Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A child has been born to us!

In the beginning was the Word.
And the Word was with God
and the Word was God;

he was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him
and without him nothing came to be.
Whatever has come to be,found life in him,
life which for humans was also light…

And the Word was made flesh;
he had his tent pitched among us,
and we have seen his Glory,
the Glory of the only Son
coming from the Father:
fullness of truth and loving-kindness.
-Jn 1:1-4,14

Today we share some news from the life
of the Church in China and about our life.

Ordinations End Shanghai Diocese's Celebration of 400 Years of Evangelization

SHANGHAI, China (UCAN) -- Shanghai diocese capped its nine-month celebration of the 400th anniversary of Catholicism's arrival with the ordination of two priests.

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi of Shanghai ordained Fathers Joseph Li Gangyao and Joseph Xu Ruhao on Dec. 6 at St. Ignatius Cathedral in the downtown Xujiahui district of the city, 1,080 kilometers southeast of Beijing. Both graduated from Sheshan Regional Seminary on the outskirts of Shanghai.

About 2,000 Catholics, including relatives of the new priests, attended the ordination Mass, which 87 priests from local and neighboring dioceses concelebrated.

With the ordination of Father Li, Shanghai diocese now has 75 diocesan priests. Father Xu was ordained for Anhui diocese, to the west.

Bishop Xing told the congregation that although the anniversary celebrations have come to a close, "our mission does not end today, but rather it marks a new impetus for us to spread the Gospel to those who have never heard of it."

The Catholic Church began in Shanghai in 1608, when Paul Xu Guangqi, the first Shanghai Catholic, invited Italian Jesuit Father Lazare Cattaneo to preach here. About 200 people received baptism during the priest's two-year stay, and the first Catholic church was built near Xujiahui.

TAIWAN Bishops Discuss Distance-learning Proposal For Chinese Theology Studies

TAIPEI (UCAN) -- Taiwan bishops have discussed the possibility of developing Taiwan as a distance-learning center for students, especially in Hong Kong and the Philippines, to study theology in Chinese.

This would involve providing online courses or videotaped lectures, according to a press release the Chinese Regional Episcopal Conference issued on Dec. 3. The bishops' Commission for Education and Culture will coordinate preparation of the proposal, according to the press release.

The proposal was a major topic of discussion for of the Taiwan bishops during their Nov. 24-28 plenary assembly.

The Church official clarified that the proposal would not be aimed primarily at mainland Chinese but as a service to all Chinese. He pointed out that it would provide another choice for Catholic students from Hong Kong, which uses mainly the Cantonese dialect in its seminary college. Taiwan, like mainland China, uses Mandarin Chinese.

As a first step toward realizing the plan, the Taiwan bishops' Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith and Catechetical Instruction as well as the Commission for Clergy will invite the dean of Fu Jen's theology faculty and counterparts in Hong Kong and the Philippines to set up a committee. This committee is expected to meet after Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 26, 2009, the press release says.

Meanwhile, the Commission for Clergy will set up another committee together with Taiwan Regional Catholic Seminary and Fu Jen to look into the possibility of mainland Chinese studying philosophy and theology in Taiwan.

Taiwan law currently does not allow mainland Chinese to study on the island, but the government's education department in November proposed allowing this. Accordingly, Taiwan's Executive Yuan (council) on Dec. 4 amended the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the University Act and the Junior College Law.

However, the Executive Yuan said it would limit the number of mainland students as well as the number of universities and the kinds of degrees open to them, so as not to affect local students' prospects.

At their meeting, the Taiwan bishops also discussed summer courses for priests set to begin in 2009. Under this plan, Fu Jen's theology faculty will offer masters' degrees to priests who want to further their studies through summer courses over a period of 10 years, Father Cheng said.

