Monday, June 30, 2008

Welcome to our June 2008 Macau-China Newsletter

Our work in Macau and China is to continue searching for unexplored frontiers and concrete possibilities that are open for us. One of these areas is to help in the formation of evangelizers, sharing experiences with them, and through Claretian Publications. This is also what the Pope asked the bishop of Hong Kong and the bishop of Macau on June 27.

Pontiff Hopes to See Chinese Bishops in Rome

Addresses Prelates From Hong Kong and Macao

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is waiting for the day when the bishops of mainland China will visit the See of Peter.The Pope said this today upon receiving the bishops of the Chinese dioceses of Hong Kong and Macao at the conclusion of their five-yearly visit.

Hong Kong and Macao are the two special administrative regions of China, and are allowed govern themselves with a high degree of sovereignty. "I hope and pray to the Lord that the day will soon come when your brother bishops from mainland China come to Rome on pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, as a sign of communion with the Successor of Peter and the Universal Church," Benedict XVI said. "I willingly avail myself of the occasion to send to the Catholic community of China and to all the people of that vast country the assurance of my prayers and my affection."

The Pontiff also encouraged the two dioceses to "continue your contribution to the life of the Church in mainland China, both by offering personnel for formation purposes and by supporting initiatives in the field of human promotion and assistance."

"We must never forget however that Christ is also for China a teacher, pastor and loving redeemer. The Church must never allow this good news to remain unspoken."


The Pope urged the bishops to pay special attention to the ongoing formation of the clergy, and more specifically with regard to "young priests confronted with new pastoral challenges arising from the task of evangelizing a society as complex as today's."

Bibles are big business in China

Last May 18 was the inauguration of the new plant of Amity Printing Press in Nanjing, China. We told you about that in last month newsletter. Since then newspapers around the world echoed the news. Here is a summary of an article in Los Angeles Times on June 21:

- A booming Bible industry is turning the world’s biggest atheist nation into the world’s largest supplier of the Good Book.
- A new plant can turn out more than 12 million copies a year. Some are for export, but most are for domestic sale.

NANJING, CHINA -- The factory looks like it could be any plant in this export-driven nation. Hundreds of Chinese workers huddle over loud machines churning out large orders for customers at home and abroad.But what they're making might surprise you: Bibles.

As Tibetan monks grab headlines protesting the lack of religious freedom under Chinese rule, a booming Bible industry is on its way to turning the world's biggest atheist nation into the world's largest producer of the Good Book.Chairman Mao might have said, "Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people," but here at Nanjing Amity Printing Co., China's only state-sanctioned Bible printer, little time is wasted pondering the contradictions of a metaphysical mismatch."We are printers," said Li Chunnong, the general manager of the plant, which has about 500 employees. "As long as somebody legitimate sends us an order, we will print them."

This pragmatic mind-set has contributed to the company's staggering growth. Since its first Bible rolled off the presses two decades ago, Amity has printed more than 50 million copies in 75 languages and exported to more than 60 countries. With the help of a new hangar-sized facility, the company could well be the biggest Bible factory in the world, cranking out 12 million copies a year."

The Bible is probably the bestselling book in the world," Li said. "People need spiritual fulfillment. There is a huge demand for what we do. We have certainly benefited from that phenomenon and will not let the market slip from our hands." This kind of talk was almost unimaginable just a generation or two ago. During the radical years of the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, just about the only reading material the Chinese people had was the Little Red Book of Mao Tse-tung's quotations -- certainly not a big black book of Jesus' parables. Demonized as spiritual pollution, copies of the holy text were confiscated and burned.

Religious revival

The dawn of market-oriented reforms in the late 1970s and early 1980s brought about a spiritual reawakening that led to bustling Buddhist and Taoist temples and the opening of the first state-sanctioned church in a nation where Christianity is a minority faith. An estimated 30 million Christians now worship in government-approved churches that fall under the control of religious "patriotic associations." Tens of millions more are said to pray in underground outlets.

All this seemed farfetched two decades ago when Amity opened its plant on farmland donated by the government. As part of the deal, the company had to find jobs for the 320 residents. None had any experience running a printing press or reading the Good Book, but some have since converted to Christianity.

"Before I came to work here, I had never heard of the Bible," said Yi Shuhong, 40, a 20-year employee. "No one in my family believes in God. But they are not against me for converting."

The Bible and the Olympics

Beijing Olympics organizers recommend that spiritually inclined international athletes coming in August bring only one copy of the Bible for their personal use if they are worried about getting into trouble. If they forget, one would be provided free, courtesy of Amity.

Amity is the printing press we use to print all our books. In this month of June alone we have placed an order for 125,000 bibles with Amity. Most of them are in Spanish, a new and edited version of La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo. These bibles will soon reach all the Americas, from USA to Argentina, as we send them along with Diario Bíblico 2009, a book that is coming out of the press these days with a printing run of 77,000 copies.

Bible Diary in many languages:

The project that we started in the Philippines in 1985 is now published in different formats and in many languages.

