Friday, August 04, 2017

Welcome to China Bulletin Blog - July-August 2017

Bishop Michael succeeds Cardinal Tong in HK 

Coadjutor bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung will become the new head of the Catholic diocese in Hong Kong after Pope Francis approved the retirement of Cardinal John Tong Hon a day after he turned 78. Bishop Yeung Ming-cheung, 72, has been auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong since Aug. 30, 2014 and was appointed coadjutor bishop on 13 November 2016. 

Bishop Yeung was born in Shanghai on December 1, 1945 into a Catholic family and arrived in Hong Kong when he was four years old. He worked in an import-export firm before entering the Hong Kong Seminary at age 26. He was ordained a priest on 10 June 1978. He completed studies in communications (Syracuse, USA) and in philosophy and education (Harvard, USA). Since August 2003 he has been Head of Caritas Hong Kong and Vicar General since 2009.


New CEO Carrie Lam meets bishops 

Carrie Lam, a practicing Catholic, was sworn in as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong on July 1. In early August, Coadjutor Bishop Michael Yeung, former chief executive of Caritas Hong Kong, will be installed to succeed Cardinal John Tong as Bishop of Hong Kong. The relations between the church and the government will likely grow closer.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam met Cardinal John Tong (second right), Bishop Michael Yeung (left) and Vicar General, Father Dominic Chan (right)
Since the colonial period, the development of church-state relations in Hong Kong has been close. Having served in the government for 36 years, Lam represented the colonial, laissez-faire mindset.

The former chief executive, CY Leung, an alleged Communist Party member, was a political bruiser. The church was therefore more willing to side with Lam, then chief secretary. This was especially true for the "Caritas clique," as demonstrated during the opening ceremony of the Caritas Bazaar two years ago, when Cardinal Tong lauded Lam.


Summer camp for kids in Wulai, Taiwan

At the end of December 2016 the Claretian Missionaries took on the pastoral animation of the Parish-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Wulai, Taiwan.  The parish has a mass centre in a 20 km. away village: Fu-shan. Some 20 Catholic families live in Fu-shan. 
This summer, the parish youth organised a summer camp for kids. 27 children took part (from third grade elementary to first grade middle school), five of them did not belong to the Parish.
It was three days and two nights in which the parish youth group became actively involved with the logistic support of several parents. The challenge now is to strengthen the youth group, provide it with a clear identity and mission. 


At the School for the Heart of Mary 

Participants of the Claretian Formators' Course in Spain 
Three of our priests from East Asia Delegation have attended a tthree-moths long course for the Claretian formators, organised in different parts of Spain during during the months of April to June. Fr. Bobin from Taiwan, Fr. John and Fr. Nagazaki have visited places and sanctuaries related to the life and mission of St. Anthony Mary Claret and the Claretian martyrs of Barbastro. For a sharing of the experiences by Fr. Bobin, click the link here:


"The Magician"

Magician Jojo during his "performance" in St. Benedict Church 
The title "Magician" in our circles would immediately refer to Fr. Jojo and he is so popular among the children of various parishes in Macau and Hong Kong and the magician-priest. Recently, he was in St. Benedict Church, Shatin in Hong Kong, entertaining a group of children from the Sunday School during their summer camp. 


Returning to the roots - Huangshan 

The chapel in Hunagshan, where a statue of St. Antony Mary Claret and the relic of the Martyrs of Barbastro are placed
On numerous occasions, we have talked about the Pioneering Claretian Presence in China in the 1930's  in a remote region in the Province of Hefei, called Huangshan or Wongsaan. Eversince Fr. Mario, an Italian Missionary to Taiwan retraced the remnants of the Catholic community in Huangshan in the late 90s, the missionaries have made several visits to the region, supporting the faithful. 
Fr. Jijo made a trip to the region in the recent past and brings a lot of good news. The community thrives and the faithful are upbeat, except that they have no priests to administer them the sacraments. Jijo visited two of the old catholics who were baptised by the Missionaries in the 1940s. He wanted to administer them Communion, but they said they were not prepared to receive! On the next day he received the Blessed Sacrament! What a powerful witnessing of faith! 
If you wish to read more on Huangshan mission, please click the link to one of our previous issues of the blog: 


Bishops ask Christians not to lose hope over Hong Kong's future

On the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China two Catholic bishops urged Christians not to lose hope and look for God's will, despite some aspects of the city's status and society deteriorating.
The Pro-democracy march on 1 July 2017 in Hong Kong 
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-sing of Hong Kong told a prayer gathering on July 1 that many issues like the development of democracy, wealth disparity, housing affordability and labor rights had not improved despite people's efforts over many years.
An Inter-denominational Prayer gathering in
Methodist Church, Hong Kong 
"It has been 20 years since the handover. The 'one country, two systems' and talk of a 'high degree of autonomy' are empty words. I feel tired too," the bishop said.

"Nowadays Hong Kong diffuses hopelessness, worry and resentment. How can we walk further? We have to pray to God that we won't give up even though we cannot see immediate results," he said.

More than 300 Christians joined the prayer gathering organized by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students (HKFCS) and four other Christian organizations.

Since 2003 the prayer gathering has been held in Hong Kong's Victoria Park before an annual pro-democracy rally. This year it was forced to make way for a pro-Beijing group celebrating the handover and moved indoors to a Methodist Church.

Hugo Lam, president of HKFCS, observed that the situation in the city has gotten worse over the past 20 years.

"Especially on democratic elections, we hope there will be universal suffrage. Also the police force and the rule of law, which Hong Kong people used to be proud of, have decayed," the 24-year-old Catholic told 

But he insisted on joining the prayer gathering and rally since he believed these actions show a Christian has hope in God.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, led Catholic priests and Christian pastors and gave a blessing to the participants before the gathering ended.

While asking God to grant the people of Hong Kong passion, courage, wisdom and humility, he said, "Let us put hope in God. He can make the impossible possible."

The cardinal, 85, also participated in the subsequent rally along with an estimated 60,000 people. It was much lower than last year's rally attended by 110,000 people.  


Hong Kong divided over its future, 20 years after UK handover

Friday, June 02, 2017

Welcome to the China Bulletin - June 2017

Tai O celebrates 80 years of life in Faith

Pilgrims and Parishioners during the 80th Anniversary Celebrations  of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, Tai O 
What does the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help mean? Not many may know! Father Joseph Ng Chi Yeun SDB explained the tradition behind the icon to a gathering of pilgrims in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O during its 80th Anniversary Celebrations on Saturday, 20 May 2017.
The image, painted on wood, originated around the thirteenth century. The icon depicts our Blessed Mother Mary, under the title “Mother of God,” holding the Child Jesus.  The Archangels St. Michael (in the left corner) holds the spear, the wine-soaked sponge, and the crown of thorns, and St. Gabriel (in the right corner) holds the cross and the nails. 
Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen SDB together with Fr. Ezakias and Fr. Jose during the Anniversary Pilgrimage Mass in Tai O 
The intent of the artist was to portray the Child Jesus contemplating the vision of His future Passion.  The anguish He feels is shown by the loss of one of His sandals.  Nevertheless, the icon also conveys the triumph of Christ over sin and death, symbolised by the golden background (a sign of the glory of the resurrection) and the manner in which the angels hold the instruments of the passion, i.e. the spear, the crown of thorns, the Cross and the nails

Father Ng Chi Yeun further explained that the Child Jesus in the icon, by grasping the hand of the Blessed Mother, seeks comfort from His mother, as He sees the instruments of His passion.  The position of Mary’s hands– both holding the Child Jesus and presenting Him to us– convey the reality of our Lord’s incarnation, that He is true God who became also true man. 

Today, this image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is housed in the Church of St. Alphonsus, in Vatican. In 1867, when the image was being carried in a solemn procession through the streets, a young child was cured, the first of many recorded miracles attributed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Mr. Leuhng, former Principal of the Perpetual Help School 
As early as 1920s, There was a Catholic Community in Tai O, and a small church building was raised at this location around 1923 but it was not designated as a church. The building was then destroyed by typhoon.  After being redeveloped in 1937, it was designated as a church and named Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, belonging to the Fatima Parish of Cheung Chau. Rev. BRUZZONE, Edmondo PIME (潘崇理神父) served as its pastor till 1941.
On 11 June,1962, the new church building in Tai O was blessed and Fr. Nicola Ruggiero PIME was the rector of the Chapel. In 1965, Tai O Church and Cheung Chau Church were separately designated as independent Districts and on 1 July 1979 the Perpetual Help Chapel was erected as an independent parish. The priests residing in Tai O also took care of it's Mass Centre in Mui Wo. It was then put under the purview of Epiphany Parish of Mui Wo on 8 September 1980.
Other than the missionaries from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the Catholic Community in Lantau was also served by the priests from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Since 1 November 2015, Claretian Missionary priests undertake the pastoral care of the Catholic Community in Tai O. Holy Eucharist is celebrated in Cantonese in the Chapel at 10 am on every Saturday and there is also a weekly gathering for Bible Sharing on every Tuesday. 

