Sunday, February 07, 2010

Year of the Tiger

Here are our latest news, events, stories,
pictures from the China Mission Team.

In our January blog we greeted you Happy New Year…
but now we are doing it again:
February 14 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year!

2010 Year of the Tiger
Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world’s population. Although the People’s Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals. Various Chinese communities around the world also use this calendar.

The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.E.

The Chinese calendar is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon. This means that principles of modern science have had an impact on the Chinese calendar.

Were you born during a Year of the Tiger?
 You were if you were born in one of these years:
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and 1998.

This is what the Chinese think of those born the Year of the Tiger:


Sensitive, emotional and adventurous. Confident, risk takers and dislike taking orders. Good at seeing problems, but less able to see the solutions. Often seek a shoulder to cry on when feeling down. Warm and generous to the people they love.


Two oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty in China (c. 1800 - 1200 BCE)

Evidence from the Shang oracle bone inscriptions shows that at least by the 14th century BC the Shang Chinese had established the solar year at 365¼ days and lunation at 29½ days. In the calendar that the Shang used, the seasons of the year and the phases of the Moon were all supposedly accounted for.

Claretian Transcultural Association

This is the latest Claretian venture and for the first time in Hong Kong. We, together with a few “like-minded people” from Hong Kong, are in the process of registering a Non-Profit Company in Hong Kong. Thus, a long cherished dream of the Missionaries in Macau-China, of setting up a base in Hong Kong is finally coming true. The initial meeting of Frs. Jojo and Jose and a few volunteers with the Auditor was held on 7 January 2010 in Hong Kong. Later on 25 January, the team came together with Fr. Alberto Rossa in the Claretian House in Macau.

The Members of the newly formed association with Fr. Jose Christo Ray in Macau
The gathering formulated a seven-member company under the title: “Claretian Transcultural Association” with Fr. Alberto Rossa as its Director. That famous saying of St Claret at the beginning of the Congregation, “Today we begin a great enterprise”, resonated once again and all were reminded of the limitless possibilities of this new born project. God willing, the future course of the Claretian Mission in Hong Kong will revolve around the Association.

Finally the awaited Imprimatur…

The Archbishop of Taipei Msgr. John Hung Shan-Chuan has recently officially approved the publication of the new translation of some bible books. We have completed the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles with the Lectio Divina commentaries and the usual pastoral commentaries as well. The book is at the press now.

Here is a sample page:

Meanwhile the Chinese editorial team continues the work and our target for the next few months is to complete the New Testament and have it published before the end of the year.
Very heavy but rewarding job!

Biblia Lectio Divina: The Catholic Prayer Bible

We have finished the preparation of this new Bible:

“The Catholic Prayer Bible – Lectio Divina Edition”.
This project is a joint venture with Paulist Press (USA)
and the Pastoral Bible Foundation.

At this time we are also preparing the Spanish version
of this Lectio Divina Bible.

More publications…

For those of you who can read Spanish
we invite you to check our “Diario Bíblico 2011” presentation.

CICLA -- Claretians from Latin America
are the official publisher of this book
and we help them with printing and distribution.
We already have more than 80,000 copies ordered for 2011.

Youth Camp for the CWP parish Youth

Fr. Jose with some of the Parish Youth

The Youth of Christ the Worker Parish, Hong Kong celebrated the New Year 2010 with a youth camp held on 2 and 3 of January in the YMCA Campus, Hong Kong. Fr. Jose accompanied the youth during their two-day camp. The campers, 16 in number, spent their time in various group dynamics on mutual trust, problem solving and community building.

Furniture Distribution in Macau

Fr. Jojo was instrumental in distributing household and office furniture free of cost to the needy during the past couple of months in Macau. The brand new furniture from Hong Kong were made available in Macau by one of the volunteers, Mrs. Jessica Chan. Hundreds of office chairs, sofa sets and file cabinets were distributed to some of the schools in Macau and those in need.

Students in the School, where furniture were distributed

China-Holy See relations expected to develop in 2010

Our Lady of China

China Church observers in and outside the Mainland expect the country's dialogue with the Holy See to continue to develop slowly, in pragmatic ways, during 2010. Ren Yanli, former research director on the Catholic Church for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, says China is keen to keep a line of communication open with the Vatican but would not rush to establish official ties.

"Compared with the Tibet or Xinjiang separatist movements, the Catholic Church causes less trouble, so the Chinese government has no urgency in establishing diplomatic relations," observed Ren.

Kwun Ping-hung, a Hong Kong-based China Church observer, says China-Holy See relations progressed in 2009. He applauded the fact that the two sides avoided disputes over the authority to appoint bishops. Beijing and the Vatican seemed to have similar choices on bishop candidates in recent years, Kwun added.
Courtesy: Agenzia Fides -

An Unforgettable Experience of A Chinese Wedding

It was almost three years ago that I met a chinese friend Mr. Jiang in Zhuhai. And as our friendship grew I told him that I will try to attend his wedding in whatever place or when ever time. And it happened that he decided to get married on 30th of January and invited me to attend his wedding. Though it was difficult to reach the place I decided to go because he was like my own little brother. To the surprise of Jiang and his family, I arrived the previous day of his marriage and became one among them. I moved with them, played with them, and joined in what ever programmes that they had. My little broken cantonese also surprised them. I was the only one foreigner to attened his marriage. And they honoured me (I consider the honour was not for me but for the Catholic Church) in whatever way they could.

