Friday, October 31, 2008

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.

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