Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hong Kong ordains its youngest ever deacon

The Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of Hong Kong,
The Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of Hong Kong,
with Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming
, the Vicar General
The Hong Kong diocese has ordained its youngest ever permanent deacon at the age of 45. Stephen Kwok Ping-fai was one of a group of four ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on July 24. Bishop John Tong Hon presided over the ordination Mass in front of a packed gathering of around 1,200. The ordinations bring the average age of Hong Kong permanent deacons down by five years and help dispel the notion that the post is reserved for retirees only.
“Responding to God’s calling at a younger age will allow me to exert my utmost effort as a witness for God,” said newly ordained Deacon Kwok. “I will continue my career as a hospital radiographer while serving in the Church and I’ll strive to balance my time properly between work, family and service.”
Deacons Stephen Kwok Ping-fai (left) and William Li Fook-sung at their ordination Mass
“With the four new deacons, the average age has dropped five years to 60,” said Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, Hong Kong’s Vicar General. “There are some aspirants in their 40s and the youngest is only 30. I think more and more young laymen have understood what the ministry entails, which has inspired their interest in joining,” he said. “The latest ordinations have also shown how diverse our permanent deacons are,” said Father Chan, who is responsible for deacon formation in the diocese. “However, a deacon does need to spend time on his formation and must possess a mature personality.”
Deacon Bernard Tang Bun, one of the four newly ordained deacons, is a good friend of the Claretians. He was of great help to Fr. Jose Cherukara, CMF at Christ the Worker Parish at Ngau Tau Kok, helping him in his Ministry. We Congratulate Deacon Bernard Tang Bun and pray for his fruitful ministry in the Diocese of Hong Kong.
The diocese currently has 15 permanent deacons, six candidates and several aspirants. The duties of a permanent deacon include preaching and assisting at Mass, administering baptism, distributing Communion, presiding over funerals and visiting prison inmates.

Vatican and Beijing agree on new bishop

Bishop Yang Xiaoting being ordained
Holding degrees from US and pontifical universities, Father John Baptist Yang Xiaoting, 46, was ordained coadjutor bishop of Yan’an (Yulin) diocese on July 15 with both papal approval and government recognition. The new bishop obtained a doctorate from a pontifical university in 1999, the first mainland priest to attain such a qualification since religious activities were revived in the late 1970s.
Bishop Louis Yu Runchen of Hanzhong presided over the ordination, which took place at the rural Xiaoqiaopan church, Jingbian county in the presence of seven Vatican-approved bishops. Bishop Francis Tong Hui of Yan’an who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease also made a brief appearance. Three thousand tickets were distributed for the ceremony while thousands of others watched from outside.
Yan’an, which was once an important Communist revolutionary base, has two bishops, 20 priests and 24 nuns to serve 40,000 Catholics scattered over an area of 80,000 square kilometers. Since his nomination in late 2009, Bishop Yang has visited all parishes of the diocese. Today, most young people only attend church for weddings and funerals. Only one-third attends Mass on major Church feasts, a lower ratio than in other parts of China, he said

Chinese parish spreads the word online

The Immaculate Conception Parish in Harbin, northeastern China, is making full use of digital technology with a comprehensive evangelization program that is run entirely online. The parish’s team of 10 online evangelizers comprises priests, church workers and students. “I deliberately chose people from various walks of life so we could draw on their collective wisdom and different talents,” said Father Joseph Zhao, the parish priest.
The team spreads the word through the parish’s extensive website as well as instant messaging groups, chatrooms, video casts, blogs and mobile text messages. More than 300 people, including non-Catholics, now receive a text message from the parish every morning containing a Bible verse as a thought for the day. Their efforts are already starting to bear fruit. “One of our volunteers started an online dialogue with two non-Christians and introduced God and the Church to them,” said team member Niu Yanhui. “One of them is going to be baptized soon.”

Niu, a 27-year-old office worker, is responsible for moderating a chatroom, producing a daily online breviary, and sharing articles, ideas and discussions with netizens in the evenings after finishing her day's job. She believes that her assigned tasks have helped her strengthen her faith and enrich herself. “Now I see a lot of things in daily life that can be a good starting point for an online discussion. Sharing them with fellow netizens inspires me. It also helps me to improve my weaknesses and it’s even helped me to be more considerate to my colleagues at work.”

