Posted by: Fr Chris | January 23, 2012

Bishops living with the poor – literally

This is a follow up to a Facebook posting I did, of the Conference of Bishops dispersing to live in tough situations. You can read Fides Agency which reports on missionaries and mission areas of the world – a different face of the Church for most of us reading this.

ASIA – Bishops, priests and Asian lay people among the Burmese refugees of ethnic Karen, “the invisible”

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) – For three days a group of Bishops, priests and Asian lay people live the hardships and sufferings, the extreme poverty of the Burmese refugees of ethnic Karen, camped in refugee camps on the border between Thailand and Myanmar: this is the initiative, part of a program organized by the Office for Human Development of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) (see Fides 18/01/2012).
Among them was His Exc. Mgr.Berard Toshio Oshikawa, O.F.M. Conv, Bishop of Naha (Okinawa),in Japan, who tells Fides about the “extraordinary experience of sharing the Gospel”: “For us it is a very significant day: to be with the poor, with the victims of grave injustices, he reminds us that the Asian Church, as Paolo VI says, must be a Church of the poor. It is a valuable initiative which we hope has a sequel”.
Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM Capp, Executive Secretary of the Office for Human Development of the FABC, organizer of the program is part of the group. Fr. Sagayam explains to Fides: “We live with joy this experience of immersion in poverty. We are in a refugee camp of ethnic Karen, refugees from Burma. I’ve been here for over ten years, in a border area. They have no education, no schools, no medical care, or safety. They are forgotten by all. The Thai government has ceased to provide humanitarian aid and only Caritas and other NGOs provide aid. There is also lack of identity, to the point that they are called “invisible”. In fact, children born here legally do not exist, have no legal status. We want to present an appeal to the Thai government and bring their plight to the attention of the United Nations. Given the changes in Myanmar, some hope to return to their country, but we do not know if it will be possible”.
As explained to Fides, the Bishops and delegates are divided into four groups: one lives among the Burmese refugees; one is housed in a neighborhood of migrant workers; another assist AIDS patients in a clinic; the fourth group spends three days in a rehabilitation center for victims of human trafficking. The program will end, with three days of reflection and comparison, to prepare guidelines and intervention strategies to be presented to the respective Episcopal Conferences. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2012)

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) – For three days a group of Bishops, priests and Asian lay people live the hardships and sufferings, the extreme poverty of the Burmese refugees of ethnic Karen, camped in refugee camps on the border between Thailand and Myanmar: this is the initiative, part of a program organized by the Office for Human Development of the Federation of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) (see Fides 18/01/2012).
Among them was His Exc. Mgr.Berard Toshio Oshikawa, O.F.M. Conv, Bishop of Naha (Okinawa),in Japan, who tells Fides about the “extraordinary experience of sharing the Gospel”: “For us it is a very significant day: to be with the poor, with the victims of grave injustices, he reminds us that the Asian Church, as Paolo VI says, must be a Church of the poor. It is a valuable initiative which we hope has a sequel”.
Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFM Capp, Executive Secretary of the Office for Human Development of the FABC, organizer of the program is part of the group. Fr. Sagayam explains to Fides: “We live with joy this experience of immersion in poverty. We are in a refugee camp of ethnic Karen, refugees from Burma. I’ve been here for over ten years, in a border area. They have no education, no schools, no medical care, or safety. They are forgotten by all. The Thai government has ceased to provide humanitarian aid and only Caritas and other NGOs provide aid. There is also lack of identity, to the point that they are called “invisible”. In fact, children born here legally do not exist, have no legal status. We want to present an appeal to the Thai government and bring their plight to the attention of the United Nations. Given the changes in Myanmar, some hope to return to their country, but we do not know if it will be possible”.
As explained to Fides, the Bishops and delegates are divided into four groups: one lives among the Burmese refugees; one is housed in a neighborhood of migrant workers; another assist AIDS patients in a clinic; the fourth group spends three days in a rehabilitation center for victims of human trafficking. The program will end, with three days of reflection and comparison, to prepare guidelines and intervention strategies to be presented to the respective Episcopal Conferences. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2012)

 


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