CHINA 50th Anniversary of 'Self-elected, Self-ordained' Bishops Commemorated

HONG KONG (UCAN) -- In Beijing on Dec. 19, 45 bishops and about 200 Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians and lay leaders holding key positions in the government-sanctioned "open Church" have attended the commemoration of the golden jubilee of "self-election and self-ordination of bishops."

Du Qinglin, director of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China, and Ye Xiaowen, director of State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) received the Catholic representatives during a meeting that morning in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.

The next speaker was Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, secretary of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), who was ordained without papal mandate in 2006. Following him were speeches by a Protestant pastor, four Catholic bishops, a priest, a nun and a lay representative.

Thereafter was an afternoon tour to the Olympic "Bird's Nest" stadium, and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Beijing.

Before the Dec. 19 meeting, a Vatican-approved bishop in southwestern China told UCA News government officials had given him an air ticket to Beijing. However, he acknowledged that he did not know what event would be taking place in the capital.

Some Church leaders did admit knowing the event was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "self-elected and self-ordained bishops," but they claimed it did not conflict with Church principles to attend the meeting as long as Church authorities were not ordaining another bishop without Vatican approval.

A little history:

In 1957, six years after Beijing expelled the Holy See's apostolic nuncio from China, the CCPA was set up to uphold the principle of an "independent, autonomous and self-managed" China Church.

In 1958, the government-sanctioned China Church elected and ordained, without papal approval, Fathers Bernardine Dong Guangqing and Yuan Wenhua as, respectively, bishops of Hankou and Wuchang in Hubei province.

Before those ordinations took place, several telegrams were sent to the Vatican asking for approval. But the Holy See replied by citing Canon Law, which says any bishop ordained without papal mandate, or who ordains such a bishop, incurs automatic excommunication, "reserved to the Apostolic See."

Nonetheless, the China Church proceeded with the illicit ordinations at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hankou on April 13, 1958. During the next 50 years, there have been about 170 "self-elected, self-ordained" bishops in China.

With easier communications developing after the reform and opening of China in 1978, Chinese Catholics in the mainland have gradually resumed contact with the Universal Church. Many "self-elected and self-ordained" bishops sought papal legitimization, and some candidates apply for papal mandate before they are ordained. These days, there still are some bishops who were ordained illicitly and have not been legitimized by the Vatican.

Among the 60 or so bishops currently in the open Church community, more than 80 percent are in communion with the pope.

In his June 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI said the pope's appointment of bishops guarantees Church unity and hierarchical communion. "The Pope, when he issues the apostolic mandate for the ordination of a bishop, exercises his supreme spiritual authority: this authority and this intervention remain within the strictly religious sphere," he asserted.


Related article: Vatican Letter Urges Chinese Bishops to Fulfill Duties with CourageYou can read it

Among the poorest...

Once again Claretian Fr. Peter Chao, CMF has visited a very remote area in the Province of Sichuan in China and spent a couple of weeks ministering to a group of Religious Sisters. These Sisters take care of leprosy patients.

The life and death in Rongshui of Françoise Grenot-Wang

Françoise Grenot-Wang,
a sinologist, perished recently when her house caught fire.
An extraordinary life dedicated
to the ethnic Miao minority in China.

She created “Couleurs de Chine”
to aid with scholarships Miao girls.
You can click on the links below
to learn more about her work.

Françoise Grenot-Wangwith Miao

Fr. José Marins & Team and the CEBs

Our good friend Fr. José Marins spent one day with us in Macau and Zhuhai at the end of three months of courses and seminars on BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) or SCC (Small Christian Community) in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Korea. A pilgrim along the grassroots of the Church for the last 40 years, Fr, Marins and Team witnesses to a new model of being Church today. Accompanying Fr, Marins in this trip was Fr Gerry Proctor, a Fidei Donum priest from Liverpool, England.

It was a return visit to the Continent for Fr Marins who had previously been here in 1981 invited by the Claretians. At that time we visited 11 countries in Asia. Now, 27 years later he came back. The first visit was to initiate contacts between the Latin American process and Asia and to promote dialogue between the two continents. This second visit was to renew the fraternal contacts and to listen and learn from Asian experiences.

