MANILA – For the first time Asian delegates of the Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities met for a conference.
In the past two decades, it was the Asia-Oceania conference every alternate year. For this year, Oceania countries would meet on their own while Asian countries comprising China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines met in Manila from 23-27 July.
With the theme ‘Communities exist to evangelise’, at the opening ceremony, Bishop TC Bacani reminded the delegates of the excitement during Pentecost when the Apostles stepped out bravely proclaiming Jesus as Messiah.
“Despite persecutions and difficulties, after 20 centuries, many of us experience the same excitement when bearing witness to Jesus,” he noted.
The Bishop urged the delegates to continue witnessing and become missionaries through conversion, generation, conquest, coercion, co-optation and immigration. “Especially with the pastors we should not be content with just maintenance, we are to make every effort to evangelise lapsed Catholics and those who do not profess the true faith.”
Echoing Bishop Bacani, Bishop Chito Tagle delivered the powerful message that the Church exists to evangelise. He reiterated the four missions of bringing the good news of Jesus to every strata of human life.
“We exist in the body of Christ to go forth and bear fruit,” he reminded the delegates. “We continue to have dialogue with the poor, the great religions of Asia and all cultures.”
Other speakers included the President of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, Professor Matteo Calisi who spoke on ‘New Communities Building a Chain of Evangelisation’, Techie Rodriguez on ‘Holy Spirit Directed Evangelisation’, Henry Capello on ‘Evangelisation in China’, and Fr Steve Tynan spoke on ‘Charism and Institution’.
Malaysia was represented by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community of Kota Kinabalu led by Joseph Chee, the Servants of Yahweh Covenant Community of Kuala Lumpur led by Benedict Lye, and six members of the Bread of Life Covenant Community of Kuching led Peter Wong. The second Asian Conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur in 2010.