Sunday, May 01, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin, May 2011

Holy Week and Easter Celebrations in Macau and Hong Kong

Beijing Diocese starts the year of evangelization

Bishop 'sends forth' his first batch of 50 catechists to spread the Good News

Beijing diocese has sent forth its first batch of 50 catechists at the start of a special year for evangelization.

Hundreds of Catholics recently attended the opening ceremony in the courtyard of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, or the South Church, where a large white banner with the words “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of Good News” hung on one wall.

“After six months of preparatory work and prayers, our diocese begins the Year for Evangelization by the Laity today,” Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing announced. The special year runs from April 9, 2011 to April 8, 2012. He invited Catholics to become involved in “this holy mission” before pushing open the church door, symbolizing the opening of the yearlong event.
Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing and his priests sign their
names to show
their commitment to the special year
In his homily, the 46-year-old prelate reminded Catholics to pray, attend Mass, do charity work and read the Bible every day. They should be a witness for Christ to influence friends from other religions, he told them. “All catechists should complete formation courses in a serious manner to acquire Church knowledge and then spread the Gospel bravely under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

After receiving formation for several months, 50 catechists from various parishes were sent forth by Bishop Li in a special ceremony during the opening Mass. “We know this is a gift, an honor, a blessing and most importantly a mission,” a catechist said. The diocese has called on Catholics to “donate a Bible.” The catechists have already responded to the bishop’s appeal to donate more than 400 Bibles to give to catechumens or those being instructed in the faith.

After the Mass, Bishop Li led his priests, nuns, the catechists and other attendees in signing their names on the banner to express their commitment to spreading the Good News. Beijing diocese currently has 60 priests serving more than 60,000 laypeople.
- UCA News

"Continue to Proclaim the Gospel With Ever More Intense Fervor"

Vatican's Message to Chinese Catholics

Here is the excerpts from the message to Chinese Catholics by the Vatican that summarizes the findings of the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Commission on the Church in China, which took place in the second week of April in the Vatican.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Rom 15:13). From 11 to 13 April we met in the Vatican to study some questions of major importance regarding the life of the Catholic Church in China.

The pope encourages the members of the Church in China to be prepared to make sacrifices, despite the difficulties, in order to remain faithful to the faith of the Church, as it is the only foundation on which unity and communion can grow. While the commission acknowledges that the mosaic emerging from the collective activity of the members of the Church in China does reflect, by and large, an image consistent with that of Christ and his many disciples, what is termed the sad events of late last year are high in the consciousness of the commission.

It noted that the ordination, without the approval of the pope, of Father Joseph Guo Jincai as a bishop in Chengde in November, is to be considered as gravely illegitimate, adding that this also implies his exercise of any ministry as a bishop is also illegitimate.

The commission notes that on account of the pressure and restrictions placed by government authorities on the bishops who took part in the ordination, an automatic excommunication may not apply, it says, “There remains a grave wound, perpetrated on the ecclesial body. Every bishop involved is therefore obliged to refer to the Holy See and find the means of explaining his position to the priests and faithful, renewing his profession of fidelity to the supreme pontiff, to help them to overcome their interior suffering and repair the external scandal caused.”

The commission also encouraged the people to support their bishops and stay close to them in prayer and solidarity and to understand the difficulties that they face. The commission also referred to the Eighth National Assembly of Catholic Representatives reiterating that the body represents a civic structure that places the authority of the state above that of the bishops in the affairs of the Church, a situation that is incompatible with Church doctrine.

“The Holy See would desire to be completely free to appoint bishops… I trust that an accord can be reached with the government, so as to resolve certain questions regarding the choice of candidates for the episcopate…” Although the commission acknowledges that the matter is not entirely in Church hands, it hopes that problems will not get worse and that the peace and harmony of the Church may be protected.

The commission adds that the good news of the day is that the diocese of Shanghai is able to begin to postulate the cause for the beatification of the first Catholic person in the area, Paul Xu Guangqi, who was a close collaborator of the great Jesuit missionary, Father Matteo Ricci, whose cause has recently been reopened in his home diocese of Macerata in Italy.

