Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Welcome to the Macau-China Bulletin, June 2011

Dear Friends, you know that China is a large and very complex country; and it is considered to be the final frontier for the Church. Perhaps you may have already learned, for example, that China has one of the greatest networks of rail lines in the whole world…; recently, they have inaugurated a special route between Shanghai and Beiging (1300 klms.) and the speed train covers the distance in 5 hours, and such other news of the sort. These and the similar news reach you by other means and Media.

We, through this blog, want to share also 'the small news' of our Christian communities in this large and great land. They are drops in the ocean, but they are ferment of the transformation of the Christian communities in the Mainland. And these are the news that you will not have access to through the regular news Media. Welcome to the June 2011 issue of the Macau Bulletin:-

The explosion… of the Word

This happened in Datong, but before a little history...
Datong is situated in northern Shanxi Province. It is bordered by Inner Mongolia to the North and Hebei Province to the east. Covering an area of 14,176 square kilometers (5473 square miles), Datong has four districts and seven counties under its prefecture.
It is the second largest city in Shanxi Province with a population of 2.99 million.

Known as the 'City of the Coal', Datong has developed into the second largest industrial city in Shanxi due to its advantage in energy. Its large reserves of coal make it a very important energy base for China. Datong is one of the 24 famous historical and cultural cities in China due to its ever prosperous history.
The Hanging Gardens, Datong
By the end of March, 2011, the diocese of Datong, China organized a Bible Study seminar. About 160 participants between 20 to 60 years, including university students attended the seminar. This was the first time the Diocese organize a Bible study seminar of this sort. By the end of the seminar, they promised that they would read the Bible everyday by following the methods taught during the sessions.
The Budha Caves
The Religious Sister who conducted the Bible seminar had this to say: "To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus is like throwing a bomb. Wherever the first Christians threw the bomb, it exploded and many were converted to Christianity, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, 3000 people were baptized after the speech of St. Peter (3:37-41), and another 5000 were added later. Today I see the bomb is exploding among you, since all of you are so attentively studying the Bible, I see hope in all of you! ”

Towards the New Evangelization

Jinzhong in the Province of Zhanxi. The City has
about 100,000 inhabitants

Participants of the Evangelizers' Training Program
In the Month of April this year, the diocese of Jinzhong in the province of Zhanxi has organized for the tenth time 'The evangelizers' training program. The training camp was held for eight days attended by 148 participants including priests, nuns and the lay leaders. The training session was organized with the theme: “How to be and evangelizer in today's China”

150 Roses

On 8 May 2011, the second Sunday of Easter, was also the Mother’s Day. The Haikou parish priest celebrated special Mass for all the mothers of the parish. In his homily, the parish priest, Fr. Yang praised the mothers who dedicate their life to their families, and encouraged them to continue to live a life after the example of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and to take the great responsibility of being mothers.

From the Celebration of the Mothers' Day
After the Mass, the priest greeted all the mothers with a rose. There are about 150 roses were given to the mothers together with the blessing of God.

Hǎikǒu (Chinese: 海口), is the capital city of Hainan Province, People's Republic of China. It is situated on the north east coast of Hainan island, and had an estimated population of 1.8 million in 2010, making it by far the largest city on the island. Hainan is formed by different islands.

Pilgrimage in Cangzhou diocese

Cangzhou (simplified Chinese: 沧州; traditional Chinese: 滄州;) is a prefecture-level city in Hebei province, People's Republic of China. Cangzhou's urban center has a population of approximately 488,600 (2004), while the prefecture-level administrative region in total has a population of 6.8 million. It lies 180 km from Beijing, China's capital, and 90 km from the major port city of Tianjin.
The city has historically been known in China for its wushu–or martial arts–and acrobatics (specifically, the Wu Qiao school). Cangzhou is also famed for its historic thousand-year-old 40-ton sculpture, the Iron Lion of Cangzhou. The sculpture is reportedly the largest cast-iron sculpture in the world, cast in 953 in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The famed lion has even given its name to a locally-brewed beer and is a symbol of the city

On May 8th, 2011, there was a great pilgrimage in Cangzhou diocese, Hebei. Faithful from the surrounding regions attended the special Mass. A Scene from the Marian Procession
Bishop Li Liangui presided over the Eucharistic Celebration with over 40 priests concelebrating. During his homily, Bishop Li encouraged people to develop the devotion to Our Blessed Virgin Mary, and to follow her example, and to seek always Her intercession for our needs.

Formation of Evangelizers

In another corner of the province of Hebei a group of 700 Christians have met in an evangelisation forum. The photos speak….
Our friend and collaborator P. Huang Yu Tao during a training session
lots of people… lack of space!
Time to listen...
...and time to pray
A jam-packed Church

The Good Shepherds in the classrooms

The Catholic Education Office scheduled an in-service day for all 12,000 teachers working in Catholic schools in the diocese of Hong Kong on May 20, under the theme, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14).
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong Sir Donald Tsang Yam-Kuen [third from left] and Bishop John Tong Hon arriving at the gathering of Catholic School Teachers
Education is one of the highly valued services offered by the Hong Kong diocese. Over the past century-and-a-half, the diocese has become one of the major school sponsoring bodies and providers of education in the territory, with 278 schools serving more than 200,000 students. While there is no argument over the innate value of education, the diocese does have concerns over the quality of the service it is offering. Quality education does not come about simply as a result of high ideals. Good teachers are needed to make it happen. Teachers are important role models for our young people.

