CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Ready-made for Christians

HONG KONG (SE): What has become known as China’s Four-Two-One Problem—four grandparents, two parents and one child—is opening a fertile ground in which Christians can give witness in a society where overt opportunities are often limited.

Paul de Mena wrote i n China Blog Source on November 25 that the large number of aged people in care homes, especially those suffering from dementia and other diseases which make them difficult to look after, is creating a ready-made field for Christian people to move into to provide in-home physical, emotional, social and spiritual care.

De Mena, who runs an in-home senior care company in China, cites scripture as giving a solid basis for the importance of this apostolate. “There are many good reasons for Christians to show compassion for the seniors in their community, but the best reason is because it reflects the heart of God,” he says.

He points to James 1:27 as saying, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” and Psalm 68:5, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

De Mena also points out that the aged are often the lonely, the lost and the least in society, as they do not have the money to enjoy China’s economic prosperity nor the opportunity to engage in meaningful work or pastimes.

“Very often their adult children live in other cities or countries, so they have very little interaction with people who truly care for them,” de Mena points out.

He then stresses that despite this, they do have a father in heaven who cares for them, and Christian caregivers can express his love with their words of encouragement and their acts of service.

He says that care for the aged is a real need in Chinese society, as the number of non-working seniors in China almost equals the population of Brazil. If Chinese seniors formed their own country they would become the fifth most populous nation in the world.

Figures released by the United Nations indicate that their numbers will more than double in the next 40 years.

De Mena says that this situation creates a big need in society that Christian people are able to respond to and, in addition, as people grow older and begin to peer at their own mortality face to face, they are both open to and in need of hearing the gospel message of eternal life and forgiveness.

De Mena believes that the apostolate also has a ripple effect, as the children of those in their sunset years will also be impacted on by the kindness and care shown towards their parents by a patient and caring soul.

He says that it is not a difficult apostolate to get involved in as a volunteer and a part timer, as most cities in China have at least one Church running effective courses and basic training in what it is necessary to know.

Mostly what it takes is a loving heart.

 

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