Saturday, October 01, 2016

Welcome to the China Bulletin - October 2016

On Completing one year, hopes and challenges... 

File Photo from the inauguration of the new Parish on 1 November 2015
On 1 of November is the first anniversary of the inauguration of Epiphany Parish of Mui Wo in South Lantau Island. This is also the anniversary of establishing the Claretian Community in Hong Kong. During the past one year, Frs. Alberto Rossa and Jose were living in the residence provided by the diocese. Fr. Ezakias who has been serving in the Rosary Church in Tsim Sha Tsui will join the Epiphany Parish by the last week of October. 
Eucharistic Adorations are held on every Friday from 6 - 8 pm 
We look back with gratitude for the numerous graces the Lord has blessed us with. As we came in, we set our priorities in the formation of the community in the parish. Hence, Weekly Bible Study programme were initiated in both in Mui Wo and Pengchau. Daily Eucharistic celebrations, weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and monthly adoration for the Extraordinary Ministers of the Blessed Sacrament are some of the regular events of the new parish.
Session on Neuro Linguistic Programming in progress in Mui Wo 
The parish had also conducted special lecture series on Nativity narratives, Marian devotions and Neuro Linguistic Programming. We have also noticed that there are increasing number of participants in the monthly Eucharistic celebration in Tai O Chapel. With the addition of the new priest to the parish, we would consider of having more number of Eucharistic celebrations and other activities in Tai O. The parish is associating with the Caritas Home for the Aged in Tai O to be of service to the needy. 
First Communicants during the feast of Corpus Christi 
Realising the significance of new media in the evangelization ministry of the Church, the parish has created its web page, providing a platform for finding liturgical and pastoral aids online for the faithful at large. Daily liturgy aids and commentaries for daily readings are available both in Chinese and English languages. Our parish web page can be accessed here:
1000 kmterritory of Hong Kong is home for over seven million people 
With Fr. Ezakias scheduled to join the community and the parish by the last week of October, the diocese helped us rent a studio type apartment, good enough for one person's stay. The new apartment is very close to the parish and Fr. Rossa has already moved into the new place, making room for Ezakias to join!
"Asia's World City"
In Hong Kong which is illustrated as "Asia's World City", accommodation is always very costly. The 30mapartment which is newly rented comes at a price of HK$8000 per month. It's always portrayed as the city of the affluent, with high-rising skyscrapers and busy streets. In many international surveys, the cost of living in Hong Kong is consistently among the highest in the world. 
Large number of Hong Kong's poor cannot afford 
anything better than "cage homes" 
But the disparity between rich and poor is very high too. It has the largest concentration of millionaires in Asia. It has plenty of luxurious establishments and luxury cars. But the disparity between rich and poor is very high too. The Hong Kong statutory minimum wage for non-domestic workers is HK$32.5 (US$4.19) per hour, effective from 1 May 2015. 

The biggest challenge of the Church in Hong Kong is to be a poor Church in a rich world. The teachings and homilies of Pope Francis to find solidarity with the poor and those in the peripheries seem to be directly addressing the Hong Kong society. And this is our challenge too in South Lantau, and we strive to make a difference, how ever small it might be! 

Mid-autumn festival with the elderly

Among the many traditional Chinese festivals celebrated in Hong Kong, the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most colourful. For centuries, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been one of the most important Chinese festivals, a time when families get together to celebrate the abundance of a good harvest and to gaze at the full moon. Children play with lanterns of different shapes and colours adding a delightful ambience to the festivities. 

Moon cakes are a traditional and indispensable part of the Mid-Autumn festivities and are available from bakeries, supermarkets and some restaurants from about the end of August. Friends and relatives give one another moon cakes as gifts to convey blessings and good fortune. Moon cakes date back to the Yuan dynasty when Han Chinese rebels passed secret messages to one another hidden in the cakes to prevent their plans for insurrection being discovered by their Mongolian rulers. 
Mid-autumn festival lanterns in Victoria Park, Hong Kong 

The celebrations also include colourful Chinese lanterns. Shops all over town sell coloured Chinese paper lanterns usually in the shape of animals, but more recently, in the shape of space ships and cartoon characters etc. There are also large thematic lantern displays in different areas of Hong Kong.
A fire-dragon dance parade 
Although the festivities reiterates the strong family bonding in the Chinese culture, most of the ageing population who today are left in old age homes, are often forgotten and left alone even during all the festivities around. 
Celebrating the Mid-autumn Festival with the elderly in
Caritas Elderly Home in Tai O 
Epiphany parish had organised a visit to the Caritas Old Age Home in Tai O to wish the inmates joys and blessings of the occasion. 
In Pengchau, together with the Holy Family School and the St. Vincent de Paul Society the parish had organised an afternoon get together for the elderly. The students of the Holy Family Primary School performed for over 120 elderly who had gathered in the chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace. The elderly were also distributed gifts during the occasion. 


Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-sing inaugurating
the DEY - Holympics 2016 
HOLYMPICS ....sounds familiar? The term was coined a couple of years ago to refer to the annual sports day of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocesan English Youth (DEY). It is intended to mean "holy olympics"! We have celebrated the fourth edition of Holympics on 16 September this year. Over 80 teenagers from various parishes and youth groups of Hong Kong participated in the event. 
Holympics participants after the Holy Eucharistic celebration 
Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-sing, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong inaugurated the event after a concelebrated Holy Eucharist held in Po Chiu Catholic Secondary School in Yau Tong. Fr. Paul Kam, Director of the Diocesan Youth Commission, and Fr. Arturo and Fr. Jose the Spiritual Director of DEY were part of the day's events.
A group of teenagers from Epiphany parish participated in the events. 

Seminarians in China

Our friend Fr. Hung Yu Tao (center) shares with us these photos of the new seminarians in the mainland China. This seminary is an extremely poor old building. Fr. Huang tells that can not receive more candidates because they literally have no more place!
Father Huang with the new seminarians ... on the life of St. Anthony Mary Claret! The seminarians receive a copy of the life of Claret published by us in Chinese.
P. Huang writes:
"We started the new school year in late August. This semester we selected 24 new seminarians of the 38 candidates who applied. Thank God. Twelve of our graduates joined several major seminaries. On 23 August we celebrated the ordination of three new priests and 11 deacons in the diocese. We now have a total of 47 seminarians. Have we had more rooms, we could have accepted more candidates. "

With more vocations to priesthood, the future of faith in China is in good hands!

Birthdays in September

Sr. Nancy (3rd from right) turns 82. Sr. Nancy was in-charge of the Catholic Community in Mui Wo at a time when there were no priests assigned to the place in the 1980s. 
Fr. Tom Peyton, a Maryknoll priest (in the middle) celebrated his 85th birthday. After many decades of dedicated service to the Church in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, Fr. Tom is returning to his homeland in November. Thank you Fr. Tom for the witness of life. He is seen with a group of Claretian Friends. 
Frs. Mario, Jose, Jojo and Jijo with Fr. Tom Peyton, during his birthday celebration. Claretians in Hong Kong are greatly indebted to this great soul as he was a mentor to the missionaries during their years of language study. And he was a great supporter of our Publishing Ministry. 
Here is a video of an interview with Fr. Tom. It's a bit long, but will provide great insight into the life and mission of this great missionary: 

Bible Study Classes

During the past one year our life in Epiphany parish, the major focus was formation. We have put in a lot of time and effort in providing Spiritual and Biblical formation to the parishioners. And the response has been very promising. 

We have regular Bible study classes on every Wednesday in Mui Wo and on every Saturday in Peng Chau. 
During one of the Saturday Classes in Peng Chau 
The evening Bible study is followed by Holy Eucharist.
The parishioners in Peng Chau with
Fr. John Ledesma SDB and Fr. Alberto 

From the Publisher's desk:

Jesus: A Historical Approximation
The famous book by José Pagola, "Jesus: A Historical Approximation". which was originally published in Spanish and later on translated into English is now translated and published in simplified Chinese for the Mainland readers. 

The Chinese translation of its more than 500 pages has used the "3 Ts": Time-Talent-Treasure. But the hardest thing was to get permission from the Chinese authorities to publish and distribute in China. The book is fresh from the press on September 30, 2016! The book is a journey into the historical person of Jesus and serves as a great supplement to the Gospels. The distribution will be subsidised for priests, seminarians, religious and pastoral agents.

New Chinese Translation of the OT 
After publishing the new Chinese translation of the New Testament in 2014, the work on the books of the Old Testament is in progress. The main characteristic of the new Chinese Bible is that in addition to the commentaries to the text, it also provides a lexio-divina aid for each paragraph of the Bible. 
Fr. Alberto, Archbishop John, Winnie Wong who coordinates the editorial work in Chinese and Fr. Joshy in Taipei 
Many books of the OT are already completed. The Book of Psalms which was completed earlier this year is already published as a separate book. 
Fr. Alberto with Fr. Mark Fang, SJ 
Fr. Alberto was in Taiwan in early September, coordinating with the editorial team and meeting with Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei and Bible scholar Fr. Mark Fang, SJ. Both Archbishop John, with whose imprimatur we publish the new Bible and Fr. Mark Fang, who painstakingly goes through the texts and offers corrections wherever needed, are of great support in our Bible project. 
With Augustine, a Claretian Seminarian from Indonesia who learns Chinese in Taiwan