Thursday, July 26, 2007
On July 24 the Pope was asked by journalists about a possible invitation to visit China, Benedict XVI said that the situation is "somewhat complicated." Earlier that day, the Italian daily La Repubblica published an interview with the vice chairman of the Chinese government's Patriotic Association, which oversees and monitors religion in the country. Anthony Liu Bainian was quoted as saying, "I hope with all my strength to one day see the Pope here, in Beijing, celebrating Mass for us, the Chinese."
Claretians have a very cordial relationship with Mr. Liu Bainian since 1996 when he approved the publication of our Chinese Pastoral Bible. He has also approved several other books for publication that we are now preparing.
The young bishop in Shenyang is Msgr. Paul Pei Junmin. Before being a bishop Msgr Pei has occupied the posts of vice-rector and dean of studies at the major seminary. He is an expert in biblical theology. Claretians first met him when he was the Rector of the seminary in Beijing and he introduced us to the ecclesiastical authorities when back in 1996 we presented the first draft of the Chinese Pastoral Bible.
When he was consecrated bishop, not long ago, AsiaNews had this to say: The very important fact is that this new ordination takes place with the approval of the Holy See. “Fr Pei Junmin received the approval of the Holy Father,” a Vatican source told AsiaNews. “And he is an excellent candidate from all points of view.” Fr Pei Junmin met Benedict XVI on 3 August 2005. Together with another 22 Chinese priests on a trip to Europe, he managed to attend an audience with the pontiff, who greeted him with “particular affection”. Interviewed by AsiaNews on that occasion, Fr Paul had said: “The meeting with the pope was a surprise! None of us would ever have imagined it; we did not even know we would come to Rome. But it was a marvelous thing: the Church of Rome is the mother Church of all churches, including the Chinese one. We wanted to show that the Church in China is united to the Holy See.”
The diocese of Shenyang has more than 70 priests and as many seminarians; 150 sisters and around 100,000 faithful.
It is summer time and the temperature was 40 degrees during the sharing about how to proclaim the Gospel today, and also about prayer. Fr Peter tells us that there is a very beautiful Diocesan Formation Center and that many young people go there during the summer months.
The last assignment of Fr. Peter in July is in Taipei where he is going to give some talks about evangelization to the seminarians of Taiwan. Fr. Peter Chao has a Phd in Pastoral Theology.
This is what he tells us:
On July 22nd I got a golden chance to visit a leper colony in China. I just marvel at their way of life. They are very simple and humble in their approach. They long to meet and talk with different people. Even though they are poor they are willing to share whatever they have. Some of them offered some eggs to me and some others gave vegetables and some others shared their fruits with me. Why did they do it to a stranger?
Leprosy patients are most often chased out of their original habitat. Most are directly or indirectly segregated from their social lives. But they accept themselves as they are and live a joyful life in this leper colony. And some of them are very talented artists, musicians, etc. The way they work with their leprosy affected hands is touching and inspiring. Now what can you and I do for them? This is the question which left in my mind when I said good-bye to them. We can help them spiritually, physically, mentally and materially if we have a good will. But the truth is that we are “evangelized” just by visiting them.