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Pope sends message to Philippines family meeting

Asian lay people are called upon to deepen faith

Pope sends message to Philippines family meeting

Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, (left) and Archbishop Socrates Villegas lead the prayer at the Asian Conference of the Family in Manila.

Pope Francis on Tuesday called on Asian lay people to "deepen their experience of faith and communion".

In his message to Asian educators, catechists, politicians, Religious, and bishops gathered in Manila this week for the Asian Conference on the Family, Pope Francis urged Catholics to work under the "guidance" of the bishops "so as to be a leaven of Christ's love in the midst of humanity".

Bishops from Indonesia, Laos-Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Taiwan are attending the weeklong conference to discuss the "Charter of Rights of the Family" and its impact on Asia 30 years after its promulgation in 1984.

Bishop Jean Laffitte, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family is also attending the conference.

The pontiff said he was "pleased" the gathering was focusing on the family as the "fundamental cell of society".

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the Philippine bishops' conference, said the choice of the Philippines as the venue for the gathering "is an acknowledgment by the Holy See that the Filipino family is an example for families in the world".

Compared to other countries, Filipino and Asian families "are still thriving, flourishing and are an example for other families around the world", the prelate told

"We come to host the conference with a certain sense of holy pride because we want to say to the rest of the world that Asian families are signs of hope, lights of hope, symbols of hope," he said.

The conference, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Philippine bishops' conference, ends on Friday.

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