Friday, March 04, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: March 2011

Seminar for the Religious in Macau

Re-visioning Community Life: A Commitment and Challenge
Bishop Jose Lai leads the gathering into Prayer
Fr. Xavier E. Manavath CMF, conducted a seminar for the priests and religious in Macau on 3 March 2011. Fr. Xavier is currently teaching at ICLA in Manila. Fr. Alberto Rossa welcomed the gathering of over 50 religious from different communities in Macau. Bishop Joseph Lai lead the gathering into prayer
Fr. Xavier addressing the gathering
The Seminar was meant to re-vision the essence, thrust, goal and dynamics of Religious Community Living. Re-visioning things can open up our horizons and help us see things that we take for granted on a deeper ground and in a new light. Fr. Xavier with some of the participants
It provides opportunity for re-thinking and re-grounding ourselves in the context of our own communities. After all, for the religious, community is their very home. The concern, in this Seminar, was to raise, rather, to help the participants raise certain fundamental questions which we are often glossed over or even repressed in the busy-ness of our living as a community. This was an opportunity to reflect and re-vision together!
After the seminar in Macau, Fr. Xavier visited Hong Kong for a couple of days
At the Ocean Park, Hong Kong

More Catholics in China than Italy: Blair

In China, there are more Muslims than in Europe and more practicing Catholics than in Italy, says Tony Blair.

In China, there are more Muslims than in Europe and more practicing Catholics than in Italy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told a Monterrey Mexico forum on faith and globalization. “A new type of debate is taking shape,” said Blair, while addressing a gathering of students at Monterrey Technological University. “It can centre around immigration or protectionism but it is above all, about issues to do with culture and integration and it is altogether more vigorous and potentially more explosive.”
Tony Blair
“In the Middle East, it is about whether the West fundamentally respects or does not the religion of Islam; and the Israel-Palestine dispute is caught up with it. In Europe, it is about whether our attempt to integrate cultures has succeeded or failed,” he said. Democracy and even economic change are not enough, Blair cautioned. “There is a social challenge too. Do we want societies that are open to those who have different faiths and cultures to our own traditions; or do we want, in the face of insecurity and economic crisis, to close down, to look after what some would call “our own” first and foremost? And if we want open ones, what are the conditions for such openness to prevail?’ Blair asked.

Religion is also key to understanding the Middle East, he emphasized. “If democracy (in the Middle East) brings with it an open attitude not, just to the economy but to society and religion, it will be hugely beneficial. If it doesn’t, by contrast, it will further the sense of anxiety and alienation between East and West,” Blair warned.
A Catechism School in China
However, religion also plays a key role in other nations and regions. “In China, where there are more Muslims than in Europe and more practicing Catholics than in Italy, and around 100m Buddhists, Faith shapes many lives,” he noted. “It is true of course of India. The same could be said in Latin America and even if the numbers of practicing worshipers in Europe is lower, the importance of Judeo-Christian culture is palpable. In the USA who could say religious faith doesn’t count? “So my point is very simple. Wherever you look today, religion matters. Faith motivates. Understanding faith, its adherents, its trends, its structures, can be as important as understanding a nation’s GDP, its business, its resources. “Globalization is accelerating all these trends. We adjust or we are swept away,” he concluded.

HK Catholics ‘have China-Vatican role’

Salesian Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai has called on Hong Kong’s Catholics to act as bridge to foster China-Vatican relations.

China and the Vatican have a similar pyramid-like political system, but have different cultural and religious backgrounds, the archbishop said. Faithful or Church groups from outside can serve as “a bridge to foster dialogue, mutual understanding and even agreement between them,” he said
Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong (left) and Archbishop
Savio Hon Tai-fai at the February 20 Mass
The new secretary of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples held a discussion with about 100 local Catholics before attending a welcoming Mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, hosted by Hong Kong diocese. Responding to a query, “what can Hong Kong Catholics do for China?” the archbishop cited the words of Pope John Paul II suggesting dialogue and the sharing of resources with mainland Catholics and encouraging forgiveness among them. He said the Hong Kong faithful could contact both the official and underground Church communities and help reconciliation.

Since Hong Kong Catholics are outsiders, they are not involved in the conflicts arising from being forced to obey an independent Church or feel a sense of betrayal resulting from political turmoil since the 1950s, he said. Some concrete steps have been taken recently, he said such as Taiwan’s Fujen Catholic University enrolling priests and laypeople from the mainland. “If in my post I could serve as a bridge, I would be happy to do so,” he declared.

