HONG KONG, NOV. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Asian prelates are paying homage to Maryknoll Father Edward Francis Malone, who was instrumental in establishing the federation of Asian episcopal conferences. The priest died last Wednesday at age 84.
Father Malone helped develop the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) during his 33 years of service with the group. He served as the assistant general-secretary of the federation.
Edward Francis Malone was born in 1925 in New York City. He was ordained a priest in 1952 and was assigned to Maryknoll’s Mission Region in Hong Kong in 1971. He was appointed assistant secretary-general of FABC the same year, till his retirement in 2004, at which time he went back to New York, where he died.
“Under his leadership, eight FABC general assemblies have been organized and celebrated in different parts of Asia,” the federation said in an obituary. “Father Malone has inspired, animated and supported the different FABC offices and gave them freedom to develop pioneering programs for their apostolates. He was responsible for setting up the FABC structure, including the drafting and ratification of the FABC statutes and by-laws.”
Tributes came from various conferences that form part of the FABC.
Archbishop Lawrence Saldanh, president of the Pakistani bishops, praised Father Malone as the “architect” of FABC.
Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, president of the bishops’ conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, recalled Father Malone as “a great man who put FABC on solid footing both administratively and financially.”
He “knew that warm conversations over a drink were important and so the ‘Happy Hour’ fellowship became a tradition of FABC gatherings,” Archbishop Pakiam added.
Bishop Peter Kang, president of the Korean bishops, said that Father Malone had offered “his whole life as a missionary for the evangelization of Asia.”
Father Malone had a doctorate degree in theology from the Angelicum. He edited more than 100 editions of “FABC Papers,” which explore issues including theology, interreligious dialogue, social communication, the social apostolate of the Church in Asia, and the laity.