What is FABC?

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the FABC in Asia, Asian Bishops will gather for a General Conference in Bangkok from October 12–30 2022.

Aug 22, 2022

Editor's Note:
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the FABC in Asia, Asian Bishops will gather for a General Conference in Bangkok from October 12–30 2022. In his message in Today’s Catholic August e-publication, Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh gives us an insight on FABC.

Dear brothers and sisters

For this August, I would like to share with you what it means to be an Asian Church and how we are connected to each other in Asia and to our Holy Father in Rome.

Brief History of the Establishment of Various Structures of the Catholic Church in Kuching

In the Catholic world, a local Catholic community is initially established by Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples as a Prefecture and later to become a Vicariate.

In our local church history in Sarawak, during the time of Mill Hill Missionaries, Kuching was established as an Apostolic Prefecture in 1927 and the Vicariate Apostolic of Kuching in 1952. On 31 May 1976, it was raised to the status of Archdiocese, with our frst Archbishop Peter Chung.

Similarly, the Church in Brunei which was only established as Apostolic Prefecture in 1997 and elevated to Vicariate Apostolic of Brunei in 2004, until today.

A diocese is established when the local church is deemed to be self-sufficient in terms of clergy and supporting itself.

The Catholic Dioceses in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei

In Malaysia, there are nine dioceses; three each from Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. Together with the Archdiocese of Singapore and Vicariate of Brunei, the bishops of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei form the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of MalaysiaSingapore-Brunei (CBCMSB).

Catholic Dioceses and Bishops’ Conferences in Asia

Likewise in the countries in Asia, there are many respective national Bishops’ Conferences. Together in Asia, we form the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Formation of the FABC in 1970 – A Landmark Event for Catholics in Asia

In November 1970, Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines. On this occasion, Catholic Bishops of Asia met and decided to have closer union and collaboration among themselves and their churches. At this Asian Bishop’s Meeting, the foundation of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) was laid.

Today, FABC represents a good number of the Bishops’ or Episcopal Conferences in South Asia (Indian Sub-continent), South-East Asia, East Asia and Central Asia, including those ecclesiastical jurisdictions that are not part of a Conference. As the name suggests, the “Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC)” is an association of episcopal conferences of the Catholic Church which fosters solidarity and joint responsibility for the welfare of the Church and of society in the whole region of Asia.

Member Bishops’ Conferences of FABC

The conference includes 16 (or 19) Bishops’ Conferences from Bangladesh, East Timor, India (both the CBCI and the individual conferences of the Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara and Roman Rites), Indonesia, Japan, Korea, LaosCambodia, MalaysiaSingapore-Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan (RoC), Thailand and Vietnam and collective Bishops’ Conference of Central Asia. Associate members are from Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Nepal, Novosibirsk (Russia).

FABC is 50 years old

In view of the pandemic, the Asian Churches will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the FABC in Asia by gathering the Asian Bishops for a General Conference in Bangkok from 12–30 October 2022 to celebrate our communion, to discern and listen to the Holy Spirit for the Church (Rev 2:7) and mission in Asia. Catholic Dioceses and Churches are invited to pray for this General Conference that will take place in October 2022.

Celebrating 50 years of FABC in Asia

We are all part of the Catholic Church in Asia which is the birthplace of many religious traditions of the world—Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam. Asia is a diverse continent with a multitude of religions, traditions and cultures and where the majority of young people and the poor are found.

After over 2,000 years of mission, Asia is only 3 percent Catholic. The continent of Asia covers 29.4 percent of the Earth’s land area and has a population of around 4.69 billion (as of 2021), accounting for about 60 percent of the world’s population. The combined population of both China and India are estimated to be over 2.8 billion people as of 2021.

Asia is the melting pot where inter-cultural and interfaith dialogues take place. This is our land of diversity where various races, creeds and cultures intertwined as we seek to live in harmony in populous Asia which we call our home.

To get to know about the FABC – Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, go to:

+ Archbishop Simon Poh

Click to view/download Prayers for FABC General Conference


FABC 50 General Conference Song: THE SONG OF ASIA, Bless Our God Who Walks With Us

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