Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: November 2010

Feast of St. Claret & the Universal Claretian Mission Day
Bishop Joseph Lai Presiding the Eucharistic Celebration
The feast of Claret, October 24, coincided this year with the universal Mission Day, an ideal opportunity for the congregation that takes “evangelization” at the core of its mission. The Congregation at the Festal Mass
In the feast-day celebration, the missionaries expressed the “spirit of communion” with the local church as we celebrated the feast-day of our founder St. Anthony M. Claret on the same day of Mission Sunday, with a Holy Mass followed by a shared lunch, with a very strong sense of "evangelization" and “communion.”
The Celebrants together with Bishop Joseph Lai
The Feast Day Celebrations began with the Concelebrated Eucharistic celebration presided by Bishop Joseph Lai, the Bishop of Macau. A Section of the Choir
In his homily, Bishop Lai stressed on the ever-growing need for the Evangelization Mission centered on the Eucharist. Frs. Alberto and Jojo join the Bishop in Cutting the Cake
The call to preach the Word of God is as relevant as it was in the earlier times. He used the example of Bishop Antony Claret, who chose to leave his home town and went as a Missionary to Cuba and the Canary Islands, to bring home the theme of evangelizing mission.
The Claretian Community of Macau - Frs. Jojo, Alberto, Ezakias and Jose together with Bishop Joseph Lai, Bishop of Macau
Bishop Lai exhorted the faithful of Macau to take up the mission of evangelization in all its seriousness as Macau has easy access to the Mainland China, where vast majority of the population are yet to hear about Jesus .
A gathering of about 300, consisting priests, nuns, benefactors, well-wishers and friends of the Claretians in Macau and Hong Kong added colour to the festivities of the day.
The 'Team Macau': Ian, Fr. Jojo, Tes, Fr. Rossa & Divine (all seated in the front row) with a group of friends
Fr. Domingos Yuen, the parish priest of St Lawrence Church and members of various pious associations like the Altar servers, the Choir, Mothers' Association etc. played their role well, sharing in our joy and making the day a joyous one.
A group of sisters from the Mainland China. Fr. John Ledesma, SDB (not in picture) guided a week-long retreat for them in Barbastro House in Zhuhai, China
A view from the Dining Hall
A group of friends from Hong Kong

Fr. Rossa in the Governing Body of the Catholic University of Macau

Fr. Alberto Rossa, CMF
Bishop Joseph Lai, Bishop of Macau has nominated Fr. Alberto Rossa to represent the Diocese in the Governing Body of the newly instituted Catholic University of Macau. Fr. Rossa has been working in the diocese for the past five years, managing the Publication projects of the Claretian Publications and the Pastoral Bible Foundation. The new appointment is a sign of Diocese's appreciation and acceptance of the missionary commitment of the Claretians in the Diocese. Hearty Congratulations to Fr. Rossa!

Diocese of Hong Kong celebrates the Mission Sunday with a difference

The Celebrants at the podium
The diocese of Hong Kong celebrated the Mission Sunday with a difference on 17 October 2010. Over 20,000 faithful from all over Hong Kong poured into the Hong Kong Stadium , So Kon Po, for a special Mission Sunday Mass celebrated by Bishop John Tong Hon. The Mass was concelebrated by over 200 priests. "On this Mission Sunday in the year of Priestly Vocations, I ask you all to pray for priests and help them in their response to Christ's call to love that they may become all things, to save at least some", said Bishop John Tong in his Homily.

During the Mass, the priests were invited to renew their vows of their Ordination, after which they were presented with new chasubles by representatives from each parish in the Diocese. At the Altar
The whole gathering joined in renewing the commitment of their own baptisms and the recently baptized were presented with a book of the Gospels to take back to their Parishes, with the command to ensure that the Word of God is proclaimed in their Communities.

Over 20,000 strong gathering participated in the Celebrations
Bishop Tong exhorted the newly baptized to "give witness to justice and love, not forgetting the blessings you have received in the Sacrament of Baptism". Welcoming the Catechumens, the Bishop said, "Today you can experience for yourselves that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. You can see how you will be blessed in the future". Fr. Ezakias (Second from left) during the Priests' procession
During the Eucharistic Celebration, Fr. Dominic Chan Chi-ming, the Vicar General launched the "Year of Laity - 2011". The Diocese will celebrate 2011 as the Year of Laity, focusing on the collective responsibility of both the Ordained Ministers and the laity to build a community of Faith, Hope and Love.

