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The Franciscan Conference of Asia and Oceania (FCAO) is the name by which the two conferences (EAC and SAAOC) that bring together the Franciscan Provinces, Custodes and Foundations of those continents are known.

From the 7th -13th April, the Provincial Ministers, Custodes and Presidents of the Foundations together with the Secretaries for Formation and Studies, for Missions and Evangelization and the JPIC animators of the FCAO met in the city of Manila, Philippines, in order to have a meeting with the General Minister, the General Definitory and the president of the commission responsible for Formation and Studies, Missions and Evangelization and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).

Each day the sessions took place in a fraternal atmosphere of joy, work, prayer, and a delight in the goodness that Filipino cuisine offers. The hosts prepared everything in such a way that the guests felt welcome.

The 8th April was dedicated to listening to the reports of the animation bodies by the FCAO, as well as the Order. Br. Daniel Rodríguez Blanco and Br. Taucen Girsang, from the JPIC General Office, were given time to present to the assembly the proposal of a Franciscan Network for Peace in Asia.

This proposal finds its justification in the latest General Chapters, Plenary Councils of the Order, and the International Councils of JPIC. In the latter, awareness of the problems in Asia-Oceania was raised, the Franciscan commitment was recognized and the opportunities that a Network could offer were valued.

On the 11th April, Br. Taucen, Br. Daniel and the JPIC animators of the FCAO met to delve deeper into the aforementioned proposal. The brothers supported the project of the Franciscan Network for Peace in Asia, enriching it and offering operational advice.

On the 12th April, the assembly had time to discuss this and other proposals addressed during the week. During the dialogue, one of the Provincials recalled that the Franciscans in Asia have been working for many years not only for peace but also for integral ecology. Hence, he suggested, it was appropriate to integrate the latter into the name of the proposal.

On the last day, the 13th April, the FCAO proposals were put to a vote. This is how, after a vote and consensus by the Provincial Ministers and Custodes of Asia and Oceania, the creation of the Franciscan Network for Peace and Integral Ecology in Asia was approved.

During the coming months, the process of articulating this Network will be launched based on the existing forces in the different Franciscan areas in Asia and Oceania.

Br. Daniel Rodríguez Blanco, OFM