Thursday, December 01, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin, December 2011

Heritage Mission in China

In 1927 the Claretian Missionaries came to the beautiful city of Huangshan, next to the famous Yellow Mountains in China . There grew a small Christian community. Although the missionaries were expelled from China in 1950, the seed of faith continued to grow and today there is still a group of Christians linked to that heritage.
Bishop laying the foundations of the new Church.
The Missionaries traced back the village some 20 years ago and helped the faithful to build a small Church. But the expansion of the city forced the relocation of the Church and hence, build a new one. Here are recent photos during the laying of the foundation of the new Church:

The new Church will be completed by the end of 2012

The Gospel According to St. Mathew

Yes, that is the Title of the latest work from the Claretian Publications, Macau, done in Simplified Chinese for the benefit of the faithful of the Mainland. The simplified characters are used only in the Mainland China, while in the other areas like Hong Kong and Macau the traditional characters are used.

The Gospel According to St. Mathew is the first in the series of the Chinese Bible project, Fr. Rossa and his team are working on. The Gospel According to St. Mark has also gone into the press for the print.

Our visitor:

Fr. Felix visits Macau and Hong Kong

Fr. Felix Martinez, the Provincial Econome for the East Asian Delegation paid a short visit to Macau and Hong Kong from 22 - 24 November.

Caritas Bazaars raise over $4 million in Hong Kong

Fun-filled events at Cheung Chau, Shatin and Tsuen Wan closed out the Caritas Bazaar season for 2011. As at November 21, over $4 million had been raised. Over 100,000 people dropped in at the six bazaars—including those at Victoria Park and Tuen Mun on November 6, and Fa Hui Park, Kowloon on November 11.
Fr. Tony Brennan, MM, who celebrates his 5o years of
Ordination this year,
at the Caritas Bazaar at Boundary Street

“The Caritas Bazaar is made possible through the efforts of many different sectors in our Church and society,” Bishop John Tong Hon said at the opening of the bazaar season in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, on November 6. “The fund raising is evidence of a deep love and care in our society," he added.

Groups from various schools showed off their talent on stage, giving people a taste of their abilities in song, music, dance and gymnastics. The happy-go-lucky atmosphere generated in the park is a reflection of what people can do together when good will and care for neighbour are at the heart of any gathering of people.

Understanding the new English translation of the Mass

Renowned liturgist Father Anscar Chupungco, Filipino Benedictine, helped a gathering of round 300 people in Hong Kong on November 18 to understand the the new translation of the English Mass.Speaking on the occasion, he said it was more important for the faithful to "understand what it [the new traslation] is not, as it is to understand what it is,”

Father Chupungco pointed out that the new translation has departed from the concept of vernacular, which is understood as language that is self-explanatory and communicates its meaning without much explanation. However, this is not true of the new translation, which seeks to introduce concepts that do not exist in English-speaking cultures and, consequently, the words or grammatical constructions to express them do not exist either.
Fr Anscar Chupungco
Father Chupungco pointed to the controversial response to the greeting, “The Lord be with you,” as being a prime example. The liturgist noted that the response, “And with your spirit,” makes no sense in English, as it is a concept that is non-existent in the language. However, he said that the original Latin is referring to a distinction in ancient Roman and Greek culture that differentiated between soul, body and spirit in a person, and by addressing the spirit, it was referring to what is most fundamental and noble.

However, the Diocese of Hong Kong has decided that it would be better to take a little more time to prepare the faithful for the new text in terms of catechesis, and so the faithful of Hong Kong will need to wait until December 2012 before being able to say "And with your spirit".

He spoke of other areas, which need clarification, noting that without detailed explanation they will be problematic also, but with proper catechesis can help people to gain a greater appreciation of the Mass.

He added that while the new rubric demands strict reading from the prescribed text, he is sure that God would forgive a priest for expressing something of himself within the celebration. Nevertheless, he concluded that it does introduce concepts, which if unearthed, can reveal liturgical treasures that can help to give us a deeper appreciation of the liturgy of the Mass.

