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.