“The internet is not the only way to evangelize,” said Father Zhao, “but it’s certainly an important tool for communicating with people and introducing Jesus Christ.”

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: July 2010

Welcome to the 50th issue of Macau Bulletin!!
The idea of sharing our life in China with the rest of the Congregation and the Church at large originated back in the year 2006. The First issue of Macau Bulletin was brought out in 2006. The first issue dates back to April 2006. It was only in English. Starting in May 2006 we published it in English and Spanish. What happens is that at the beginning, we hosted it with See:
The first issue of Macau Bulletin published in December 2006
Since then, Macau Bulletin served as a sounding board for us to reach you regularly with all the news, views, joys and pains of our Missionary endeavour in China. Today, the 50 issue of the bulletin reaches you as a recorded testimony of all that the Lord in His Divine Plan continues to do in our lives and in the life of the Church in China!

Fr. Jojo joins the Concluding of the Priestly Year in Rome

On 11 June 2010, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Father presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in St. Peter's Square to mark the close of the Year for Priests which was called to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy "Cure of Ars".The Eucharist was concelebrated by cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia, as well as by more than fifteen thousand priests from all over the world. The Holy Father consecrated the wine in the same chalice as that used by St. John Mary Vianney, which is conserved in Ars. Our own Fr.Jojo Ancheril had the opportunity to be part of this historic event in Rome. Excerpts from his sharing of his experience:
How did you live this experience?
It was indeed providential that we had the opportunity to go to Rome to attend the concluding ceremony of the year of priests. In spite of the initial moments of uncertainties, 18 priests from Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China were part of this pilgrimage. And it was wonderful feeling to travel to Rome together from the promised land of China. I was so happy and enjoyed a kind of inner peace and fulfillment.What was your most absorbing experience during your pilgrimage?
I was so touched by the words of Pope Benedict XVI: "Serve God and your people with holiness and courage, and always conform your lives to the mystery of the Lord’s cross. May God bless your apostolic labours abundantly!"
Did you have any gifts for the Holy Father?
Yes I had some gifts for the Holy Father. I carried A Catholic Prayer Bible (Lectio Divina), A letter from Fr. Rossa and a Chinese piece of Art. These were handed over to the Holy Father through the Staff.And What do you bring back from Rome?
This pilgrimage helped me to experience the universality of the Catholic Church. And today we are called to live and share this universality with one another were ever we are. And also this experience helped me to enjoy the richness and beauty of our priesthood. This pilgrimage also served as a sign of unity and I could experience it very personally. We were from different countries, congregations, and cultures but we were all priests. And this is what I carry home: the experience of the meaning and beauty of our priesthood.
And I also visited some of the Claretian houses in Rome and I could feel the richness of our congregation and its charism. I also got opportunity to see and touch the relics of our founder St. Anthony Mary Claret. And I was really taken up the holiness and purity of our founder Claret. And certainly being a Claretian I too am called to live that experience here in Macau and China.

News from Claretian Publications

Claretian Publications, Macau has some new titles to introduce! The following are some of the latest arrivals from the press and already en-route to over 20 international destinations. It is indeed a matter of great joy that the Chinese version of the books of the Gospel According to St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles in Lectio Divina is also out in the Market. Our Chinese Editorial team is all set to bring out the rest of the Books of the New Testament as we have the imprimatur for the rest of the Gospels.
The promotional material for the "Catholic Prayer Bible, Lectio Divina Edition" and for the Bible Diary 2011 and the Books of St. Luke and Acts

Diario Bíblico 2011 (Spanish). More than 80,000 copies
on the way to 20 countries

The Daily Gospel 2011 - Portuguese (Brazil)

Christian Community Bible - New Testament:
Nano Edition

Lectio Divina - Luke and Acts in Chinese
Biblia Sagrada - Portuguese Pastoral Bible (Brazil)

French Pastoral Bible

Bible sa Kristohanong Katilingban
Christian Community Bible
(Cebuano - Philippine language)

Fr. Peter Chao, Claretian professor in the National Seminary of Beijing

Fr. Peter Chao, A Chinese Claretian, has completed another term of classes in Philosophy and Chinese Culture in the National Seminary of Beijing. Besides the classes to the seminarians, Fr. Peter has accompanied a group of Chinese Priests as their spiritual director. Fr. Peter Chao, CMF (Center) with a group of priests from Beijing
He is invited to the National Seminary twice a year as spiritual advisor and professor. Fr. Peter has a doctorate in theology and a Degree in Civil Law.

