09/03/2010, 00.00
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Lay movements in Asia, a gift of Providence in the midst of secularization

Asia is teeming with groups and movements for the evangelization of the blind, AIDS patients, etc. .. All helping to discover Christ, without inhibitions, and passionate about the mission ad gentes. The commitment to cooperate with bishops and parishes, according to the instructions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Mr. Yun Jae Son is a handsome man, of about 60. Until a few years ago he was a Korean air force pilot. But an accident left him blind in both eyes. Accompanied by a volunteer who also serves as a translator, he is participating in the Congress of lay Catholics: Mr. Yun in fact founded a movement of evangelization for the blind. He tells AsiaNews that there are currently 1200 members in Korea, all blind, who despite the limitations of their disability, visit museums, listen to music, read books, and especially support each other in the faith. Thanks to their company, many suffering from blindness, were converted to Catholicism.

The movement is not only popular in Korea, but is also expanding in China, spreading the Braille method of reading, but also the Christian faith.

Mr. Yun’s is just one of countless experiences of groups and movements that abound here in Seoul. There are small basic Christian communities from India and Thailand; lay missionaries from Hong Kong Christian groups for the emancipation of women from Pakistan and Sri Lanka ...

All are born from the attempt to accommodate and resolve the needs of humanity in Asia, but have remained at the voluntary and charitable level, becoming instruments of evangelization.

Another of these groups, Fondacio, works among the Filipino youth and after a "formation" that lasts a year, sends these young people on mission in Asia: China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, where they welcome AIDS patients, drug addicts, girls taken from prostitute rackets.

These new movements flank the most famous and most traditional movements: the Foccolari, Legion of Mary, Cursillo, the Community of Sant'Egidio, Communion and Liberation, Faith and Life, etc. ...

It fell to Professor. Guzman Carriquiry, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to explain to the Congress (and the Church) that all these groups and movements are “Divine Providence’s” response to a widespread secularization. The movements and new communities - he said - "Are the womb of new generations of men and women who will rediscover, through their gifts and educational methods, the gratitude, joy, truth and beauty of being a Christian" .

An obvious feature of these new groups is their evangelical and universal charge: they breathe "a serene confession, full of joy and hope, without reticence or problematic injunctions, that Jesus is Lord," with the desire to spread the faith everywhere, "motivated by responsibility an and ad gentes missionary impetus.

"The most important issue - he added - which measures the value of every Christian person, community or institution in the Church, is impetus to ad gentes mission, to 'throw open the doors in Asia to Christ’, which is the largest gift and the supreme service that you can bring to the peoples of Asia. "

For Prof. Carriquiry missionary zeal can heal the difficulties that sometimes arise in the relationship between movements and parishes, groups and institutions. Following the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, he underlined that movements must be merged within the institutions; at the same time, parishes and bishops must welcome movements, they extend the mission of the Church in the territories, and not only in the parish structures.

And he cited Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation to movements on June 3, 2006: "take part in the edification of the one body! Pastors must be careful not to extinguish the Spirit (cf. I Thes 5:19) and you will not cease to bring your gifts to the entire community. Once again, the Spirit blows where he wills. But his will is unity. He leads us towards Christ through his Body" (BC)

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See also
Christians in Asia, courageous witnesses of faith until martyrdom
Church of Korea, protagonist of the Congress of Catholic Laity
Lay Catholics in Asia: a "sleeping giant" that is waking up
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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”