CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Our Asian Church

ROME (SE): “As Christians, we go to so-called mission territories, because we love all people and we want to share the great gift of Jesus and his gospel,” Luis Cardinal Tagle said in describing the context of the Asian Church at a vigil gathering marking Mission Sunday in Rome on October 16.

He described the fruit of mission as being a deeper communion, where people of different nations and languages become one family of God, adding that there is a profound unity which binds the Church of Rome to the Church of Asia.

“The Church in Asia, which is the most populous continent in the world, remains a minority, a small flock. How do Christians in Asia take on the task when they are so few and, I would say, almost invisible? The main way of living mission in Asia is through sincere and fraternal dialogue with non-Christians and their cultures,” he pointed out.

“This means being silently, but deeply inserted in the ordinary flow of life of our neighbours—in fact we share their struggles, joys, sorrows and successes, thus making the Christian spirit that animates us visible,” he continued.

“We recognise that Christians and non-Christians have much in common—love of family, responsibility and concern for children, the desire for a dignified and peaceful life, the pain when loved ones get sick and much more. We are brothers and sisters in our common home called human existence,” the archbishop of Manila continued.

Cardinal Tagle described Christians in Asia as proclaiming Jesus and his gospel through compassion, kindness, smiles, love and service.

“In Asia, in general, Christians are respected, free to practice their faith. But in some places they are at best tolerated. Catholic hospitals and schools, Caritas centres… orphanages and shelters for the homeless… social services offered by lay movements, testify to the love of Jesus for children, the sick and for those who suffer,” he pointed out.

“Unfortunately, in some parts of Asia, Christians are not accepted,” he lamented. “They are persecuted, sometimes subtly and sometimes more openly, violently. Some Christians have left their country… others have decided to stay. But in their suffering, they bear witness to the strong presence of the Holy Spirit.”

He also spoke of the Catholic schools in Asia that have only a tiny percentage of Catholic students, saying that they educate and take care of all children… teaching them and showing them that Jesus loves and welcomes them.

 

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