The things that touched me and inspired me are as follows:
  • The previous day of the marriage we had a family meal with the family members of bridegroom and bride. And it really expressed the unity, love, and joy of a family.
  • On the day of wedding the couples visited different parts of the city and took many pictures. This ritual gives them a strong feeling that they belong to that place and culture.
  • The most emotional and touching part of a chinese wedding is the moment in which Bride groom and Bride bow their heads before their parents and embrace them to express grattitude and maturity.
It was the first time that I attended a non catholic marriage. And I was the only one catholic and foreigner among the 200 people who attended the wedding. Many people asked me whether I am married or not. When I said that I don't marry they were anxious to know why. I told them that I am a priest and it is out of love for the boy that I am attending his marriage. Well I did not preach among them but our way of life was a kind of witness among them. They also discussed and shared their knowledge about Jesus and Christianity. At the end I found and realized that God makes use of us in fulfilling His plans.

Attending this wedding helped me to understand more about the Chinese culture and customs. It also helped me to understand how God makes use us to give witness to him.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

News From China Missions

The following articles are news and information on the life of the Church in the mainland and Hong Kong as reported by various online media. For further reading of each article, follow the respective link

The Franciscan Superior Recalls Importance
of Inculturation in China

When the Franciscans can count a significant group of native Chinese among there number, a goal of the order will have been achieved and the Church will have a working model of inculturation.
This was one of the reflections made by Father José Rodríguez Carballo, superior-general of the Franciscans, at a study day last week in Rome. The superior of the Friars Minor observed that Chinese society is going through "a historic period of transition toward ever greater collaboration with the Western world, especially in the economic realm."

This transition, Father José Carballo suggested, has a particular manifestation in young people: "The youth seem empty of values, and among the most sensitive, there is the search for a new spirituality that can give meaning to their lives".

Click to Read the whole article


Over 2,000 faithful attend reopening
of Parish in Qi Bao, Shang Hai
Twelve children were baptized during the solemn celebration of the reopening of the Parish of Qi Bao dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, in the Diocese of Shang Hai, after the restoration work which has lasted a year. According to information received by Fides, over 2,000 faithful attended the solemn Mass celebrated on January 9, presided by the Diocesan Vicar, Msgr. Ai Zu Zhang, and concelebrated by 26 priests, assisted by 5 deacons. Twenty religious were also present. The Vicar, along with the pastor, gave books and sweets to the families of the newly baptized children.

The parish of Qi Bao, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is one of the oldest churches in the Diocese of Shang Hai and is also home to the first place that accepted Christianity.


Orphanage pioneer bishop dies aged 88
Retired Bishop Raymond Wang Chonglin of Zhaoxian in Hebei province, died aged 88 early this morning [Feb. 2], the Feast of Presentation of the Lord. The Vatican-approved prelate, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage, previously appeared in good health.

The former underground bishop was famous for established the Liming (dawn) Family orphanage in 1988 after a struggle with local authorities. It is one of the earliest Church-run orphanages in mainland China since religious activities were allowed in late 1970s and cares for 138 orphans, mostly with physical or mental disabilities. They are looked after by nuns or adopted by Catholic families.

Our Chinese “diocese”

Zhuhai, in Mainland China, is the border city with Macau. It takes us less than 30 minutes to cross the border and go from our house in Macau to our house in Zhuhai. This city has over 2 million people, but to church. Every Sunday we celebrate Mass in our residence with a handful of Christians.

A few days ago we visited the city of Jiangmen, 60 klms. from Zhuhai. We are told that soon a bishop will be appointed there and that Zhuhai will fall under this diocese. We went there to meet the future bishop and to get acquainted with him.

Here are some pictures:
Left: Sr. Maria, Sr. Teresa, Fr. Cristo Rey,
Fr. Pablo Ling (future bishop), Fr. Alberto and Lydia.

Entrace to the Jiangmen “Cathedral”

A very poor Christian community!

After the Mass we met with Fr. Ling to share news and possible projects.

Friends from Amity Press

Our relationship with Amity Press is much more than just for “business”. We work as partners and friends. It is quite a unique situation… never before experienced with other business partners. So it was with great joy that we received the short visit of Fany Zhang, our main contact at Amity Press. She came to Macau with her parents for a visit.

Last year we printed more than 400,000 books at Amity. Today we already have more than 200,000 books being printed and many more to come, of course.

(L-R) Parents of Fany, Fr. Rossa, Fany & Divine

New contacts from Shaanxi

Where is Shaanxi?

Shaanxi, in the central part of China, has an extension of 205,000 square kilometers and a population of 37 million people.

Shaanxi is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. The province's principal city and current capital, Xi'an, is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, Arabia and Africa.

One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred near Hua Shan, in south-eastern part of Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556, killing an estimated 830,000 people.

The most important touristic destination in Shaanxi is the visit to the famous Terracotta Army: these are the Terracotta Army and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.

From Shaanxi came some visitors, Fr. John Bai and a group of lay people. They belong to the diocese of Yan’an very close to the capital Xi’an. The diocese counts with one bishop, Msgr Francis Tong Hui, 31 priests and about 15,000 Catholics. They are inaugurating a new Pastoral Center and came looking for books. From our “Parish Library” project we shall supply as many Chinese books as we can.

Here they are:

Incredible Chinese dance…

Almost unbelievable…
Don’t miss it
And hope to meet you once again next month.