In their report they say:

“Fr Marins has developed a unique way of working with SCCs where the method is the content and the content is in the method. It is a very interactive methodology based upon a profound respect for and understanding of the presence of wisdom and experience within all peoples regardless of educational or theological attainments. He has discovered over time that they are capable of articulating what has been experienced through engaging with the Marins methodology and process. It is a way of working with SCCs that is fully coherent with both the theology and the experience of this level of Church, and so is able to deliver not only a serious and rigorous content but also the mystique, ethos or spirituality that is proper to this way of being Church.

“Marins does not bring a model that can be copied and is completely against any attempt to make a photocopy of anywhere else or indeed of any process. Each country and culture is unique with very different histories, needs and limitations. Latin America cannot and does not offer a model or even a recipe for how to be Church in any other part of the world.

“The seminars follow three basic thrusts or moments; the first being a Nazareth moment where the focus is on starting, building and developing community amongst the participants who are understood to be ‘neighbors’ for the duration of the seminar. The second moment is the Emmaus moment where we focus on the person of Jesus in the gospels, giving the participants a way of entering into the text in order to be brought into contact with the original experience of God that characterized the event described in the gospel story. This emphasis on the Word of God coming alive for the people and being related to life is critical for how the SCCs use and experience the scriptures not only in their meetings but also in the way the communities develop and are formed. The third moment we call the Galilee moment and it focuses on the Early Church communities from Acts and the letters of Paul. This gives not only an insight into but also an experience of community and Church life as lived during the apostolic period which because of its presence in the New Testament is therefore part of revelation and in some important sense normative for the Church in every age.

He tells us in their report:

“This moment of another visit to Asia by the Marins team has provided us with an unparalleled opportunity and one we never imagined would be afforded us to reaffirm our commitment to being brothers and sisters in the work of building a Church that will permit the reign of God to be felt amongst the peoples of our neighborhoods and where the only gospel that will ever be read is likely to be the gospel lived by and encountered amongst the members of Small Christian Communities.”

Father Marins is one of the pioneers in laying a theological basis for Basic Christian Communities (BCC) in Latin America. He played an important role as a theology advisor at the 1968 and 1978 plenary assemblies of the Latin American Episcopal Conference, in Colombia and Mexico, respectively.

Preparing the new meeting of the FABC Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference

A good old friend from the Philippines,
SVD Father Franz-Josef Eilers,
FABC Secretary for Social Communications
attended the meeting in Macau
and in the short period that he was here he came to visit us.

Graduation in Taiyuan and visit of Fr. José Cristo Rey García Paredes

It is a cold winter day. The weather reads 17 minus (centigrade) in Taiyuan. But hearts are very warm. On December 22 was the graduation ceremony of about 60 religious sisters from different congregations in China who had attended a renewal course during two years.Among the invited professors were Sr. Judette Gallares from ICLA and Fr. José Cristo Rey, CMF from Spain who gave some talks about the “religious vow” –as he says—more appropriate then “religious vows”. For more details (in Spanish) we invite you to visit his web page:

New Year – New Face

Our in-house artist, typesetter… and cook, Ian Dacayanan,
has prepared a new presentation of our web page
with new contents and features.

Kindly visit us at:

Christmas in Zhuhai

On December 23 we gathered in our house in Zhuhai
to celebrate Christmas with Mass and dinner…
and a very warm and fraternal meeting.

Here are some pictures of the event:

A Joyful Christmas to you!

A Joyful Christmas to you!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Claretian China Mission - November Newsletter

Update IUB – International University of Beijing

Last August’s Olympic Games made it impossible for a group of applicants to IUB programs to get the necessary visas to go to China. Visas were not given at that time. Now the situation is back to “normal” and IUB is advertizing the following programs (for more details please go to:

100 days in China and Tibet program
- SPRING 2009 Courses

IUB is now accepting applicants for its pioneering course.

