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.

HONG KONG. The Year of the Laity has been extended: commitment of the lay within the basic ecclesial communities

After a year of positive experience the bishop of Hong Kong has extended the celebration of the Year of the Laity until December 31, 2012, "because with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the numbers of conversions of our diocese continue to grow and our faith continues to mature". After the first year devoted to formation, the second Year of the Laity, which the diocese celebrates in 2012, will stress above all the implementation of the commitments on behalf of the lay in the basic ecclesial communities. 

After a year of experience focused on the formation of the lay, the diocese now encourages the faithful to participate in the life of the basic ecclesial communities, thus creating a network of lay and parish faith formation. Among the proposals: the recitation of the prayer composed for the Year of the Laity and Liturgy of the Hours; daily meditation of the Gospel of the day and the Word of God; the participation in solidarity and charity work; sharing faith with the non-Christians, and the utmost attention to respecting human rights, starting from the district where you live to the whole society of Hong Kong.

Inauguration of the largest square in the inner Mongolian steppe dedicated to "Our Lady of Mongolia"

Inner Mongolia is one Province of China (not to be confused with the country of Mongolia – to the north). Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation. Its capital is Hohhot and the largest city is Baotou. Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was established in 1947. It is the third-largest subdivision of China spanning about 1,200,000 km² (463,000 sq mi) or 12% of China's total land area. Just to give you an idea, this Province is about the size of Mexico. It has a population of about 25 million. 

 Our Lady of Mongolia 

The largest and the most beautiful square in the inner Mongolian steppe, in the diocese of Baotou, was inaugurated a few days ago and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Over three thousand faithful attended the inauguration and blessing of the square and the statue, depicting Our Lady of Mongolia, presided by three diocesan Bishops and concelebrated by about thirty priests. 

According to what was reported to Fides by Faith of He Bei, the square, which has an area of 7,488 square meters with 4,000 square meters of green belt, is located in front of the ancient church of Ershisiqingdi, which was built in 1904 and is historically considered the starting point of the last phase of the evangelization of the current diocese of Baotou. The church was also the Cathedral of the diocese. The statue of Our Lady is 8.42 meters high and is dressed in the traditional Mongolian clothes, holding baby Jesus in her arms, this is why she has been called with great devotion by the faithful "Our Lady of Mongolia". 

The inauguration of the square completes the reconstruction and restoration of the parish complex, which began in July 2009 with the financial help of local authorities - three million Yuan (about 400,000 Euros), in order to give life to a "Cultural and Religious Tourism Area" around the church.

Asian Bishops

"Religious fundamentalism is the greatest danger in the continent" 

The phenomenon of secularization and the growth of religious fundamentalism are "the two greatest challenges of evangelization in Asia", says Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, Archbishop of Guwahati (India) and President of the Evangelization office in the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). The Archbishop points out that the main themes of the meeting between Bishops, theologians, experts on the continent, that the Office of the FABC will hold in the coming days in Bangkok, on the theme "Evangelization in Asia, in the context of secularism and fundamentalism".

In the meeting, explains the Archbishop, "we will try to delve into the allegations contained in the essay 'Secularization' by Steve Bruce (Oxford 2011), in which the expert considers secularization an irreversible phenomenon of modern era". "His data are based, above all, on the low number of people who go to churches - observes the Archbishop - but this cannot be the sole criterion". There is no doubt that secularization "is felt also in Asia, especially among young people or families", the Archbishop continues, noting that "fundamentalism flourishes on secularization, which exploits the emotions and needs of people". 

"In Asia, the greatest danger is precisely religious fundamentalism: on the one hand, Pentecostalism, which attracts and takes away the Catholic faithful from the Church; on the other hand Islamic fundamentalism, which disturbs social and religious harmony". To this phenomenon the Church "cannot respond with an aggressive approach" but "investigating and understanding the social and psychological reasons which make them bloom." The Asian Bishops will study the modalities and appropriate responses: "We object to secularization by helping to build secular values universally valid; the answer to fundamentalism is, however, authentic religion".

Macau Priest’s Meeting

The monthly priest’s meeting of Macau was held across the border in the city of Zhuhai where we have a residence. The group, presided by bishop Jose Lai, was interested in knowing about the Claretians, our presence and ministry in China and, especially the work of publication of Chinese books.

Bishop Jose Lai and priests working
in Macau at the Claretian house in Zhuhai.

Claret Feast Day – Claretian Mission Day – 75th anniversary of the Barbastro Martyrs

We have united the three events into three day celebration. 
Here is the program in English and Chinese:

New Publications

The Pastoral Bible Foundation and Claretian Publications have reached an agreement with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the United States and with Liturgical Press to acquire the printing and distribution rights of the new NABRE Bible (New American Bible Revised Edition) for Asia and Africa.  

At the same time, negotiations are ongoing with Catholic Book Publishing for the printing and distribution of a cheaper edition of the NABRE Bible aso for distribution in Asia and Africa. 

Open the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible and feel at home with the Word of God. Through accessibly written information and engaging visuals that highlight and clarify significant areas of Scripture, readers will easily gain an understanding of these ancient texts that can be carried into today’s world. Using the authorized translation in the New American Bible Revised Edition, this lasting volume is ideal for both personal use and group Bible study. The valuable information in the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible is offered in small notes and inserts that accompany the Bible texts as well as in expanded essays, articles, and graphics. Key symbols help readers quickly identify the type of information they need, such as explanations, definitions, dates, character and author profiles, archaeological insights, personal prayer starters, and insights connecting Scripture and its use in today’s church. Colorful maps, timelines, photographs, and charts further enhance the study experience. Longer articles are dedicated to explaining study Bible fundamentals, the Catholic Church’s use of the Bible, and the people and places of the biblical world.

Chinese Daily Gospel 2012

This book with the daily liturgical readings for 2012 
and short commentaries 
has gone out of print already…twice. 
We are printing it for the third time. 

Meanwhile, the edition for Mainland China, 
has jumped from 20,000 copies last year, to 65,000 copies this year. 

 Our Chinese editors continue with the preparation
of the new translation 
of the New Testament in Chinese. 

Our target date is to have it ready for printing
by the end of 2011.

Graduation at the National Seminary

Claretian Fr. Peter Chao spent several months this year teaching at the National Seminary in Beijing. He was also the spiritual director of a group of priests who were doing renewal courses at the seminary.

Our Friend the Cardinal…

Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila
 is a good friend of the Claretians… 
but especially of Divine de Leon, our partner in Macau 
for Pastoral Bible Foundation and Claretian Publications.

Dear Friend: We want to see you in Macau… and China!
Divine de Leon during her recent visit to Manila,
 with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales.