Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Welcome to the China Bulletin - June 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of China 

Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan - Mary Help of Christians 
Image of Our Lady, Help of Christians - Sheshan, Shanghai 
Our Lady of China (Simplified Chinese: 中华圣母, Traditional Chinese: 中華聖母) is the name given to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Donglu, China, first appearing in 1900.

In 1870s, during the attack of the Taiping Rebellion, the Superior of the Jesuit community in Shanghai, Fr. Gu Zhen Sheng, promised the Blessed Virgin that if the diocese was spared from attack, he would build a basilica in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s special protection. On April 15, 1873, Bishop Languillat of Shanghai consecrated the Basilica on the hilltop. Since then, Our Lady of Sheshan has become the special protector of the Diocese of Shanghai. In 1874, Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence for all pilgrims who completed a pilgrimage to the Shrine during the month of May
A model of the Statue of Our Lady of Sheshan 
Our Lady of China (Simplified Chinese: 中华圣母, Traditional Chinese: 中華聖母) is the name given to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Donglu, China, first appearing in 1900. In 1924, the first conference of bishops met in Shanghai and adopted the image of the reported apparition as Our Lady of China, and a painting depicting the mother of God bearing the child Jesus was commissioned and hung in the local church. The annual procession dates back to that year.
On May 24, Pilgrims on knees during the procession to the shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai
In April 2000, a new statue was constructed and was blessed by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian. The new image features the stand-erect Blessed Virgin Mary carrying a Child Jesus on her head, while his arms outstretched in a cruciform gesture. At the base is the original Chinese dragon, representing the Devil with a trident tail, being crushed and defeated by the Madonna.
In May 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released a Letter to Chinese Catholics, in which he asked that May 24 each year be celebrated as a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. He chose May 24 because it is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. In 2008, a copy of the statue was given to Pope Benedict XVI, who then composed a Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan. 

During the Angelus on 22 May the Holy Father prayed that "may the Holy Year of Mercy "become concrete sign of charity and reconciliation for the Chinese Catholics." 
Pilgrims from Peng Chau in Tai O chapel 
Epiphany parish Mui Wo has two mass centers in its territory, and both of them are dedicated to the patronage of the Blessed Mother. In Peng Chau, the community is larger and eucharistic celebration is conducted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while the Catholic community in Tai O is much smaller and the Holy Eucharist is celebrated on every first Saturday of the month. On 22 May this year, a group of pilgrims from Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel in Peng Chau made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O. The local community joined the pilgrims in celebrating the occasion and praying for the Church in China. 

"... Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, 
amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope and to love, 
to never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world. 
In the statue overlooking the shrine you lift your Son 
to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. 

Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever 
clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. 

Mother of China and Asia, pray for us now and forever. Amen".

Corpus Christi

The First Communicants with the priests of the parish after the Holy Mass on the Corpus Christi 
More news from the Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo! The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was the solemn occasion for eight students from the English Sunday School who received their first communion and 20 lay ministers were commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.
Lay Ministers of the Chinese Community at Epiphany Church, Mui Wo with Fr. Jose 
Lay Ministers of the English Community at Epiphany Church
Lay Ministers of the Chinese Community in Peng Chau 
Lay Ministers of the English Community in Peng Chau 
The Children were undergoing their preparations for over a year to receive the first communion while the lay ministers had four week formation programme before making their commitment to be extraordinary ministers of the Holy Communion.

The Lay ministers will continue with their ongoing formation through their monthly gatherings for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.


Month of May is indeed special! A number of our missionaries were born in the Month of May! Has it got something to do with our Blessed Mother calling all her May-born missionaries for the service in China? Ha! Look at the list:
Fr. Jojo celebrated his birthday on 15 May 
On 19 May, Fr. Mario Bonfaini celebrated his Birthday 
Fr. Liju Celebrated his Birthday on 26 May
Bro. Sid 
And Bro. Sid and our Missionary "Daniel Daring" too celebrate their birthdays in May!

Dear Brothers, We wish the heaven's choicest blessings on you and pray for a joyous celebration of life and mission! Happy Birthday! 

From our Publications

Daily Gospel 2017 in simplified Chinese - for distribution in the mainland China.
Over 100,000 copies of the Daily Gospel  were distributed in 2016 
The Cover for the Book of Psalms, which is in print now. The Book of  Psalms has 320 pages,
provides an introduction, commentary and guideline for Lectio Divina for each psalm. 
The "Family Edition" of the Christian Community Bible is just out of the press!
The new deluxe edition comes with attractive presentation and out cover 
Bible Diary 2017 in French and English is printed in China
by the Claretians of Cameroon 
All our Bibles and Bible Diaries are printed here - Amity Press, Nanjing.
Divine De Leon (in pink vest) finds herself 'at home'  amidst her friends

Tallest church in China consecrated

The tallest church in China was consecrated in Suzhou Diocese in eastern Jiangsu province just as the Month of Mary began. Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen of Suzhou presided over the ceremony in Xiaohengtang in Kunshan city on May 2. Bishop Paul Meng Ningyou of Taiyuan from central Shanxi province and 50 priests from different dioceses concelebrated the Mass.