While knowledge and teaching skill is a basic necessity, a more important aspect of their work involves their attitude towards life and their work. This has a profound effect on the culture and atmosphere on the campuses of Catholic schools. Teachers are expected to be more than just classroom instructors. They are also expected to have a sense of mission in the spirit and teaching of the gospels.
A still from the program
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,” was a well-chosen topic for the teachers’ gathering. The metaphor of a shepherd is inspirational. Teachers are challenged to follow the example of Christ in identifying the members of their flocks, walking with them and guiding them with care and love.
The most effective way to win the respect of young people and to influence their lives is through the type of loving care that Jesus talks about in the parable of the Good Shepherd.
- The Sunday Examiner

Former Vatican representative in Hong Kong to head Evangelization of Peoples

The former representative of the Vatican study mission in Hong Kong, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, who is currently the deputy secretary of state in the Vatican, has been named as the new prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation.

The Italian-born diplomat has a lot of experience in dealing with China. In his position in the study mission in Hong Kong from 1992 to 2001, he acted as a link between the Holy See and the official and unofficial Church communities in the Mainland. Several Church observers believe he is a highly suitable choice to head the Vatican congregation, which oversees and coordinates the worldwide mission activities of the Church.

Archbishop Filoni 'knows China and understands the Vatican well. At this very important moment, we are expecting many things from him' UCA news quoted an observer. “His study mission experience has made him familiar with the difficulties in political and Church matters and he knows many Chinese bishops and priests personally.

As prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation, he will supervise the work of the Church in mission territories. The prefect of this pivotal congregation is sometimes known as the Red Pope, because of the enormous influence he has over the appointment of bishops, particularly in Asia and Africa.

A Pilgrimage to Medjugorje

The Statue of our Lady on the Apparition Hill
During the semester vacation in May Fr. Jose accompanied a group of pilgrims from the Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Chinese flag fluttering in Bosnia!
A view from the Apparition Hill
The sixteen member group with four from the Mainland, four from Macau and the rest from Hong Kong reached Medjugorje for a ten-days pilgrimage on 1 May. Medjugorje is about 3 hours by bus south of Sarajevo Airport.
Pilgrims on the Cross Mountain, after praying
the "Way of the Cross"

Međugorje or Medjugorje (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈmɛdʑuɡɔːrjɛ]) is a town located in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Herzegovina region around 25 km southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia. Since 1981, it has become a popular site of religious pilgrimage due to reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local Catholics.

The name Međugorje literally means "an area between mountains". At an altitude of 200 meters above sea level it has a mild Mediterranean climate. The town consists of an ethnically-homogeneous Croat population of over 4,000. The Roman Catholic parish (local administrative and religious area) consists of five neighboring villages, Međugorje, Bijakovići, Vionica, Miletina and Šurmanci.

In March 2010, the Holy See announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was forming an investigative commission, composed of bishops, theologians, and other experts, under the leadership of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's former Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.
While a large number of faithful believe that the apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje to six "visionaries" from 24 June 1981 are true and the messages of Peace for the world for the past 30 long years are indeed from our Lady, there are also skeptics who doubt its truthfulness.

Fr. Jose and two of his companions with Bishop
Everhardus Johannes de Jong
of the Diocese of Roermond,
Netherlands on the Cross Mountain

The one important argument they put forward is that the Vatican has not yet approved the developments in Medjugorje. An Irish priest whom I met in Medjugorje phrased it well when he said, "if Medjugorje were a work of the devil, he has done a big mistake, because people come here to pray the Rosary, go to confession, participate in the Eucharist and adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They go home, with a conversion of heart and a spiritual renewal. If it were the work of devil, he had huge miscalculation!"

During a Eucharistic Celebration in Chinese,
in the Adoration Chapel

I found a blog, answering most of the oft-repeated questions on Medjugorje.

Click the link for further reading:

The Official webpage of Medjugorje is available in the following link:

The Parish Church of St. James, Medjugorje

What impressed me most in Medjugorje was the spiritual renewal that takes place in the Parish of St. James. To be frank, my primary intention of going there was to see the place and to "know" what is happening there! But once you are there, you realize that there is nothing much that fascinates the tourists there.

The place of Apparition. See the number stones around!

Except for the Apparition Hill and the Cross Mountain, both of which are 'nothing but heaps of stones', tourists will have nothing to see there. If the purpose of visit is tourism, one can finish seeing the whole area in less than a day's time. But what is amazing is, people who come here, stays here for four to five days or even more!