From The Parish Library Projects

Thanks to aid received for this project, we continued to serve a couple of rural parishes and training centers by sending them books, especially books written in Chinese. some of the parishes that we served have sent us a few photos:

Parish of Dayangzhuang
The library in Dayangzhuang parish was inaugurated on 1 July, 2009. The books are of varied categories: lives of saints, catechesis, Spirituality, culture, etc. It is a great aid us to have a better Christian formation and to fortify the faith received in the baptism.
In this parish the catechists and evangelizers are excellent. The catechists form themselves into six groups for the purpose of the evangelization. Later they come together to share the experiences.

Huang Erying Parish
Every year there are a good number of people receiving baptism. There were 52 of them to receive baptism in 2010. The Catechist's books are of great help for the lay leaders of the Parish.

Putou Parish
We hope to have more books in our Library for the faith formation of our Children and the youth.
The city of Guangzhou (Canton), capital of the Province of Guangdong, is one of the most important cities in China and has about 8 million inhabitants. The young Archbishop knows us and appreciates our work… and even requests for more books in English, because in this city there are thousands of Philippinos and Nigerians. We have already sent them books in English. We have received the following letter from them:

Dear Fr. Alberto Rossa!
Greetings of peace from the community of Archdiocese of Sacred Heart of Jesus!
 What a gift to celebrate the Solemnity of our beloved pastors, Paul and Peter! The community is enriched and endowed with this gracious spiritual gift you offered to us…the spiritual literatures you availed to us! Yesterday we received the books from Fr. Peter and Fr. Zhao.
 Thanks for your effort in making this Christ’s community strong in being informed. Thanks for providing this link. We well do our best in the instruments of hope.
May our Lord bless you and your community? Please pass our prayer of thanks to all who made this possible.
Once more happy St Paul and Peter feast day!

Sr. Agnes

What she means is to thank for the books sent to them and for our web page where they find a free Bible course in English and in Chinese.

Chinese seminary sees surge in local vocations

A northern Chinese diocese has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people applying to join its minor seminary, a phenomenon its rector attributes to the recently-concluded Year for Priests. The St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Hengshui diocese has accepted 20 out of 22 local candidates who sat for an entrance examination on June 13.
Minor Seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary, Hengshui
It took in a total of 27 applicants last year, only half of whom were local applicants and the rest from other dioceses. The rise in the number of local applications is due to vocation promotion activities during the Year for Priests, says seminary rector Father Joseph Zhang Jianfang. He said that at least five applicants came from the parish he visited on April 25, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to promote the priesthood. “Despite our small number of Catholics, we have had relatively many priestly vocations,” said Father Zhang. Hengshui diocese has about 30,000 Catholics.
The St. Joseph Minor Seminary has trained more than 350 young men since it was established in 1994. Fifty-two of them have become major seminarians and seven have been ordained priests. Even though not all its students entered the major seminary, most of them have become pillars of their parishes, said Father Zhang. About 80 Catholic teenagers are presently studying in the seminary. Four of its recent graduates have decided to enter the major seminary. The institution follows China’s six-year high school curriculum plus Bible, catechism and spirituality classes.
The three-storey building in Shenzhou county also includes a multimedia lecture room, a computer room and language, physics and chemistry laboratories. Since the diocese does not have a major seminary, 43 of its major seminarians are continuing their studies at regional seminaries around China. Several others are studying in Italy and the Philippines. Mainland China has 30 minor seminaries with about 630 students, according to the Church-run Hebei Faith Press. - UCA News