Over 50 pilgrims from different parishes in Hong Kong joined the parish community to celebrate and pray together on 20 May, Saturday to mark the landmark day.


Fatima 100 and Marian Pilgrimage to Macau
Pilgrims on knees, praying the Rosary
in the Fatima School in Macau 
Month of May this year has been of special significance with the universal Church celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima. 
After the Eucharistic Celebration in the Fatima Church in Macau  
While many hundreds of pilgrims from Hong Kong made their pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal to celebrate the event with the Holy Father Pope Francis, over 40 pilgrims from Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo went on a pilgrimage to the Fatima Church in Macau. 
Pilgrims in Fatima Church 
In the Convent of the Trappist Nuns
in the Church of Our Lady of Penha, Macau 
St. Joseph's Seminary Chapel, Macau 
After celebrating the Holy Eucharist in the Fatima Church, the pilgrims also visited four other Churches some of which are also recognised as Heritage buildings. 


Fr. Paco heads the Verbiest Institute 

The Verbiest Foundation in Belgium was established in 1982 to develop a new relation of cooperation and exchange with China and with institutes in China. Through the Verbiest Institute KULeuven the foundation sponsors academic research on the Catholic Church in China, its history and its present situation. The foundation also sponsors the Chinese College in Leuven and the Verbiest Institute of Taipei which both organise programs for formation of Catholic priests, religious and faithful in the field of practical theology, catechesis, pastoral, social ethics and spirituality. 
The team of Verbiest Institute in Taiwan 
Jeroom Heyndrickx cicm organised these activities of exchange and dialogue during 35 years. He is now succeeded by Francisco Carin cmf, who has lived for 23 years in Taiwan and China, where he obtained a doctorate at the Normal University in Beijing. He is a member of the Claretian Missionaries, an international missionary congregation founded in Spain with over 3000 members. Speaking Chinese fluently, he has been teaching at the National Seminary in Beijing. Currently he also serves as the Superior Delegate of the Claretian Missions in East Asia. 
Pope Francis with Father Francisco Carin 
and the Chinese pilgrims at St. Peter's Square.
In early May 2017 Fr. Carin guided a group of 33 Chinese pilgrims to meet Pope Francis in Rome after they had followed a one month Ongoing Formation Course in pastoral studies in Leuven.  Among them were 29 parish priests coming from 29 different dioceses in China, 1 religious sister and 2 faithful. Pope Francis welcomed the group on Wednesday, May 10 after the general audience. 
During the minutes of cordial exchange the pope expressed his appreciation and admiration for the course of Pastoral Formation which the group is following in Verbiest Institute in Leuven (Belgium) and repeated once again his wish to personally visit China. In recent years more and more pilgrims from China visit Rome. 
It is known that Pope Francis pays special attention to them whenever he sees a group of Chinese pilgrims in the audience. This is understood to reflect the wish of the pope to improve relations with China and to normalise life of Catholics in China.


Born in May...

Coincidence it may seem, but the month of May is indeed a time of thanksgiving for the missionaries in East Asia. Many of our brothers are May-borns! Check out the list... you might know some of them. We are grateful to Fr. Masakawa, CMF for the caricatures! 

17 May : Jojo (Macau)
Fr. Jojo in the eyes of the artist
19 May : Mario (Macau)
File Photo of Fr. Mario 

22 May : Daniel Daring! (Mainland)

23 May : Sid Ching (Mainland)

26 May : Liju (Taiwan)

28 May : Jijo (Macau)

31 May : Bobin (Taiwan)

Wish you all the heavens' choicest blessings, good health and lots of cheers! Happy Birthday dear brothers! 


