Sunday, December 12, 2010

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: December 2010

We, Missionaries reach you with the blessings and Greetings of this wonderful season of Advent. Wishing you Love, peace and tranquility that your lives be lit up with light of Christ. May the joys of the season fill your heart with goodwill and cheer. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

- Missionaries at Macau & Hong Kong

Pope Prays for the Church in China

Following his catechesis on 1 December general audience, Benedict XVI made some remarks concerning the situation of the Church in China.

"To your prayers", he told the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall, "and to those of Catholics all over the world, I entrust the Church in China which, as you know, is experiencing particularly difficult moments. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, to support all Chinese bishops, who are so dear to me, that they may bear courageous witness to their faith, placing all their hope in the Saviour Whom we await. Let us also entrust to the Virgin all the Catholics of that beloved country so that, through her intercession, they may live a truly Christian existence in communion with the universal Church, thus also contributing to the harmony and common good of their noble people".

Pope Benedict XVI today prayed for the Church in China as the “open” community scheduled the eighth national congress to be convened in Beijing Dec. 7-9.

The pope invited all Catholics, including a group of 40 Chinese sitting in the front rows, to pray with him during the general audience at the Vatican city. “I commend to your prayers and to those of Catholics throughout the world, the Church in China, which, as you know, is going through a particularly difficult time,” the pope said.

“We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, to sustain all the Chinese Bishops, who are so dear to me, so that they may courageously bear witness to their faith, placing all their hope in the Saviour whom we are awaiting.”

“We also entrust to the Virgin Mary all the Catholics of that beloved country that, through her intercession, they may be able to live an authentic Christian life in communion with the universal Church, contributing in this way also to the harmony and common good of their noble people.”

- UCAN News

Unapproved bishop elected to top China job

A bishop who does not have papal approval was today elected president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) while a Vatican-approved bishop became head of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).

The pope’s letter of 2007 indicates that holding the CCPA position was incompatible to Church doctrine. Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, 45, who was ordained in 2006 and still has not received papal approval, was elected BCCCC president by 312 votes for and one abstention on the last day of the Eighth National Congress of Catholic Representatives.

Bishop John Fang Xingyao of Linyi, new head of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association
Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyi, 57, who is in communion with the pope, was elected CCPA chairperson with 310 votes for and three abstentions. They were the only candidates for the top posts of the two open Church bodies which are not recognized by the Vatican.

Church observers told that Vatican-approved bishops would find it even harder to avoid concelebrating with Bishop Ma or decline his presence in future liturgical activities. The Vatican will also be embarrassed to see its future bishop candidates receiving BCCCC approval marked with the seal of an illegitimate bishop, they said. There were 313 representatives – 45 bishops, 158 priests, 23 nuns and 87 lay people, taking part in the election in the morning. They cast their votes by a show of hands. The representatives to the congress met state leaders at the Great Hall of the People in the afternoon after the three-day meeting concluded.

Among the younger-generation bishops, two were absent from the congress – Bishop Joseph Li Liangui of Cangzhou (Xianxian), who went missing, and Bishop Francis Lu Shouwang of Yichang, who is very sick. Anthony Liu Bainian, CCPA vice-chairman since 1992, and the 94-year-old Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, who also took leave, were promoted to the role of honorary presidents of the two Church bodies.

Bishop Ma became the BCCCC secretary general in 1998 and assumed also the post of CCPA vice chairperson in 2004. He is one of the seven Catholic members in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), top advisory body of the Chinese government. Before that he was a deputy of the National People’s Congress, the Chinese parliament 2003-2008. Bishop Johan Fang received his episcopal ordination in 1997. He became BCCCC vice president in 2004 and is a current member of the CPPCC.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Two new Institutes at Fu Ren Catholic University: Education and Social Communication

After 40 years of waiting, Fu Ren Catholic University in Taiwan has finally launched the Institute for Education and the Institute for Social Communication, in conjunction with celebrating 85 years of the foundation of the first Chinese Catholic University, moved from Beijing to Taiwan in 1949. During the solemn opening, both Cardinal Paul Shan and Archbishop Peter Liu of Kaohsiung stressed the importance of education and social communication to build the future of the country and the Church. They also hoped that the Catholic University, with its 11 institutes, “leads society along the right ethical path.”

