Friday, January 01, 2010

Welcome to the China-Macau Bulletin, January 2010

A New Year's Blessing for you

May you always enjoy the LOVE
of family and friends,

May you be BLESSED
with health and happiness,

may you continue to ENJOY
new experiences with God,

and may your WALK with the Lord
be closer than ever.

Thanking God for you
and asking Him
to bless you abundantly
in the coming year.

Macau - China Missionaries Meet

The participants of the Regional Gathering at Macau
(L-R - John, Fr. Jojo, Fr. Rossa, Fr. Marcelino,
Fr. Jose, Fr. Ezekias, Cj, Fr. Paco

The regional gathering of Claretians of Macau and China was celebrated on 26 December. The day began with the concelebrated Eucharistic celebration, presided by Fr. Rossa. The day was utilized for the study of “Men on Fire With Love – Called to Live Our Missionary Vocation Today” – the Declaration of the XXIV General Chapter. The sessions were animated by Fr. Marcellino Fonts, himself a Chapter member.

Fr. Fonts began with a brief description of how the Chapter was celebrated and what was the significance of the Chapter Declaration. The Declaration, elaborated in 65 numbers under three major divisions was briefly explained with an emphasis on further personal reading of the Declaration. Fr. Fonts who arrived in Macau on the Christmas Eve also met with all the missionaries working in the region.

Christmas at Macau

The Christmas Celebrations for the Claretians in Macau this time has been a special one. Christmas is also an occasion for the family gatherings. For the Claretian Community in Macau too this Christmas was family gathering time. The Community had the joy of celebrating Christmas with the Claretians from China and Macau together with Fr. Marcellino Fonts, the Delegate Superior from Japan.

Participants in the Novena Mass at the Claretian House

The Community had earlier hosted a nine-day Novena Mass in preparation for Christmas from 16-24 December. The Mass celebrated at 5 am on the days of Novena were attended mostly by Filipino Catholics. We have joined the parish community of St. Lawrence, where Fr. Jojo serves as the Assistant Parish Priest, for the vigil Mass. The Following slide captures a few stills from our Christmas celebrations. Enjoy it!

MACAU Catholic University lays foundation for new campus

Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah and Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng have laid the foundation stone for a new Catholic university campus in Macau on 15 December 2009.

The newly named University of Saint Joseph campus shares the site with the senior secondary section of Saint Joseph Diocesan College, and Church authorities hope to create a "one-stop" Church educational service. The university changed its name from Macau Inter-University Institute (IIUM) to University of Saint Joseph this month. "With the new name, it will give the public a clear message that it is a Church-run tertiary educational institute," said Bishop Lai.

Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau (fourth from left)
shares a stage with Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah
(center) and other dignitaries at the foundation laying ceremony

Bishop Lai opined that he hopes the new name and new campus would lay the basis for the development of Catholic education in the territory. Through the new venture, the Church hopes that more people will "get to know Jesus Christ and the values of the Gospel". Pastoral service and evangelization are the two most important missions of the Church, the bishop said.

The new campus is at Ilha Verde in the northern part of the Macau peninsula. It covers an area of 1.5 hectares owned by the diocese and is expected to be completed by 2011. It can take in as many as 2,200 students for the university and 800 students for the diocesan college. Bishop Lai has also lobbied the Chinese government's State Administration for Religious Affairs to allow the enrollment of nuns and priests from mainland China. - Courtesy: UCA News

"Bible Diary 2010": Now in Kannada and Konkany

Claretian Mission's attempts to serve the Word of God through its Publishing ministry has reached another milestone as the Claretian Publications, Bangalore, India has come out with the Kannada and Konkani versions of the "Bible Diary 2010". Fr. Benny, Director of Claretian Publications, Bangalore brings us the details of the event:
Bangalore, Dec 31: After 21 years of uninterrupted publication of the Bible Diary in English, Claretian Publications, India have come out with the Kannada and Konkani versions of the Bible Diary. We felt the need to serve and to reach out to the people of Karnataka and so have initiated the publication of the Bible Diary in Kannada and Konkani which is the fruit of over three months of hard work of priests of Karnataka who have contributed to its pages.
Fr. Benny, Archbishop Bernard Moras, Fr. Prem & Fr. Francis
Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, who released the Kannada and Konkani versions at the Archbishops House on 31st December handed over the copies to Fr C Francis (Bangalore Archdiocesan Finance officer), and Fr. Prem, (Secretary to the Archbishop). Releasing the two versions of the Dairy the Archbishop said, “This is a great contribution to the people of Karnataka and will surely be a great support to priests and to laity in the ministry of the Word. The hard work of priests involved in the production of these diaries will not go unrewarded. The Word of God, as always, is alive and active sharper than a double edged word. I hope and pray these diaries will help people grow in the Word of God. I congratulate the Claretian Publications in launching two versions simultaneously”.
Currently Claretians in India are involved in Publishing the "Bible Diary" in English, Kannada, Konkani, Tamil and Hindi and are marketed all across the world.

