Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WELCOME to our CHINA-MACAU Blog June 2009

Test of Faith

Today we share a jewel of Faith and Trust from a person who is very close to us: Martin Chung.

Martin Chung is Chinese, born in Macau. Martin and Queenie Leong were married two and a half years ago. Both are Catholics. I baptized Martin in 1999. He is now in pursuit of his PhD in Political Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. They have a small daughter, Tin Yin.

Two years ago, while waiting at a bus stop, a truck went out of its way, hit a post and the post hit Queenie on the head. She was 5 month pregnant. She underwent open head operation and many trials. A few months later their daughter was born with “holes in her heart”. Thus the following testimony of Martin.

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Others see a chain of bad luck and suffering, we see a test of faith – and a blessing awaiting blossoming.

In less than two years, between my wife and my 1.5-year-old daughter, there have been 5 surgeries, on the head if not in the heart. And more are still on the horizon, as there are still holes in my little daughter’s even littler heart to be fixed, some in a most complicated chamber that even the best surgeon in Hong Kong (and Asia) hesitates to venture.

Why me? Why us? I imagine others would have long begun questioning their Fung Shui, their birthday’s compatibility with the year’s celestial dignitaries, the potency of their patron gods that are gathering dust somewhere on some shelf – or the darker part of their past that may be responsible for the karma.

But no, this is not the way we take it. As Christians – that is, trying-to-be followers of Christ – we have long been prepared to shoulder our share of the Cross. Sometimes it means persecution for our beliefs, like the ordeals of Stephen’s (Acts 6-7) and Paul’s (Acts 21-28), sometimes it means simply being close to somebody special, like Mary as the mother of a suffering son, like parents like us having a “special” child.

Looking at our daughter as a special – rather than a sick – child helps. For what is “sick” or what is “normal” are but human categories. We’re all “sick” in some way – just that some are more obvious, and some less. As parents to a special child, we are called to walk a special path – one that is particularly onerous, to be sure, but also, just because of that, particularly rewarding. I remember listening to a friend feeling some sort of loss because both her birth-giving and child-rearing had been “too uneventful” – thanks to the marvels of “painless birth” and “hands-free mothering”, which are not at all unaffordable nowadays.

Ask Mary, knowing full well what would happen to Jesus and how much pain it would cause her (i.e. what the greeting actually meant), if God granted her a second chance, would she choose to retract her “let it be done” in Luke 1:38?

Ask us, if God now appears, a “perfectly normal” baby on his left hand, will we surrender our less-than-perfectly-normal daughter in exchange?

Ask again, God willing, we can go back in time to less than a few weeks of pregnancy, knowing full well her future heart problems, will we go for abortion?

Ask finally, Heaven forbids, if our daughter should ultimately reunite with God ahead of us (now I can hear my Chinese within me shouting: Dai Gut Lai Si! – or something like How dare you utter such misfortune! – as if mere utterance will bring it about), despite all our efforts and tears and prayers, will we wish that she had never been born?

Our answer to all these: a resounding No.

No. No. No.

Like all tests, the test of faith has its questions. Some are fairly easy to answer. Some we don’t even dare to ponder. But unlike the tests of fate, its passing brings peace amid fear, a bit of light above an ocean of darkness. Fear and doubt are there still, menacing as ever, but they no longer look the same.

After all, it is not a mean-spirited, man-playing God that we believe in, as many self-proclaimed rationalist Chinese do – as when they say: Tin Yi Nung Yen, or the Will of Heaven is but to make fun of Man. It is our creed and our bread: There is one God, with him everything is possible, and he loves us like no other.

Do we need miracles to “prove” his existence and his power, so the “success” of Christians can help gain converts? Never.

Like Jeremiah says, or something to that effect: God is. That is enough.

And a family we are, here at this moment, and forever in eternity as well.

That is enough.

