MANILA, May 13, 2014 — Responding to secularist influences that threaten the sanctity of the human family, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), together with the Pontifical Council for the Family of the Holy See, will be holding the Asian Conference on the Family (ACF) from today, May 13 to 16.
With the theme, “Families of Asia: Lights of Hope,” the four-day convention aims to generate discussion on the Charter of Rights of the Family—its message, challenges, and impact on families in the Asian region—30 years after it was promulgated on October 22, 1983.
Thousands of religious, educators, lay faithful, and even politicians all over Asia are expected to attend the conference to tackle the present-day situation of the human family, following the exhortation of Pope Francis at the Pilgrimage of Families in the Year of Faith dubbed as “Family, Live the Joy of Faith.”
The Charter, which came two years after the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II on the role of the Christian family in the modern world (Familiaris Consortio), was intended to provide a “formulation of the fundamental rights that are inherent in the natural and universal society which is the family.”
Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, will be the guest of honor in the convention. He will be joined by bishops from Indonesia, Laos-Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Taiwan.
In the first day of the conference, Bishop Laffitte will deliver his keynote address at the Cardinal Sin Auditorium of the Paco Catholic School on the topic “The Many Faces of the Family: Crises and Kairos,” following the mass to be presided by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP President Socrates Villegas..
A dinner with legislators and politicians will be held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila by 6 p.m. Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, will open the program by reading the message of Pope Francis to ACF.
At the dinner, Bishop Laffitte will deliver his second keynote address. It will be followed by a brief dialogue, Statement of Commitment, and a Prayer for the Family, by the families of former Chief Justice Artemio B. Pangilinan, Representative Dakila Cua, and Presidential Commission on Good Government Chairman Dean Andres Bautista.
The second and third day, to be held at the Pius XII Catholic Center auditorium in U.N., Manila, will feature talks and discussions concerning the different facets of the human family in a global context.
The talks will be given by the family of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide on the topic “Love is a many-splendored thing,” SyCip Law partner Atty. Luisito Liban on “The Implementation of the Charter of Rights of the Family vis-à-vis the UN and Asian Setting (Philippines),” and Human life International President Fr. Shenan Boqueton on “The Defense of the Rights of the Family against the Contemporary Totalitarian Tendencies of the State.”
A symposium on the “Lessons and Successes in Harmonizing Legislation and Culture with the Gospel” and “Transmission of Faith through Communities of Families” will be given by religious and lay individuals from different Asian countries.
Bishop Laffitte will deliver another keynote speech on the third day. The bishops will also have an open session with him to discuss various issues confronting the human family.
‘Festival of families’
On May 16, young individuals will share about the “Joys and hopes of the young about their families today,” to be followed by an inter-faith sharing and prayer for families featuring Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians.
Ending the four-day convention is the “Festival of Families” to be held at the Quadricentennial Pavilion of the University of Santo Tomas, May 16 at 6 p.m.
Some 6,000 families are expected to attend the festivities, which will be opened by a Mass to be presided by Archbishop Villegas.
Bishop Laffitte will give his final keynote talk during the festival, and a Message from Pope Francis will cap the celebration. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)