Tamil Community Bible Released

Hats off to Claretian Communications, Chennai, India, on the occasion of the releasing of Tamil Community Bible

It was joyous moment for the Pastoral Bible Foundation to learn about the publishing of the Tamil Community Bible, as the Foundation had the opportunity to be associated with the Tamil Bible project in its initial stages. After the releasing of the Bible, Fr. Michael Francis, the Director of the Claretian Communications, Chennai, had sent the following message to Fr. Rossa:

"It is indeed a matter of great joy" that the long awaited TAMIL COMMUNITY BIBLE is released on 13.12.2009 at Our Lady of Fathima Church, Tambaram, Chennai India . Four Bishops, Superior Generals from a few Congregations, Provincial Superiors, Bible Scholars, Priests, Nuns, Seminarians, Leaders from other Churches and around 1300 lay people gathered to solemnize the function.

"We are deeply indebted to Tamil Nadu Bishops who gave the definite approval. We thank Dr. Soosaimanikam, D.D, the President of Tamil Nadu Bible Commission, whose support was praiseworthy. We offer our heartfelt thanks to Fr. Dr. C. Hieronymus, the editor of the Bible. This Bible is the fruit of the hard work put in by many Bible Scholars who deserve our special thanks.

"We gratefully remember Fr. Bernard Hurault, the author of the Pastoral Bible Commentaries. We thank Fr. Ralph Berg, the then Provincial Superior and the Claretian Western Province for their partial financial support. We immensely thank Fr. Alberto Rosa for his valued patronage. We thank MISSIO for their partial financial assistance. CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR WISHES FROM CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS, CHENNAI"

Fr. V. Michael Francis, CMF,
Claretian Communications
Chennai, India

Inculturating Christianity in China

An exhibition at the Vatican offers as a model the great Jesuit missionary of four centuries ago. But for Beijing authorities as well, “Li Madou” is a national treasure (Sandro Magister,

From this month until January 24, those who visit Rome will see in Saint Peter’s Square a huge display showing two figures in Chinese dress, with writing in the Mandarin language.

The figure on the left is the Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), the one on the right is a high-ranking Chinese official whom he baptized, Xu Guangqi.

At the fourth centenary of his death, an exhibition has been dedicated to Matteo Ricci in the Braccio di Carlo Magno wing of Saint Peter’s Square.

But an exhibition in his honor will also open in Beijing in February, before moving on to Shanghai, Nanjing, Macau, and finally Seoul.


Matteo Ricci. How to “Inculturate” Christianity in China (

Nativity story gets traditional Chinese treatment

WUHAN, China (UCAN) -- A seminarian in a Wuhan parish has produced a traditional Chinese dance drama telling the story of Christ’s birth. Seminarian Huang Beifang who wrote the dance drama played the part of the inn-keeper later said he believed “this initiative was unprecedented.”

“Dancing shows the beauty of body language. It can be a means of evangelization and a way of praying to God and enhancing spiritual life,” said Huang. Other performers at the Christmas Eve production included three young men, who acted as shepherd boys, dancing in front of the manger and blowing on Chinese flutes.

The dozen or so actors also prepared other programs for the celebration, held before midnight Mass in the compound of the Holy Family Church in Wuhan city, Hubei province.

The Youth Fellowship of St. Paul who performed the dance drama won warm applause from an audience of 500 comprising Catholics and non-Catholics, Chinese and foreigners, who braved the freezing cold.
Seminarian Huang Beifang who wrote the dance drama
played the part of the inn keeper
Huang said his aim was to promote inculturation within the Church so as to tell people “the Word was made flesh for every race.” He said producing the dance drama was a challenge as the performers were not professional dancers but Catholic university students.

Luke Ni Luanru, who acted as Joseph, told UCA News that the Chinese costume and background music helped him get into his role more easily. The young layman had never learnt dancing but he felt satisfied with his solo dance which he had practiced for a month. He believed a Chinese-style Nativity dance drama “can help non-Catholics understand the true meaning of Christmas.”

“We should not use Western ways to spread the Gospel to our countrymen,” he added. The two-hour show also included hymn singing, prayers, comedy sketches, a performance by a seminarians’ music band, and a Santa Claus giving out gifts to children.

An American, Abrraham Rockferry, who is studying in Wuhan, played his guitar and sang “Silent Night.” He said English-speaking parishioners wanted to contribute their talents to the Christmas show, which he described as warm and cheerful.

