The Maryknoll Missionary dedicated his life to creating mature communication between the Churches of Asia. He was also a member of the Pontifical council for social communications.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Fr Robert Astorino, Maryknoll missionary and founder of Uca News, a missionary news agency for Asia, died yesterday in the United States. He was 77 years old.
For 30 years he led the agency making it a communication tool for the Churches of Asia. For many years, in the 1990s, Uca News and AsiaNews worked together in Hong Kong.
Fr Astorino was born in New York in 1943. In 1970 he was ordained a priest in the Maryknoll missionary institute and was sent to Hong Kong the following year, where he worked with young people, children of refugees from China.
Working in the world of communications, in 1979 he launched the Uca News agency, convinced that the Churches of Asia must communicate to the world through Asian journalists, with editions in different languages of the continent. Uca News has grown to have 14 offices in 22 Asian countries.
Uca News has become an authoritative source of information and a tool to train many young people, not just Asians, to professional journalism. Fr Astorino was also among the supporters of the East Asia Catholic Press Association, with annual seminars attended by Catholic journalists from many Asian countries, to increase the professionalism and missionary nature of information in the Catholic media. In the late 1990s, the agency's central office moved to Bangkok.
In 1998, Fr. Astorino was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
After 30 years, the agency passed into the hands of the Jesuits and the successor of Fr. Astorino is now Fr. Michael Kelly.