Monday, April 03, 2017

Welcome to China Bulletin April 2017

The Lord Is Risen Indeed!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
A view from our parish in Mui Wo, Hong Kong 


Lenten experience in Japan

Japan is a country that has very few Christians.  The recent movie "Silence" can give you an idea of reasons for that situation. 
Father John, a Claretian missionary who is in charge of the Chinese community in Japan has led a group of Chinese Catholics to a spiritual retreat to the mountains, braving the snow to strengthen their faith and encourage one another. Fr. John shares his experiences from Japan: 

The way of the cross, the way of the Lord

It has been some years since the Claretians started accompanying the Chinese Catholic community of Yokohama, Japan. This year, as part of their Lenten observance, the community organized a pilgrimage to one of the highest peaks of the Kanagawa mountain range, Mount Sannoto (三ノ塔).
On March 18, 2017, around 40 members of the Catholic community, including 7 children –the youngest one being just 5 years old, gathered at the base of Mount Sannoto to begin their Lenten pilgrimage. It was 10 o’clock in the morning, and after a short prayer we started our ascent to the top of the mountain; everyone was joyful. After 2 hours walking, half way up the mountain, we began the way of the cross. It was a moment of deep and prayerful experience for many, and everyone took turns carrying the cross. Singing and praying, we reached the top.
There, after a short rest, we celebrated the Eucharist. We felt like Peter, James and John, the three disciples brought by Jesus up the mountain where he was transfigured. Peter wanted to make three tents then; we wanted to make not 3, but 40 tents and remain there; it was so good up there!
After the Mass we shared the food we had brought and enjoyed our lunch together.  We had walked a total of 16.05 km, and it took us 6 hours.
After this journey one lay Catholic confided to me, “Father, you have cured my sickness. I am 50 years old and I had never climbed such a high mountain (1,252 m) until today. I’d always been afraid of heights, but today I felt how the Lord accompanied and brought me up the mountain.” 
In our life we need to disconnect sometimes from our work and our busy schedule and embrace nature, where we meet God effortlessly. Indeed, no one felt tired that day, be they 5 or 50 years old!
Our Christian life is just like climbing a mountain; we go up and then down, but the twisted and bumpy path hides each one’s encounter with God. I think that, as Claretian Missionaries, our mission is to accompany and facilitate such an encounter with God.



"Scandal of the Cross" was the name of a play in three acts written by  Father Paulson, a Claretian Missionary from India in 1994.  Paulson, then a Claretian Scholastic, wrote the play based on the novel titled "Silence" by the Japanese author Shusaku Endo. The play was staged by the seminarians in Claretian Seminary and I played the role of the Samurai Inoue. That was the first time I have heard about a place called "Macau", because the play opened in the front of St. Paul's Seminary in Macau! 
Issey Ogata as Samurai Inoue in the Movie Silence 
Years have passed and I landed in Macau and Hong Kong. Our missionary work in this part of Asia includes Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan and Japan. The movie "Silence" that is currently in theatres relates to the growth of Christianity in Japan. We invite you to watch.  
The plot is from the second half of the 17th century. Two Portuguese Jesuits travel to Japan in search of a missionary who, after being persecuted and tortured, has renounced his faith. They themselves will go through the torture and violence with which the Japanese received the Christians. The following video is a short review of the movie by Bishop Robert Barrons. 

Shangchuan Island - China

This island of China, which is very close to Macao, is now a place of pilgrimage. Fr. Jojo, on the feast of St. Francis Xavier makes an annual pilgrimage to the place. 
This will be the Church dedicated to St. Francis Xavier 
on the island where he died
Over the years, the authorities of the area have taken note of the increasing number of pilgrims tot he site and have decided to rebuild the area, to beautify the Church. As a promotion material, they also shoot a short film about the life of the Saint.
Light, action, Camera is rolling ...

Death of St. Francis Xavier: 
On the evening of Friday, December 2, 1552, Antonio could see that death was approaching, and he decided to keep watch by him throughout the night. The dying priest kept his eyes constantly fixed upon a crucifix which had been put up where he could see it by his companion. It was already past midnight when Antonio saw that the end was near. "I placed a candle in his hand," Antonio later wrote in his report, "and with the name of Jesus in his mouth, he returned his soul into the hands of his Creator and Lord with great calm and tranquility...He died before dawn on Saturday, December 3, 1552, on the island and harbor of Sanchôn, in a straw but that was not his own, ten years after he had come to these regions of India." His last words, as he was dying, were: "In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum." (" In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.")
Local actors ... with Fr. Jojo in the middle
The great apostle of the India and Japan, he was 46. He had traveled 120,000 kilometres, three times the earth. He had been stealing hearts for God. 

Whoever looked at his smiling, sympathetic face, which reflected the divine, felt happy and better. When he preached, more than his arguments, he convinced with his holiness and the strength of his miracles.

Priestly Vocations in China

We have shared in our previous issues of the blogs about the news of this seminary in China which is flourishing in terms of vocations; yet struggles with  very poor facilities. With a motivation to the test .... Will the day come when Chinese priests will go around the world to preach the Good News?
Our friend, Fr. Huang Yu Tao (centre), Rector of the Seminary with the students in formation

Pilgrimage to Okinawa 

Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Kainan Church)
In the first week of March, a few pilgrims from Hong Kong made a pilgrimage to Okinawa, approximately 400 miles south of Japan's main islands. The pilgrims visited four Churches in the Diocese of Naha and also made a special trip to Okinawa's Peace Memorial Park. 
The Cornerstone of Peace is built as if to evoke the motion of waves. The names of all those who died in the fighting are inscribed on it, military and civilian alike, without regard to nationality. It stands as a memorial to the war dead and as an expression of hope for peace for their souls. It is also a plea for eternal peace and conveys the spirit of peace that is born of Okinawa’s history and life to the country and to the world.
On dozens of black marble slabs are etched more than 230,000 names of those from every nation that died in Okinawa. We visited the war monuments of Okinawa, including the underground army head-quarters. On June 23, 1945, the deadliest battle in recorded human history ended in Okinawa.
A Documentary on the Battle of Okinawa 

At the suicidal cliff on the shores of Okinawa 
Birthday Celebrations in Okinawa!