Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) – A group of Asian Bishops – together with some priests, religious and lay people – will live for four days a true “immersion” in poverty, staying from January 18 to 21 among the poorest and the marginalized in the shantytowns on the outskirts of Bangkok. The Bishops will be accommodated in huts, eat with the poor, will work with them and share all aspects of their difficult daily life. The extraordinary evangelical experience of sharing is part of an initiative launched by the Office for Human Development of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), which brings together 25 Asian Bishops Conferences.

Today’s “poor” with whom the Bishops will live this experience- reports to Fides Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM Cap, secretary of the FABC Office- are indigenous, migrants, people with AIDS, victims of human trafficking. The purpose is “to be with the poor and the marginalized, to fully understand their condition, learn from their suffering and from the victims of injustice”, according to the saying of St. Vincent De’ Paul “the poor are our masters”.The experience of “immersion” will be followed by three days of reflection on the Church’s responses to the struggles of the poor in Asia, in the light of the Catholic social teaching, which will bring together from January 21 to 24 in Bangkok, about 40 delegates, including Bishops, priests, religious and lay people in Asia. The delegates will confront each other to develop specific action plans to be submitted to the Episcopal Conferences in their countries. The three-day workshop and these action plans will focus on building a fair society and possible peace initiatives. The Chairman of the Office for the Development in the FABC, His Exc. Mgr. Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar), said he hopes that, through this project, “the leaders of the Church may be closer to the cry of the poor”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 18/01/2012)

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