Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to our May 2008 China News

Solidarity with China’s Earthquake Victims

You have heard. You have seen. And your heart bleeds for the victims of the earthquake in China.

Where we live, in the south of China, we did not feel the earthquake, but we do feel the pain of our brothers and sisters.

You have been invited to help. The newspaper and TV have shown us ways to help, with agencies to receive donations. If you personally or the institution you belong to wishes to help and does not know how, please write to us: We will send you a sure and fast way to do it.

World Day of Prayer for the Church in China

The idea for a Day of Prayer to be celebrated each year on May 24 was initiated by Benedict XVI in his Letter to Chinese Catholics last year. On that day, the Chinese Catholics celebrate the liturgical feast of Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

In the Letter, Benedict XVI asks Chinese Catholics to mark the day "by renewing your communion of faith in Jesus our Lord and of faithfulness to the Pope, and by praying that the unity among you may become ever deeper and more visible" (no. 19). The Pontiff suggests to the Catholics, who are often persecuted, to "love [your] enemies and to pray for those who persecute [you]."

Meanwhile Cardinal Dias tells Chinese Catholics the Pope blesses them all, and wants to see them united.

Often, under pressure from the regime’s propaganda, Catholics from the official Church are afraid to publicly show their loyalty to the Pope, concerned that they be accused of being anti-patriotic. By contrast underground Catholics tend to be intransigent towards official Catholics. But for the cardinal “in heaven there will be no official or underground Catholics because we shall all be children of God. And for the Pope this unity should also be seen on this earth.”

The prelate referred to the “suffering of the past”, calling on everyone to forgive past wrongs. He also highlighted recent signs of increasing relations between China and the Vatican like the 7 May concert by the Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra which was “offered by government authorities to the Holy Father” as well as the Pontiff’s appeal and prayers for the victims and survivors of the Sichuan earthquake.

Prayer for the Church in China

Virgin Most Holy,
Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan
under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you
with devout affection.

We come before you today
to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and,
with a mother’s care,
guide them along the paths of truth and love,
so that they may always be a leaven
of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes"
in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh
in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work
of our redemption.

You willingly and generously
cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross,
when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son,
who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive
your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps
by taking up his Cross.

Mother of hope,
in the darkness of Holy Saturday
you journeyed with unfailing trust
towards the dawn of Easter.

Grant that your children
may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs
of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan,
sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials,
continue to believe, to hope, to love.

May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus
to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine
you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms
in a gesture of love.

Help Catholics always to be credible
witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter
on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia,
pray for us, now and for ever.


Let this be your prayer for China during 2008!
And, since we are at it, let me also give you a link for 30 days of prayer for China's minority peoples:

Three thousand Bibles per hour…

… or its equivalent: more than a million Bibles per month. This is the present capacity of the new plant of Amity Printing Press in Nanjing, China.
On May 18 more than 150 international visitors were present at the inauguration of the new Amity printing press. Almost all were members of the Bible Society from different countries around the world. Amity has been a partnership for the last 20 years between a Chinese company and the UBS (United Bible Society). They have already printed more than 50 million bibles; 44 million were Chinese bibles distributed today all over China.

We were among the first international partners and today one of the biggest. We print more than 600,000 books per year at Amity… books that are then distributed in more than 20 countries around the world.

We maintain an excellent relationship with the press as you can see in the pictures. For a You-Tube experience:

IUB –International University Beijing

Do you see yourself in Beijing for three months… getting acquainted with Chinese culture, history and language, understanding the basics of “doing business in China”, with classes in English and staying in one of the most prestigious universities?

Why ever not!

It has been coming and now we have arrived: IUB will open its doors this coming September. Take a look at the brochure below, which describes our program and we can send you more details if interested. There are some scholarships available for those most in need.... pass the word around!

A Journey through Incredible China

Fr. Jojo concluded with flying colors his second semester of Chinese studies at the prestigious (and demanding!) Hong Kong University. And he now enjoys a month of rest… that is, another kind of apostolic activities. Jojo went in pilgrimage to St. Francis Xavier’s memorial.

