Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 1 – Vacation Time in China

There are three occasions in the year when workers get one week vacation in China. The first is during the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year: the biggest and most celebrated festival in China and parts of east and southeast Asia. It usually falls in February. The second is the first week of May: International Labor Day, and the third is on October 1: National Day, the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Workers in China get one week off three times a year and more than 300 million people travel within China on these occasions.

Do you know why 9/9 is old folk’s day for the Chinese?

Chongyang – Double Nine Festival

Our good friend, Fr. Michael Saso,
a prolific author of books about Asian culture,
explains it to us:
“In China and most of Asia, old folk's day is the Double-Nine festival
on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month…
The 9/9 festival celebrates the ageing; the ‘flowers that bloom in autumn.’
This festival has been observed since the beginning
of Imperial China (around 200 to 0 BC).”
This year it was celebrated on October 19.

Claretian Editors Meeting

The first week of October a group of Claretian editors gathered in Poland. We were representatives from Spain, Brazil, Argentina, India, Sri Lanka, Poland, United States, Russia, the Philippines and Rome and we spent 4 days sharing, evaluating and projecting our work as publishers.

The Biggest Book Fair in the World

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books, held annually in mid-October in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Representatives from book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world come to the Frankfurt Book Fair in order to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees. The fair takes place every October. It is claimed to be the biggest in the world, and for five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part.

Claretian editors have been participating in this important fair for the last 23 years. It is an excellent opportunity to buy and sell rights and be in personal contact with our publishing partners abroad.

Books for seminaries in China

Books for seminaries in China International publishers generously offered their books for seminary libraries in China. There are 12 major seminaries in China, and they greatly need good books. Since many Chinese priests and seminarians can read English, some publishing houses are donating their books for the formation of evangelizers in China. A very concrete sign of “shared mission.” Thanks to the Liturgical Press, Liturgy Training Publications, Paulist Press, St. Anthony Messenger Press and Augsburg-Fortress.

Back to the Beginning

I am now in Macau until November 18 since I do not teach at the National Seminary in Beijing for 5 weeks to give way to our visiting teachers from October 15 to November 20. I also make use of this time to observe English classes at the Inter-University Institute of Macau as part of my MATESOL. It feels good to be back to my adopted hometown and to be with my Claretian brothers here.

A Filipino charismatic community invited me to attend their prayer meeting last Saturday evening (October 27). Most of them work until 9 pm or even beyond, especially those who have to go from one part-time job to another, so they come to the “house church” for their prayer meeting after 10 pm. While waiting, those who come early pray the rosary. The prayer meeting begins at 10:30 pm with praise songs followed by contrition, thanksgiving, gospel reading, sharing, supplication and concluding prayer and song. The prayer meeting finishes at around midnight, when they serve some food as midnight snack, just like the “nochebuena” on Christmas eve.

Being with the Filipinos, who gather to pray until late at night every Saturday, brought me back to the beginning of our mission in Macau when Fr. Arnold Aberlardo and Br. Rey Alcantara first came here in May 1993. As the Filipinos work the whole day and even at night, the only time to meet them is after their work. So Arnold and Rey then formed prayer communities where the Filipinos could come and gather to pray together and share their faith experiences until early morning. It was like back to the time of the first Christian communities. Rey and I continued this work during the time we were in Macau from 1993 to 2004. We accompanied the Filipino migrant workers here, as we ourselves worked full time and prayed with them at night.

So that night I came home at 1 am, sleepy but inspired by the devotion of these overseas Filipino workers who pray, sing and dance to God while the world spends the night watching TV, playing mahjong, or singing karaoke, or simply enjoying a good night’s rest.

Fr. Jojo Ancheril shares his experience in Macau and Hong Kong

A Macau Challenge…

Hundreds of thousands flock to the casinos but only very few go to the charitable institutions in Macau. If we are to experience the beauty of Macau we also need to visit our less fortunate brothers and sisters here, who are psychologically and physically challenged. What is my attitude to them and do I have time to be with them? Or am I too busy with the world around me? These are some of the questions I asked myself when Fr. Peter and I visited some charitable institutions in Macau.

and the Cantonese Challenge

When the Superior General appointed me to Macau he wrote to me, “The first and most important thing is to respect and love the people to whom you have been sent: appreciate their culture, learn their language, and share their joys and struggles.” With this in mind I began to learn Cantonese at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The language study in the Chinese University is something unique. We are 20 students from 13 countries and with different cultural backgrounds. It gives us ample opportunity to learn not only this different language, but also the culture and way of life of the Cantonese Chinese. It is really an enriching experience even as it helps us to be open to other culture and people.

Cantonese is quite difficult to learn, but also very interesting. We had a practical learning experience near a market this first week of October. We were divided into five groups and were asked to buy fruits worth US$3.00. Some of us spoke in Cantonese well and bought some fruits. Some were not precise with their pronunciation and tones, and were chased away from the shops. This experience taught us how important the pronunciation and tones in Cantonese are, which vary the meanings of the words.

Fr. Jojo started celebrating Mass in Cantonese on Claretian Mission Sunday, October 28, 2007. Congratulations, Jojo!

Meanwhile our veteran Fr. Peter Chao is attending a Chinese parish in Macau and celebrating the Mass in Mandarin… like a mustard seed we do our small part in building the Kingdom. And we can say that our community now covers Macau, Zhuhai (China) and Hong Kong.

Book Launching

The Chinese Daily Gospel 2008 was formally launched in Macau on October 28. A group of 23 Catholics from Macau wrote some commentaries for the daily Gospel reading; other groups from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China also contributed. This is really a book “from the people and for the people.”

A people in search of their parish church

The city is Tieli, in the northeast of China, near the border with Russia. A group of Christians helped by Claretian Missionaries from Korea started building a church for the Christian community there. Well, as you see in the pictures: there are many Christians and they need help to finish their place of worship. The Claretian Mission Procure is looking for financial assistance…

Can you help?

Our Visitors

Two priests from Mainland – Fr. Dah-Niann Jou, and Fr. Shao-guang Cai and a Catholic lay leader – Ms. Wu from Zhuhai visited us. We are looking for ways to collaborate with them.