Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Rejoice! It is P E N T E C O S T !

When the day of Pentecost arrived,
they were all together in one place.
And suddenly there came from heaven
a sound like a mighty rushing wind,
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them
and rested on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues
as the Spirit gave them utterance.
– Acts 2:1-4

Election, inheritance, salvation, empowerment,
community, mission, hope, daring…
all comes in the Holy Spirit that is poured out on Pentecost.

Here is a bit of our lives and dreams,
news and projects at the end of May 2009.


Global Times: Discover China, discover the world

Last April 20 China Global Times officially launched its English edition and new web portal, www.globaltimes.cn, giving the world a new source to understand China. For China, the new English edition is one more channel to deliver its voice to the world. The other English publication is China Daily: www.chinadaily.com.cn

What is interesting is that this new magazine usually touches some taboo questions. This is an example (summarized):


Wealthy second generation poor in belief
By Li Xiangping

In Chinese temples and churches, the most generous donors are usually middle-aged millionaires and billionaires. They attract attention for their large donations and apparent enthusiasm for religion. However, it is noteworthy that their children, known as “the wealthy second generation,” are gaining a reputation for being rude, haughty black sheep.

Most are rich enough to attend exclusive schools, but apparently neither their parents' religion nor their education has had a positive impact on them.

Complex factors have led to this phenomenon. Compared with their parents, these children lack religious belief and have not been influenced strongly by it.

Since religious life has not fully developed in today's Chinese society, most religious organizations haven't performed regular charity work, and only hold charity events when there is some kind of disaster.

This is a missed opportunity for religion to play a positive role in guiding morality in our everyday life.

Though China has hundreds of millions of believers in various religions, their religious lives rarely appear in the mainstream public's view. One reason is that they do not have adequate space in which to express themselves. Another reason is that more and more believers regard faith as a private matter.

Generally, family is the primary place where religious ideals are spread. But this hardly ever seems to happen in wealthy families, which use religion to bless their wealth and reduce their anxiety, but not to pursue spiritual fulfillment.

The older generation may have set a bad example for their children. Since their wealth was based on the first bucket of gold from the reform and opening-up, the youngsters in all likelihood witnessed some foul means of getting rich. This would contribute to their lack of morality.

Long-term questions remain. Will the second generation of the wealthy integrate into the larger community? If they are spiritually empty but materially wealthy, how will they impact society?

The Need To Be Creative

What can missionaries do?
This is a question we often hear…
and, indeed, a question we ask ourselves every day.
In places where “traditional” missionary ministry
is not possible… then what?
What unexplored frontiers are there for us?


(From forwarded messages in the Internet)

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how I would assume the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, "How can we provide one?" It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.

The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn't nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn't assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.

This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators, which are much smaller than those in the US, meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

What does this have to do with anything besides square watermelons? There are a few lessons that can we can take away from this story. Here are a few of them:

Don't Assume. The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don't even realize that I'm making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.

Question habits. The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. I have changed a large number of habits that I have had after taking the time to question them and continue to do so. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.

Be creative. When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your life will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. I am not a creative person, but I've found that the more I look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.

Look for a better way. The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. It's impossible to find a better way if you never ask the question in the first place. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.

Impossibilities often aren't. If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Take the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc.) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

And that is how the “square watermelon”
is making our mission team change our questions,
forcing us to be creative and to look for better
and new ways of doing things.

With “Pentecost” with us, “impossible is nothing”!

Matteo Ricci, “a model of dialogue,” says Pope An example of “impossible is nothing”!

Father Matteo Ricci, the famous Italian Jesuit missioner to China, was "a model of dialogue and respect for the beliefs of others," Pope Benedict XVI said in a message commemorating the anniversary of the priest's death.

Portrait of Father Ricci

In the message, released by the Vatican on May 18, the Pope praised the originality and style of Father Ricci's "prophetic" mission in China. Father Ricci lived in China from 1583 until his death in Beijing on May 11, 1610, at the age of 57.

Pope Benedict said Father Ricci was "gifted with profound faith and extraordinary cultural and scientific genius," and "dedicated long years of his life to weaving a profound dialogue between West and East, at the same time working incisively to root the Gospel in the culture of the great people of China."

"Even today, his example remains as a model of fruitful encounter between European and Chinese civilizations," the Pope said.

He said this was the approach "that characterized his mission," as he set out to look for "possible harmony between the noble and millennial Chinese civilization" and Christianity.
"What made his apostolate original and, we could say, prophetic was the profound sympathy he nourished for the Chinese, for their cultures and religious traditions," the Pope said.

Pope Benedict said that "notwithstanding the difficulties and misunderstandings that he encountered," the Jesuit priest "wished to remain faithful to this style of evangelization to the end of his life, using – one might say – a scientific methodology and a pastoral strategy based, on the one hand on respect for the wholesome customs of the place ... and on the other hand on his awareness that (divine) Revelation could further enhance and complete (those customs)."

