Synod Bangkok 2023
Women speak on the sidelines of the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality, assuring their peers that, ‘In the synodal process, we are with you and our voices should be heard.’
By Sr Bernadette Reis, fsp – Vatican News / Special Envoy of Synod’s General Secretariat
Twelve women are participating in the Asian Continental Assembly on Synodality. In addition to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences who are members of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), each Episcopal Conference is represented by two delegates. These women have been chosen as delegates to represent their countries.
In a video interview with Vatican News, each of these women expressed the particular message or people they are representing, and whose voices they wish to be heard in the Assembly.
Rita Roseline Costa represents Bangladesh. Her message is for other women who live in Bangladesh. “I want to say that in the synodal process, we are with you. And our voices should be heard. Please consider our voices and we are not excluded.” Rita concluded, saying, “Together, we can make differences in the world.”
Joy Candelario represents the Philippines. “I bring with me all the lay people who are involved actively in evangelization.” She also brings, “all those voices that we have heard in the synodal process from the parishes, dioceses, and regions in the Philippines – a lot of voices that were disturbing, that were touching us, voices that are wounded in many ways and have not been heard fully in the Church.” Joy’s hope is that all of these people might one day participate, that “they will have a space that they can belong to us because they are Church too.”
Anna Amandus represents Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei and brings the “voice of couples who have been married for more than five years but still do not have children. Anna is hopeful that couples experiencing this might receive a “fruitful message” from the Assembly. She also hopes that these couples “will not give up,” that they will continue to “have faith in God that no matter what.” Anna concludes, “we believe that there is always a reason.”
Rosalia Cho Cho Tin is very happy to be representing Myanmar. “This is a moment of grace for us,” Rosalia said. She is aware that she is not attending the Assembly solely for herself. “My people, our country, and the Church are with me. I am not here only for me but for my country. I am always praying for peace and justice for my country.”
Teresa Wu represents Taiwan and is honoured “to bring their voices and the expectations to the Continental Assembly.” “Here, we bring our voices, we listened. Hopefully, I will bring from here when I go back.”
Akemi Tsuji represents Japan and has brought the necessity of an “intercultural and inter-religious understanding and dialogue between ethnic groups. This is an important thing in Asia,” Akemi stated.
Estela Padilla, from the Philippines, is part of the Discernment and Writing Team and a member of the FABC secretariat. “I feel the voice of the indigenous peoples are missing,” Estela said. “Sixty percent of the indigenous people of the world live in Asia. We are talking about them but they have not spoken. Others are speaking for them. The indigenous people, especially the woman, are the carriers of the indigenous cultures we have. As mothers, they pass on their culture to their children. They are carriers of indigenous cultures where the most wisdom is to be found. In addition, most of the indigenous healers are women. It would have been nice to hear their voice.”