Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin: January 2011

Welcome 2011

S h a l o m ! -- 和平 ! -- ¡ PAZ !

What Happens with the Church in China?

In the Previous issue of the Bulletin we spoke about it briefly...

The eighth National Congress of the Catholic Representatives was held in Beijing from 7-9 December 2010. The Congress was held against the wishes requests by the Holy See. The Holy See had stated that "forcing people to attend recent Catholic congress reflected 'a repressive attitude with regard to the exercise of religious liberty.'

The Chinese government branded a Vatican statement on China’s policy of religious freedom as “very imprudent and ungrounded.” The Dec. 22 statement was Beijing’s first official response to a strongly worded Vatican statement that criticized the Chinese government-controlled National Congress of Catholic Representatives early in December, reported the Asian Church news agency UCA News.

On Dec. 17, the Vatican condemned the methods of convoking the assembly, saying it reflected “a repressive attitude with regard to the exercise of religious liberty, which it was hoped had been consigned to the past in present-day China.” Forcing people to attend the congress represented a “grave violation” of people’s human rights, particularly their freedom of conscience and religion, said the Vatican.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted a spokesperson of the State Administration for Religious Affairs as saying the Vatican misunderstood the current situation of the Chinese Church and was trying to use religion to implement its political values. The official said the attempt would bring serious harm to the healthy development of the Chinese Church. The new heads of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China — the two groups responsible for the public life of the Church in China — were elected by overwhelming majority, reflecting the wishes and expectations of the congress participants, the spokesperson said.
The Vatican voiced particular concern over the election of new presidents of both organizations during the congress. Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, who was ordained without papal approval in 2006, became president of the bishops’ conference. The new president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association is Bishop Yohan Fang Xinyao of Linyi, who was ordained in 1997 and is in communion with the Pope.

The Vatican’s condemnation of them was a “contempt” to the democratic wish of numerous Catholics and “extremely rude and disrespectful behavior,” the government spokesperson said.

Church bells ring out for the Republic of China

Catholic church bells in Taiwan rangout in unison on 1 January 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (ROC). 100 churches and a few Catholic institutes in seven dioceses across Taiwan rang bells for 100 seconds on New Year’s day.

It also had special prayer intentions to pray for the country during the Masses on Jan. 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In Taipei archdiocese, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Fu Jen Catholic University, the bell tolling and the celebration Masses were held at 10:00am.
Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan (third left) and other
religious leaders announcing the centenary celebrations
The Chinese section of the Radio Veritas Asia also broadcasted 100 seconds of bell tolls at 5:00am and 6:00pm. This was the Catholic Church’s response to the Ministry of Interior’s appeal to all religions to offer blessing to Taiwan as the celebration of ROC’s centenary begins. Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah had invited Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, president of the bishops’ conference, and leaders of other religions to a press conference on Dec. 28 to announce the blessing activity. The government also encourages all Taiwanese to “give blessings to the world, to the country, to our relatives and friends and ourselves,” he said.

An uprising in Wuchang, central China, on Oct. 10, 1911, launched the Xinhai Revolution that led to the overthrown of the Qing Dynasty and the official founding of the ROC on Jan. 1, 1912. However, during the civil war that began in 1945, the Communist Party took over the mainland and founded the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949 while the ruling Kuomintang (nationalist party) set up the ROC government in Taiwan which has lasted until now.

In 2011, Taiwan will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ROC with activities leading up to the National Day on Oct. 10. Across the straits, mainland China will also celebrate the centenary of Xinhai Revolution. - UCA News

Christmas in China and Macau

The Catholic population of Zhuhai, China certainly had a special celebration of Christmas this time. For the first time, they had a Christmas Mass celebrated in their neighbourhood by three Chinese priests and participated by a good gathering of the faithful. Since the community do not have a place to gather together, they chose the parking area of a housing sector for the Mass. The celebration was held with the prior permission from the authorities. Here are a couple of visuals of the celebrations.
In Macau, the Christmas preparations began with the nine-days novena - Mass at 5 am from 16 to 24 of December. Frs. John Ledesma and Alberto took turns to celebrate the Mass, basically for the Philippino Catholics.
Fr. Alberto celebrating the Novena-Mass