Fu Ren Catholic University is directly related to the Holy See. It was founded in Beijing in 1925 by a group of American Benedictines. The transfer to Taiwan occurred in 1961. Fu Ren's graduates number nearly 120,000 from all over the world. Over the years the University wanted to remain faithful to its mission of the holistic formation of the person, based on the principles of Truth, Goodness, Beauty and Holiness, in an academic community of students and teachers closely united.
Fu Ren has also brought about and continues to pursue dialogue between the Chinese culture and Christian faith, carrying out academic research and fostering a genuine knowledge of the world, thereby contributing both to the development of a society that progresses mankind. The goals are: to affirm the value of human dignity and recognize fundamental rights; to continue the search for the meaning of life; to devote themselves to academic research; to create group consciousness; to stimulate cultural exchange; to offer religious cooperation; to promote the spirit of service in the social contexts of all countries in the world.

Seminarians strike on fears of official meddling

All one hundred seminarians at the Hebei Catholic seminary today took part in a demonstration outside the government’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission (ERAC) in Hebei Province. For the past 18 days, they have protested against the appointment of a government official as vice-rector of their seminary, fearing that their spiritual values would be compromised by politics.
Seminarians of the Seminary of Shijiazhuang
Most of the seminarians, in their white surplice, held banners and cards, reiterating “the demand of a written statement on revocation of vice-director Tang Zhaojun as vice-rector of their seminary”. Other banners read “Honour your promise” and “Hebei Catholic Seminary”. “We protest outside the government office, because we cannot tolerate the situation anymore,” a seminarian told AsiaNews. “This demonstration is on the initiative of the seminarians. No priests or bishops are involved in today’s action,” he said.

During the day’s “silent demonstration,” ERAC officials discussed twice with seminarian representatives in their office, but they failed to agree to the seminarians’ sole demand of a written statement of revocation. According to a source, ERAC Deputy Director-General Kang Zhifeng told the students that the appointment was a “Communist personnel arrangement” and refused to give a written statement. Brazing a wintry cold, students began their protest at 8.40 am outside the ERAC offices at 53 Huaxi Road in Shijiazhuang city. Several police vehicles were stationed at the site but security officials did not interfere with the students’ action. By 7 pm, the seminarians were still outside the offices.
Alberto with the Director of the Seminary of Shijiazhuang, Fr. Bosco Mo [File photo]
Tang Zhaojun’s appointment as vice-rector of Hebei seminary was announced on 11 November. It met immediate opposition from seminarians and teachers. Since the government refused to cancel the appointment, seminary students and teachers went on a strike. On 17 November, Deputy Director-General Kang went to the seminary where he verbally agreed to rescind the appointment and call for a board of directors’ meeting to solve the issue.

However, several Hebei bishops who had been taken to the Chengde ordination on 20 November could not be reached. Thus, the seminary’s board of directors could not convene to deal with the matter.