The SAIA and IUB program invites college and graduate students
to spend a semester (100 days)
of intensive study and research
in Beijing and chosen areas of Tibet.
Students spend 12 weeks of intensive study
in Beijing at Beijing Sports University (BSU)
and 16 days in greater Tibet, and traditional Buddhist
and Daoist centers of China.

Application Deadline
January 15, 2009


Chinese Language

Language study: during the 12 weeks of study in Beijing at BSU, students spend 3 hours a day, five mornings each week, attending Chinese classes. Beginning students taking 5 morning classes each week to earn 15 college credits of Chinese language study. Graduate research scholars may choose privately directed language and literature research to earn upper division or graduate college credit. Students are encouraged to speak Chinese at all times.


Seminar courses:

A Cultural History of China (Fr. Carin MA, Michael Saso PhD, Shen Wei PhD). The course provides essential guidelines for living and studying in China. Those who have spent most of their life in China, and other parts of Asia (Japan, SE Asia, Korea, and Tibet), do not feel that a lifetime is enough, without cultural insight and fluency in language, to begin to understand the spirituality, and complex social values of life in Asia. Language with cultural studies provides a new window to personal sensitivity and spirituality.

Buddhist and Daoist Studies (Prof. Gao Yuanle PhD). The masters of Buddhist and Daoist spirituality and their meditation practices are studied in class and “on-site” in China.

Doing Business in China (Prof. Axel Winkler MBA and staff). Prof. Axel Winkler, who has 20 years of experience running a successful business in China, introduces doing business in China, with guest lecturers from Business MBA courses in nearby Beijing universities.

Taiji–Martial Arts (Prof. Teng Jian PhD). Under the guidance of BSU staff, Prof. Teng Jian, students learn martial arts combat, or traditional health-giving taiji lessons.

Monday night at the movies: the best of Chinese alternative cinema, with in-depth discussion and analysis after each selected movie led by Dr. Shen Wei and Fr. Francisco Carin CMF.

Other electives (fees not included in the IUB program fees): calligraphy and traditional brush art; TCM; acupressure, Tibetan herbal medicine, Tibetan Tangkha Buddhist art painting (this course is available in IUB’s northern Tibet trade school, located next to the Amdo-Kumbun [Ta-er-si] temple near Xining city in Qinghai province, northwest China).

Special content-oriented refresher courses for two weeks, one month, and 6 weeks are also available upon request, with pro-rated tuition and room expenses.

More information at:
Please help us pass the word around…
All are welcome!

Chinese Bible Diary 2009

For the second year Claretian Publications Macau is publishing the Chinese Bible Diary, which is similar in content with the English and Spanish editions, but with commentaries for everyday liturgy written by Chinese authors.

The edition in “traditional” or “classical” characters has been published for Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. Another edition for Mainland China in “simplified” characters is published in cooperation with Faith Press, a Catholic publisher in China. There is also a special edition of the said book for distribution in Singapore and Malaysia.

Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, Archbishop Emeritus
of München und Freising (Munich, Germany),
receives a copy of the new book during its launching.
Cardinal Wetter was visiting Macau and China.

As it happened last year, a second printing had to be rushed, this time in Mainland China.

Other Chinese publications

Our good Jesuit friend, Fr. Luis Gutheinz is a distinguished professor at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan. Fr. Luis is Austrian, but has lived in Taiwan for most of his life. His Chinese is enviable. Together with a dedicated team he has spent many years translating into Chinese solid theological reference books. Presently the group is revising two huge volumes: Theological Dictionary and a Christian Theological Lexicon. And finishing the translation of Denzinger.

