Archbishop Joseph Marino, Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei (seated, fourth from right), poses for a photo with Church leaders from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Photo: FRANCIS GOPAL JOHOR BAHRU – Allow Christ to move from within the Church to outside the Church, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia told bishops from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

“The goal is always to make Christ more present not only within the communities that you serve, but also towards those who embrace and live other faiths,” said Archbishop Joseph Marino who is also Apostolic Delegate to Brunei.

Archbishop Marino was speaking at the opening of the Jan 5-9 plenary session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The meeting took place at Majodi Centre, Plentong, in Johor.

He told the Church leaders present that Pope Francis proposed a pastoral strategy to the Church in Asia during his visit to South Korea last year.

Archbishop Marino said Pope Francis highlighted two ways of dialogue – a dialogue about everyday life, that is the dialogue of life; and a dialogue of charity, or a dialogue of collaboration.

Authentic dialogue can only take place if we “open our minds and hearts” to the other and if we have “empathy towards others”, he said.

He added that receptivity, acceptance and welcome are important for the Church in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as it is “home to a great variety of cultures”, religions and ethnicities.

He added that “once we see others as ourselves, true relatives to me, we listen not only to the words which others speak, but to the unspoken communication of their experiences, their hopes and aspirations, their struggles and deepest concerns”.

The agenda of the bishops’ twice yearly meeting included discussions on the Synod on the Family held in Rome last October, the upcoming synod this October, seminaries and formation, and catechetics.

By Vincent D’Silva