#ShortNews: In Bangladesh, Easter celebrated as national holiday for first time in 30 years

In Bangladesh, where Sunday is not a holiday, Easter will be celebrated as a holiday for the first time in 30 years.

This was largely the effort of Gloria Jharna Sarker, the first Catholic woman parliamentarian chosen in the last elections who fought to have the rights of the Christian community recognized at the national level, reports AsiaNews.

On Easter Sunday, April 21, all schools in the country will remain closed. Welcoming the good news, local Christians say it is a positive sign of good relations between religions.

A Dhaka merchant explained to AsiaNews that since independence gained in 1971, Sunday was a holiday, including Easter Sunday. However, Sunday ceased to be a holiday since the mid-1980s, when former president Hussain Muhammad Ershad introduced the Islamic tradition making Friday the weekly holiday. “In this way, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ was excluded from the nationally recognized festivities ”.

It is not known whether this will happen in the years to come but this year Christians have welcomed it with joy.

Full article; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-04/bangladesh-easter-holiday.html

#ShortNews: Decades of neglect threatened Notre-Dame, well before it burned

Last Monday, Notre Dame’s forest caught fire, incinerating the central spire and most of the cathedral’s roof in a disaster that dismayed the world. Notre Dame, with its limestone facade and stained-glass rose windows, was a resplendent jewel of medieval architecture to most who saw it. On closer inspection, according to church officials, contractors and donors, the cathedral was deteriorating from decades of neglect.

“For sure if the cathedral had been maintained regularly, with a higher level of funding, we would have avoided this,” said Michel Picaud, senior adviser to The Friends of Notre Dame. “The more you wait, the more risks you have.”

The flying buttresses represented the greatest structural risk, according to fundraisers. Church officials wanted to tackle the spire first. “The spire was the most urgent thing,” said Mr. Finot, the spokesman. “It’s made of lead, and the lead was disappearing.”

The spire presented unique challenges. Scaffolding needed first to reach the cathedral’s roof, 50 meters off the ground, and then rise another 50 meters to the top of the spire, encircling the ornate structure without touching it.

On April 15, a dozen workers from Le Bras Freres were working on the scaffolding, according to Mr. Eskenazi. The last one on the site left at 5:50 p.m., turning off the electricity, locking the door and giving the key to a church official in charge of the building, Mr. Eskenazi said. About half an hour later, the first fire alarm went off.

Read full article; https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/decades-of-neglect-threatened-notre-dame-well-before-it-burned/ar-BBW5bxS

#ShortNews: In China, 2 underground priests kidnapped; church destroyed

Last Sunday, a group of strangers stopped the car of Fr. Zhang smashed the glass of the window and started beating Fr. Zhang. They took him, threw him to the ground and then dragged the priest into their car and took him away. Fr. Zhang, 49, an underground priest of Xuanhua, who does not agree to join the Patriotic Association (PA), the controlling body of the Chinese Catholic Church. The faithful are worried and afraid because their priests are not safe and risk disappearing in the hands of the police at any time.

Also last Sunday, in the diocese of Lanzhou (Gansu) another unofficial priest, Fr. Hong Wanxi, 60, was forcibly taken to his home village by the United Front. He was forced to leave his Church and forcibly moved to his home town. The reason is always the same: refusal to join the PA and to be part of the official diocese of Shijiazhuang. At least 10 people, including policemen and members of the United Front and the Religious Affairs Office, took him, put him in the car and dragged him away.

Meanwhile, news has arrived that last April 12, in Hubei, a Catholic church was destroyed: It was Xutang, in Xiangtao.

Source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Xuanhua-worshipers-call-for-the-return-of-their-priest-kidnapped-by-security-forces-46775.htmlRead More »

#ShortNews: Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacks

More than 200 people were killed and at least 450 others were injured in eight coordinated attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The death toll continues to rise, with at least 207 people dead, according to police.

The attacks marks some of the worst violence the country has seen since the end of its civil war a decade ago. Police have imposed a 12 hour curfew that began at 6 p.m. local time. Officials have said flights will continue through that curfew, albeit with extra security checks.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, released a statement condemning the “cowardly attacks on our people” and asked “all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong.”

Christians are a minority in Sri Lanka, with the majority of Christians in the country being Roman Catholic. As Easter is one of Christianity’s holiest days, many of Sri Lanka’s Christian population were worshipping at church when the attacks took place.

source: https://www.vox.com/2019/4/21/18509739/sri-lanka-easter-sunday-attacks-what-we-know

What we know so far;Read More »

#ShortNews: US bishops welcome ‘Christus Vivit’

Now more than ever, we must turn our attention to our young people and engage them as ‘protagonists’ of the Church’s mission. Their insights can help us grow as a Church and guide us as we all learn to become better missionary disciples in an intercultural and intergenerational context. We look forward to what comes next, in collaboration with Catholic ministry leaders already working alongside young people. We look forward to the journey ahead, and pray with St. John Paul II, a patron of young people whose passing we remember today, for the Church’s ongoing mission to all generations.

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, is a significant milestone of the synodal process begun by Pope Francis in 2016. After two years of consultation by episcopal conferences, movements, and Catholic organizations, along with a worldwide online survey and a Pre-Synod Meeting with young adults in March 2018, the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops met in October 2018 on the theme ‘Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.’ Bishops, clergy, religious, and lay people, including a number of young people, together with Pope Francis, addressed the challenges facing younger generations today and ways in which the Church can best respond. Now the work of the Holy Spirit, manifest in the sessions of the Synod, will bear fruit in the dioceses of the United States.”

Source: http://www.usccb.org/news/2019/19-061.cfm

#ShortNews: ‘Harry Potter’ books burned at Catholic parish in Poland

Priests at a Catholic parish in northern Poland have drawn criticism after they burned an African wooden mask, a small Buddhist figure, figurines of elephants and books on personality and magic, as well as those by J.K. Rowling. They were all brought in by parishioners, who were encouraged by the priests to clear their homes of objects that had evil forces. Influential in Poland, the Catholic Church objects to “Harry Potter” books, which are international best-sellers, saying they promote sorcery.

Many comments under the Facebook postings condemned the book burning, recalling that also happened in Nazi Germany before World War II. Some said this taught hatred and asked if the next in line for burning were witches, like in the Middle Ages.

The event was criticized by the Rev. Wojciech Parafianowicz, spokesman for the diocese of Koszalin, where the foundation is based, who said he “did not like this form of priestly activity, which is wrong.”

But, speaking with the wpolityce.pl news portal, Parafianowicz argued that the occult and magic “have a bad influence on human life.”

Source: https://www.apnews.com/fe964da5bf4945798fe6b86a9e6b2428

#ShortNews: Chinese Catholics must shun foreign influence

A Chinese communist official has stressed that state controls over religion aim to prevent unwarranted foreign interference while seeming to concede that the process of localization might take longer than some people think.

Wang Zuoan, deputy minister of the party’s United Front Work Department, insisted there must be Communist Party leadership in relation to religious practice taking into account “geopolitical” factors. He said Sinicization sought to turn “religions in China” into “religions of China.”

Regarding Catholicism, Wang focused on the official requirement for the China Church to be autonomous from foreign powers in order to allow for “self-electing” of bishops and converting “underground forces” into being loyal to the state.

According to one Catholic, who identified himself as John, believed that the communist regime continues to see the underground church community as an enemy and regards the Vatican as a foreign power without directly naming it. He said that having real authority to freely carry out pastoral activities was more in “Rome’s imagination” than reflective of current realities in China.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/chinese-official-decries-foreign-religious-meddling/84878