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

He replaces Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar who was elected to the position in 2018.

“Together with all members of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference I would like to congratulate Cardinal Filipe Neri for being elected President of FABC,” said Cardinal Ignatius  Suharyo of Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I met him several times in different occasions during FABC meetings and in the Synod of Bishops. I have a deep impression that Cardinal Filipe Neri is a bright and very committed person,” he said.

“His interventions in every meeting have been always inspiring. When nobody speaks in the session of group discussions, he intervened with his bright ideas. I am convinced Cardinal Filipe Neri, when he takes office in the beginning of 2025, he will bring FABC to a bright future,” the Indonesian cardinal said in a message to Crux.

Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunjamin of Bandung, the head of Indonesian Bishops’ Conference, said Ferrão has “great love and commitment for Asian Church.”

“We do hope that he will lead us to a more Asian synodal Church. Congratulations to His Eminence on this new pastoral call. Thanks for your generosity to accept this call. May God continue to bless you in your duties and responsibilities,” he told Crux.

Archbishop Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo was reelection as secretary general of the FABC.

“I am happy and greatly honored to continue my role in the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference as its Secretary General for the second term, especially working with Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrão as President and Bishop Pablo David as Vice President from January 2025,” he told Crux.

“At the same time, I would like to express my deep gratitude to our out-going President, Cardinal Bo, who in challenging political and security situation at home, had not been hesitant to show his leadership skill to strengthen unity among Asian Bishops to work and walk together for evangelization apostolate of the Synodal Church in Asia,” he said.

“Also I am grateful to Cardinal Ranjith [Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka], the Vice President, who had been in really challenging situation at home after the Easter bombing in 2019 in which he lost so many his beloved dear people,” Kikuchi said.

“I am sure Cardinal Filipe Neri will continue the good work initiated by Cardinal Bo as we prepare next Plenary Assembly in November 2025 during the Jubilee Year based on the direction expressed in the Bangkok Document of the FABC 50th anniversary in 2022,” he concluded.

“As I had been involved in Caritas activities in Asia for quite some time, I had number of opportunities to visit India. There I met now Cardinal Filipe Neri number of times, and I knew he could be a reliable and strong leader of any organization with his clear way to express his observations and opinions,” the bishop said.

Kikuchi told Crux that since he was made the Secretary General of FABC, he had a number of occasions to cooperate with the cardinal in several working groups and “there I was always amazed of his ability to clearly express his opinions.”

“Cardinal Felipe Neri is full of new ideas knowing how to be bridges among people in opposite opinions. We need someone like him in this diverse reality in Asia to make Bishops bridge among people. We need someone to ease tension and made all to work and walk together,” he said.

The Japanese bishop also spoke about the election of the new vice president, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan in the Philippines.

“As for Bishop Pablo, as we are almost same age and ordained bishop almost same period, I have found a friend in him. He is also very clear to express his ideas, he knows how to articulate his opinions and he has courage to stand firm for justice and truth,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to work with them as a team to make FABC much stronger that today to be service of people in Asia,” Kikuchi told Crux.