Sunday, February 01, 2015

Welcome to the China Bulletin - February 2015

新年快樂!   恭喜發財!
Wish you Happy New Year! Happiness & Prosperity! 

"The Spring Festival" or the Chinese New Year is the most important festival for the Chinese people, when all family members get together. 
According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. The 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2015 according to the Chinese calendar is year 4713 - the year of the Goat

'The People's Pope' in Asia

Fr. Jose Cherukara was part of the delegation from the Hong Kong Diocesan Youth Commission to attend the Papal Encounter with the youth in Manila. 

The month of January 2015 was so significant for the Church in Asia as Pope Francis came Asia for the second time in six months. His first visit to Asia was to participate in the Asian Youth Day in South Korea in August 2014. In his week-long second visit, the Pope chose two small island nations which were devastated by civil war and natural calamities in the recent past - Sri Lanka and The Philippines. These nations celebrated every moment of the visit of the most celebrated leader of the world, bringing them the message of "Mercy and Compassion".
   Pope Francis concluded his trip to Asia with an open-air Mass for a rain-drenched crowd in Manila that the Vatican and the government said drew up to seven million people, the largest ever for a papal event 
Pope Francis continues to capture the imagination of people, irrespective of their religion or race. The kind of welcome and appreciation he received in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist nation and his openness and concern to meet with the leaders of other faith in The Philippines, where over 90% of the people are Catholics were telling examples for his title, "the People's Pope"! 

Together with other three members of the Diocesan Youth Commission of Hong Kong [DYC] , I had the opportunity to be part of the Papal Encounter with the Youth held in the campus of the University of Santo Thomas (UST) in Manila on January 18. 
24,000 youth from the various dioceses of the Philippines were issued passes 
for the papal encounter in the UST campus on 18 January.
Hundreds of thousands of both young and old, with singing and praying waited patiently for hours at the UST grounds before the pope arrived in the campus. Four youngsters had the privilege of raising the concerns of the Filipino youth before the Pontiff. Two of them were students of UST and the other two were rescued street kids. But the one to win the heart of the Pope was a 12-year-old girl named Glyzelle Palomar. I will never forget the encounter of Glyzelle with the Pope. She had no words, only tears to express her suffering.
Together with the crowds of people, we walked to the UST grounds at 3.00 am for the 10.00 am encounter with the Pope in the UST Campus
A former street kid, Glyzelle gave voice to the estimated 1.2 million homeless Filipino children who every day forage in the trash for food and sleep on cardboard boxes in slums.  "There are many children neglected by their own parents," she told Pope Francis. "There are also many who became victims and many terrible things happened to them, like drugs or prostitution. Why is God allowing such things to happen, even if it is not the fault of the children? And why are there only very few people helping us?
Pope Francis addressing the Youth at the UST 
She couldn't complete her prepared speech as she broke into tears, but soon found herself in the comforts of a fatherly hug and received the blessing and gift from the Holy Father. I have seen many in the crowd were wiping their tears. Indeed the presence of the Holy Father was so stirring and up-lifting. The pope in his response said, "[Glyzelle] has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn't put it into words but expressed it in tears".

During his apostolic visit, the Pope deviated from both his official schedule and prepared speeches. He used the cry of Glyzelle as a springboard to bring home his call for mercy and compassion. "If you don't learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. This is a challenge. When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don't be afraid to cry", the Pope exhorted the youth at UST campus.
With our host-family in Manila - Aissa and Dennis Montecillo (Right)
The Pope also used the opportunity to press on the need for greater representation of girls in the life of the Church. "There's only a very small representation of girls among you. Too little. Women have much to tell us in today's society. Sometimes we are too "machistas" and we don't allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand... So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls", said the Pope and the crowd received it with a huge round of applauds.

At Chocolate Hills, Bohol
The delegation of the Youth Commission was of grateful hearts that they had the opportunity to be part of this historic event in the life of the Church in Asia. "This gave us a different experience of the culture of being in a country where the majority are Catholics and we do not get this in Hong Kong", said Charmian Lam, a member of the DYC. "The openness everyone has and the Catholic faith that is integrated into the way of life of the people are special for the Philippines. We see scripture words written on the back of the tricycles, and shops and companies carrying Christian names and people wearing T-shirts with images of biblical characters and above all, lots of chapels and churches all around are peculiar for the Philippines", she said.

During the meeting with the Youth, Pope gave an important message for girls, opined Holly, Mok Ching Yee. "It was nice of him to say, 'If you don't learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian", she said. Crying is regarded as sign of weakness and nature of women. Ching Yee was also of the feeling that the Holy Father realises the fact that "we don't allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye". For girls, the message of the Pope is one of great encouragement.
We had a chance to visit the Shrine 
Santo Niño de Cebú
Fr. Paul Kam, Director of the DYC identified three important guidelines the Holy Father gives to the Youth of today: "to think, to feel, to do. And all in harmony..." Our youth often fail to think before action and refuse to act according to their feelings, he said.  Hence, the Pope gives us the all-important guidelines to be a better individual, better citizen and better Catholic. In an attempt to stress this point, the Pope asked the youth to repeat after him these three points.

