The Asia-Oceania Regional Conference (AORC) was held in Bangkok, Thailand with the participation of the Major Superiors in the Region from 27th February to 4th March 2023.
The last meeting of the AORC 2021 was hosted by Australia but was held in cyberspace as the participants met via Zoom. It was wonderful to finally meet in person, this time in Bangkok. The hosts this time was the Thai-Laos Delegation ably lead by Fr Claudio BERTUCCIO. Whilst most of the formal organisation of the event was held virtually – Zoom is still a great tool for meeting – the real work on the ground was done by Fr Claudio. We are very grateful for his very courteous welcome and especially his hospitality.
We gathered at the Camillian Pastoral Centre which is very convenient, as it is not too far from the main airport. The facilities were perfect for our group of 30 Oblates. This meeting was quite special in that it was a joint session with the Regional Treasurers. We were also privileged to have Fr Antonius RAJABANA (Bono), from Indonesia, who presented on the recent General Chapter meeting and Fr Marc DESSUREAULT who put forward the challenges raised by the Chapter with regard to finances. He also spent time with the Treasurers in a separate meeting on the Wednesday. It was great too to have Fr Eugene BENEDICT with us, this time as our General Councillor for the Region.
Much of the time together was spent in presenting Unit reports which left us very hopeful for the future. We were touched by the sincerity and in one case the very deep, internal offerings of the presenters. The progress and particularly the plans for the future were very much appreciated especially in terms of their clear link to the application of the principles of ‘Laudato Si’ and the focus on sustainability. The reports from the Treasurers followed a similar line whilst making us aware of the particular needs and challenges of some of the Units.
Time was also spent looking at the mandates of the General Chapter. We were able to study and comment on what could be the region’s response to the proposals especially the challenges posed by the need to reform Formation in the region and indeed the very structure of the region. This will obviously be an ongoing project to which we are committed.
We are grateful for the work and commitment of Fr. Varam ANTHONYSWAMY, who completed his term as AORC Secretary at the conclusion of the meeting.
The next meeting of the AORC in 2024 will be hopefully hosted by the Delegation of Pakistan. In 2025 we will have a joint session with the General Administration in the Philippines.