Biography of St. Claret in Chinese

The Missionaries within their short presence with just a handful of members in the region are making their presence felt, be it through the Publications or the pastoral work or just through social contacts. The Cover of the Biography of St Antony Mary Claret in Chinese
In an attempt to popularize the life and work of St Claret, and to let the people know who the Claretians are, the Claretian Publications has published a short biography of St Claret, written by D. Emilio Vicente Mateu. The 70 page booklet in Chinese also gives a brief introduction to the various branches of the Claretian Family. The Booklet was released on the occasion of the Feast Day of St Claret, on 24 October 2010.

Fr. Rossa in the Frankfurt Bookfair

Fr. Alberto Rossa attended the Frankfurt Book fair for the 26th time this October. The friendship and business relationship developed among the English speaking Catholic Publishers from all Over the world over the years is what he cherishes most.
Fr. Rossa at the Book fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is a meeting place for the publishing industry’s experts. Be they publishers, booksellers, agents, film producers or authors - each year in October, they all come together and create something new. The Claretian Stalls at the Book Fair - a video snapshot
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide. More than 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries, 300,000 visitors and over 10,000 journalists attend the fair.
On the last day of the Fair, the Catholic Publishers came together for a Eucharistic Celebration, wherein Fr. Rossa was requested to preside.

Six new priests ordained in China

At least six young men from three mainland Chinese dioceses were ordained priests on Oct. 28, the feast day of Saints Simon and Jude the Apostle. “I will increase efforts to evangelize,” said Father Deng Xiaobo, one of the two new priests of Zhanjiang diocese, noting that the Church has “a big market” as Catholics account for only a small percentage among China’s 1.3 billion people. “I vow to build a good image to attract more young men to explore their vocations,” he added.
Fathers Paul Sun Ruigang and Thomas Liang Weiguo of Taiyuan during their ordination
In Beijing diocese, Bishop Joseph Li Shan ordained Fathers Augustine Cao Wei and Peter Bai Guoliang, who have spent 10 years studying at the diocesan seminary and the Seoul archdiocesan Major Seminary. Bishop Ignatius Wang, retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and a Beijing native, also laid his hands on the new priests’ heads. Ten priests from Korea were among the 65 priests concelebrating the ordination Mass. In northern China, three bishops concelebrated the ordination Mass for Fathers Paul Sun Ruigang and Thomas Liang Weiguo of Taiyuan at the 100-year-old cathedral in Shanxi.

Cardinal Sepe meets top China religious official

Archbishop of Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe met with Director Wang Zuo’an of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on Oct. 26 in his first trip to mainland China. In his role as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 2001 to 2006, the cardinal only visited the Churches in Hong Kong and Taiwan. His delegation included leaders of the international lay organization, the Community of Sant’Edigio, which serves the poor and promotes ecumenism. It has been active in providing a bridge between China and the Vatican in recent years.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Archbishop of Naples
On Oct. 26, the five-member delegation also joined a seminar organized by the Development Research Center of the State Council, sharing views on religions’ contribution to social harmony with seven Chinese scholars. The 67-year-old cardinal met with Wang at the SARA office. According to a news brief on the SARA website, the men “discussed strengthening Sino-Italian religious exchanges and other issues.”
Wang Zuo’an, Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)
The delegation also visited the tomb of Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and met Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing. Cardinal Sepe and the Bishop discussed Father Ricci’s contribution to the friendship and cultural exchanges between China and Italy before they ended their meeting by praying the Lord’s Prayer in Latin together at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