About 6,000 Catholics from local and neighboring provinces, including a group from the Korean community, packed the church built for a capacity of 2,000 people. "The church was fully occupied. Even the balcony was full of people with only a narrow path on the aisle left for passing through," said one of the participants.

Bearing a modern design, the new church was built in a boat shape. Its main spire is 75 meters tall, making it the tallest Catholic worshipping venue in China. "The boat-shaped design represents the church is sailing in this world to spread the Gospel of Christ. We have to do a better witness," said Bishop Xu.

The church honors Our Lady Help of Christians as its patron. The diocese hopes the Mother of God can protect Catholics in China and help more people join the church. Inside the church, a large drawing adopted "the heavenly banquet" as the theme. Apart from a portrait of Christ and the 12 apostles in the middle, six foreign missionary saints and six Chinese martyrs are included in the drawing.

Inter-Parish prayer day for China

Claretian Missionaries serve in a parish in the Diocese of Macau and in another in the diocese of Hong Kong. Our parishes of St. Lawrence in Macau and Epiphany parish in Mui Wo joined together on 28 May to observe a day of prayer for the Church in China and to conclude the devotions of the Marian Month of May.
Pilgrims praying the Rosary on the Silver Mine Beach, Mui Wo 
40 parishioners from Macau lead by Fr. Jojo joined the parish community of Mui Wo for a day of prayer, Holy Eucharist and sharing of faith. The Catholic Students from the Holy Family School in Pengchau together with their principal and teachers also participated in the days' celebrations. 

It was a beautiful experience to recite the rosary and sing Marian Hymns while walking together on the Silver Mine beach, Mui Wo on an overcast Saturday Morning. Although the weather forecast predicted a rainy day with thunder-storms, the conditions remained just perfect for the gathering of the faithful. 
The Holy Family School donated the "Charity Bread" from the Caritas to all the participants 
Frs. Alberto, Jose and Jojo during the Eucharistic celebration 
During his homily, Father Jojo deliberated on the maternal care of Our Blessed Mother, reminding the faithful not to forget to find recourse in our Heavenly Mother. The parish community in Mui Wo had prepared a sumptuous lunch and dinner for their guests from Macau.
And it's meals time! 
Our support team, taking care of the logistics of the event! Thank you so much! 

Our Visitors

Fr. Huang Yu Tao 
Fr. Huang Yu Tao
Fr. Huang Yu Tao is one of the first friends of the missionaries ever since we set foot in China. It was he who accompanied us on those initial days as a newly ordained priest in 2006. Years have passed and our collaboration has continued and our friendship has deepened. Fr. Huang is the rector of a minor seminary in China, where he has plenty of vocations. The seminarians come from strong Christian families. Some of them are the only child of their parents, yet the parents joyfully accompany them in their vocation. He visited us on a Sunday and we invited him to share his experience with our parishioners. 
Fr. Huang Yu Tao during the Mass in Chinese
Then he did the same at the Mass in English:
As we recall our adventures in China we cannot but remember the assistance of Fr. Huang as the project coordinator for our "parish Library and Sister Parishes" project. Over the years, with his help we have put thousands of books in the service of the poorest parishes in China.

Fr. Lawrence Bai
Fr. Lawrence with Fr.  Ezakias and Fr. Alberto
We also had another young Chinese priest visiting us in the month of May. Fr. Lorenzo Bai is a great partner in our mission. He studied theology in the Philippines and from there began our relationship and collaboration. Father Lorenzo helps us with translations into Chinese. He graduated with high honors and is waiting for the opportunity to continue his studies. Has was asked three years ago to take charge of a rural parish in the mainland. It is an anchor of the poor, so important for a good priest with much intellectual capacity. Father Alberto together with his friend Archbishop emeritus Donald Reece, visited his immense parish last year. And they cherish the amazing Experience!
This picture was taken at 5:30 am on a Sunday. The church can accommodate more than 1,500 people and it was packed at the time of Mass at 6 in the morning. Immediately after the Mass Fr. Lorenzo had to leave for a couple more masses in remote locations in his parish.

Father Lorenzo helps us in translating the Bible commentaries of Father Fernando Armellini into simplified Chinese which is available in a blog: http: //

Mary, Mercy and TOB !!

The Formation programme in the Epiphany parish continues! In the Month of May the parish organised two special talks on Mary, Mercy and Theology of the Body by Mr. Andrew Kong. Mr. Kong, a member of the Diocesan Tribunal in the Diocese of Singapore, is also a renowned speaker on Theology of the Body. 
He has been giving lectures on the topic for many years in Hong Kong. This year he was invited to give a series of lectures in the diocese by the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and Family. The two sessions in the parish, held in Mui Wo and in Peng Chau were designed to provide a basic idea of the teachings of the Church on purity of life and love and the role of the Blessed Mother in the sacramental life of the faithful.