Our Visitors 

Three Claretian confreres, Fathers Jaison, Pelse and Thomas from the North East India paid a visit to our communities in Macau and Hong Kong during the third week of May. 
Frs. Jaison, Thomas and Pelse
with Fr. Jojo (2 from left) in Hong Kong 

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Welcome to the China Bulletin - May 2017

Holy Week and Easter 

Claretian missions in Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong are all concentrated on parish ministry in the respective dioceses. Here are a few visuals from the Holy Week and Easter celebrations in our missions:
The Priests of the Diocese of Hong Kong, together with their Cardinal and Bishops before the Chrism Mass on the Holy Thursday, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
Fr. Alberto Rossa washing the feet of the faithful during the Holy Thursday Liturgy in Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo, Hong Kong 
Fr. Jijo leads the liturgy of the washing of the feet
in St. Lawrence Church, Macau 

Priests in Procession before the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
Chapel of Repose in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, Pengchau  
During the Way of the Cross on the Good Friday
in Trappist Monastery, Lantau 
Way of the Cross in Trappist Monastery, Lantau 
Good Friday Celebrations in Lantau 
The English Community of Pengchau, after the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday 
Fr. Alberto Rossa during the Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord
on Good Friday in Mui Wo 
Fr. Jojo leads the Easter Vigil Services
in St. Lawrence Church, Macau 
Fr. Joshy James leads the Easter Vigil Services in
Keelung Church, Taiwan 
Fr. Liju during the Easter Vigil services in Ruifang, Taiwan 
The Newly Baptised on the Easter Sunday with the celebrants in St. Lawrence Church, Macau 


A 100 kms on foot in 10 days 

With Fr. John Ledesma at the Church of Holy Sepulchre
Together with Father John Ledesma SDB from Macau, Father Alberto went on a study tour cum pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the last part of April. During their study tour, they braved the scorching sun of April-May in Israel to walk through the paths that Jesus himself had walked, walking an average of 10 kms. every day. 
They were part of an Italian group lead by Fr. Fernando Armellini, a famous scripture scholar and preacher. Fathers Ledesma and Alberto are involved in the project of translating the original Italian texts and videos by Father Armellini into Spanish and English. 

During the past one year one of the pastoral projects of Fr. Rossa in Epiphany Parish was to make available the 200+ bible commentary videos of Fr. Armellini, originally done in Italian, with Spanish, English and Chinese subtitles.  
At the Sea (lake) of Galilee 
He has spent 100s of hours in preparing the text and translating it into Spanish and English. A team of volunteers also help in translating the text into Chinese. All these videos with the subtitles are available in YouTube :
Sunrise at the lake of Galilee 
Hence the study tour to Israel with Fr. Armellini himself as a guide was a "rediscovering of all what I have learned through his videos, now in 360° canvas before your eyes", says Fr. Alberto. 
His videos are also available in our parish webpage:

A WYD Souvenir 

The Claretian delegation from Hong Kong that participated in the World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow has recently brought out a souvenir - photo feature, to keep our WYD experiences for the posterity. Please click on the picture below for a pdf file of the photo-feature souvenir: 


72 birthdays and more... 

Fr. Alberto celebrated his 72nd birthday in the Holy Land on 29 April. But the celebrations began a few weeks earlier in Mui Wo. Community members, friends and associates in an expression of love and gratitude, gathered in the parish, wishing him the Heaven's choicest blessings. 
With the "Candle Light" charity members 
With the Vicar General, Fr. Dominic Chan
and other priests of the Deanery 
With the members of the parish community of Mui Wo


Blame it on the Holy Spirit! 

Ever since the the miracle on the day of the Pentecost, where Peter the Apostle was although speaking in Aramaic was understood by people of different languages, language was never considered a barrier for a missionary. Ever wonder how did the missionaries go around the world to preach the Gospel, without any clue of the language of the land? Indeed the Holy Spirit is still at work and Pentecost continues to be repeated. 

But, Speaking and understanding Chinese is one of the hurdles that we come across in this part of the World. Fr. Alberto who understands little Chinese has an inimitable style of tackling the issue: He studies/surveys his audience well in advance and assumes the possible questions they would ask and gets prepared with the required responses. Here is one of such moments, which could lighten your hearts for the rest of the day! 
Of late, his health was not very good and he was forced to meet the doctor twice a week. The Chinese doctor does not communicate a word in English and so he often goes with someone to assist him. On one occasion, the lady doctor asked him to show his tongue. The assistant translated the request and he opened his mouth to stretch his tongue out. On his next visit to the doctor, she asked him 你好嗎? 
He immediately opened his mouth and stretched his tongue out! Only later did he realise that the doctor was asking him "How are you"? Ah dear Holy Spirit!