Let me quote from Fr. Luis:
“Looking ahead…then the very demanding elaboration of the Denzinger in Chinese (we have arrived at the Encyclical “Veritatis splendor” of John Paul II, August 6, 1993)… If everything will turn out well, by the beginning of the next sabbatical year (October 2009 – May 2010) the corrections for the Theological Dictionary (red) and the Christian Theological Lexicon (blue) should be finished, so that new editions of these basic instruments for theological studies, together with the more than 2,000 pages of Denzinger, could be put on the market.”

Fr. Luis and his team are the final editors of the new version of the Chinese Pastoral Bible that will come out in 2009.

With the poorest…

One ministry very close to Fr. Luis Gutheinz’s heart is his attention to the lepers in Mainland China. Together with a fantastic group of Jesuits here in Macau, Fr. Luis spends some quality time every year in Mainland attending to and sharing with the lepers.

Be curious; go to their web page:

Claretian Fr. Peter Chao and the Lepers

In coordination with our Jesuit friends, Fr. Peter Chao, CMF collaborates in this ministry. From November 24 to December 3, Fr. Peter is in Xichang, Sichuan Province.

You will remember this Chinese Province because it was here that the terrible earthquake happened a few months back. Xichang is in the south of the province and what is interesting is that it is the satellite launch center of China.

China’s satellite launch site in Xichang
But Fr. Peter is heading for another corner. Away from the city and in a remote place in the mountains are a group of dedicated Religious Sisters, “Missionary Oblates of the Holy Family,” who care for the many lepers and their families. Fr. Peter is giving a retreat to them these days. A group of about 50 Sisters came from different leprosaria to refresh their souls during these days.

Jojo and his Cantonese

You will remember that Fr. Jojo Ancheril, CMF had started studying the difficult Cantonese language and is still immersed in this task.

He shares with us:

As I come to the end of the 4th semester learning Cantonese I feel happy and satisfied. The most joyful and satisfactory part of my stay in Hong Kong is that I am able to celebrate Holy Mass and administer the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick (in Cantonese). When people come with their broken hearts and minds, even my broken Cantonese becomes a ray of hope and joy for them. And it makes me very happy and satisfied. These days I also had lot of opportunities to be with different people from different walks of life. And being able to help them in little ways makes me very happy. Sometimes I feel like the father of the prodigal son. When our brothers and sisters with a repentant heart turn back to God, will it not be the most satisfactory moment of our priestly life? I would say yes! And I have experienced this most satisfactory moment of our priestly life here in Hong Kong. I thank God for giving me such opportunities. Of course it is very hard to learn Cantonese but these experiences help me to be more persistent and faithful. And I sincerely thank all those who support and encourage me to work in this promised land of China.

The Gospel with Ñ

Since there are no Spanish-speaking priests in Shanghai, the community invites a priest every month and it takes a good two hours by plane to reach there.

Fr. Paco Carin, CMF, who usually attends to this community, sends us this report:

Every third Saturday of the month the Spanish-speaking Catholic community of Shanghai meets to celebrate the Sunday Mass in Spanish at the San Pedro parish that welcomes us. On other Sundays everyone goes to the church of their choice and selects the language they want. English, French, German, Korean are some of the languages in which the Sunday Mass is celebrated in Shanghai. Many also choose to attend the Mass in Chinese language, and there are many churches to choose from.

The Spanish-speaking community in Shanghai grows without haste but without pause. Spanish-speaking people in Shanghai are also well versed in English and can easily choose an English Mass and develop a bond with that community. Still many prefer to have a Mass in Spanish every month. Speaking in their own language they develop a deep spiritual bond. Many say that before coming to China their Christianity was quite lukewarm, but after arriving here the cultural shock impels them in certain way to return to their cultural roots, to the places that even if not perfect are familiar.
The community is quite mobile too because with the exception of those who by choice or because of marriage decided to emigrate to China, the majority are students and workers who usually are in Shanghai for a number of years, and then move on to other places, countries or back to their place of origin following the decision of the company they work for. Even if their departure makes everyone “sad,” we know that we have fulfilled our objective – to continue being faithful to the mandate of Jesus to go and announce and live the Gospel in the midst of the world.
You are welcome to visit us when you come to Shanghai.

