Milan (AsiaNews) - "For his passionate, incisive, and thorough attention to events in Asia." With this acknowledgment, Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, a missionary of the PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions), received on Saturday morning the "Giuliano Ragno prize for journalism," named in honor of the great correspondent and vice-director of "Avvenire," who died prematurely in 1998.
The prize, established by the Catholic newspaper together with the Ragno family, is awarded each year to a journalist who has distinguished himself in addressing events and issues on the international stage. The prize for 2008 was awarded at the Milan offices of "Avvenire," in a simple and restrained atmosphere of celebration and friendship, in the presence of Enrica, Giuliano's widow, their children and grandchildren, the director of "Avvenire," Dino Boffo, correspondent Elio Maraone, and other colleagues.
The prize, Enrica said, "entered its tenth year" in 2008, the 40th year of operation for "Avvenire": among the recipients from 1998 until today, we recognize a "dedication to work and professionalism present in all of those who participate in the realization of the newspaper." "Fr. Cervellera represents well the ideal of journalism for which the prize was established," director Boffo had said before her, emphasizing the missionary's contribution to "Avvenire" in terms of reporting, analysis, and editorials, especially on delicate topics like the relationship between the Church and China.
Cervellera recalled how Giuliano Ragno's request for a report from Lebanon began his collaboration with "Avvenire." He then spoke of his love for Asia, no longer an "exotic" destination, but rather an active participant in the world economy and politics, called - thanks in part to the role of "cultural mediation" played by Catholics, who in this are authentically missionary - to open itself to the culture of human rights and religious freedom.
Cervellera, a missionary of the PIME, has been director of the agency "AsiaNews" since 2003. Born in Grottaglie (Taranto) on August 20, 1951, he was the editor of "Mondo e missione." From 1997 to 2002, he directed the news agency "Fides." From 1995-1997, he lived in Beijing, where he taught the history of Western civilization at Beida University.