Bibles for Heyuan, China

Below is a typical letter that the Pastoral Bible Foundation receives. Because of our contacts in China and because of the generosity of some benefactors from abroad, we can supply bibles and books to poor parishes. After making sure that instruction and seminars on the Word of God will accompany the distribution of the bibles, we sent Fr. Zen 400 Chinese Pastoral Bibles.
Here is the email we received from Fr. Zeng Hijun:


zeng haijun
Dear Fr. Alberto Rossa I am Heyuan parish priest, Zeng haijun. I would like to teach some biblical knowledge for Heyuan Christians and unbelievers. I have received information that you can help so I dare to ask for your help. In our parish there are just some magazines from different seminaries, few bibles and religious books. This is developing parish, this parish still owes the debts for 2003 building the church, so we could not buy the materials for the growth of Faith, many believers are new in this church. Without Bibles and books I do not know how to do, now under your help I think we can grow together with the Holy Word, who can guide us to the Eternal life. Thanks again! We are praying for you the benefactor and all benefactors.

Heyuan is at the North of Guangdong Province in China

Family Life

During the month of June
we received many visitors in our community.

Archbishop Ramon Arguelles from the Philippines,
and his cousin Dr. Tess Arguelles
visited the Diocesan Pastoral Center
and later on spent some time with us in Macau
and in Zhuhai where we invited them for a “taste of China”.

It was also the opportunity to share with them our work,
especially the biblical apostolate and the project
of the special subsidized Pastoral Bible
that has arrived in the Philippines.
Archbishop Arguelles is in charge of CFC (Couples for Christ)

Looking ahead in Asia

Claretian Superiors representing the countries of East Asia
(Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Macau, China),
the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia gathered in Macau
in preparation for the Claretian General Chapter to be held in August.
We were happy to have them with us for a few days
and learn firsthand on the challenges and projects
of the Claretians in these Asian countries.

They are (left to right) Fr. Sabu George,CMF,
Fr. Marcelino Fonts,CMF,
and Fr. Renato Manubag,CMF.

Closing in on China

Fr. Marcelino Fonts,CMF as Superior
of the Claretian China Mission, visited Msgr. John Tong,
bishop of Hong Kong and opened up the possibility
of Claretians working in Hong Kong.
The bishop gladly endorsed the proposal
asking that at least “two or three” Claretians be sent to the diocese.
You will surely hear if and when this project takes place.

Only in China…

Click below if you want to see a spectacular
Chinese painting:

This painting is in Shanghai. Created between 1085-1145
during the Northern Cancao dynasty
and repainted during the Quing dynasty.

The picture is 5.25 meters high and 24.80 meters wide.
The multimedia program allows you to move from left to right.
When a “white” or “red” square appear you must click on it
and you will see an animation of the people in the drawing.

Pentecost Celebration of Filipino Community - Macau


The past several months have seen four groups of Filipinos undergo the Catholic Renewal Experience for Migrants (CREM) whose main objective is for migrants to have a common spiritual journey with God and experience a renewal of their faith within the migrant community.


The 1st batch was organized by the Pastoral Team and most of the participants were members of different ministries. Batch 1 was then challenged to organize and invite participants to the next CREM seminar and thus the pattern was set for succeeding seminars.

On May 31st, Pentecost Sunday, which would have been organized for Batch 5, saw instead the coming together of past CREM participants and other ministries in the spirit of camaraderie and community. Committees were formed to handle the secretariat, logistics, technical requirements and prepare snacks and games.

For weeks, members from different batches prepared songs, dances and drama that had a central theme of Balik Ugat: Kapatirang Naglalakbay. Games that enabled more than 160 CREM participants to get to know each other better were organized and everyone shared in the laughter.


Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who came all the way from the Archdiocese of Lipa, Batangas, was the keynote speaker during this event. Dr. Arnold Monera, Professor of Biblical Studies at the School of Christian Studies, Macau Inter-University Institute, gave a talk on breaking the “vicious cycle” of poverty, corruption and negative practices by transforming this to a “virtuous cycle” of prosperity, hope, fairness and more positive values by every Filipino.