Religious run Beijing marathon for charity

Battling cold and rain, more than 50 nuns and seminarians joined the 2010 Beijing Marathon to raise funds for the underprivileged and to show their involvement in the community. Forty-four nuns from seven congregations, who wore a T-shirt sporting a “Sister’s Run” logo, participated in the Oct. 24 marathon along with a priest from Weixian Minor Seminary of Xingtai diocese and nine seminarians.
Most of the nuns, aged from 24-41, took part in the 10 kilometer course while five took up the challenge of the half marathon. Jilin Sister Yu Chunjin, who participated for the second time, said the nuns were more confident this year. More than 40 nuns joined the event this year compared to only ten nuns who participated in the mini marathon last year, she said. Organizers of the event, which was divided into full, half, 10 km and mini marathons, said that this year’s program attracted 30,000 participants from 42 countries.
The nuns joined in to raise fund for the needy groups served by their respective congregations, including the lone elderly, HIV/AIDS patients, people with leprosy and others. On a rainy day with temperatures below 10 degree Celsius, Sister Jian Xiufeng of Xingtai said she wanted to give up halfway. However, she motivated herself to keep going by thinking of the elderly people in their homes.
The seminarians also ran to raise funds for the seminary library as well as to repave a basketball court and to cover their living expenses. The seminarians began daily practice for the event in April. “Our best result was one and a half hour in the half marathon while our last one took two hours and 10 minutes to finish,” said Brother Pang, a seminarian who ran the 20 kilometer event. Father Joseph said the seminary aims to offer a balanced program for seminarians. “Taking part in this event enabled our seminarians to be in touch with the society,” he said.

Claret Feast 2010, Macau China

The following is a slide show of the Feast day Celebration in Macau

Hope you have enjoyed this. Once again, a belated Festal wishes to all!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: October 2010

"When the moon is full, mankind is one!"

A Hong Konger walks by illuminations set up at popular Victoria Park to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong on Tuesday, September 21, 2010. Like ancient Chinese poets, Hong Kong people appreciate the beauty of the full moon in the Mid-Autumn Festival. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon will be the biggest, roundest and brightest, and the term "round" implies family reunion in Chinese.
In China and throughout many Asian countries people celebrate the Harvest Moon on the 15th day of the eighth month of their lunar calendar. The date in the Western calendar changes annually. This year, the Mid-Autumn festival was on Wednesday, September 22, 2010. The Harvest Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie) is a day of family reunions much like a Western Thanksgiving. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon is the roundest and brightest signaling a time of completeness and abundance.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, children are delighted to stay up past midnight, parading multi-colored lanterns into the wee hours as families take to the streets to moon-gaze.
It is also a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on hilltops, riverbanks and park benches, captivated by the brightest moon of the year! The festival dates back to the Tang dynasty in 618 A.D., and as with many celebrations in China there are ancient legends closely associated with it.
Hong Kong villagers raise a paper lantern (Hung Ming Lantern) to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong on Wednesday, September. 22, 2010.
In Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, it's sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival, but whatever name it goes by, the centuries-old festival remains a beloved annual ritual celebrating an abundance of food and family.
A Devotee in Prayer as she burns the joss sticks
Mooncakes earned their popularity during the Yuan Dynasty (1200 A.D.- 1368 A.D) when, as legends say, the Mongols who had established the Yuan Dynasty were too oppressive, and were overthrown by the Chinese with the help of this simple dessert. Since Mongols did not eat mooncakes, the Chinese took advantage of this cultural difference and planned a revolt against them.

Leaders of the revolts distributed mooncakes, under the pretense of celebrating the emperor's longevity, to other Chinese people. The mooncakes held secret messages baked within the skin, informing people to revolt on the 15th of the 8th moon, also the Mid Autumn festival. The rebellion was successful and mooncakes were forever kept a national tradition of China. Enjoy a short video on the Mid-Autumn Festival

Fr. Tom Peyton Celebrates 79th Birthday

Fr. Tom Peyton during the Birthday Celebrations

Fr. Tom Peyton MM, the veteran Maryknoll Missionary in Hong Kong, Celebrated his 79 birthday on 19 September 2010. Fr. Peyton is a long time friend and patron of Claretians in Hong Kong. In 2007 when Fr. Jojo began his Cantonese studies and later when Frs. Jose and Ezakias came to Hong Kong for their language studies, Fr. Peyton graciously accepted the priests to his parish, providing them with residence.

Fr. Tom with the Claretians and his Friends

Fr. Tom has spent about 30 years of his priestly life in Hong Kong, expending every bit of his time and energy for bringing the Good News of the Lord to the people of God. Now, at the age of 79, besides being In-Charge of the Maryknoll School at Ngau Tau Kok, Fr. Tom continues his active service in the Diocese of Hong Kong as the Parish priest of Christ the Worker Parish and the prison chaplain of Tai Lam Centre for Women and Correctional Institution. He is also associated with the treatment and rehabilitation project for the Leprosy affected in the Mainland China.