Statue of the Risen Christ

The focal point of the parish of St. James is to promote the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin. Thousands of people attend the three-hour long liturgy in the parish, every day. A couple of dozens of priests concelebrate the Eucharist everyday. And hundreds of people come to the confessional everyday. When we realize the peculiar socio-political background of Bosnia and the struggles of the faithful for the sake of their faith in this part of the world, the very life of the Church, so active and lively, itself is a big miracle. Indeed, I had a beautiful pilgrimage!
On return, I visited the Claretian Communities in Wurzburg and Frankfurt, Germany. Here, with Fr. James Patteril, CMF [in the left] in Wurzburg...
and with my brother Fr. Tomy Cherukara [in the middle row], in Aschaffenburg

Fr. Jojo meets the new Bishop of Jiangmen

Jiāngmén( 江門) is a prefecture-level city in Guangdong province in southern China with a population of about 3.8 million. Msgr. Liang counts with the approval of the Chinese government and the Vatican.

Bishop Liang Jiansen [left] with Fr. Jojo

Fr. Jojo, CMF recently paid a visit to the newly appointed bishop Msgr. Liang Jiansen of Jiangmen. The city of Zhuhai, where we have a couple of apartments, belongs to this new diocese. Zhuhai with a population of over 2 million people does not even have a church building. There are less than 10 priests in this diocese. Msgr. Liang has been approved by the Vatican and by the Chinese government.

China is 1.34 Billion Strong, but graying too

China’s population is aging and increasingly urban, according to the 2010 government census released on April 28. Almost half of the population of 1.34 billion (49.7 per cent) now lives in cities, up from about 36 per cent 10 years ago.

The proportion of people aged 14 or under came out at 16.6 per cent, down by 6.29 percentage points from the last census in 2000. The number aged 60 or older grew to 13.26 per cent, up almost three percentage points. The rapid rise in average age is raising concerns about the capacity of the nation to sustain the high levels of growth it has achieved in the past 30 years.

The government one-child policy is seen as one reason for the graying population. The average household now numbers 3.1 people, down from 3.44 a decade ago. Increasingly, Chinese media are calling for a halt to the one-child policy, which was introduced in the 1980s to manage population growth at a time of slow economic development and widespread poverty. Speaking at a recent meeting of Communist Party leaders, the president, Hu Jintao, backed the continuation of the current policy in order to keep population growth low.

Some analysts believe that the same policy has undermined China’s traditional extended family system, giving rise to a generation of single-child families, leaving the problem of caring for aging parents up in the air.

Pope makes appeal for Church in China

24 May is the day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. The Pope took this opportunity to invite the faithful everywhere to join in prayer with and for the Church in China.

While the Church in China is growing, Christ there, as in other places around the world is still rejected, ignored, or persecuted. The Holy Father asked "all Chinese Catholics to continue and to deepen their own prayers, especially to Mary, the powerful Virgin. At the same time all Catholics throughout the world have a duty to pray for the Church in China: those members of the faithful have a right to our prayers, they need our prayers".
"Chinese Catholics, as they have said many times, want unity with the universal Church, with the Supreme Pastor, with the Successor of Peter. By our prayers we can obtain for the Church in China that it remains one, holy and Catholic, faithful and steadfast in doctrine and in ecclesial discipline".
Although many Chinese bishops, priests, and faithful encounter difficulties in freely professing their faith, with our prayers, the Pope emphasized that "we can help them to find the path to keep their faith alive, to keep their hope strong, to keep their love for all people ardent, and to maintain in its integrity the ecclesiology that we have received from the Lord and the Apostles ".
In conclusion, the Holy Father asked Mary "to enlighten those who are in doubt, to call back the straying, to console the afflicted, and to strengthen those who are ensnared by the allure of opportunism".


Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians", the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection. We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens. When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live. From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence. Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

The Shrine Cathedral at Sheshan, China

Every year, on 24 May, people come from all over China to Sheshan, Shanghai, for pilgrimage, to pray to Our Lady of Help. This year too, with the message from the Pope “pray for the Church in China, for those oppressed and those tempted by opportunism”, pilgrims gathered in large numbers at the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan.

The Procession during the Feast Day celebrations on 24 May
According to the reports, there were about over 10,000 people together praying and celebrating the Feast instituted by the Pope.

Bible Diary 2012

Besides working in China and for China, we also followed with our ministry of Publications. We have already completed the printing of "Diario Biblico 2012" - the Bible Diary 2012 in Spanish. We have printed 90,000 copies that are leaving already for 25 international ports…

Truly, `from China to the world' - taking the Word of God to the world, in collaboration with the Claretians of Latin America. Other publications in Chinese and English are already in preparation at the press.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; ) is one of two special administrative regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the other being Macau. Situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong's population is 95 percent ethnic Chinese and 5 percent from other groups.

As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the ninth most traded currency in the world. The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture and the world's most vertical city. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world. Hong Kong has numerous high international rankings in various aspects. For instance, its economic freedom, financial and economic competitiveness, quality of life, corruption perception, Human Development Index, etc., are all ranked highly. Enjoy the slides for a quick look at the land and culture of Hong Kong.