Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcome to our blog!

Updates, news and events in our China Mission
September 2008

International University of Beijing – IUB

As we informed you last month, we were ready to begin the fall term on September 15. Our students from abroad were ready to go, with their suitcases packed… but the visa to China was not granted. We were told that the reason was the extremely tight security because of the Olympics. Now that the games are over and were a success, especially for China, we expect that the visa situation will be back to normal. So the IUB project is postponed for the beginning of 2009 as we continue to have the indefatigable help of Fr. Michael Saso for this project.

We invite you to take a closer look at our programs. Fr. Tuchu and Ian prepared a beautiful web page. Here it is:

Portuguese-speaking Bishops Meet in Macau

The eighth encounter of the presidents of bishops’ conferences of Portuguese-speaking countries was held in Macau from September 22 to 28.
Relevant for us was the presence of two Claretian delegates, Bishop Manuel António Mendes dos Santos, bishop of São Tomé and Príncipe, and Fr. José Martins Maia from Portugal.

As “missionaries without borders”… let’s take a short look at Sao Tome and Principe
São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Africa. It consists of two islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 kilometers apart and about 250 and 225 kilometers, respectively, off the northwestern coast of Gabon. Both islands are part of an extinct volcanic mountain range. São Tomé, the sizable southern island, is situated just north of the equator. It was named in honor of St. Thomas by Portuguese explorers who happened to arrive at the island on his feast day.

São Tomé and Príncipe is the second smallest African country in terms of population (the Seychelles being the smallest). It is about 1,000 square kilometers with a population of 200,000. The Claretians have been is this tiny place since 1927. There are six more Claretians working in this country.
Fr. Maia’s main work in Portugal is with an NGO named CIC-Portugal (Association for Cooperation, Interchange and Culture). This is an organization for international cooperation and to help people in need. Its main objective is mutual cooperation, intercultural communication and sharing of scientific and technical skills between Portugal and developing countries.

Tieli Church – Final Push

Tieli is a city in the Heilongjiang Province in China, about 350 kilometers north of the capital, Harbin. It is near the border with Russia and further north of North Korea. The weather is very, very cold. Our Claretian brothers from South Korea have been helping the Christian communities in that area. This month we forwarded some financial aid received from agencies for the construction of the church.

More Parish Libraries Projects

There are about 6,000 official Catholic parishes in China. Our project “Parish Libraries” relies on contributions from abroad. There are many pending requests and we help whenever funds become available by providing these parishes with books and pastoral Bibles in Chinese. Please see our special blog for this project:

Fr. Peter Chao Teaching at the National Seminary in Beijing

Claretian Fr. Peter Chao has been invited by the Dean of Studies at the Beijing National Seminary, to teach Chinese Philosophy during the month of October.

Fr. Paco Carin, who is also in Beijing tells us:
Peter arrived safe and high spirited to Beijing. We went from the airport to the NationaL Seminary in the car provided by the seminary, were chatting all the way and once there met the Dean and Rector and have dinner together with faculty and staff.

Fr. Peter holds a PhD in Pastoral Theology and a MA in Chinese Literature.


China is the last big frontier of the Church. As foreign missionaries we understand that the great challenge is the formation of Chinese evangelizers. China has to be evangelized by the Chinese…We work with Chinese partners, even as we, foreigners, are here to help them in any way we can and are allowed.

The internet is one way. We dedicate at least half of our time to create programs and resources for evangelization in China and also “from China to the world”.

Here is a new web page for “Journey,” a new program of Bible Study, in both English and Chinese. You are invited to look at it… use it and pass it on to your contacts. It is a free course. It is a journey in faith in various stages. The events and persons presented in these lessons form part of our Judeo-Christian heritage, for we all journey together as God’s people. The web page is:
There are 40 lessons, but only the first lesson is available on line at the moment. We have to thank the creators of this page: Fr. Tuchu who did it in English and Maria Liu for the Chinese.

Being fluent in English and Chinese, Maria is also helping us update the Chinese Pastoral Bible, prepare the Chinese Daily Gospel 2010 (yes, 2010 !) and as a translator for us who do not speak Chinese.

Br. Sid in Tonghua, Jilin – China

One of our brother, attended the 4th Annual International Conference of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Tonghua, Jilin, from September 25 to 29. Some 200 English teachers and professionals from all over China, with some foreign teachers from Cuba, Germany, Iceland, India, Jordan, Singapore, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, US, and the UK, participated in the conference. Though still autumn, the temperature in Tonghua ranges from -2 to 15 C, yet the hospitality of the conference organizers and the enthusiasm of many young teachers made everyone feel warm.
The conference was also the venue for the foundation and launching of International Organization of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IOTEFL), an international NGO, based in Beijing under the leadership of Prof. Bao Tianren.

On the Move…

We were blessed this month with several visitors. We gave our farewell to Fr. Tuchu who spent two months with us teaching and helping with the web projects. On the same day of his departure, Fr. José Ruíz Márquez arrived.
Fr. Márquez stayed a couple of weeks, resting and working before continuing to his final destination at ICLA in the Philippines. We hope that Fr. Márquez could divide his time between ICLA and Macau. He is the main writer of the New Testament commentaries of the Spanish Pastoral Bible. At present he is translating and editing the commentaries into English. Another team translates them into Chinese. We pray that after a long three years in Spain, taking care of his elderly mother, he could find time to rest… and come back to Macau soon.

We were also happy to receive another ICLA professor, Claretian Fr. Piotr Krakowczyk. This young Polish missionary has been in Indonesia and in the Philippines for the last 10 years. He has a PhD in theology and an MA as an English teacher… and loves China a lot and is determined to learn Chinese! Welcome Piotr!!!