Birthday Dinner

Fr. Tom has been a strong promoter of the Christian Community Bible and the Daily Gospels in Hong Kong and China. Every year Fr. Tom distributes a couple of thousands of Daily Gospel to the faithful in China and also among the prisoners in Hong Kong.

Fr. Rossa presents a copy of the

Bible Diary 2011 to Fr. Tom

He is also in the process of forming lay leaders who would in turn teach the faithful how to use the Chinese Daily Gospel. Macau Bulletin wishes a blessed new year to Fr. Tom Peyton.

61st China National Day Celebrated

Stills from the Fireworks at the Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong on 1 October 2010
The People's Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949 with a ceremony at Tiananmen Square. The Central People's Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China on December 2, 1949 and declared that October 1 is the National Day.

The National Day marks the start of one of the two Golden Weeks in the PRC. However, there have been some recent controversies over whether Golden Weeks should be kept.

The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organised festivities, including fireworks and concerts. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, are decorated in a festive theme. Portraits of revered leaders, such as Sun Yat-sen, are publicly displayed

A fireworks display is usually held nationwide in all cities, including Hong Kong, where a fireworks display to celebrate the National Day of the People's Republic of China has been held since 1997 at Victoria Harbour in the evening.

Noah’s story retold through Cantonese opera

Jacky Wong and Teresa Leung rehearse a scene from 'Noah’s Ark'
Despite criticism from other performers, Christian opera star Jacky Wong who is better known as “Man Chin-sui,” and his wife Teresa Leung say they still intend to promote evangelization through traditional Cantonese operas. The curtain on Noah’s Ark, their first “gospel opera” was staged at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on September 14-15.
Jacky Wong, the renowned 70-year-old actor, began performing Cantonese operas when he was 13 and has appeared in numerous operas and TV dramas since the 1960s. After being baptized in a Protestant Church in 2006, the couple decided to end their traditional Taoist style performances and pursue an inculturated path of singing and acting the Gospel. Noah’s Ark will be the first opera by the Holy Family for Cantonese Opera Artists group which the couple founded. Besides serving as the producers, composers and screenwriters, they will also play Noah and his wife, in ancient Chinese costume. The other roles will be played by the Guangzhou Hongdou Cantonese Opera Troupe, a secular troupe in southern China.

In a recent interview with, the couple talked about the changes in their lives after discovering Jesus, their plans to produce Cantonese gospel opera and the challenges they have faced.
Q: How did the idea of interpreting Bible stories through Cantonese opera come about?
Leung: After listening to several hymns, I found that many people couldn’t pronounce the lyrics properly and that melodies were very limited. Hymns therefore can’t express the Bible fully. So I encouraged my husband to write hymns in the style of traditional Cantonese opera songs. Even people who don’t know the Bible can understand the lyrics since they are sung more clearly.
Q: Why did you choose Noah for your first gospel opera?
Wong: We’re telling the story of the ancient flood to remind people to repent their selfish acts against God’s creation such as pollution and abortion. Since Noah’s story is short, I have included a modern-day twist involving illegal hunters stealing animals from the ark to bring out the message of environmental protection. Also the procreation of Noah’s family and the animals after leaving the ark is a message against abortion. Noah’s story is very relevant in this day and age. There are lots of disasters occurring; they are also warnings to us.
Q: Have you tried screenwriting before?
Wong: I’ve written several gospel songs in traditional melodies since I became a Christian, but this my first gospel opera. The Bible and prayers have inspired me to be an instrument of God.
Q: What difficulties are there interpreting the Bible through Cantonese opera?
Leung: Finding someone to write the script and the songs, since he or she must be very familiar with both Cantonese opera and the Bible. We were careful and consulted a pastor to check every verse in the lyrics. I hope our upcoming performances earn good reviews so more people will realize the Bible is a treasure and accept gospel operas in the future.
Q: Won’t traditional Chinese opera as medium of evangelization only attract elderly people?
Leung: I don’t think that will be the case. Chinese opera is being promoted in primary and secondary schools, as well as universities nowadays. Many young people are learning it. Our target audience is not only the one or two thousand opera fans, but also young Christians who are interested in Bible stories. This is the first attempt to interpret Bible stories through Cantonese opera, and should interest them. I hope Christians who come because of the Noah story can get to like Cantonese opera, while non-Christian opera fans can get to appreciate the Bible.
Q: How do you foresee the future of Gospel opera?
Wong: It could be difficult as people don’t know how to write a script for a gospel opera. Many performers are also coming out against what we are doing. Opera artists have a tradition of worshipping Hua Guang, legendary founder of Cantonese opera and a Taoist god. My wife and I have been labelled traitorous and called many hurtful things for worshipping Jesus instead of Hua Guang following our conversion. When we organized Cantonese opera evangelization assemblies in Europe, they mocked at us. Yet, we will persist in promoting Gospel opera despite the difficulties as we strongly believe in God. - Courtesy: UCAN