Hong Kong receives relics of Blessed John Paul II

In the end, this is another one of his small "miracles". If the Blessed John Paul II had expressed his desire to visit China several times during his pontificate, always clashing with the snarling refusals of the Government, now Pope John Paul II has found another way to land in the "Celestial Empire". The Relics of of Pope Blessed John Paul II were welcomed into the diocese of Hong Kong at a special Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on November 12 by Bishop John Tong Hon.
He explained that the lock of hair of the blessed pope can at least be housed on Chinese soil and he will have a connection with the country in death that he could never have in life. “Although it is not convenient for mainland Chinese to visit the Vatican, millions of them now come to Hong Kong every year for shopping and sightseeing,” Bishop Tong pointed out. “During these days, they will have every chance to pray in the presence of his relic.”

Monsignor Paul Russell, Vatican's chargé d’affaires in Taiwan,
handing over the relic of

Bl. Pope John Paul
to Bishop John Tong Hon

The bishop thanked the chargé d’affaires from the Taiwan apostolic delegation, Monsignor Paul Russell, for carrying the precious relics of the late pope to Hong Kong. Handing over the relic to Bishop Tong, Monsignor Paul Russell said, "Our late Pope longed to come to China, but could not; and now he is here"!

During his homily he made a strong appeal to all young people in the diocese to be inspired by Blessed John Paul and respond to the call to priesthood and religious life. “Through his intercession, may you answer the call to follow me,” he said, explaining that the diocese is currently in great need of religious vocations, as there are only 15 students in the Holy Spirit Seminary. “Our diocese is facing a serious vocation shortage,” he explained. “Please pray for that number to increase from 15 to five-zero (50).”

Interview with Fr. Jojo in the weekly newspaper "O Clarim"

Fr. Jojo was interviewed by the weekly newspaper "O Clarim" after his recent visit to Indonesia. He is already popular in Macau with his well appreciated magical tricks and with his selfless ministry among the poor, the sick and suffering and the youth.

In the interview, he recognises the need for reopening of the Diocesan Seminary to cater to the aspiring youth to pursue their studies to priesthood.

To put the brakes ...!

We had our share of anxiety too in the earlier part of November! Fr. Rossa had a bacterial infection which appeared a bit dangerous. He had to fly to Manila to meet his personal doctor and was admitted int the hospital for a couple of days. But, as Ms. Divine of the Claretian Publications says, "the only way to keep him from being restless was to get the Wi-fi and keep him connected"!

No wonder, he contined his job from the hospital room, giving instructions to the editors and printers in China and Macau! Our good frined from Bangalore send him a "Get wll soon" message with a difference! When the Pastoral Bible replaces the IV fluids, no wonder why he had a speedy recovery!

Fr. Jose bgins his ministry in the diocese of Hong Kong

After a couple years of Chinese language - Cantonese - studies, our colleague Fr. José Cherukara has begun his new ministry on November 1 in the parish of St. Benedict. He himself writes:

The Parish

It's a new parish, with a history of 25 years. Parish has a multiple use building with 5 floors. Out of 300 Catholics in 1987 the number has increased to 3000 today.
We are 4 priests in the parish, one of whom is now retired. We have six Masses on Sunday, including one on Saturday evening.

My new ministry:

Only a month ago I'm in this parish. This is a very active parish and offers great opportunities for a new priest like me. As I begin the ministry in the Parish, I am given the responsibility for the care of the English Speaking community of the Parish.
Altar Servers' Gathering
Within the parish territory, there are four major hospitals and we take care of the pastoral needs of the patients by regular visits to these hospitals.

Besides working in the parish, I have also a couple of responsibilities in the Diocesan Commission for Youth and in the Commission for the Catholic Communication.

My hopes and challenges:

The parish provides a an extensive scope for the ministry, and I'm glad to be pretty busy at the service of the Church. This is my belief: If the Lord has brought me to this ministry, He will give me the strength to carry it out. Hence, no fears!

The main hurdle is language. After two years of intensive study, I realize I do not know to speak the language!! .... But I must say that the parishioners are so helpful and understanding. Two of them help me three days a week with the intonations, Character reading, preparation of the homily, and so on.