2011 - Year of the Laity in the Diocese of Hong Kong

Hong Kong Diocese has announced the pastoral theme of 2011 to be “Year of the Laity”. Its objective is to encourage the laity to reveal their Christian identity through living a cheerful Christian life, to build the Christian communities in communion and execute the mission of
"Come, Follow me !" (Mk1:17) is the theme of “Year of the Laity”. To be a follower of Christ is a lifelong journey of a Christian. It is hoped that in the coming year, in the dimension of “Vocation – Communion – Mission”, the laity will follow closely to the footsteps of Jesus Christ, deepen their faith, hope and love in God.
Frs. Ezakias and Jose [from right to left] having a chat with Frs. Dominic Chan, the Vicar General, Hong Kong and Stephan Bevans SVD [left to right]
Facilitating the process of the celebration of the Year of Laity, the Diocese is organising numerous workshops retreats and related activities for the Laity. On 2 January 2011, a public lecture on the theme of Communion, Vocation and Mission by Fr. Stephan Bevans SVD was organised at the diocesan curia. A good number of Religious, lay leaders and priests attended the lecture. For the entire presentation in Power Point, click the link.

“The Word of God is not chained”

La Palabra de Dios no está encadenada.
Bernardo Hurault
: el gran autor de la Biblia Latinoamericana, profeta de nuestro tiempo
[The Word of God is not Chained: Bernardo Hurault- The great author of the Latin American Bible, prophet of our time'] This is the title of the new Book by Claretian Missionary, Fr. Jose Agustín Cabré Ruffat.

The book is a brush-stroke on the life of our great friend Bernardo, with whom we worked together for 19 long years before he returned to the Father for his eternal reward in December 2004. This book introduces the person of Fr. Bernardo.

The author in the introduction writes: “Bernardo Hurault has, without a doubt, contributed greatly to the greater diffusion, better understanding and esteem of the Sacred Scripture in the Catholic Church. I do not have knowledge of another person who has actualized the extraordinary work undertaken by this French priest, who put into the hands of the people more than 50 million bibles in near 10 different languages… With this book I put into the hands of the readers the life of a man, of a Christian, a mystic, an apostle, a prophet…”.

La Palabra de Dios no está encadenada.
Bernardo Hurault
: el gran autor de la Biblia Latinoamericana,
profeta de nuestro tiempo

Jose Agustín Cabré Rufatt, cmf
ISBN: 978-950-512-731-3
280 pgs.s - 15 xs 21 cm.

The popular Latin American Bible of Fr. Bernardo was translated and published in English with the title, The Christian Community Bible. His deepest aspiration was to counter the influx of numerous protestant version of the Bible and provide the Catholic communities with a pastoral and communitarian reading of the Word of God. The new book by Fr. Jose Agustín Cabré Ruffat is an apt tribute to the great "Servant of the Word"

Roger: The "apostle" of New Zealand

Mr. Roger Butland is a friend whom we (Missionaries at Macau) have never met. We have seen only a photo of him, sent to us by his secretary Seiko. In fact, we have been in correspondence with him for the past six years, but only by email! Mr. Roger Butland [on the right]

We understood immediately that his passion was the word of God and he wanted to make It awailable to the immigrants, the students and the prisoners. Thus, together we put ourselves to work around four Gospels. Roger wanted bilingual books, in English and another language… . Throughout this time, he was sending us his suggestions and instructions. For his project, he founded “Xaverians Charitable Trust”. You may visit the Xaverians' web page below:
In the last couple of months the communication with Roger was almost daily… His suggestions, his corrections rained to us… And, finally, at the beginning of November came a mail, saying: “I just returned from the doctor, and he says, the most I have three months of visa; I have cancer for 6 years”. His last e-mail was on 3 of December. It deserves to be presented here:

Dear Alberto,

Thank you for your email regarding my suggestions. I am very humbly grateful, that you felt able to accept all of them.

Alberto, I must tell you that two nurses from hospice came to my home this morning, and both were very insistent that I enter hospice today. I do not want to enter hospice for a couple of weeks, because there is so much work to do. I want to keep plugging away for as long as I can outside the health-care system.

