Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Welcome to our April 2008 Newsletter!

Unexplored frontiers…

Claretians responsible for our presence in China gathered in Macau at the beginning of April. During the four day meeting we were accompanied by our Superior General, Fr. Joseph Abella. After evaluating our present situation in China, we asked ourselves what the “unexplored frontiers” are for our ministry in China. When we look back into the past, we see how the pioneers like Fr. Matteo Ricci and his companions were able to enter into the Chinese culture and bring the Gospel message with great results. We named these frontiers, looked for a support system and made some concrete plans. You will read more about these in detail in the coming issues of our newsletter… but for now we invite you to pray with us that we may always do what God wants us to do!

Follow up in Osaka, Japan

On April 22 we again met in Osaka, Japan, this time accompanied by Fr. Michael Saso PhD, a friend and an expert in dealing with universities in China. With his help we found some of the “unexplored frontiers” in the field of education.

We studied the possibility of opening in Beijing undergraduate courses with classes in English for children of foreign families living in Beijing and foreigners from anywhere in the world. There are about 10,000 of these families and their children attend about 30 foreign schools where classes are taught in English. There are no colleges yet in China for these children and their families are forced to send them abroad for their college studies. Is this one of the “unexplored frontiers”?

The new venture: IUB – International University of Beijing

It sounds big… and it could be, but we plan to start by offering a semester with the following accredited courses:

  • Chinese Language

  • Cultural History of China

  • Doing Business in China

  • Teaching English as a Second Language / College English

Classes will all be in English. For this an agreement has been signed with BSU (Beijing Sport University). The university will provide housing, rooms for classes, and all the facilities this beautiful institution has for its 22,000 students. There are limited scholarships available, in case you or someone you know is interested in spending one semester in Beijing Fr. Francisco “Paco” Carin, a Claretian missionary well versed in Chinese will be its Director.

For more information you can write to him at:

You can also have a glance at the complete program at:

Language Institute

This is certainly not an “unexplored frontier” since Beijing already has many language centers that offer English couses. Still we believe that we have something unique to offer and the Director will be Claretian Bro. SC, presently working with Paco at the National Catholic Seminary in Beijing. This August Sid will finish his MATESOL at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He already has a Master’s in Education.

This new language school will be open to anyone who wants to learn English. ICLA (Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia) is working in partnership with us as part of the preparation of Chinese students (priests and sisters) who will go to the Philippines for their further studies in this institute. A special set of English classes will be specially prepared for them.

Kyoto visit with an expert guide…

Paco, Marcelino and Alberto had the treat of their life on April 23 when guided by the expert, Fr. Michael Saso, they visited Kyoto at the end of their meeting as they took a day off. The Claretians have two communities in nearby Osaka.

We learned many things that day:

When Tokyo was an unimportant village and Osaka was just a glimmer in the eye of some future shogun, the city of Kyoto was the magnificent capital of Japan. Kyoto rightfully takes its place among Rome, Istanbul and Athens as the city itself is a living museum. Even after Tokyo (then Edo) became Japan’s capital in 1868, Kyoto remained the cultural and historical center of the country. But if you travel to Kyoto don’t expect a quaint old world town. Kyoto, like Tokyo, is a bustling and often claustrophobic metropolis with busloads of tourists clogging the sacred temples and Zen gardens during much of the year.

Sanzen-in Temple in Ohara – Kyoto

Our Own House in Zhuhai, China

On April 5 we had a family gathering at our new house in Zhuhai, just across the border from Macau. Here are some remembrances of the meeting and of the new house.

Fr. Jojo Finished his Second Semester in Hong Kong

On April 18 Fr. Jojo finished the second of 8 semesters for the study of the Cantonese language. He tells us that it is not easy, but he is happy and pleased with the rhythm even if it is difficult. Fr. Jojo already celebrates Mass and now speaks a few words in Cantonese. For us who listen to him interact with our neighbors, it seems that he is doing “very well” indeed! Carry on, Jojo!

Building of mega-bridge between Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai set to start at year-end

Construction of a mega-bridge to link Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macao is set to begin by the end of this year.

It is part of plans to form closer social and economic ties from the western Pearl River Delta area to the two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macao).

The building of the proposed US$6.6-billion structure, which will be 30 kilometers long, should take around five years to complete.

Zhuhai is bordered with Macau to the south and neighbored with Hong Kong across South China Sea to the east.

It will shorten the distance from Hong Kong to Macao and Zhuhai to 30 kilometers, and reduce the journey time to well within 30 minutes. People currently traveling to Hong Kong from Zhuhai or Macau have to journey for at least six hours by car.

Our recommendation

If interested in China Church news you can visit: It is a China Church Quarterly from the United States Catholic China Bureau with a lot of news about the Church in China.