Christians at HK rally pray for harmony

Christians of all faiths gathered to pray for cooperation and reconciliation among people with different democratic views, before a territory-wide rally to mark the 13th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover on July 1.
The rally was the first meeting between various pan-democratic factions since a contentious electoral reform, passed by government on June 25, led to accusations and recriminations within the groups. Franciscan Father Stephen Chan asked the congregation to pray for all people who support democracy. “The autocratic regime would profit if the democrats continue their split” warned Father Chan, who was representing the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission.
Reverend Phyllis Wong also encouraged the participants to put aside hostility and mistrust of each other and search for cooperation. “When we feel perplexed and sad about the prospects of a healthy civil society, God’s love is our strength,” she said in her sermon. Among the participants, Shum Lam-chung, a Protestant in his 20s, was at the rally for the first time since it began in 1997. “I feel worried that Hong Kong might lose its freedom one day,” he said, “so I treasure any chance to express my struggle for democracy.” - UCA News

Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin of Sanyuan becomes the IV China bishop this year

Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin of Sanyuan is the fourth bishop to be ordained in China this year says he will build up solidarity among his priests and facilitate systematic Bible study at diocesan level. “I will strive to work this out for the sake of Christ,” said the 52-year-old prelate who was episcopally ordained on June 24, feast of Saint John the Baptist.
He added that he would also boost evangelization efforts and set up a fund for priests’ retirement and medical needs. Bishop Han was ordained with both papal and government approval. About 3,000 people packed the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sanyuan county to witness the ordination. Bishop Han’s predecessor, Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide, ordained the new prelate. Other bishops present were Bishops Anthony Dang Mingyan of Xi’an, Louis Yu Runchen of Hanzhong, Joseph Tong Changping of Weinan, Nicholas Han Jide of Pingliang and Joseph Li Jing of Ningxia. They are all approved by the Vatican and the government.
Priests and laypeople have given the thumbs up to the new bishop, saying his faith, experience and academic qualifications stand him in good stead for his new role. Bishop Han was born into a Catholic family in 1958 and entered the Sanyuan seminary in 1986. He was ordained a priest in 1992 after which he served in the Sanyuan seminary. He was made a parish priest in 1993. He studied at two universities subsequently and was elected as a bishop candidate in 2007.
Pope Benedict XVI gave his approval in 2008 for then Father Han to be made a bishop. Sanyuan diocese has 40,000 Catholics in 52 parishes, served by 36 priests and some 80 nuns. The 83-year-old retired Bishop Joseph Lan Shi of Sanyuan, who was secretly ordained in 2000 and is not recognized by the government, has given his support to Bishop Han although he did not attend the ordination, Church sources said. - UCA News

Chinese Man Shows World What Real Love is by Carving 6,000 Steps Up a Mountain for Wife

The story began half a century ago when 19-year-old Liu Guojiang fell in love with widowed mother Xu Chaoqing. Over 50 years ago, Liu, was a 19 years-old boy, fell in love with a 29 year-old widowed mother named Xu. At the time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to love an older woman.
In a twist worthy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, friends and relatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference and the fact that Xu already had children. To avoid the market gossips, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing area.
Their story came atop a list of China's top ten love stories organized by the Chinese Women Weekly, which collected tales from around the country since July 2006.
Starting the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began, and continue for over 50 years, to hand carve the steps so that his wife could get down the mountain easily. A half century later in 2001, a group of adventures were exploring the forest, they surprisingly found the elderly couple and the over 6,000 stairs of hand carved ladder.
“My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion for over 50 years and never been apart a single day.” Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said, “He hand carved more than 6,000 steps over the years for my mother’s convenience, although she doesn’t go down the mountain that much.”
The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu, now 72 years-old, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu sat and prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in love with Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had on his wife’s hand even after he had passed away.
In the beginning, they had nothing, no electricity or even food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain, and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to lighten up their lives. “You promised me you’ll take care of me, you’ll always be with me until the day I died, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?” … … Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband’s black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.
In 2006, a local TV Channel produced a Documentary of their incredible love story, of course in Chinese. Click the picture below for the link to the Documentary. The local government has decided to preserve the “love ladder” and the place they lived as a museum, so this love story can live forever.