- - - - - - - -

Next year will be the 400th anniversary of the death of the priest who lived the final 27 years of his life in China.

The Jesuit-run Macau Ricci Institute held a forum on May 11, the day Father Ricci died in Beijing in 1610.

Father Ricci, known as Li Madou to the Chinese, was a prolific writer, a Sinologist, linguist and an accomplished scientist.

Father Ricci, an Italian, began to learn the Chinese language on arrival in Macau, then a Portuguese colony and the gateway for foreigners entering China. After mastering the language, the priest set off for Beijing, arriving there in 1601.

Many people viewed Father Ricci's life in China as a success.

"In fact, he had many setbacks and difficulties," such as his discouragement upon seeing his companions die on the trip to Beijing, said Father Criveller.

Father Ricci is often remembered as a man of science, but he was much more than that, Father Criveller said.

The tombstone of Jesuit Father
Matteo Ricci in Beijing

Some of the Jesuit's techniques for introducing Christianity to China were controversial at the time. He preached the message that God was one and the same with the Chinese deity, the "Lord of Heaven".

However, Father Criveller said Father Ricci had "talked and written about Christ ... on certain occasions when people were ready to learn about Christ."

Father Criveller, based in Hong Kong, has been living in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China for 18 years. The PIME scholar researches, teaches and writes on the reception of Christianity in China.

Father Gianni Criveller (left) and Jesuit Father ArturWardega,
director of the Macau Ricci Institute

Macau diocese offers training for Guangxi (China) priests

MACAU (UCAN) – The bishop in the southern Chinese region of Guangxi has welcomed an offer by the head of the Macau Catholic Church to train priests from the former's diocese.

Bishop John Baptist Tan Yanquan of Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said his diocese lacks the resources that Macau diocese enjoys, and can learn much from it.

Bishop John Baptist Tan Yanquan
of Nanning (file photo)

He said he is glad and grateful that Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau "invited our priests to receive weeklong training sessions" in Macau. "But we have to seek approval from the local government," he added.

Bishop Lai, 63, made the invitation when he led a six-person delegation that included two priests, a nun and three laypersons to Guangxi from April 20-24.

The Macau and Guangxi Churches have had ties in the past. During the 1940s and 1950s, Guangxi's Beihai diocese sent seminarians to Macau's St. Joseph's Seminary to receive priestly formation.

Bishop Lai, a member of the Vatican's China Commission, told UCA News that he was impressed by the Guangxi Church's focus on evangelization. He said it is important to "update" the knowledge of priests, nuns and lay catechists through ongoing formation, and he was happy to provide that.

Guangxi diocese has an active social service program and its Charity Association in recent years has organized laypeople to visit and help the elderly, sick and needy.

Bishop Lai also expressed hope that the two churches could cooperate more on social services in the future, and that his visit would pave the way for lay Catholics from his diocese to cooperate formally with the Guangxi Church.

The delegation visited the newly inaugurated Our Lady of China Cathedral in Nanning, and churches in Beihai, Guilin and Liuzhou cities.

Officials from Guangxi's United Front Work Department and Religious Affairs Bureau as well as two Macau government representatives accompanied the delegation.

In 2003, the government-approved Church in China merged the four dioceses in Guangxi – Beihai, Guilin, Nanning and Wuzhou dioceses – into one diocese, Guangxi diocese. It has 107 priests and nuns, 70,000 Catholics and 101 churches and meeting venues.

Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng
of Macau (file photo)

CHINA Shanghai Catholics reach out to migrant workers

SHANGHAI, China (UCAN) – A parish in Shanghai is reaching out to migrant workers in the city who are worried about keeping their jobs and looking after their families in these tough economic times.

Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian
of Shanghai diocese

The migrant workforce that flocked to the big cities in the east during boom times has been devastated by the global financial crisis that has left 20 million people jobless in the country.
The Church in China has called for Catholics to respond to the concerns of the migrants. Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai diocese, in a Lenten pastoral letter, urged people to reach out to these workers.

Sacred Heart Church of Songjiang answered the call, setting up a forum for the migrant workers to air their grievances and receive support.
A migrant worker, with his belongings over his shoulder,
walks past a truck in the town of Xichuan, China,
on February 18. Photo: CNS/Reuters

Centro Universitario Claretiano (Brazil) welcomes Bro. Sid

Our brother writes from Brazil:

….The CMFs in Brazil are really doing “big time.” Well, a history of more than a hundred years (the first CMF missionaries came in 1895), and more than a 100 living members really make a big difference. Still, they are still very few for the different ministries they have since they are engaged in family and youth ministry, health care, radio, TV, publishing and printing, internet, schools, both face-to-face and online distance education, popular missions, parishes and others.