Had I entered hospice today, I would not have been able to discuss with you two other points, which perhaps need clarification.

I will prepare something and send it off on Monday.

In the meantime I will look over your own corrections to Matthew. Thank you very much for them.

With kind regards and good wishes,


But finally, Roger had to be admitted in the hospital, from where he continued to go through the hand-written manuscripts and give us his corrections and suggestions. On 21 December, Roger wound up his earthly duties to the Word of God and left for the House of the Father, for a celebration of Christmas in Heaven with the Word of God. Roger, along with Bernardo, is our “saint” - who, from the heavens, accompany us in the ministry to the Word of God.

A Chinese becomes secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a Chinese priest as secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican department responsible for missionary work which has jurisdiction over the Church in China. Salesian Father Savio Hon Tai-fai, 60, told he received notification today, just a few hours before the Holy See Press Office made the official announcement. He said his “first thing to do now is to pray for God’s grace to become a suitable tool.”

Father Savio Hon Tai-fai
The Hong Kong-born priest believed his appointment showed “the pope’s fervent love for China.” The pope also elevates him to archbishop of the titular diocese of Sila. Father Hon has known the theologian-pope for many years, since the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was president of the International Theological Commission. The pope often showed his concern for the China Church when they met, he said.

Father Hon anticipates that in his new role the Roman Curia may consult him on China Church affairs, thanks to his years of experiences as visiting professor to various seminaries in China. Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher at the Hong Kong diocese’s Holy Spirit Study Centre, believes Father Hon is a very suitable candidate due to his solid theological foundations.

“As the second man of the congregation, his knowledge would help him handle a lot issues related to evangelization of faith,” Lam told Father Hon has also demonstrated good interpersonal skills in his previous positions as provincial superior and being member of pontifical commissions, he added. Many mainland Chinese Catholics receive the news with great joy and feel it is a glory for the Chinese. - UCAN News

Bishop of Macau Visits the Community

Frs. Ezakias, Jose Christo Rey, Bishop Jose Lai, Alberto, Jojo and Jose
Claretians have been working in the Diocese of Macau for the past five years. On 28 December we invited the Bishop Don Jose Lai Hung-seng to lunch with us and to listen to his pastoral expectations and at the same time to assure our support to him for service of the community.

"Our Lady of Zhuhai"

Fr. Maximino “Mino” Cerezo Barredo, A Claretian Missionary and popular religious painter in Latin America, has sent to us one of his creations - 'the Blessed Virgin in the context of China'. We have christened the painting as "Our Lady of Zhuhai" and intalled it in the Barbastro House in Zhuhai, China. Fr. Alberto, together with a few of our associates in front of "Our Lady of Zhuhai" portrait

Missionaries in Formation...

Frs. Jose [first from left, standing] and Ezakias [seated in the middle] enjoying a hiking to Daaihyuhn Saan with their friends from the University
Frs. Ezakias and Jose have completed yet another Semester of Cantonese Classes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2010 has been a fruitful year as Fr. Ezakias has completed his second semseter and Jose his fourth, gradually getting accustomed with the nuances of the tones and complexities of the characters of this tough language. They are also involved in the activities of Christ the Worker Parish at Ngau Tau Kok.
During a visit to a leprosy affected people's centre at Muizhou, China
Being part of a Chinese parish provides an added advantage in knowing the people and their culture and of course, an ideal place for practicing the language. After living in Hong Kong, specifically in the parish, for over a year and a half, we are sure of one thing: the people of our parish have tremendous patience, because they have put up with us and our Cantonese so generously and patiently!

Salute the New Year in Asia’s World City!

As the hands of the clock approach 2011, a dazzling pyrotechnics show bursts from the top of two ifc and nine other leading landmarks on Hong Kong Island. A young spectator, awaiting the "Count Down Celebration" at the Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong
It is a fabulous display of colour that not only lights up Hong Kong’s glorious harbor and the night sky but also gladdens ones' spirit. As per the Chinese Calendar, 2011 is the year of rabbit. Here, girls dress up like rabbits to welcome the New Year
The new year 2011 count down celebrations at the Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour attracted over 400,000 people for a fabulous welcome to 2011. Here it is! Sit back and enjoy!!