11/02/2015, 00.00
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AsiaNews marks 12 years: Persecution and hope

by Bernardo Cervellera
Despite a worldwide increase of ignorance, indifference and superficiality, many signs of love and hope resist even in the most gloomy situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who became a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.

Rome (AsiaNews) - November 1, 2015, marks the 12th birthday of AsiaNews.it online news site. AsiaNews magazine had begun much earlier, in 1986. The online agency has updated and enhanced the magazine’s main  message: to proclaim the truth and love of Jesus Christ to the peoples of Asia and at the same time build bridges between the East and the West.

Despite being a focus news agency, we continue to be amazed by the approximately 15 thousand single visitors to our website each day, not to mention all the other sites that share and republish our news. And this not only in Italy and Europe, but also in America and especially in Asia. Many newspapers, radios and TV’s the Middle East, on the Indian subcontinent and the Far East spread the news and the experiences that we report, thus in some way participating in our mission.

One of our greatest sources of pride is how we offer real-time reports of Pope’s Francis’ words to Churches and societies in English, Chinese and Spanish. This promptness and accuracy with which we spread the Pope's words and witness of the Church are especially important  if we are to respond to Francis’ invitation to be a “Church that goes forth”. This "going forth" and expanding our work always involves new collaborators and workers: there are missionaries, bishops and lay people who are inspired by AsiaNews to compose their sermons, or every month to pray for the persecuted Christians whose plight our news agency brings to the fore.

Indeed, Persecution is almost a sign of the times and few situations in Asia are devoid of suffering, torture, the suffocation of Christians. Our agency is always ready to give voice to the Christians of Iraq, Syria, India, China. But we do not forget the plight of other ethnic and religious groups who are victims of violence: Sunni or Shia, Ahmadis, Baha'is, Tibetans, Uighurs, tribal Montagnards ...

Our denunciation of violence against Christians and non-Christians is not sterile shouting, or for ideological gains, but a call for prayer and commitment. We are still moved by the huge response from our readers and friends to our call to "Adopt a Christian from Mosul."

In one year we have managed to collect about 1.5 million Euros, and this amount has been given to bishops and priests of Kurdistan,  does not come from powerful organizations or wealthy donors: it is the fruit of the small gift from each person willing to go without a little to alleviate the immense suffering of our brothers and sisters.

The opportunities of fraternity have been many: the earthquake victims in Nepal, helping to rebuild at least some homes; Chinese students, who are offered the opportunity to study abroad; young Indian priests who face situations of extreme poverty. And now AsiaNews and PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) are gearing up to respond to the request of Pope Francis welcoming nearly 100 migrants, whether or not political refugees, victims of war or famine.

In a world marked by so many wounds we cannot remain inert. Our joy is in seeing how, through AsiaNews, ignorance, indifference, superficiality lose out to new bonds of fraternity. This attentive and involved gaze help us to see and communicate the many signs of love and hope that resist even in the most gloomy of situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her  child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who has become a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.

AsiaNews also wants to be a sign of hope in the easy pessimism and immobility that surrounds us. Dear friends, continue to support us and participate in this work and this mission, so that it becomes yours too. AsiaNews has already helped some young people on their journey towards the missionary priesthood. We would be happy that more and more young people offer not just something, but everything, even themselves, in announcing Christ’s liberating love.

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”