The provincial superior said that a number of bishops in South America had asked him for CMF missionaries to work in their dioceses, as they had come to know about the many Claretian ministries, specially the distance education. But in reality, there is only 1 or 2, or not even one Claretian directly working in these ministries. It is the lay people who are actively involved in most of these.

So I came to Brazil for an exposure to and immersion in the life and ministry of our Claretian confreres here, especially in the online distance education they are doing in the Centro Universitario Claretiano - www.claretiano.edu.br - in Batatais, a city more than 300 kms away from São Paulo. Their program began with only 200 students, but after three terms, the number increased to 12,000 enrollees. Now, the Claretians in Argentina, Chile and Colombia have translated the interface of their virtual learning management system into Spanish to offer online courses suited to the needs of the people in their respective areas.

We hope to make this Claretian enterprise accessible to the English-speakers, especially in Asia, and also eventually to make it available in Chinese.

Aerial view of Centro Universitario Claretiano

A Challenge

One of the main tourist attraction in Macau is the 388 Macau Tower. Those who dare (and have enough money to pay for it) jump from the tower for the trill of it. I came to Macau but not as a tourist but to begin my yearlong pastoral exposure and to work in our community. Soon after arriving I took notice that being a missionary in this part of the world requires also some daring – compared to jumping from the Macau Tower.

Do you want to challenge yourself? If so, come to Macau and be a missionary. Here you will know if you have what it takes to be a Claretian Missionary. The host, Fr. Alberto Rossa will be your guide as you begin this adventure.

First, you will be trained in physical toughness as you walk, or I should say, run with him around the city, as he walks leisurely in strides. By the way, you do not have to pay your tuition; it is completely free. The second week you will be tested in your mental stamina through which you will know your IQ as you deal with proofreading, editing, and translating all kinds of stuff either in print or digital. The third week you will be invited to test your psychological fitness, that is, if you’re still sane with all the deadlines you have to meet, plus all the demands of community. Then, the last week you will learn to have faith as you entrust everything that you do into God’s hands, as if jumping from the Macau Tower which is 388 meters at its highest.

To be in Macau either as a missionary or a visitor is always exciting. I came to Macau this May to live and work here for a couple of weeks as part of my pastoral year. I really enjoy my time here. The Macau community consists of two Claretians – Fr. Alberto Rossa and Fr. Jojo Ancheril – and three Claretian co-workers, Ian Dacayanan and Ate Divine de Leon, working in the publications, and Ate Tess Pardo, in charge of the house. I help in editing the Chinese translation of the Bible. I had never worked like this, but after a few weeks of training I came to realize that it is exciting to work in publishing.

I am so impressed by them and the work they do. I see it as an adventure and a challenge. So why not come and face the challenge with me! If they can “safely” jump from the tower… why ever not join the missionary adventure… Impossible is nothing!

Bro. John, CMF is a Claretian seminarian from the East Asian Delegation presently doing his pastoral year. He has finished his second year of theology in Manila.

Welcome, John!

Claretian Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathil

A Claretian from North India, Fr. Jijo, CMF stayed in our community during the month of May. Let him tell you his experience:

- - - - - -

Somewhere around the South China Sea, a typhoon was in formation and the city of Zhuhai was in the grip of an untimely downpour on 23 May, when I (Fr. Jijo, cmf) first set foot on mainland China. I mumbled a little prayer for the land for which the Barbastro Martyrs offered their lives, nearly a century ago. Fr. Rossa woke me up from my ruminations with his typical hilarious voice, ‘Welcome to China.’ A five-minute drive from the border took us to our house by the sea side. It was high tide, so was my soul. Until then I had only a glimpse of our house from the Macau waterfront, almost every day that I stayed there. Going around the city gave me the feeling of a very eco-friendly development model with parks and gardens all along the roads. It was surprising to note that the taxi-driver who dropped us to our house from the border refused to take a little tip, which Fr. Rossa offered.

I came to Macau for my internship as part of my master’s studies in English. Teaching at Yuet Wah College was quite an experience. The internet-activated smart classrooms were new to me. But I got adjusted to them readily. While teaching, a certain reference to Punjab came about. One of the students was curious about what Punjab was like and its people. We had the ready reference on internet on Manmohan Singh the New Prime Minister of India which changed their idea of Punjab as a land of exotic curiosities. Students everywhere behave the same way. If they like your class you get their attention. Ill-prepared teachers beware, expect villainy according to their age.

Macau, home to the largest casino in the world, is a haven for gamblers. With a total land area of 28 sq. kms., it has 26 casinos, and the number is expected to increase by the end of this year. I went to some big casinos and felt dazed by the obscene use of wealth. I mused on my vow of poverty as I looked around those mansions of vice and greed. It is good to be poor, I realize, lest I build my own Babels of defiance.