Our friend and China expert Fr. Michael Saso tells us from Los Angeles:

"The images of Christ's life in stage, song, and dance form is one of the best ways of teaching in China, since the Han dynasty temple and village morality and festival plays. We did this thru puppet shows in... for graduate studies of comparative Daoist and Tantric Buddhist contemplative practices. "

"Loyola-Marymount Univ., Livia Kohn (Boston Univ), and the Shehuikexueyuan (Academy of Social Sciences) are planning a comparative religious studies program, here in Los Angeles, Beijing, and other cooperating places."

Church lags behind population growth in China

Catholics in China in a Eucharistic celebration
The largest survey ever conducted of the Catholic Church in mainland China has indicated that the Catholic population has not kept pace with overall population growth. The results of the study, conducted by the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies (FICS), a Church-run organization based in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, were published on Dec. 18. According to the survey, there are now about 5.71 million Catholics in mainland China, served by 3,397 bishops, priests and deacons.
At prayer - from the Mainland
A total of 3,268 priests are serving in more than 100 dioceses. The report says there are now 628 seminarians studying in 10 major seminaries plus another 630 in 30 minor seminaries. There are a total of 5,451 nuns from 106 congregations, and only 350 Religious men. A Church observer, using the pen name "Dade," says the survey shows how small the number of Catholics still is compared to China's 1.3 billion population. He says the Church needs to evangelize more for its overall development.
However, statistics compiled by Hong Kong diocese's Holy Spirit Study Centre (HSSC) in 2008 show a marked difference from FICS' figures. HSSC puts the number of mainland Catholics at about 12 million last year, more than double the figure given by FICS. Anthony Lam Sui-ki, HSSC's senior researcher, said his institute began collecting data from mainland dioceses in 1988, and there has always been a marked difference between its figures and the mainland Church's official figures. Lam says that according to HSSC's research, there are 80 Vatican-approved bishops, with about half of them not recognized by the Chinese government. There are fewer than 10 bishops in the government-approved Church community who do not have a papal mandate, he added.

The difference in numbers from the official statistics and the Holy Spirit Study Centre is due to the fact that one counts number of participants in Church activities while the other counts the numbers of baptized Catholics.

Fr. Jojo's Christmas Experiences

"This was the first time that I spent the season of Christmas with the people of Macau. Indeed I am very happy and satisfied with the celebrations that we had with the less privileged of our society. I joined the mentally challenged, the street children, those in old age homes, in prison and in the juvenile home for the celebrations of Christmas this year.

"And the most touching and inspiring celebration was at the juvenile home. Their behavior was extremely good and inspiring!! They have learned to help each other, they share whatever they have and look so joyful and enthusiastic. There were no catholics among them, but they knew many catholic prayers and they were interested to know more and more. I have celebrated Christmas with different people in different places and this unique experience of being with different categories of people of Macau was an enriching experience".

HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction

HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction

An architectural rendering shows a full view of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge. [Xinhua]

ZHUHAI, Guangdong: Construction of the world's longest cross-sea bridge linking China's southern economic hub of Guangdong Province to Hong Kong and Macao began Tuesday, a move widely expected to bring economic ties closer.

HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction

An architectural rendering shows a proposed toll gate.[Xinhua]
Starting from the Lantau Island in Hong Kong, the Y-shaped Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge will have a total length of almost 50 km, of which about 35 km will be built over the sea, making it the longest cross-sea bridge in the world, said Zhu Yongling, an official in charge of the project construction.
HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction
An architectural rendering shows a proposed island as part of
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge.[Xinhua]

It will be built according to the six-lane expressway standard with a vehicle speed limit of 100 km per hour. "It is designed with a service life of 120 years. It can withstand the impact of a strong wind with a speed of 51 meters per second, or equal to a maximum Beaufort scale 16 (184 to 201 km per hour)," Zhu said. "It can also resist the impact of 8-magnitude earthquake and a 300,000-tonne vessel," he said.
HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction
An architectural rendering shows the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge. [CFP]
The entire project was estimated to cost almost 73 billion yuan (10.7 billion U.S. dollars), which would be shared by authorities on the mainland, and in Hong Kong and Macao, he said. During construction, they would take into consideration the protection of the ocean environment and marine life, such as white dolphins, he said.
HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction

An architectural rendering showsthe Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge. [Xinhua]

"We will control the construction noise and turbidity of seawater, and prevent oil pollution," he said. The construction would take about six years, he said. On completion, it would take about half an hour to travel from Zhuhai or Macao on the west bank of the Pearl River to Hong Kong on the east bank, compared with the current three hours, he said.

HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge begins construction
An architectural rendering shows the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge. [Xinhua]

The Butterfly Circus

The Butterfly Circus is a must see short movie
this Christmas season.
It was awarded the first price
by the “The Doorpost Film Project".
This awards recognizes the contribution
to values such as hope and human dignity.

In this short film the values are:

Part 1

Part 2