10th World Congress of the Word of God in Chinese - Taiwan

"Witnessing the Word of God, a new Evangelization - Pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Mt 9:17)": was the theme of the X World Congress of the Word of God in Chinese, held from January 22 to 26 in Tai Pei, organized by the Bible Association in Chinese. 
Frs. Rossa and Jijo of the Claretian Publications, Macau participated in the 10th World Congress
Over 300 faithful attended the Congress from all over the world. As a point of reference of the work, the Congress took the Apostolic Exhortation of the Pope Francis "Evangelii Gaudium", with the aim to "reflect, share, listen, celebrate, study and to put oneself at the service of the Word of God in the Church, in order to spread the Word of God in the world, so that the Word of God may always be the core of the life and mission of the Church".  
Presenting the Chinese edition of Evangelii Gaudium , published by the Claretians 
Claretian Publications had printed the document both in English and Chinese. Each of the participants was given a copy of the Apostolic Exhortation and the New Testament in Chinese, also published by the Claretians in Macau. 
Fr. Rossa with Bishop Joseph Ha, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong 
Some important anniversaries were mentioned: 
50th anniversary of the closing of the II Vatican Council and the publication of the Conciliar Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum
40 years of the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation of Bl. Pope Paul VI - Evangelii Nuntiandi 
15 years of the canonization of the Chinese martyrs; 
3 years since the beatification of Fr. Gabriele Allegra, who translated the entire Bible in Chinese; 
25th anniversary of the foundation of the Bible Association in Chinese.
Farewell Mass

Based on these ecclesial events, the participants highlighted that the Word of God has shaped the beauty of the many aspects of the life and mission of the individual communities. They also presented their pastoral and missionary work, committed to spreading the word of God in the contemporary world through new tools and new technologies, like the Internet, social networks ... Finally they proclaimed 2015 as the "Pastoral Year of the Sacred Scripture". 

Kuangchi Cultural Group: collaborating with the pioneers

Kuangchi Cultural Group is a Publishing House, a Jesuit Communication endeavour in Taiwan. Fr. Rossa paid a visit to the centre recently, seeking avenues to collaborate in this "Shared Mission" of "Servants of the Word". Fr. Rossa met with the Fr. Moses, the director of the centre and shared projects to collaborate in the future.
Fr. Rossa with Fr. Moses (R)
One of his recent projects is a film about Jesuit missionary, Giuseppe Castiglione, a court painter of the Chinese emperor. 

Pilgrimage to Sheshan

During the Season of Advent 2014, Frs. Ezakias and Jose accompanied a group of faithful from Hong Kong on an advent pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan, Shanghai, China. During the three-day trip, the group also visited 12 Churches in and around the city of Shanghai.  
Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan
On March 1, 1868 the shrine was dedicated and the image of Our Lady Help of Christians was blessed, which was copied from Our Lady of Victory in Paris.
The Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Sheshan is located in the district of Song Jiang, Shang Hai
St. Ignatius Cathedral Church, Shanghai - 
Qibao Old Town, Shanghai 
Qibao Catholic Church (七宝天主教堂) was Built in 1866
was originally known as "Church of the Assumption of Mary."
The Shanghai Skyline

Scripture Translation and Publishing software

Our mission on translation of the Bible into Chinese received an unexpected boost with an offer for assistance from Professor Simon Wong, a global advisor for the translation of the Bible by the United Bible Societies and SIL International. 
Professor Simon Wong interacting with our Bible Team 
He became interested in our translation and offered his services for a possible collaboration. He has introduced to us a Bible translation software: ParaTExt and related tools are a set of software programs developed jointly by the United Bible Societies and SIL International, which lets you enter, edit, verify and publish, based on the original texts (Greek, Hebrew), and modelled in versions in all major languages. 
Participants in the seminar:
Jijo, Ian, Teresa, Susan, Alberto, Simon and Winnie
The software is a program of highly specialised computer language and is only offered to those working on the translation of the Bible. It's free. And so he volunteered to come to our house in Zhuhai to teach us to use the program. The seminar took place on 10 and 11 January 2015. This program will greatly facilitate our next projects on the translation and editing of the Old Testament. We are grateful to Prof. Wong and the United Bible Societies and SIL International for this extraordinary aid.

Our New Titles

"A Year With Pope Francis and Family" 
We have launched a new book containing the words of Pope Francis on the family, especially taken from his speeches in the Philippines-a thought for each day of the year

"Evangelii Gaudium" in Chinese 

 The Chinese version of the "The Joy of the Gospel",  the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis

"REJOICE!" in Chinese 

"REJOICE!" - A letter to consecrated men and women, carrying a message from the teachings of Pope Francis, issued by the Congregation For Institutes Of Consecrated Life And Societies Of Apostolic Life in view of the Year of Consecrated Life is also translated into Chinese.