During the welcome party I had to talk about what were my expectations and hopes for this parish. This is my wish: May God's grace be there to respond to the expectations of those who assigned me to this ministry.

Construction of a mountain trail in China

Mt. Hua is located in the south of Huayin City, 75 miles due east of Xian. From the map, this mountain is located close to Himalayas of Tibet. 'Shan' means 'mountain' in Chinese, thus the name 'Hua Shan'. Huashan means 'Mount Hua' or 'Hua Mountain'.

According to Travel China Guide, Mt. Huashan is definitely not some neglected little spot in the middle of nowhere. Quite the contrary! Mt Huashan is one of the five sacred mountains in China.

Mt. Hua is home to several influential Taoist temples where emperors of past dynasties made pilgrimages, making this mountain the holy land of Taoism. Many emperors came to pray and sacrifice to the God of Mt. Huashan.

It is said that Lao Zi (Lao Tze), the founder and patriarch of Taoism, once lived and gave sermons here. Today many Taoism temples are located on Mr. Huashan which helps explain why this area is visited by thousands of people.

Impressive? Read further here:

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin, November 2011

Claretian Mission Day
October marks the Universal Mission Day and the Feast Day of St. Claret, our Founder. And also the 75 anniversary of the Claretian Martyrs during the Spanish Civil War.
The Claretian Community of Macau with Fr. Pedro Chung, VG, [3rd from left] Macau
In the words of Claretian Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga: "A Church which forgets its martyrs, has no right to survive."
Our martyrs of 1936, were young people who gave up their lives to be faithful to Jesus and his Church. Their memory helps us carry the message of the Gospel in these regions of the World.
One of these martyrs, Rafael Briega, 24, studied Chinese and wrote in Chinese to the missionaries in China in 1936. He wrote:Chinese writings of the Martyrs of Barbastro
"I cannot go to China as I would have liked, but I am willing to offer my blood for the China mission, and when I get to heaven I will never forget to pray for this mission."

Another Claretian martyr, Flavian Martinez, 24, wrote to his family:
"Maybe one day you hear that Flavian is in China ... then he has forgiven his 'enemies' and that he gave his life for Christ. If this happens, it is to be my greatest joy. "
Also published in Chinese and distributed to all the people who accompanied us was a booklet of 36 pages entitled (in Chinese) "Barbastro Mártyres"

The celebration in memory of the martyrs included a pilgrimage for Macau to the very border of China, to demonstrate our commitment and missionary availability especially for the mission in China. Following are a few stills from the pilgrimage:
Pilgrims at the Border Gate

Parish Ministries

On Sunday October 30, a Catholic group of the parish of San Lorenzo, organized by our Fr. Jojo, spent the whole day to visit a lepers Colony in China served by a priest and several nuns. Just 60 kilometers from the border with Macau is the home for the lepers. It was a 'mission trip' to spent some time with these patients. They were 92 pilgrims of all ages.

The midday meal was prepared by the same patients

The Gospels in Chinese

The Cover of the Four Gospels
We have announced the preparation of this book of 792 pages: The Four Gospels, with Lectio Divina and commentaries. An entirely new translation of the Gospels to modern Chinese. It is the first step in translating the entire Bible project in which we work. Finally we get the first books printed and distribution can now begin.

Our partner and friend from Hong Kong

Hong Kong, Macau, China ... all part of our mission and in all these places we have excellent friends and collaborators.

What an example: Our friend Jessica.

Business woman, mother, missionary ...
Her office is her BMW through the streets of Hong Kong to serve her customers of ergonomic furniture. She joined our mission and has become our representative in Hong Kong - promoting all our publications.
She says: "Poor BMW"
Jessica with our books in Hong Kong ...

But Jessica is a missionary in contrast to the hectic life of Hong Kong. She finds time to join to pay visits to the lepers' homes

She tells us after her last visit a few days ago:

Dear All,

Isn't it beautiful?
She says this is her favourite picture!
I learned a lot from this place, and now I understand why Father said this is heaven.