China / Shijiazhuang

One of the major seminaries in China is located in the city of Sijiazhuang, Hebei Province. The rector of the seminary, Fr. Bosco Wu requested our help for books for their library. One of the government requirements to accept this seminary at the national level is that their library should have at least 30,000 titles. Immediately we started to look for books and our good friends the Jesuits from Taiwan gave us a helping hand.

They still need more books. These books can be in English…

Do you know where we could find some (thousands)…
not necessarily new…?
Just let us know and we will take care of the shipping expenses.
Write to:

Bro. SC went to visit the seminary and talked with Fr. Rector to see and appreciate their work and to offer our service. He was invited to give some English courses to the seminarians next semester. A few days later Claretian Fr. Peter Chao also went to that city to share some experiences with some religious sisters and a group of university students who minister at the local university.

As you can see, the facilities are almost non-existent. The enthusiasm of the young people compensated for the lack of tables and chairs!

International University of Beijing

We are preparing to begin a university program in Beijing, called IUB. It will be the first time that college degrees, taught in English, at university level will be offered in China. The program is located at the Beijing Sports University (BSU) campus. Registration is now open for foreigners living in China, and anyone interested in a semester of accredited study in Beijing. The Fall `08 program is September 15 to December 4.

If interested please write to or

Scholarships are available. Here is the program:

FALL 2008 Courses

A Cultural History of China: 3 units
Textbooks: Class notes, and J.A.G. Roberts, A Concise history of China; Harvard: 2002; Prof. Shen Wei, and Prof Gai Yuaming,,Academy of Social Sciences; (Michael Saso, PhD; Fr Francisco Carin, CMF).

Teaching English as a second language: 3 units
Weekly lesson in TESL, with internships, nightly time teaching on BSU campus. IUB staff.

Doing Business in China: 3 units
Prof. Axel Winkler, MBA; 20 years of experience running a successful business in China, with guest lecturers from US AACSB approved professors.

Martial Arts: 3 units
Special instructions by BSU staff, Prof Teng Jian, PhD, Jet Li and Jackie Chan style martial arts combat; or, traditional Taiji lessons in the Yang style of self defense movement.

Asian Cinema Seminar.
The best of Asian movies, from China, Japan, Korea, and DVD Anime Manga classics. In depth discussion and analysis after each selected movie. Conducted by Prof Shen Wei, Dr Michael Saso, Fr. Francisco Carin, CMF.

Other electives:
Calligraphy and traditional brush art; TCM; acupressure, Tibetan herbal medicine, Tibetan Tangkha Buddhist art painting.

Field Trip:
Each semester a field study trip is offered. It will be determined according to student interests. Possible places: the Shanghai-Hangzhou area; the Nanjing (Mao Shan Taoist Mtn and Xixia Shan Buddhist mountain); the Xian - Terra Cotta warriors, or the HK Pearl Delta trip.

If interested in more details kindly go to:

Two New Claretians for China

They are Biju and Joshy. Two young Indian Claretians who have just arrived in Taiwan. On Monday June 30 they have began their (at least) two years of study of the Chinese language at the Catholic Fu Jen University in Taipei.
We welcome them warmly!

Meanwhile Fr. Jojo continues progressing in the study of the Cantonese language. He stays in Hong Kong at a Maryknoll parish. Fr. Jojo is taking already some responsibilities in the parish of Christ the Worker. He celebrates Mass in Cantonese, attends meetings, and is very close to the people there – as long as his studies allow it!

Olympic Fever

With the Olympics just over a month from now, we invite you to take a look at the venues in this powerpoint presentation”:

Our Visitors

Sr. Judette Gallares and Sr. Malen Java, Cenacle Sisters, both teaching at ICLA (Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia) in Manila have passed through Macau and Zhuhai on their way to Mainland China where they spend a couple of weeks in contact with Chinese religious sisters. More than 50 priests and sisters are studying at ICLA at present.

Macau Diocesan Pastoral Center

Macau has a population of little over half million people. And a yearly tourist visitors of more that 27 million people. Many migrants from the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries flock the tine place looking for work. Now the Diocese of Macau has opened a new building for the pastoral needs of migrants. There are three Filipino priests in charge and we give a helping hand whenever we are asked.


We can all get lost on the web… but once in a while we find something really worthwhile. Here is one link that you will probably like. It is a weekly column from Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI:

Let me give you a hint of his latest column:

Some Guidelines for Service

To try to serve others is to be caught up in many tensions, some that beset from without and others that beset from within. How can we remain energized, effective, and true? Here are some guidelines for the long haul: ...

And, let’s keep in touch… You shall hear from us at the end of July.

Latest arrival...

Talking about
"visitors". Here is a cute little boy born a few days ago. If you are one of those who have one Claretian bible or Bible Diary, then you have to thank the mother of this child. She is Yanyan and working at Amity she has the responsibility of coordinating all cargoes leaving China for a worldwide destination. And she is a very good friend of ours. Congratulations Yanyan!


Our friend Martha Minnich, sends us the following note:

There was a 2-part article a couple weeks ago in our Sunday Chicago Tribune about the growth of Christianity in China. It mainly focused on the Protestants and evangelicals, and those having churches outside the official churches, but it also mentioned Roman Catholicism and the official churches.,0,2458211.story,0,7087439.htmlpage