Visit of the General Consultor for Ministry Fr. Medard Aboue in Asia from November 20 to December 02, 2023: Activities and Observations

As the General Consultor for Ministry, I visited our Provinces in Thailand and the Philippines and the Delegation in Vietnam, from November 20 to December 2, 2023. The visit was organized in collaboration with the Councilors for the Ministry of the provinces and delegations in the Asia Zone and served as a framework for consultation and reflection on the implementation of the ‘Strategic Plan of our Order 2023-2028’ (living the charism with passion). This Asia Zone consists of the Camillian Provinces of Thailand, the Philippines, India, and the Delegations of Taiwan and Vietnam. With the same objective, we will plan visits to other Zones.
On Monday, November 20, I was welcomed at the Camillian Pastoral Center in Bangkok (CPCB) by the Director Fr. Anusorn Nikhet Tiger and his team.

The following day, November 21, the meeting of the Secretariat for the Ministry of the Asia Zone took place. The Provincial Superior of Thailand, Fr. Paul Chierdchai, Fr. Luke Tiger Anusorn Nikhet, and Fr. Jojo (Thailand), Fr. Teji Anickattuvayalil (India), Fr. Paul Nguyen (Vietnam), and I participated in the meeting. Fr. Rodolfo Dan Cancino (the Philippines) and Fr. Jacob Wong (Taiwan) could not be present for the meeting. After prayers and welcoming words, we reflected on the three agenda items: a) Living the Ministry with passion as per the 2023-2028 Strategic Plan of the Order; b) Presentation of the Ministry experience in various countries of the Zone; c) Proposals for greater collaboration among us.

The summary of the discussions is contained in the minutes, which will be shared with the Consulta and the Major Superiors of the Zone. I visited some of our communities and works in Thailand, the Philippines (from November 24 to 26), and Vietnam (from November 20 to December 01, 2023).

Some observations:
1. I visited three of the seven countries in the Zone where we are present. However, the following observations consider the entire Asia Zone due to the similarities in the ministry model that past and present missionaries have imparted. I have an idea of our presence in Taiwan from my visit in 2018. And I have extensive knowledge of our ministry in India thanks to the presentation by Fr. Teji, the Provincial Councilor responsible for the Ministry, who was present at the meeting. I spoke with the Provincial Superior of the Philippines and the Councilor responsible for the Ministry during my stay in Manila. They spoke to me about the missions in Indonesia and Pakistan, which are canonically dependent on the Philippines.

2. First of all, I thank the Lord for the smooth progress of my sojourn, having been able to follow and participate in the various events planned by the confreres despite short nights and endless travel. I would like to thank the Superior General Father Pedro and the Consulta with whom I was in constant contact.

3. I want to thank the Major Superiors of the Asia Zone who welcomed me with open hearts and did everything necessary to ensure that everything went well. They supported the meeting of the Secretariat for Ministry. Along with the Councilors responsible for Ministry and the Directors of the Camillian Pastoral Centers, they organized my visits to their provinces well and showed me the various areas of our ministry. I was very much edified by what I saw and observed. I encourage them to continue in this manner and to dare even more for the greater development of our charism in Asia. My heartfelt thanks to the members of the Secretariat of the Asia Zone.

4. Wherever I went, I saw how well we are involved in the field of pastoral health care of the episcopal conferences and the dioceses. This gives us a leadership opportunity to promote our ministry, which is often not given sufficient attention by the pastoral action of the Church in general. Additionally, we have pastoral training centers in some countries that are functioning quite well.

5. In my visits, I saw Camillians working mainly in the social field, alongside the sick, disabled, elderly, and the most impoverished. The poor and the sick are welcomed, assisted, and cared for, often for free. This lends credibility to our presence and explains the fact that Providence provides for our needs through the generosity of many benefactors, often local. Even though the Church in these countries, except the Philippines, is a minority among the major spiritual and religious traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and even state atheism, our confreres have gained credibility in the field of service to the sick, disabled, and the poor. We owe a great thanks to the missionaries who continue to communicate this evangelical conviction to local vocations. We encourage them to pay even more attention to vocation promotion to continue our testimony in Asia and the world. In our centres, I met the staff trained in our spirituality and charism.

6. In our discussions, in addition to encouraging each other, we pondered on how to share with the whole Order about our ministry activities in Asia and other parts of the world. This emphasizes the importance of internal and external communication. Together we examined initiatives to be undertaken to improve the sharing of best practices in various Provinces and Delegations.

7. With the confreres and especially the Spiritual Assistants of the Lay Camillian Family, I insisted on creating and training LCF groups to promote and share our charism and spirituality with the laity. I met the president of the LCF in Thailand Mrs. Tanaporn, who is very much engaged in volunteering at our social centres in the city of Rayong.

Rome, December 5, 2023

Fr. Medard ABOUE,
General Consultor for Ministry & General Spiritual Assistant of LCF