Catholic Publishing Houses in China

It is not easy to publish a Catholic book in China. Bibles, for example, cannot be sold openly like in any other country. Bookstores cannot sell the Bible.
In the last years millions of Bibles were distributed in China. How was that possible? Here are the conditions: The book has to be approved by the government; it cannot be for profit; and the Bibles should be distributed from pre-approved places of worship (parishes approved by the government).

That is the way we distribute our Bibles in China. Slowly we see n opening, less restrictions, more flexibility, but still the process is slow.

Something similar happens with religious books. Used to publish up to 100 titles per year through Claretian Publications in the Philippines, the situation in China is completely different.

There are three Catholic publishing houses in China. And these past days we had important meetings with two of them: Faith Press (in Shijiazhuang) and Guanqi Press (in Shanghai).

Can we, then, publish a religious book in China?

Yes, if you follow the rules:

The manuscript has to be presented to the competent government authorities for their approval.

Distribution is “private”—that is though pre-approved parishes. Religious books cannot be sold normal bookstores.
The book has to be published by an approved publishing house. Claretian Publications, from Macau, cannot directly publish in Mainland… we have to go through one of the Catholic publishers.
New publishing projects
Projects are always plenty. The most important one is to prepare a new translation of the Bible into Chinese similar to the “pastoral Bible” we have in other languages. A translation faithful to the original languages; using today’s Chinese common language (easy to understand for the people); and—as the Church asks from us—with pastoral commentaries to help the reader to connect life and faith following the big Tradition of the Church.
This new edition will also have the Lectio Divina guide *following the style of the recently published by us “The Catholic Prayer Bible”. We shall publish by parts/books. Already out of the press is Luke and Acts of the Apostles. The other Gospels are ready for the press now.
With P. Joseph Zheng Wenxi an Fr. John Fei. Both of them are teaching Bible at the seminary in Shijiazhuang, The largest seminary in China.
Fr. Zheng Wenxi is the first Chinese from Mainland to get a Doctorate in Biblical studies. He just graduated from The Catholic University of America (USA). He is our good friend and he is already part of our editorial team. Fr. Fei, also a biblical scholar, is also helping in the final editing of the Chinese biblical text.
The first published volume of this project can be found in our web page: (go to ‘Chinese’).

The Spanish Bible “Our People’s Bible” in Chinese
Following the Gospel’s instruction that “new wine should be placed in new wineskins” we have decided to present the new Bible text along with the commentaries of the Spanish Bible that we have also published recently. There are about 1000 computer pages, single space, of commentaries and before translating them to Chinese, we had to translate them into English… the common known language of Chinese translators.
The English translation is already finished; and we already have translated into Chinese several of the commentaries… but we still have a long way to go.

Guangqi Press, in Shanghai, is one of the Ccatholic publishing house. They will soon publish 9 booklets about Consecrated Life. This is the work of Claretian Fr. José Cristo Rey García, and already published in English.

New presentation of our WEB page
Take a look at our new presentation of: Now you can select your language as you enter the page: English, Spanish or Chinese. And, as it has always been, everything there is for free. This is how the entrance to our new web page looks like:

Only one child policy in China?
China has over 1.3 billion people. The 30 year old disposition to have one child per family is slowly changing and we see many exceptions. In my last trip to Shijiazhuang, capital of the Province of Hebei, I stayed with a family friend of ours. As you can see in the picture, there are three children: a girl of 8 years old, and two naughty twins of five.