Shanghai is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 20 million people in its extended metropolitan area. Located on China’s central eastern coast near the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality with province-level status.

Economic reforms in 1990 have resulted in intense development and financing, and in 2005 Shanghai became the world's busiest cargo port.

The city is an emerging tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and Xintiandi, its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower, and its new reputation as a center of culture and design. Today, Shanghai is mainland China’s center for commerce and finance, and has been described as the “showpiece” of the world's fastest-growing economy.

A Bible for US$2.00

A project is under way to produce the Pastoral Bible, “Christian Community Bible,” at a very affordable price to be distributed in the Philippines and India. It is a result of the latest Synod on the Word of God and the desire of the Philippine Bishops to place 5 million copies of the Bible in the home of every Catholic family in the Philippines. What it pains us is that the Biblical Commission has chosen to distribute not a Catholic edition solely because of economic reason.

The Pastoral Bible Foundation (PBF), a Claretian enterprise, is printing the first 30,000 copies of a “cheap” edition of the “Christian Community Bible” to be sold at just U$S 2.00 (1,728 pages, size 120 x 180 mm).
We cannot do it alone! YOU can help us bring the Good News to the poorest of the poor… please contact:

Meanwhile plans are also under way to make the Spanish Pastoral Bible, “La Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo,” available online.

Bible Study Online

You have no excuse now. If you are really interested, you can take a whole Bible course in the internet for free.
Under the guidance of Msgr. Marcel Gervais you can take the JOURNEY course. It is an interactive program that will challenge you to give the “right” answer when you take the simple test… and you will know if your answer is not correct. Let’s see if you dare! Here is the link:

The program is free, but you have to register. And it is available in English and Chinese.

The visit of an old friend…

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, (center) former President of the Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, came to Macau as part of the Secretariat of FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops Conference) and spent a few hours with us. We spoke to him about the Word of God and the need to give back to our people the Good News in an affordable way.

Archbishop Quevedo participated in the last Synod of the Word of God. This is what he said during the Synod:


“God spoke His Word, especially for the sake of the poor. He was their refuge and liberator. ... Incredibly, rich in a marvelous mosaic of ancient cultures and religions, we in Asia are nevertheless a continent of the poor, of economic and political imbalances, of ethnic division and conflict. Our profound sense of transcendence and harmony is being eroded by a globalizing secular and materialist culture. But the Word of God in Asia is calling to the Father in the Holy Spirit thousands of small communities of the poor. And the poor in turn are heeding God’s Word. In so doing they are building a ‘new way of being Church’ – really an old way – the way of the early Jerusalem community. ... For them the Word of God is faith-empowering, urging them to participate actively within the Church and in social transformation. They are Basic Ecclesial Communities, renewing families, parishes and dioceses into vibrant communities, witnessing to the Word of God, quite often in a hostile multi-religious environment. They are communities of solidarity and fellowship at the grassroots, effectively challenging in their own little way the modern culture of secularism and materialism.”

Cardinal Zen remembers Bishop Jin Peixian of Shenyang, urges Chinese Church to unity

by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
With a text published in the diocesan weekly Sunday Examiner, the bishop of Hong Kong remembers the bishop of Shenyang (Liaoning), Jin Peixian, who died on November 4.

Hong Kong (Asianews/SE) - Between 1993 and 1996, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Shenyang to teach at the seminary. At that time, it was enclosed in the same area as the bishop's house and the cathedral office. I enjoyed the big family atmosphere there. Of course, it was due to the fact that Bishop Jin Peixian was the head of a big family. I especially admired the love and concern that Bishop Jin expressed towards the unofficial community. The cathedral of Shenyang is an impressive Gothic structure. But on the other side of the bishop's house was a small chapel (traditionally the bishop's private chapel and actually not that small).