From there, you learn how to view something with your heart and not your eyes, so if you see something beautiful then it is good, because you have a beautiful heart. If not, it's you have the problem.

Everyone has angel and devil inside, so make friend with his/her angel ...., so her angel will grow bigger and bigger la because with your love ga ma...

Not to hate and not to judge, because everyone is different but still the beloved one of God ga ma, right!!!

Ha! Ha ! x 1000000000000

Let's have a peaceful weekend!

God Bless!!

Fr. Jojo attends the Young Claretians Meet in Indonesia

Fr. Jojo participated in the Quinquennium programme for the Asian Claretians -[ASCLA] East held in Indonesia in the fourth week of September. He was impressed with the growth of the Congregation and the diversity of the Mission in this region. Jojo speaks:

"Well one of the things that touched me is the growth of our congregation in Indonesia. We have lot of vocations and our missionaries are really doing well. And the Young Claretians Meet helped us to understand and appreciate different cultures and different circumstances. Well here are some pictures from Indonesia" .

Indonesia is located between Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises about 17,508 islands, where more than 237 million people, making Indonesia the fourth most populous country. In addition, Indonesia is the country with more Muslims in the world. Although the country is largely endowed with natural resources, poverty is a defining feature of contemporary Indonesia to. The Claretians come to Indonesia recently as 25 years. Today Indonesia is one of the countries with more priestly and religious vocations to our Congregation. The seminarians are over 100 and now have 29 priests.

Priestly ordinations in various dioceses at the end of missionary month

Several Catholic communities wanted to end the missionary month of October with priestly ordinations, which represent the Church's vitality and continuity of the mission. In fact "the conclusion of the missionary month is a new departure for the mission of evangelization, as the end of the life of a deacon is the beginning of priestly life, which requires full awareness and missionary commitment in our context", this is what the Bishops who presided at the ordinations said with more or less the same words.
Province of Shan Dong in China
Over one thousand faithful attended the solemn priestly ordination of the diocese of Yan Zhou, in the Shan Dong province, presided by the Bishop Ordinary on October 26. About thirty priests concelebrated and about the same number of religious women welcomed the new priest, according to which "priesthood is a new beginning of the mission to be a good worker in the vineyard of the Lord by imitating the example of Christ".
Province of Hebei where The Diocese of Heng Shui is located
The Diocese of Heng Shui (originally Jing Xian) lived the ordination of two new priests with joy on October 28, the feast of SS. Apostles Simon and Jude. Mgr. Pietro Feng, Diocesan Bishop, concelebrated the ceremony presided by about sixty priests. About thirty nuns of the Congregation of Our Lady of Good Counsel, forty representatives of the Major Seminary, and Minor diocesan, along with 700 followers, enthusiastically welcomed the new priests, that are local vocations. Mgr. Feng encouraged them to be "the Lord’s instrument and to fulfill all the duties of a priest". Finally, the new priests shared their vocational experience thanking their parents and all those who supported them in their spiritual journey
- Courtesy: Agenzia Fides

Claretian Mission Expands in Macau and Hong Kong

Claretian Missionaries formally begin their missionary activity in the Diocese of Hong Kong with the Agreement signed between Bishop Johng Tong Hon, the Bishop of Hong Kong and Fr. Marcelli Fonts, Major Superior of the East Asian Delegation of the Congregation.
Fr. Simon Lee, the Parish Priest with Fr. Jose Cherukara at the Church of St Benedict
Fr. Jose Cherukara, on completion of two years of Chinese language studies, is appointed Assistant Parish Priest of St. Benedict Parish, Shatin Wai in Hong Kong. In addition to the assignment in the Parish, he is also a member of the Diocesan Commission for Youth and of the Catholic Board of Communications in the Diocese. Fr. Jose begins his ministry in the Parish on 1 November.
Fr. Peter Chao
The Claretian Community of Macau - Hong Kong is expanding both in Ministry and in Personnel. Now we have two more new members - Frs. Peter Chao and Piotr. Hearty welcome to both and wish them a fruitful and satisfying time in their respective ministries in this part of the world.

