Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Easter Picnic in Shenzhen, the city bordering Hong Kong

Shenzhen is situated immediately north of Hong Kong. Owing to China's economic liberalization under the policies of reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, the area became China's first—and ultimately most successful—Special Economic Zone.

Shenzhen's novel and modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment since the late 1970s, when it was a small fishing village. Since then, foreign nationals have invested more than US$30 billion for building factories and forming joint ventures. It is now reputedly one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Being southern China's major financial center, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also the second busiest port in mainland China, second only to Shanghai.

A night view of Shenzhen

It was twelve years ago when I visited Shenzhen with Fr. Bernardo Hurault. We looked for a Catholic church on a Sunday and were directed towards the outskirts of the city. There, in an old and dilapidated school building the Christian community gathered for their Sunday Mass. Times have changed. Now Shenzhen has three beautiful Catholic churches.

A couple of weeks ago, Fr. Jojo, with the Maryknoll priests of Christ the Worker parish in Hong Kong and a group of Catholics, visited the Catholic churches.

Shenzhen Church

A group of Catholics from Hong Kong
went across the border to visit Catholics in Shenzhen

Jojo shares this with us:

On 18 April, 42 of us, including three priests and two deacons, went to Shenzhen, one of the famous cities in China. We had the opportunity to visit the three churches in that city. The aim of our visit was to exchange Easter joy, peace and love with our brothers and sisters in mainland China. And we had the satisfaction and joy of achieving what we intended to do. In all three places we had lot of dialogue and exchange of ideas and faith experiences with the priests and the people. We also shared our personal experiences and ideas about our Christian faith, which really enriched the faith of everyone. It is a great joy for us to see the growth in faith of our brothers and sisters in China. One of the faithful said that our Christian life is to be lived in relationship with Jesus and in communion with other Christians in the world.

Personally, I feel so happy to see the way the Church in China is growing in all aspects in spite of the many difficulties, problems and struggles. God has a plan for this promised land and he will fulfill it according to his will. Let us unite to spread the good news of love, peace and joy wherever we are and may the Risen Christ give us the courage and strength to do it. In this season of peace and joy let us remember our brothers and sisters in China and pray for them.

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