By Robin Gomes
Myanmar’s first cardinal has been elected the next president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon was elected the new FABC president at the FABC Central Committee meeting on November 16. He will assume office on January 1, 2019.
The Salesian cardinal takes over from Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, whose second term ends on December 31. Cardinal Gracias who earlier served as FABC secretary general between January and December 2012, is currently the president of both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Church in India, and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) which brings together the country’s Latin rite bishops.
Card. Bo was born on 29 October 1948 in Monhla, a village in the Archdiocese of Mandalay. After studying at the Nazareth Aspirantate of the Salesians Don Bosco in Anisakan, Pyin Oo Lwin, from 1962 to 1976, he made his temporary vows on 24 May 1970, followed by perpetual vows on 10 March 1976.
After his priestly ordination as a Salesian in Lashio, Shan State on 9 April 1976, he served as pastor in Loihkam (1976-1981) and Lashio (1981-1983). From 1983 to 1985, he taught in the seminary of Anisakan.
Card. Bo served as Apostolic Administrator in Lashio from 1985 to 1986 and its Apostolic Prefect from 1986 to 1990. When the prefecture was elevated to the status of a diocese on 7 July 1990, he
St. John Paul transferred him the Diocese of Pathein in Ayeyarwaddy Region on 24 May, 1996., but he continued as Apostolic Administrator of Lashio until November 1998. On May 15,
Pope Francis made him Myanmar’s first cardinal at the consistory of 14 February 2015 in the Vatican. Subsequently, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pontifical Council for Culture, and Secretariat of Communication in the Vatican.
FABC brings together 19 bishops’ conferences of Asia as full members and 8 associate members. The federation’s purpose is to foster among its