Dear Jijo: You were an excellent companion in the community. We put you also to work: writing and editing for long hours and you did it with dedication and joy. THANKS!

From left: Ian, Jojo, Alberto, Tess, Jijo, Divine and John

Meanwhile Fr. Jojo in Hong Kong

These days Fr. Jojo is practicing his Cantonese going back and forth from Hong Kong to Macau. He is still studying while working at the parish of Christ the Worker in Hong Kong and, at the same time, beginning his new assignment at St. Lawrence Parish near our house in Macau, where the bishop of Macau asked him to help in order to improve his Cantonese language skills.

May 1 was the feast of the parish of Christ the Worker in Hong Kong. Here are some remembrances of the day:

Fr. Dominic Chen, Vicar General, Hong Kong

Fr. Thomas Peyton, MM - Parish Priest

Lunch Hong Kong


A few days later it was Mothers’ Day celebration
and Jojo was at a home for the elderly in Hongkong.

Day of Recollection

Hong Kong Mother's Day

Jojo and his magic

Meet Ian Dacayanan – your blog designer

Divine shares about her teammate and co-worker:

Jack of all trades… an expert in so many things….

Let me share with you what our partner is doing during his extra time in Macau. Aside from being our artist in the Publications, he does other things in our office and community, even as he is also a volunteer in numerous activities in Macau. Since March, he has been like a doctor, nurse and a medical secretary every third Sunday of every month, recording the information of patients during the Free Medical Mission conducted by the Overseas Medical Center in Macau in coordination with the Filipino Pharmacists Association in Macau and in cooperation with the Philippine Overseas & Labor Office in Macau. Our other companion, Ate Tess Pardo also works as a volunteer in this in assisting the patients.

In the pastoral ministry to the Filipino migrants, he is the full-time artist, who does all the brochures, flyers, newsletters, and certificates, designs t-shirts, collates multi-media resource formation materials, and also the purchasing officer and coordinator with the printing press in China. Even without knowing the language, he can bargain for a good price for whatever we need in our pastoral ministry. He has also built a relationship with some middlemen in Zhuhai, who help us get what we need, whether it’s printing job, signage, souvenir items for some speakers, you name it and he’s got it all for you! He too is our photographer.

To his friends, he is their source of information and consultant, creating and editing résumés for them, application letters, visa processing, labor law consulting, finding cheap airline tickets, and the ever-available and always-willing tourist guide (not only to his friends but to the guests of our community as well).

To the “young once,” he has that special charisma for them, as he patiently listens to their stories and helps them in their need, making him their darling and favorite grandson.

This is our Jack – our Ian of all trades and expert in so many things… So we always tell him, “What will happen to us if you are not around…”

Well, he does most of these things during his free time. During office hours he has other assignments: today (May 26) he finished layouting the Chinese Daily Gospel 2010. How can he do it without knowing Chinese? Well… “impossible is nothing”!

Here is the Chinese Daily Gospel 2010

Here you see the cover for 2010.
As we write, the files have been sent to the press for
at least 25,000 copies that will be distributed in
Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia,
Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Canada…

Half a million and counting…

Books recently published

This month of May we finished several books that were sent or are about to be sent to the press in China. We average half a million books printed in China every year, most of them bibles.

Recently 80,000 copies of Diario Bíblico 2010 left for 20 international ports. Also somewhere on the oceans are other titles: “Praying with St. Paul – Acts of the Apostles and Lectio Divina” (a co publication with Paulist Press); “Salmos y Primera Carta de Pedro” for our Bishop Ruben Medina of Puerto Rico; “Mi Hora Santa Eucarística,” a book by Fr. Pedro Garcia CMF. There are 50,000 copies of the Christian Community Bible arriving in the Philippines, this time printed in India with the help of Fr. Benny Kanjirakatt, Director of Claretian Publications in Bangalore. There are thousands of La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo on the way to different ports and also on the way to the press once again, as we continue answering the big demand for this bestseller. And, last but not least, the work that has taken countless hours and efforts: The New Testament in Creyol. Thanks to the tireless work of our missionaries in Haiti, Marta and Anibal and their teams, soon they will have the fruit of their labor.

Here is the cover.

Creyol New Testament cover

Meanwhile we are working hard on the revised edition of the Chinese Pastoral Bible, and other projects… but we shall leave some news for the next month.

Just marvelous!

Take a look at these videos…
(Thanks to my friends from Argentina!)

They are shouting:
“Impossible is nothing”!

Chinese Deaf Dancers


The 21 Chinese dancers are deaf-mute.
They receive instructions from the four corners of the stage.
They have already performed in more than 40 countries


Some more:

Britain's Got Talent: Scala sexiest musician ladies

Britain's Got Talent: Gin the clever funny dog

Britain's Got Talent: Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream”

Britain's Got Talent: Paul Potts’ “Nessun Dorma”