“If the Vatican makes too many concessions just for normalization or if opportunists hold sway in the talks, the very nature of the China Church could be distorted,” he stressed.
- Courtesy : UCA News

The mainland Catholic Chinese community are preparing for their Lenten spiritual path

Shi Jia Zhuang (Agenzia Fides) – Spiritual retreats and formation courses on marriage and the Christian faith, centred in the Word of God, have distinguished the spiritual and formative path of the mainland Catholic Chinese community in recent weeks, in view of Lent. Faith in He Bei sent Fides information regarding various initiatives that the Catholics are undertaking to welcome in this important time in the Liturgical Year.

More than 200 active laity or group leaders in ecclesial communities in the Diocese of Yun Cheng, province of Shan Xi, participated in the formation course from 24 to 27 February on the theme: “Spreading the Gospel about Lent”.

Family and marriage were the themes of the formation course for the laity in the Diocese of Lv Liang, province of Shan Xi, and for the Diocese of Bao Ding, province of He Bei, held from 18 to 20 February and from 7 to 10 February, with the goal of “building a happy Christian family, able to give witness to the faith in society.”

Many other communities undertook spiritual retreats in preparation for Lent, also with the participation of catechumens. The Diocese of An Hui, province of An Hui; the Diocese of Nan Yang, province of He Nan; Diocese of Fen Yang, province of Shan Xi; Diocesi of Cang Zhou (Xian Xian) and Heng Shui (Jing Xian) in the province of He Bei organised retreats articulating: welome, adoration, confession, spiritual direction, sharing and witnessing to the faith based on the Word of God. More than 240 faithful from Nan Yang took part in the retreat on the theme “How to integrate the faith into family and parish life” at the end of February. The theme of the retreat by the Diocese of Cang Zhou was “Responsibility and mission”. Bishops Pietro Feng Xin Mao from Heng Shui and Giuseppe Li Lian Gui from Cang Zhou, attended the respective retreats in their dioceses

Guidelines bid to boost catechists

Hong Kong diocese has published tentative guidelines detailing clearly who can be catechists and the way they should teach, in a bid to improve the quality of teachers and the formation of adult catechumens. “Only with good teachers can we cultivate good Catholics, and it is especially important to improve the quality of teachers in the Year of the Laity,” said Amelia Lau, director of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre.

The Diocesan Catechetical Centre's workshop to introduce
the Chinese guideline for catechesis for adult

The local Church began the special year on January 1 with an emphasis on attracting more Catholics and instilling in them their lay ministry. Many of the 580 “catechists” who teach adult catechumen actually do not know there are strict requirements regarding them and their work, and the guidelines are to make them clearer, she said. The guidelines list seven requirements expected of a catechist: To have a mature personality; been baptized at least three years; is actively practicing the faith; is willing to carry out the mission; is obedient to the Church; has had the appropriate training; and has been assigned by a parish priest. Those who do not meet these requirements, can be “companions” to help the catechumen, Lau said.

The gift of an unknown artist

Recently we received a letter written in English together with a DVD. The Letter read as follows: " Dear Sir, I write to you on an important matter: I am old and an Italian, Catholic artist, living in England...You may see that I have copied the whole Bible and illustrated it with approximately 5000 illustrations in 23 volumes. (many years of work)... I understand that my work is unique..."

Dino Mazzoli found our Christian Community Bible in Englsih in a bookstore in London many years ago. He began to read and meditate on the Word of God with the help of the commentaries provided in it. To be able to assimilate the message better, he began to draw what he understood of the message of the Bible. The end-result is a totally hand-written copy of the Bible with an amazing collection of over 5000 illustrations. Here we have a sample of his artistic work.

A Vist to Amity Press

Mr. Li - Director, Amity Press
Claretians of Brazil are printing the Bibles for their country in the Amity Press at Nanjing, in China, where we do the printing of all our books. In the past year we have printed more than half million bibles and other books at the Amity… and this year we have alreadymade an order of 250,000 books. One of the major projects that is currently underway is the printing of over 90,000 copies the Daily Gospel 2012… that surely will arrive at your door towards end of the year. Here you have some photos of this immense press:

Our Visitors

It was a matter of joy to have several Claretians visiting us during these past few weeks. Here are some of those moments we captured for the remembrance:

P. Gustavo Larrazábal, CMF, Director of Editorial Claretiana de Argentina;

P. Luis Erlin Gordo, CMF, Director of Ave Maria—Publications of the Claretians of Brasil;
P. Julio César Torres Hernández, CMF, Claretian Missionary in Japan; Our Provincial Superior, P. Marcelino Fonts, CMF

and finally Fr. Xavier E. Manavath, CMF, Director of Institute of Consecrated Life, Bangalore, India.

Incredible!!! Magic Show: Liu Qian Part 2

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