Saturday, September 01, 2012

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin, September 2012

In this issue of the Bulletin, we especially focus on our family news from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. We begin with Taiwan where the Claretian Missionaries arrived 17 years ago. There are five Claretian from Chile, Italy, India and China working in Taiwan. Fr. Arturo, writes about the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Assumption Parish which is currently under the pastoral care of the Claretian Missionaries.

60 years of the Assumption Parish in Taiwan
On Sunday, August 19 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption where Claretians have been rendering their services for the past three years. 
Our Lady of the Assumption, an image 
painted by Chung-Yu Lin (one of the parishioners)

The festival began on Monday 13 with a Mass presided by the native Claretian, Fr. Peter Chao. On Sunday, the Festal Mass was presided by the Archbishop of Taipei John Hung, SVD
On the occasion the parish was blessed with five infant baptisms while four adults received the Sacraments of Christian initiation and eight others received the Sacrament of Confirmation. 
The Archbishop with the concelebrants 
and the confirmed with their sponsors.

After the Mass the archbishop blessed a beautiful Chinese image of Our Lady of the Assumption, painted by Chung-Yu Lin (one of the parishioners) and now adorns the outer wall of the Parish.

Outer wall of the Parish
Our Lady of the Assumption

"St. Jerome of China"- Fr.Gabriele Maria Allegra to be Beatified

Italian priest who translated the Bible into Chinese will be beatified  

The Italian Franciscan priest, Father Gabriele Maria Allegra, who translated the entire Bible into Chinese for the first time, will be beatified in the Cathedral in Acireale, Sicily, on September 29. The beatification of the man known as “the Saint Jerome of China” will take place ten years after Pope John Paul II first recognized a miracle through his intercession in 2002.  

Father Gabriele Maria Allegra

Father Allegra will be the first person from the Hong Kong diocese and from the Franciscan province of Taiwan-Hong Kong to be so honored by the Church,  UCA News, which first broke the news, reported.
Born “Giovanni Stefano Allegra” in San Giovanni la Punta, in the province of Catania, Sicily, in 1907, the future blessed friar entered the Franciscan minor seminary in Acireale in 1918, and the order’s novitiate in Bronte in 1923.  Three years later he was sent to Rome to study at the Franciscan’s International College. In 1928, Allegra felt inspired to devote his entire life to the translation of the Bible into Chinese.   

After being ordained priest in 1930, he set sail for China.  He arrived in Hunan, southern China, in July 1931 and there started studying Chinese and with the help of professors prepared a first draft translation around 1937. Due to fatigue, he had to return to Italy for 3 years, but there continued his biblical studies. 

He tried to return to Hunan in 1940 but could not do so due to the Sino-Japanese war and so had to go to Beijing. On that journey he lost his original draft translation and had to start all over again once he arrived in the Chinese capital. There, in 1945, he established the Franciscan Biblical Study Centre (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum), but when the Communists came to power in 1949 he and his team had to move to Hong Kong, where he lived for most of the rest of his life.  
On Christmas Day, 1968, Father Allegra, he achieved his life’s ambition when the first one-volume Bible was published in Chinese.  Known as the “Studium Biblicum” version, that is still the main Chinese text today and is considered to be the most faithful to the original manuscript.       

This great Franciscan died in Hong Kong in the year, 1976. It came as no surprise, however, when eight years later, in 1984, the local bishop (later cardinal), John Baptist Wu, opened the cause for his beatification. John Paul II declared Father Allegra “Venerable” in 1994, and next month he will become “Blessed”.  

Interview: John, A Chinese Claretian Student

John has completed his theological studies and hopes to be ordained a Claretian priest shortly. He has spent the last month in China sharing his experiences and helping in the missions.Upon his return to Manila via Macao , we had the advantage to have chat with him.

What activities did you have in the last month?
Hunan Province, China
My first stop was in Hunan Province which has about 70 million inhabitants. I spent a week at a center that serves people with special needs. I learned a lot living among them. Some religious serve these people with special care.

Then I went  to the neighboring province of Guizhou. It is a beautiful place in nature, but is one of the poorest regions of China and one of the rainiest: 270 days of rain a year.
Beautiful scenery 
The waterfall is 78 meter drop and 101 meters wide.
Guizhou has 40 million inhabitants. About 60% of the population is illiterate and a third of its people have no transportation or communication facilities.
Guizhou Province, China

Were you in a parish ...

Indeed, by contact with other friends, priests of the parishes invited me to give lectures to local people. We met in the afternoons between 20 and 30 people, hungry to hear the Word of God.