Bishop Jin allowed the unofficial Church community to use this and welcomed its old priest to meals and to live with the priests of the official Church community.

Every morning, when the gate opened, the Catholics of the official community went to the cathedral while those from the unofficial community went to the chapel. The two groups ignored each other and yet showed no animosity. It was a pity that the Catholics of the unofficial community did not even greet the bishop when they met him, but he did not mind. Moreover, he defended them before the government, saying that they were also believers and entitled to enjoy his care.

Remembering the example of this good pastor, I feel emboldened to say a few words to the bishops of the official Church and to the unofficial community, even though what I have to say may not be pleasing to them:

1) I hope the bishops of the official community have the same welcoming heart as Bishop Jin had towards the unofficial community, to appreciate them, to be tolerant and to encourage mutual understanding and communion and not force them to join in the structure of the official community.

2) I hope the priests and Catholics of the unofficial community show respect towards the legitimate bishops of the officiail community and abstain from harsh criticism. While the government has not changed its policy towards the Church, it may not be a suitable moment to join the structure of the official Church. However, under the leadership of the unofficial bishops or vicars capitular, there should be an increase in dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation with the official community.

I am sure this is the hope of the Holy Father. In this way, we will be laying a solid foundation for the full unity of tomorrow. The structural unity presupposes certain conditions and these are beyond our control. But we can prepare for the coming of this beautiful day.

May the example of Bishop Jin inspire us in brotherly love. May he bless us from heaven.

Sad news…

Minutes after sending last month’s newsletter we received the news about the fatal accident of Fr. Moraleda in the Philippines. Most probably you may have received this news already.

You can check: to leave your message and see how well loved he was.
The words of the great theologian Karl Rahner console us:
The great and sad mistake of many people… is to imagine that those whom death has taken leave us. They do not leave us. They remain! Where are they? In darkness? Oh, no! It is we who are in darkness. We do not see them, but they see us. Their eyes, radiant with glory, are fixed upon our eyes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Welcome to Our October 2008 Newsletter

Since we started sending this blog in April 2006, we have mainly shared with you about the work that the Claretians in China do. The newsletter is also published in Spanish at:

In this issue we are adding some news about the presence and work of other missionaries. These selected news are taken from the U.S. Catholic China Bureau, “China Church Quarterly,” a publication that we highly recommend. You can read it online at: or write and subscribe at:

China Church Quarterly – Summer 2008

The 23rd National Catholic China Conference, organized by U.S. Catholic China Bureau and cosponsored by the Ricci Institute of Chinese Western-Cultural History, met at Belleville, IL, on the weekend of October 3-5. Some 75 participants came from all across the USA and China, as well as from the UK/Council of Churches’ China Program. Almost half the group were Chinese – including 23 of the clergy, religious and catholic lay graduate students from China currently in studies in the USA.

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The 7th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bible Federation [CBF] highlighted support for biblical pastoral ministry in China as a priority for the next 6 years. NE Asia Regional Coordinator Cecilia CHUI spoke of the “great hunger and thirst for the word of God in China” and the eagerness of pastoral workers from other lands to assist in this field.

Emphasis will be on biblical pastoral formation of clergy, religious and laity; printing and distributing affordable Bibles in various formats and providing supplemental biblical pastoral materials; promoting dialogue and a service of love to achieve the mission of reconciliation in light of God’s work; and networking to support this ministry, especially among Chinese engaged in biblical studies abroad. Three priests from China – two of whom are abroad - and including Rev. Joseph ZHANG Wenxi at CUA in the USA – were among participants of the CBF Assembly held in Tanzania last July.

Rev. Joseph ZHANG Wenxi is also one of the editors of our Chinese Pastoral Bible.

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Maryknoll Education Program
In mid September the Maryknoll Society (USA) sponsored Education and Formation Project, welcomed five new participants: 3 sisters and 2 priests from four dioceses in China. Following a period of English language updating at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, they will begin graduate studies in various disciplines determined by their diocesan bishops and religious superiors in China.