We all know the story of this great Jesuit missionary. Let me just note a few lines from his life:

On April 17, 1552, he set sail with Diego Pereira, leaving Goa on board the Santa Cruz for China. In early September 1552, the Santa Cruz reached the Chinese island of Shangchuan, 14 kms away from the southern coast of mainland China, near Taishan, Guangdong, 200 km south-west of what later became Hong Kong. At this time, he was only accompanied by a Jesuit student, Álvaro Ferreira, a Chinese man called Antonio and a Malabar servant called Christopher. Around mid-November, he sent a letter saying that a man had agreed to take him to the mainland in exchange for a large sum of money. Having sent back Álvaro Ferreira, he remained alone with Antonio.

On 21 November, on Shangchuan Island, he fainted after celebrating Mass. He died on 3 December 1552, at age 46, without having reached mainland China.

Pope Benedict XVI said of both Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier: "not only their history which was interwoven for many years from Paris and Rome, but a unique desire — a unique passion, it could be said — moved and sustained them through different human events: the passion to give to God-Trinity a glory always greater and to work for the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ to the peoples who had been ignored."

And here is Jojo’s testimony:

In these last few weeks I visited some places and people in mainland China, a promised land that has made me so happy and proud. The people I visited, with their simple life and their beautiful hearts and minds, had been so generous and available to me, which made me feel at home with them.

While on a journey to visit the place where St. Francis Xavier died, we stopped half way in Jiangmen. There we met Fr. Leong who brought us to some subcenters in his parish. Then, we traveled for around three hours to visit a sick person for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The family and friends of this old man were very happy to see us. The old man´s wife out of her generosity and good will offered me 5 yuan, which I accepted with a heavy heart. Her act made me recall the story of the poor widow, who offered two copper coins in the temple, and Jesus said that this poor widow offered more than everyone else. The offering of that old woman is the greatest gift I have ever received.


The Claretian missionaries first came to China in 1927. At that time they arrived in Huangshan. And Fr. Jojo went there next. This is his story:

In Huangshan, there is this elderly Catholic named Nicolas. His wife was admitted into the hospital. He is very poor and he lives in a very small and old house. On seeing his situation, someone offered him some money, but he refused and told her to give it to the earthquake victims in Sichuan instead, who are suffering and in need of our prayers and help. Here is a man who forgets his own suffering and pain to help others in need.

These simple but extraordinary acts of two ordinary Catholics helped me to understand the richness of the Chinese people and culture.

Teaching theology by way of English

Claretian Bro. SC has been residing and teaching at the National Seminary in Beijing, with Fr. FC. Here Sid shares what and how he teaches:

For the second term this school year, we grouped the seminarians according to their English proficiency level. Barbara, a language teacher from Germany, teaches the beginning level, and I teach the upper beginners and the intermediate students. Instead of teaching about the English language, I designed the intermediate course as an introduction to theology in English. We use Lode Wostyn´s theology workbooks, with some adaptation, as our reading texts.

Most of the course time is devoted to discussing the points presented in the workbook, even as students do the given exercises and activities. We also devote some time for language input to help the students become more aware of how they use English in class. With this course, the students have the context for authentic language use where they read, discuss and write in English.

Veteran in action

Claretian Fr. Peter Chao was born in China. His parents moved to Taiwan many years ago. Fr. Peter became a teacher and before becoming a Claretian obtained a master’s in Chinese Literature and a PhD in Pastoral Theology.

These past two months Fr. Peter went back to Taiwan and helped the Claretian Fr. Arturo Morales with two volunteers training workshops. Seventy persons joined the first batch and 30 in the second.

He visited some evangelization centers, helped in jail ministry training and contacted professors at the Fu-Yen University for his forthcoming courses in Chinese Philosophy as a visiting professor at the Beijing National Seminary later this year. Well done, Peter!

The new Korean Pastoral Bible

It was more than 15 years ago when we started the preparation of the Korean Pastoral Bible. With a similar presentation as the Christian Community Bible, with basically the same commentaries adapted by the Claretian Fr. Gabriel Kim, a biblical scholar, to the pastoral needs of Korea. This Bible has just come out of the press and we have received the first copies.

We hope to receive during the present year the new Tamil Pastoral Bible and the new revised edition of our own Chinese Pastoral Bible, which is in final preparation at the moment.

Cultural Exchange with China

Colmban Fr. Eamonn O’Brien stopped in Macau and we had the chance to share our projects for China. Fr. Eamonn has been in contact with China since the late ‘70s, working also in Taiwan.

We have shared ideas and discovered possibilities for mutual help in the work we are doing in China.

Where language and culture do not fully meet ...

laugh and enjoy with this link ...
see you next month!