How are there parishes?
It's a very special reality. French missionaries (MEP) established missions in this area at the beginning of the last century. Part of their legacy are the beautiful churches that have left behind for us.In the new Chinese administration, three dioceses are reduced to one: there are 70 parishes and 20 only priests!
Guizhou Typical Church in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou
The Church itself behind.
but without a parish priest ...

You say that the diocese has two bishop ...

Yes one is the famous Bishop Aniceto Wang Chongyi, who is still active at the age of 93; he is very friendly and well loved by people. I had a pleasant conversation with him.

John with Bishop Wang
The other is a much younger Bishop, Paul Xiao Zejiang - It was appointed in 2007 with the approval of the Vatican and the Chinese government. 
Bishop, Paul Xiao Zejiang
John with Bishop Xiao
They welcomed me with open arms ... and invited me to stay as a missionary in the diocese. Bishop Xiao is very active and well appreciated in the vast Catholic diocese.

What other activities did you have in the city of Guinyan?

There too I gave a retreat for about 20 religious. We had eight days of reflection, sharing, prayer, personal growth and community life. This was a very special experience for me because not only I could give some lessons of learned in 10 years of training, but also could learn a lot through the testimony and commitment to this community.
A moment of prayer during the retreat
The two bishop joined us at times during the days of retreat.
Bishop Xiao and the religious group after the retreat

What role do these religious have in the Diocese?

They serve the diocese. With only 20 priests for 70 parishes, nuns dedicate themselves in serving these parishes. They are responsible for all pastoral work in coordination with the bishops and priests.

I say it's a martyr Church ...

There are several martyrs' graves dating from the Ching dynasty and some from the time of Cultural Revolution: priests, seminarians and lay Catholics accepted martyrdom here. One of the elderly religious knows these stories very well and I had the opportunity to listen to her for a while. The Church of Shaanxi recalls with particular devotion to its martyrs.

John with the sister who shared with him the life of the martyrs.
Tomb of the martyrs
Praying with the martyrs

What do you take from this experience in China?

China needs more missionaries. The people are hungry for spiritual food. I listened to many stories of people who have to work hard and want to find the meaning of life. They did not want me to go ... asking me to stay longer with them. I was impressed by the hospitality of these people and, especially, of the bishops.

And with the authorities?

One must know how to dialogue with the authorities ... many have no idea of Christianity, but they are good people.

What do you do now?

Now I have the last stage of my missionary training, evaluate all the experiences and hope to have an opportunity to return to work in China.

Yes, John! We wish you the very best and God's blessings in abundance in the mission of bringing the Gospel to your own land and people...

Memories: Huangshan Mission

Our missionaries planted the seed of the gospel in these remote parts of China, in the province of Anhui, in East Central China from 1929 to 1950.
Anhui Province, China
Today, a small Christian community preserves the memory and faith that these missionaries left. A new Church is being erected at the former site of the mission. We estimate that the opening will be in late 2012. The new Church will have a statue of St. Antony Mary Claret as a memento of the Claretian missionaries who worked there.
Construction of the new temple in Huangshan.
Facade of the new church building.
Model of the new Church in Huangshan.

Preparing for the Year of Faith in Chinese Style!

Fr. Peter Wei is a Chinese priest who has studied a few years in Spain. He helps us with the translations translations into Chinese. Here, he writes to us on his preparations for the Year of Faith:  

Dear Friend:

With joy I inform you that between 16 and 27 July, we have walked from the Temple of Zhugeliang, in Sichuan Province, to the grave of the Rev. Fr. Vicente Lebe, a missionary from Belgium, and one of the biggest promoters for the inculturation of the Gospel in China, and one of the biggest promoters for the first episcopal ordination of native clergy in China.  
We were a group of 56 people, among them, four priests, 15 brothers, a sister, 35 laymen, and non-baptized. We walked about 360 kms. In fact, it is the fifth year we organize the walk, a new way to live Christianity in China. And the walk this year has a special purpose of preparing the year of faith that Pope Benedict XVI has called for, starting in next October. And for the next year, God willing, we will begin the journey from Shangchuan Island (where St. Francis Xavier died) to the tomb of St. Peter Sanz (Spanish martyr). 
Peter Wei
Fr. Peter Wei with his 55 pilgrim preparing
Year of Faith

Bungy for a Cause!

