April 2012

Vietnamese bishop takes complaint to the top
(Saturday, 21 April 2012 )

HOCHIMIN CITY (Agencies) : “Religious freedom is not a favour, but a fundamental right,” Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh said in a letter addressed to the president of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang, on April 4, complaining that local authorities were blocking priests from celebrating Easter with ethnic minority people in his diocese of Kontum.

UCA News reported that copies of the letter, in which the bishop...

Easter between checkpoints in the Holy Land
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

JERUSALEM (AsiaNews): “The witness of faith by Christians in the Holy Land is vital for the small communities that dot the Arab world at a time of shocks and a resurgent radical Islam,” Archbishop Antonio Franco, the apostolic nuncio to Israel and Palestine said on April 4.

“We need trust and hope so that faith in Christ will help Christians in the Holy Land and the Arab world to face their...

Dalai Lama awarded Templeton Prize for offering universal voice of compassion
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN (CNS): The Dalai Lama was awarded the 2012 Templeton Prize on March 29.

Each year, a nine-member panel chooses a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension to receive the prize. 

A statement from the John Templeton Foundation said his “long-standing engagement with multiple dimensions of...

One of thousands of journeys to the baptismal font this Easter
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

HONG KONG (SE): Around 3,500 adults received the sacrament of baptism at the Easter celebrations in Hong Kong this year, as well as many children from their families and parishes.

Thousands of stories of the journey to faith are hidden within the lives of these people. In the case of children, the stories may be quite short, or predominately belong to their parents, but among the adults, each one has made a uniquely...

Fiji flooded in tropical downpour
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

BA (SE): In the run up to Easter, the tiny Pacific-island nation of Fiji was inundated with floods affecting hundreds and thousands of people.

As rivers burst their banks on the island of Viti Levu, home to 87 per cent of the island-nation’s total population of less than one million, the United Nations offered support to the waterlogged inhabitants.


A silent Easter for many parts of China
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Easter became a discrete celebration this year for the Church in many parts of China, especially within the unofficial Catholic communities.

Bishops and priests on the mainland report that a significant number of them were called in by the police for a chat in the run up to the feast and some were subjected to a number of weeks of special classes on the government religious policy, AsiaNews...

Faith on the hillside in Vietnam
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

HO CHI MINH (AsiaNews): People from Hieu Đao parish in the Central Highlands of Vietnam have watched their community grow in vitality and numbers, despite not having a place to call home, as the government seized their church 30 years ago and never returned it.

“I hope that in this Easter season, the local government will return our church,” a parishioner said. “We need it for Mass and prayer....

Easter appeal for children in need
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )


HONG KONG (SE): Caritas Hong Kong appealed for support for the Wei You Orphanage in Jingang City, Henan province in mainland China over the Easter Triduum observance.

Speaking at both the English and Chinese Holy Thursday Masses of the Last Supper in Rosary parish in Tsim Sha Tsui, Debbie Lo Po-ha, from the Caritas mainland desk, explained that a group of sisters began taking in abandoned...

A gift without strings
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

A volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society recalled a late night call where the single mother greeted him with a beer can in one hand and cigarette in the other.

After refusing him entry, the mother looked through the food parcel and then complained, “You forgot the nappies for the baby.”

The angry volunteer said his gut response was, “Well that...

Prayer vigil slated for North Korea
(Saturday, 14 April 2012 )

SEOUL (AsiaNews): Leaders of Protestant Churches in Seoul, in the Republic of Korea, have agreed to hold a religious service and a prayer vigil in the Kaesong industrial complex north of the demilitarised zone in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

The prayer service and vigil are scheduled to take place in the chapel of a joint venture between the two Koreas on June 12.