5th FABC-CBF Asia-Oceania Biblical Congress

Third Bishops’ Institute for Biblical Apostolate was held with the theme: “With the Word of life on the roads of Asia-Oceania”. A group of 120 representatives gathered from November 4 to 8 at the Redemptorist Center in Pattaya, Thailand.
Together with the nine Bishops, the participants of the Biblical Congress in Thailand
Participants arrived from most of the countries of Asia-Oceania in what was a wonderful sharing about the work being done as servants of the Word. There were 9 bishops in attendance, priests, sisters and laypeople.
Participants from Korea and China at the Biblical Congress
Aware of the imminent appearance of the Synod Document on the Word of God, the speakers dealt with the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church (Fr. Jacob Theckanath from India). Bishop Vincent Ri, from Korea spoke about the “Proclamation of the Word – Preaching and the Word of God and Liturgy” inviting us to proclaim with witness and passion the Word (this bishop memorizes the liturgical readings to show appreciation for the Word of God). Word of God and cultures was the topic of Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil (India), while Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Pakistan spoke about “Word-Centered Seminary Formation.” There was an important moment to talk about the biblical apostolate in China with its prospects and challenges, a talk given by Fr. Paul Hu and Fr. Ludger Feldkamper. Bishop Pablo V. David from the Philippines talked to us about the “Now” of the Word of God and Archbishop E. Pinto of Bangkok accompanied with marvelous hospitality.
Macau was represented by the Director of Claretian Publications, Fr. Alberto Rossa who displayed the biblical work being done and the many bibles in different languages being published from Macau. At the last day every participant received as gift of Claretian Publication the Daily Gospel 2011.

Claretian Publications at the UCCBA Congress

The Ninth United Chinese Catholic Biblical Association (UCCBA) Congress brought together the Chinese-speaking biblical scholars from Asia, Europe and Australia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Congress was held from November 11 - 15 to reflect on recommendations from the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God. This Ninth Congress of UCCBA brought together 120 scholars and those working in the Bible ministry from 15 countries.
Delagates of the UCCBA, during the Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Congress focused on the theme "Living out the Word to Spread God’s Kingdom,” The gathering marked the 20th anniversary of UCCBA, which was founded in 1990 as a worldwide union of Chinese Catholic Bible groups. It also marked the 45th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council documents Dei Verbum (The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) and Apostolicam Actuositatem, (The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity) of the Second Vatican Council.

Participants also commemorated the 10th anniversary of the canonization of 120 Chinese martyr saints and prayed for the beatification cause of Franciscan Father Gabriel Maria Allegra (1907-1976), Father Allegra pioneered the Chinese translation of the Catholic Bible through the foundation of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in 1945.
Our good friend and collaborator during the past five years, Fr. John Mi Shen, a recently ordained priest, along with Ms. Winnie Wong, Editor of our publications in Chinese traditional (standing up); and a friend during the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Speakers in the Congress included Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun from Hong Kong, Archbishop John Ha of Kuching from Malaysia, Biblical scholars Fr. Mark Fang, SJ from Taiwan and Fr. Ludger Feldkämper, SVD from Germany. 28 priests, 8 religious Sisters, 3 seminarians and 84 laity also participated in the congress. The speakers delved on relevant themes such as:

1. The Chinese Bible pastoral service in new era;
2. The mission of the Bishop and the clergy;
3. How to build a church which centered the Word of God through evangelization;
4. Effectively promote reconciliation and communion;
5. The role of the faithful by prophetical witnesses,

The representatives from Claretian Publications in Macau were also invited to participate in the Congress. They described in detail the services and efforts being done in promoting the Word of God in the world, particularly in China, stressing their commitment to continue providing biblical and spiritual resources by publishing the “Lectio Divina Bible” and “Daily Gospel”.

Teresa Li (our Editor for the simplified Chinese) and a friend in Kuala Lumpur
“UCCBA” was established in 1990. It aims to evangelize the Chinese region around both inside and outside, to assist in promoting the Chinese Church, Bible Pastoral service, group sharing and daily reading in the Word of God a, and in 1993 joinedthe world of the Bible Society. This workshop is designed to promote the exchange of experiences from Divine Word services, mutual learning and mutual cooperation, while continuing to expand Chinese Bible Association’s network, and strengthen ties with the Chinese Catholic groups worldwide.

"The Whistle Blower"

Enjoy the extraordinary talent this little girl exhibits. Perhaps, Julian Assange and his Wikileaks are not the only "whistle blowers" around! Relax and Enjoy!!