19 January 2018
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Easter in Rome and in Asia

Easter under heavy security for Catholics of Bangladesh
More than 300,000 faithful participated in Sunday Mass in the capital and in the five dioceses of the country. During the entire Triduum, the police monitored the churches 24 hours a day out of fear of attacks.

Almost calm Easter celebrations in Baghdad, Mosul and Basra
After years of difficulties this is the first Easter and Holy Week that is fully celebrated. In Baghdad Patriarch Delly urges the faithful not to let attacks stop them. In Mosul about 80 per cent of the Christian community is back in town. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani releases a message of best wishes for the occasion.

Bishop of Orissa: fear surrounds Easter because of tension over elections
For the bishop of Bhubaneshwar, "while a few political parties give a notion that they seek the good of our people, sadly the facts prove the contrary." The police arrest a BJP candidate after a rally during which he incited the crowd to violence, and accused the Church of converting the population by force. Easter celebrations held under armed guard in refugee camps.

Easter solidarity in a Vietnam where poverty and marginalisation are at home
The Easter solemnity is celebrated in churches and centres of missionary action among AIDS patients, drug addicts and old people left alone. Government papers praise Easter.

Easter, truth is the road to peace among peoples, says Mgr Menamparampil
The archbishop of Guwahati, who wrote the meditations read during the Via Crucis at the Coliseum, says that Easter is a good time to rediscover hope and see God’s design. He tells Indian Christians to remember that “in times of trial and crisis we must always be certain that God is with us.

Bishops of Sri Lanka: Prayers to the risen Christ for peace and unity in the country
Christian leaders are calling for an end to the conflict and suffering for the civil Tamil population. Today the rebel militias have asked for a lasting ceasefire, and the resumption of peace talks. The government says that any negotiations depend on the rebels laying down their weapons.

Pope: the Risen One continues seeking people to help him to establish justice, truth, and love
In Benedict XVI's Easter message, the sufferings of Africa, the Middle East, and the Holy Land, which continues to need "renewed, persevering and sincere efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The light of Christ illuminates the "dark regions of the world," like materialism and nihilism, and any view that cannot transcend that which is perceptible. The Church also brings hope to places where Christians suffer persecution on account of the faith.

Pope: with the Resurrection, the light of God spreads through the world and history
During the Easter vigil, Benedict XVI illustrated the three "symbols" of the fire, the water, and the song. Christ is the "light" who points out the right way for man in a world marked by "great disorientation," he is the "spring of living water" and gives the Church reason to rejoice, because of the certainty that he lifts it above the forces of evil.

Card Zen’s last pastoral letter to the Church of Hong Kong and China
The cardinal sends a touching message to Hong Kong Catholics in support of the persecuted Church of China. He thanks priests, nuns and the faithful, with a special greeting to new Christians who will be baptised on Easter night.

Easter in Pakistan: from full churches to prison missions
About one million Catholics live in the country, 1% of the population. For Holy Week, the bishops have asked the government for extraordinary security measures. The government has promised that next year, Good Friday will be an official holiday. Meanwhile, thousands of faithful are filling the churches of the main cities. In the prison of Faisalabad, 100 prisoners are celebrating Easter with a lunch organized by the priests.

Via Crucis: Jesus continues to suffer and die today
In the meditations of Indian Bishop Menamparampil, the injustice, violence and persecution in society, but also the suffering that afflicts every man. The example of Christ, who teaches us not to respond to evil with evil, and to entrust ourselves, in prayer, to the Father.

Let us contemplate the face that changed the world, that answered hatred with love, says Pope
At the end of the Via Crucis Benedict XVI mentions all those who were “drawn” to Jesus, who followed him, who became martyrs, not by killing but by being killed. How many people even today “unite their sufferings with those of the Crucified One and become apostles of a true spiritual and social renewal!”

Thailand, 283 converts to receive baptism at Easter
Following the example of their friends and relatives, they have decided to take catechism classes and offer Christ "the sufferings and miseries of everyday life." AsiaNews has gathered the testimony of three believers.

Easter among the Muslims, in the land of Saint Paul
The apostolic vicar of Anatolia recounts the meaning of Easter in the year dedicated to St. Paul. The Christian community in Turkey finds itself facing a situation like the one at the beginning of the country's evangelization. The foreign pilgrims, the fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox, amazement over the fascination with Jesus among the Muslims. A request to the Turkish government, for a church in Tarsus.

Easter in Manila, kissing the cross of Jesus
Holy Week is accompanied by traditional local ceremonies that unite families and gather the neighborhood together. Cardinal Vidal calls upon young people to reject the "simplistic ideas" of today's society.

2,000 young people of the diocese of Saigon prepare to become Catholics at Easter
A significant encounter with Cardinal Pham Minh Man and auxiliary bishop Van Kham, to whom the young people posed questions about the faith, but also about the issues of ordinary life and the lives of the faithful in today's Vietnam.

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Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

Fady Noun

A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.

Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison

The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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