Last month, Fr. Jojo received a request for help from a Mission Hospital in India. He bet his friends and acquaintances: If he could collect US$ 6,000, he would do a Bungy Jump from the world's highest Bungy- Macau Towers!! (233 meters). The word spread... and reached the Parish Feast Day, August 5. His Parishioners surprised him with almost US$ 20,000 ... and had to keep his word in front of a hundred spectators: Here are the sequences ....
Even the Portuguese weekly "O Clarim" echoes:


Happy Birthday, Fr. Ezakias!

We had added reasons to Celebrate in August: Fr. Ezakias celebrated his birthday. Friends and associates gathered together to wish him on the occasion. 

With friends and colleagues of Claretians in Hong Kong.

Preparing for the "Year of Faith"

Bishop Lucas Li, the 90 years old Bishop of the Diocese of Feng Xiang in Shaanxi province has issued a beautiful pastoral letter in preparation for Year of Faith.
Bishop Lucas Li, Feng Xiang, China

The pastoral letter contains 22 points to help the faithful prepare for the Year of Faith which will begin on 11 October 2012

The following are the topics covered: the crisis of faith in today's world, faith and superstition, the revelation of God, the transmission of revelation, scripture, tradition and Magisterium of the Church, the living testimony of faith (following the example of the saints and martyrs), the letters of the "apostles of today" (relevant documents of the Magisterium) etc.
Shaanxi Province, China

Bishop Li proposes concrete ways to celebrate the Year of Faith: First the priests must give an example of a strong faith life, should organize study classes of the Documents of Vatican II, Scripture and other relevant texts. The religious and Catholic associations' members must commit to live their own charisms. All parishes should have curricula of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (two issues per week) and daily recitation of the Rosary. It is not allowed to mix folk songs with sacred songs during the celebrations. It concludes by invoking the intercession of Our Lady of China.

Our Latest Publications

Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo - 

Nuevo Testamento(Spanish Bible)
The Daily Gospel in Chinese for the Mainland
The Gospel of John for the Mainland China.
 The layout of the New Testament in Chinese 
with new commentaries and Lectio Divina.

Our Visitors: Sr. Maria Ko & Fr. Saso

Sister. Dr. Maria Ko (center) with our editor 
in Chinese Winnie Wong ,
Sr. Dr. Beatriz Leong (teacher and translator),
Fr. Dr. Michael Saso (50 years in China and Japan,
teacher, writer and specialist in Buddhism,Taoism
and Christianity)
and Fr. Alberto.
Sister. Dr. Maria Ko
 visited us after finishing a Bible course for 250 participants 
from China, Hong Kong and Macao.

"Self Help Is Better Than Seeking Doctors' Help"

"Prevention is better than cure"
By Zhong Li Ba Ren 
This is a simple and effective Chinese exercise that I did get my brother Mario from Argentina. Is to close your eyes when you're practicing Jin Ji Du Li...
Here's the exercise and the accompanying text: 

Stand on one leg with eyes closed. 
That's it. 

Try it now, stand up, close your eyes and try to stay standing on one foot. If you are not able to stay for at least 10 seconds, then your body has degenerated to the level 60 to 70 years old. In other words, you may only have 40 years old, but his body has aged much faster. 

Slightly closed both eyes while practicing Jin Ji Du Li is the recommended health practice by health specialist Zhong Li Ba Ren. Daily practice of Jin Ji Du Li, can help in Hypertension, High Blood Sugar, Neck and Spinal diseases, it can also distance you from dementia. Best selling health book "Self Help is Better than Seeking Doctors' Help", has been the best selling health book in China since its was first published last year. It has been reprinted 12 times within 6 months, with more than 1 million copies sold. The popularity of the book is it teaches many simple practical health tips.

 In recommending the Jin Ji Du Li method, Zhong Li Ba Ren said that according to the understanding of Chinese physician, diseases appear because of coordination in the various internal organs encounter problems, the body loses its balance. Jin Ji Du Li can readjust the inter-relationship of these organs. He said that many people can't even do it for 5 seconds, but later on, are able to stand for more than 2 minutes. Following the lengthening of the standing time, the feeling of "head heavy, light feet' disappears.  

The quality of sleep improves, the mind clears up, and the memory improves significantly. If you can practice Jin Ji Du Li with your eyes closed for 1 minute daily, you will not get dementia. He said, it is suitable for everyone generally. Especially for the young, when they persist in practicing it daily while they are healthy, their chances of contracting the various illness associated with aging is comparative lower. But it is not suitable for those old people whose legs are not able to stand steadily...

The Typewriter Symphony

Indeed, music adds joy to our lives... wish all you a joyous time ahead ....