism, their function as lay people, and respect the singularity of each one, because the universal Church is not the uniform Church; no, it is universal, respecting the particularity of each Church.”
Deborah Castellano Lubov