The "Claret Publishing Group" is born

At the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, the Claretian Publishing Houses had their periodic encounter of Editors, convoked by The General Prefect of the Apostolate, Fr. Miguel Ángel Velasco, who was present for the meeting. The meeting took place two days before the fair from the 7 – 11th of October at the Claretiner Seminar (Frankfurt).

The birth of the “Claret Publishing Group” will, without a doubt, provide a greater force and identity to the Claretian publishing imprint, and at the same time will be a stimulus to continue advancing in collaboration and in the creation of common projects at the service of the Congregation, the Church, and in evangelization.
The group of Claretian Editors before the monument to Johann Gutenberg in Mainz.
Though the publishing activity in the Congregation is very rich and varied (books, magazines, pamphlets, bulletins, web pages…), the meetings for the encounters have been exclusively for the publishing houses that print books. In spite of various publishers who were excused, the participating group was rich and geographically diverse. Among the publishers present was Claretian Publications Macau, represented by Fr. Alberto Rossa. At the end of the encounter the Claretian editors participated, as usual, in the International Book Fair in Frankfurt.

Priests bring message of hope to TV

Two priests nominated to appear on the television program “Hong Kong Loving Hearts Campaign 2011” say they hope their participation will help spread Church values. ‘Hong Kong Loving Hearts Campaign’, sponsored by ATV acknowledges people doing good things in their communities. Ten recipients are selected from over 220 applicants.

Fr Alfred Deignan and Fr Franco Mella
The program presents a series of documentaries highlighting the humanitarian works of nominated individuals and aimed at encouraging viewers to embrace positive social values. Irish Fr Alfred Deignan, an educator, and Italian Fr Franco Mella, a veteran activist for grassroots human rights groups, both of whom have served in Hong Kong for decades, are among 26 candidates nominated this year for the show produced by Asia Television.

“Sometimes what we preach from the Gospel is very abstract, whereas with the TV program showing actual footage of what we do, it can guide people to think,” said Fr Mella. “We need to explain, discuss and analyze social justice issues to let people understand the values held by Jesus.”

Cardinal fasts over court ruling

Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong observed a 72 hours abstinence from food after an appeals court rejected a diocesan objection to new regulations governing the appointment of teachers and the management of educational administrators in the third week of October.

The cardinal’s fast stems from an amended education ordinance in 2004 that requires all government-aided schools to form an incorporated management committee to replace the current management board. After six years of litigation brought by the diocese seeking an exemption, the Court of Final Appeal last week rejected the case.

Supporters visit the fasting Cardinal Zen
Cardinal Zen has said the new ordinance contradicts the Basic Law, which guarantees religious organizations’ right to run schools according to practices in place prior to the handover of Hong Kong by the UK in 1997. The issue in question, the Cardinal said, was more about the right to govern schools. “The content of religious and moral education is far more important than some concrete religious activities,” he said.

Cardinal Zen said today that the Church would not easily give up its right to run schools but might be forced to do so if it can no longer manage education according to its vision and mission.

A Hong Kong way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Aviation

Aviation activities in Hong Kong began with some balloon flights in the 19th Century.

In 1911, a pioneer aviator from Belgium, Charles Van den Born, arrived in Hong Kong with three Henry Farman biplanes. He flew from the beach in Sha Tin on 18 March 1911. This became the first powered flight ever in Hong Kong.

Year 2011 marks the centenary of powered flight in Hong Kong. The aviation industry is jointly organising a series of events to commemorate this important milestone.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Welcome to Our October Bulletin

To Learn China National Festival
October 1st is China National Day, one of the most important Chinese festivals. We join the festive spirit and share with you some news and events at the beginning of this month newsletter.

October 1: China National Day

October 1st is a festival of great importance to the people nationwide and they celebrate it with great felicitation. In 1999, the Chinese government decided that the three days designated for the National Day celebration be combined with the two weekends on either side, thus giving people a seven-day vacation. Also because of the great indulgences during the week, it is regarded as another Golden Week for the Chinese people when they can go out to visit some long-cherished tourist attractions or doing other things people like to do.

