Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Cardinal Ferrao to head Catholic Church in Asia

Cardinal Ferrao to head Catholic Church in Asia

Archbishop of Goa and Daman Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão was on Thursday elected President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), which represents the Catholic Church in Asia.

Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão, who was elected during the three-day FABC central committee meeting in Bangkok, becomes the second Goan cardinal after Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who hails from Orlim, to be elected to this post.

Cardinal Ferrão, who currently serves as the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), the national body of the Bishops of the Latin Rite in India, will succeed Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B. Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar, in January 2025.

In addition to Cardinal Ferrão's election, Bishop Pablo Virgilio Siongco David of Kalookan, Philippines, has been elected as the Vice President of the FABC, while Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, S.V.D., Archbishop of Tokyo, Japan, has been re-elected for a second term as the Secretary General.

Cardinal Sebastian Francis of Malaysia, who is of Indian origin, described Cardinal Ferrão’s election as “The best of Asia and the Church of Asia.”

“The continuity of the Mission from Cardinal Charles Bo to Cardinal Filipe Neri is what unites us as One Asian Church,” said Cardinal Francis.

Congratulations have poured in from church and state leaders across the country.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant also conveyed his “heartiest congratulations to Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrao on being elected as the President of the FABC.”

Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, was first elected as the President of the CCBI during its 31st Plenary Assembly in Chennai in 2019 and subsequently re-elected during the 33rd Plenary Assembly in Bangalore in 2022. He served as the Chairman of the FABC Office of Education and Faith Formation (OEFF).

Cardinal Ferrão was created and proclaimed a Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of August 27, 2022, with the title of S. Maria in Via. He is a member of the Dicastery for Evangelization and is fluent in Konkani, English, Portuguese, Italian, French, and German.

Born on January 20, 1953, in Aldona, Cardinal Ferrão studied philosophy and theology at the Seminary of Poona. He furthered his studies, obtaining a licentiate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Urbanian University in 1988 and a licentiate in catechetics and pastoral theology from the International Lumen Vitae Institute in Brussels in 1991. He was ordained a priest on October 28, 1979.

Throughout his priestly ministry, Cardinal Ferrão has held various positions, including parish vicar in Salvador do Mundo (1979) and Chinchinim (1981-1984), prefect and lecturer at Our Lady Minor Seminary in Saligao-Pilerne (1984-1986), diocesan director of the Centre for the Apostolate of the Laity (1991-1994), ecclesiastical consultant of Saint Luke’s Medical Guild (1993-1994), and Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Goa.

On January 25, 1994, he was appointed titular bishop of Vanariona and auxiliary of Goa and Daman. On January 16, 2004, he was appointed archbishop of Goa and Daman by Saint John Paul II, with the title of Patriarch ad honorem of the East Indies. He was installed as archbishop on March 21, 2004. Additionally, he has served as Vice President of the CCBI and CBCI, as well as Chairman of the CBCI Offices for Justice, Peace and Development (1995) and the Laity (1998-2002).

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