These students join 25 others already in the program [11 priests, 10 sisters, 2 seminarians and 2 lay women] from some 14 dioceses. They study at 9 US colleges and universities – mostly pursuing master’s degrees, while 6 are doing doctoral degrees.

In the past year some 9 graduates returned to their respective dioceses after completing their studies.

They join more than 75 others who have completed studies through the Maryknoll Project and are actively serving the Church in China in various key ministries. Among them five have been named diocesan bishops or auxiliaries by the Holy Father; and three Sisters elected as major superiors of their congregations. Many of the priests serve as faculty at China’s major regional seminaries, and as spiritual directors, rectors, and deans of study. In addition to those who have initiated cutting edge pastoral, social and medical ministries, several sisters are serving as formation directors for other young sisters.

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AITECE is the Association for International Teaching, Educational and Curriculum Exchange

This year AITECE celebrates 20 years of providing professional education service in major colleges and universities – especially in the more economically disadvantaged regions in central and southwestern China. The program is coordinated by the Columban Fathers Society – the Irish missionary congregation primarily dedicated to mission in China.

In June 2008, the Columban Fathers relocated their central administrative headquarters from Dublin to Hong Kong to better serve their growing presence in Asia.
Since 1988, some 329 teachers from 16 English-speaking countries have served as AITECE teachers, nearly 90% of them for two years. Of this group, 58 were from the USA, applying through USCCB which serves at AITECE/USA liaison to recruit, facilitate and provide orientation for teacher candidates.

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THE RICCI INSTITUTE FOR CHINESE-WESTERN CULTURAL HISTORY, named for the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, was founded in 1984 as a non-profit interdisciplinary research center. Dedicated to studying the history of religious, philosophical, scientific, educational, and cultural exchange between China and the West with emphasis on the Jesuit missions to the Ming and Qing courts, the Ricci Institute supports visiting scholars, publishes books and articles, and sponsors symposiums and seminars.

Incorporated into the University of San Francisco as part of the Center for the Pacific Rim in 1988, the Ricci Institute is a leading center for study of Christianity in China from the Nestorian era through the present day, and maintains scholarly contacts and cooperation with institutions throughout the world.

The Ricci Institute is the site of a major internet database project, The 21st Century Roundtable on the History of Christianity in China, and is home to a unique research library of more than 75,000 volumes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and various European languages focused on the history of East-West relations.

Visit the Ricci Institute website for more information about its resources and projects.

Retreat to priests in Inner Mongolia

Fr. Paco Carín, CMF just finished preaching a retreat to priests from Inner Mongolia, in China.

But first, let’s review a little geography:

Inner Mongolia is the Mongol autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the country's north.

It is the third-largest subdivision of China spanning almost 300 million acres or 12% of China's land area. It has a population of about 24 million as of 2004. The capital is Hohhot.


Here is Paco’s report:

I had the opportunity to go to Inner Mongolia this October to direct a retreat for priests in Chifeng City. Chifeng is a small diocese as far as personnel are concerned, with only 22 priests, who have been without bishop for the last two years. But when it comes to jurisdiction, it encompasses a territory of about 90,000 km2 (originally it was 75,000 but in the administrative reorganization after 1949 it gained more territory). The farthest parish is about 600 km from the diocesan seat, the city of Chifeng (red peak). Most of the priests are young, with only three of them over 40 years of age. It is a diocese with a jolted history and with many challenges for the future. Nevertheless, they count on something important, the desire to move ahead in their ministry. They hope that soon their need for a bishop will be solved. The Church in China continues being quite hierarchical, and if it lacks an official head – a bishop – much of the work stops and a number of problems, that are otherwise small become big.
Let us hope that with our prayers and help they can continue their pastoral work in attending to the Lord's flock.