Holidays in China

Chinese people legally enjoy over 115 days off including 104 days of weekends and 11 days of festivals. Employees have 5 to 15 days of paid annual leave. Students and teachers have summer and winter vacations for about three months. The summer vacation in China generally starts around July 1st and ends around August 31st, and the winter vacation usually falls on January or February according to the date of the Spring Festival.

China launches space module

China took its first step towards building a space station on Thursday September 29 when it launched an experimental module ahead of National Day celebrations.Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace", took off on schedule from the Gobi desert in China's northwest, ahead of China's National Day on October 1.
A carrier rocket loaded with an unmanned space lab
module blasts off from the launch pad
at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
in northwest China's Gansu Province.

Now let's go to the news
about the Church in China

Catholic university students launch a new website dedicated to their peers to deepen the meaning of life, values and faith

A group of Catholic university students of the diocese of Handan, in Hebei province, Mainland China, launched a new website for evangelization titled "The Choir of Angels", to offer their peers necessary elements to deepen the meaning of life, values and faith. The initiative has had great support from the priests, especially those working in the field of evangelization online. According to the creator and founder of the website, "today's university campuses sharing the meaning of life, values and faith is widespread. It is a phenomenon that demonstrates the thirst for spiritual life in the secular world our peers live in. What books offer us is not enough to meet this need. So the creation of this site helps us to enrich ourselves". Also according to reports from Faith, the site has many topics and texts and the biblical quotations that relate to the proposed topics".

In Mainland China today there are dozens of Catholic evangelization sites, many are diocesan and parish, confirming that the Internet is increasingly becoming a leading tool for evangelization, especially among young people.

The Claretian Missionaries in China and the Pastoral Bible Foundation are also offering free internet content with pastoral resources in several languages, including Chinese. We have now subscribed to Applestore and very soon we shall add more content for tablets, IPads, etc. And everything will be offered for free download as part of our missionary contribution for the formation of Chinese Christians and sympathizers. You can check our website:

God in China

Christians in China: Is the country in spiritual crisis? 

There is an excellent radio program by the BBC that we would like to recommend.
Here is the link:

This is how the report begins…
A Catholic Mass in Wuhan
More people go to church on Sunday in China than in the whole of Europe. 

Many of China's churches are overflowing, as the number of Christians in the country multiplies. In the past, repression drove people to convert - is the cause now rampant capitalism?

It is impossible to say how many Christians there are in China today, but no-one denies the numbers are exploding.

The government says 25 million, 18 million Protestants and six million Catholics. Independent estimates all agree this is a vast underestimate. A conservative figure is 60 million. There are already more Chinese at church on a Sunday than in the whole of Europe.

The new converts can be found from peasants in the remote rural villages to the sophisticated young middle class in the booming cities.x

Driven underground 

There is a complexity in the structures of Chinese Christianity which is little understood in the West. To start with, Catholicism and Protestantism are designated by the state as two separate religions.

Haidian Church, Beijing
  The Haidian Christian Church in Beijing was completely re-built to cope with rising numbers

Throughout the 20th Century, Christianity was associated with Western imperialism. After the Communist victory in 1948, the missionaries were expelled, but Christianity was permitted in state-sanctioned churches, so long as they gave their primary allegiance to the Communist Party. Mao, on the other hand, described religion as "poison", and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s attempted to eradicate it. Driven underground, Christianity not only survived, but with its own Chinese martyrs, it grew in strength. Since the 1980s, when religious belief was again permitted, the official Churches have gradually created more space for themselves. They report to the State Administration for Religious Affairs. They are forbidden to take part in any religious activity outside their places of worship and sign up to the slogan, "Love the country - love your religion." In return the Party promotes atheism in schools but undertakes "to protect and respect religion until such time as religion itself will disappear". House Churches Protestants and Catholics are both divided into official and unofficial Churches.
 Click here:
and listen to the fascinating report.