The beatification in Lyon of the foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith is an opportunity to rediscover the roots of this association serving the mission and the proclamation of the Gospel in China and the rest of Asia. Blessed Jaricot promoted prayer for Christians in China and knowledge about their communities. Today Asian Churches are no longer just recipients of support but also provide it to the mission on other continents.
Bishop Mumbiela Sierra of Almaty, Kazkistan, was elected a few weeks ago as the first president of the new Conference of Catholic Bishops of Central Asia. He speaks to AsiaNews: 'An experience of fraternity that is important for the growth of our communities. We are a periphery that bears witness to God's love for the whole world".
Archbishop William Goh of Singapore writes a pastoral letter to his community shaken by the conviction of a man religious for paedophilia. Let us pray to “be more vigilant and mindful,” Archbishop Goh says. Let us “remember that the sins of one will affect others as well. It is a timely reminder for us to renew our faith, find healing in forgiveness and in God’s mercy, and seek reconciliation with our wounded brothers and sisters”.
Data from the statistical yearbook published by the Bishops' Conference show that the number of Catholics in South Korea will grow by no more than 0.2% by 2021, compared to 3% just a few years ago. Catholics now make up 11.3% of the population, but the average age of the faithful is getting older and new vocations to the priesthood are declining. Bucking the trend, the contribution to the mission remains high, with 1115 Korean missionaries carrying out their ministry in 80 countries around the world.
Églises d'Asie publishes a story about the Orthodox parish in Thailand that welcomes Ukrainian war refugees and Russian tourists stranded by sanctions and cancelled flights. “We don’t discriminate,” the local priest said. People pray together, side by side, hoping for the conflict to end soon.
The co-founder of Milan’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart will be beatified on 30 April. She was very involved in evangelisation, especially in China, where she played a role in the founding of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important female religious congregation that is still active.
This year, the holy month for Muslims coincides with the Easter celebrations by Christian Churches. From the island of Mindanao comes a message from a movement engaged in Islamic-Christian dialogue since 1984 in a context marred by violence, but where “real dialogue is also based on respect of differences of faith”.
In a letter, the pope asked the Archieparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly "to take a step back" in contention that pitts the largest archdiocese of this eastern rite against the others. Easter deadline for the entry into force of the unified rite of the Holy Qurbana confirmed. "We cannot afford to cause scandal".
Pope Francis’ call for peace between Russia and Ukraine and throughout the world was done in many languages in Asia. The expression of closeness to the victims of the war in Europe echoes the many conflicts in Asia, from Myanmar to the Philippines.
The new structure of the Vatican dicasteries promulgated yesterday with the apostolic constitution "Praedicare evangelium" reflects Francis insistance on the primacy of evangelization and the need for the whole world to be represented in the Vatican. Two characteristics that he has already put in place in recent years with several Asian appointments. And that the limited duration of 5 years for the term of office for ordained officials will further favour this.
Camay Lam, gravely ill with cancer, made hundreds of greeting cards using Chinese characters for Chinese New Year. the proceeds from the sale were earmarked for a youth centre in Vientiane and other works in the Apostolic Vicariate of Pakse. “The most important thing now is to do my part and continue to do more evangelisation work,” she told the Sunday Examiner.
Israel has reopened its borders welcoming the first groups of pilgrims after two years of closures due to Covid-19. The Latin Primate reflects on a time in which "we have come to terms with fragility and solitude", but the desire "to start again" defining "objectives and prospects" is strong. The importance of a "synodal path" of "participation and mission".
In Japan bishops condemn the Russian invasion citing John Paul II who in Hiroshima said that, “resorting to war is neither inevitable nor indispensable”. Likewise, “We really pray ardently that everybody sees the senselessness of violence,” said Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay. In China Catholics will heed the appeal Pope Francis made for a day of fasting and prayer on 2 March.
Bishop Thomas Meram of Urmia and Patriarchal Administrator of Tehran, tells of a community coming to terms with emigration, economic crisis and Covid. The numbers confirm the difficulties: three weddings, four baptisms and 30 funerals. But even in Iran, the Church uses social media as a means of reaching out to the faithful. And in June, after three years, a group of children will be able to celebrate their first communions.
On the eve of local elections in the small state where Christians are a quarter of the population, the Council for Social Justice and Peace warns that, “Money and freebees are distributed and unfortunately many people accept them. These offer no solution for unemployment, for escalating prices and homelessness.” Above all, “Let us not be manipulated by political experiments, electoral adventurism and deceptive propaganda.”
In his first interview, to the PIME magazine “Mondo e Missione”, Mgr Stephen Chow Sau-yan talks about the challenges of his ministry in a city struggling with Beijing’s increasingly harsh crackdown. “We are here as prophets, but with the humility of dialogue,” he says. “Our main task is to protect students.” Yet, “Culture can be subversive.”
On the Sunday of the Word of God , the story of Thailand-s mountain tribes who are preparing a Bible dictionary, the first step towards a complete translation of Scripture. In Asia there are still 751 languages spoken by 124 million people who do not have any Sacred Scripture in their own tongue.
This year the Council of Churches of the Middle East has been tasked with preparing the texts for the Week of Prayer that is celebrated around the world from 18 to 25 January. For its part, the Taizé community is calling on young people to come to the Holy Land in May for the new stage of its “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth".