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Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI

Headline: ASIA – Franciscans in South Asia: together to serve the “lepers of our time”

Bangkok – The Franciscans of South Asia reaffirm their evangelical commitment to care for the marginalized, for the protection of creation and for interreligious harmony: a note sent to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Nithiya Sagayam OFMCap, informs that about 60 major Superiors of different Franciscan, male and female congregations, from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18 to 24 August 2019 to reflect and try to respond effectively, in an evangelical sense, to the challenges of this region. Rooted in the Franciscan spirituality, the participants promised to “revive their life and mission with renewed vigor”. The countries of South Asia face similar challenges in fields such as social injustices, extreme poverty, degradation of women, abuse of children’s rights, national and international migration, refugees due to climatic reasons, growing extremism and fundamentalism, the challenges of Christianity as a negligible minority, the oppression of indigenous peoples, abandonment of rural areas and the formation of slums. As reported to Agenzia Fides, the Franciscans reiterated a special commitment towards the poorest, both at a personal and community level. Bishop Joseph Pradhan Sridarunsil, SDB, at the head of the diocese of Surat Thani, in Thailand, in his message to those present, highlighted the charisma of the preferential option for the poor, for peace and for the protection of creation. The commitment to remaining close to religious leaders of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism and for interreligious dialogue, peace and harmony was recalled. During the national reports, the delegates of all the South Asian countries presented their life and mission in particular for the poorest.

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