During his address at the close of the meeting, Pope Benedict concurred with the stress placed by the commission on the need for good education in the faith at all levels of the Church in China, as he recalled the importance of formation, in particular spiritual formation, so that the people, reinforced by liturgical and personal prayer, may be able to confront the considerable challenges of the moment.

He also entrusted the Church to the intercession of Mary Queen of China, renewing the invitation to the whole Church to dedicate May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, as a day of prayer for the Church on the mainland.

Beatification cause for first Catholic in Shanghai begins

The diocese of Shanghai in China will begin the process for the beatification of the first Catholic in the area, Paul Xu Guangqi, whose family has given its name to the area where St. Ignatius’ Cathedral stands today.

Statue of Paul Xu Guangqi
Xu was born in 1562, but left the farming life to study, serving as a minister in the court of the Ming Dynasty. An accomplished mathematician and scientist, he was critical of what he termed a decline in scholarship in these areas, becoming something of a critic of the society of the time.
Italian Missionary Mateo Ricci [in the left] and Paul Xu Guangqi
Xu’s family became the first Catholics in Shanghai. He first met Father Matteo Ricci in 1600 and was baptised three years later, taking the name of Paul. He died in 1633 in Beijing, but was buried near his family home in Xujaihui, the downtown area of Shanghai where the Jesuits later built their headquarters in 1847.

The Tomb of Paul Xu Guangqi at Guangqi Park, Shanghai
He is well remembered in the local diocese today and the name Guangqi is used for many diocesan organisations, including the publishing house, social service centre, formation centre, a school and a home for senior citizens. Father Matteo Ricci’s cause for beatification was reopened in his home diocese of Macerata, Italy, last year. The two worked together on the Chinese version of Euclid’s Elements, which was printed in 1607. Xu also worked with him in translating other western classics into Chinese, as well as Confucian texts into Latin.

In 1603, Xu was baptised, taking the name Paul. However, he was forced to return to his home place in Shanghai in early 1608 to attend his father’s funeral. He invited the Italian Jesuit, Father Lazare Cattaneo, to preach to his family. All the members of his family received baptism. The Nanjing-based priest went on to baptise 200 others as well and the Jesuits came to Shanghai to begin the nucleus of a Church there.

St. Ignatius Cathedral was built in 1847. It was later reconstructed between 1905 and 1910. Designed by the English architect, William Doyle, it is said to have been the grandest cathedral in the Far East.

An Easter Experience...

Easter is the feast of Hope. It encourages us to hope for the fulfilment of God's Divine Will. It simply reminds us that a Good Friday is definitely followed by an Easter Sunday. It also teaches us that the Cross is not the end, but the only means to resurrection. On the Easter Monday a group of faithful from Macau and Hong Kong went across the border to the Mainland, just to share this Hope with a group of people who were practically kept away by the rest of the world, for they are leprosy affected. The group visited two centers for the leprosy affected people.

One of the patient's wounds were being cleaned and dressed as they reached in the first Centre. After seeing the decaying flesh and affected bones of the patient, the attendant felt that there was lillte option for her than to amputate her. The response of the patient was most surprising: She simply said, "cut it off". Later she said, all her friends and neighbours would be sad to hear that she needs to be amputated. She was not much thinking about losing her leg, rather she was worried about how the people who were close to her would feel! Thankfully, these people know that they are not totally abandoned. There are people who love them and take care of them.

"Easter is the Feast of Rising, and this is how we raise people", said the director of the Centre as he was helping to fix an artificial leg on a young amputee. Words cannot simply express the glow on the face of the young man as he stood up and began to walk, of course with the help of crutches. The joy on the faces of the Director and other inmates resembled the joy of the Blessed Mother and the disciples on the first Easter!
Alleluia...Alleluia... Christ Lives in you!

Once again we wish you all the Joys of Easter

Easter Eggs!

Easter Eggs constitute an important part of the post-liturgical celebrations of the Easter. Eggs symbolize new life and Christ risen means exactly that - New Life. We can give numerous such explanations for eggs being associated to the celebrations during Easter. But in one of the shopping malls in Hong Kong, some skilled artists have done some creative job with eggs. See the slide to enjoy the fine work of art, mostly done with eggs!

This art-work on eggs are on display at the Telford Plazza in Hong Kong