Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Welcome to the China-Macau Bulletin, February 2012

Legend behind the New Year Story
In Chinese, Chinese New Year Eve is called Chu-Xi or Guo-Nihn . Chu means removal. Xi means night. Gwo means passing. Nihn means year. Original meaning of Nihn is related to farmer's harvest. Chinese Farmers celebrated their achievement for the past year, appreciated the gracious reward given from the god, and prayed for the same luck for the coming year.
Nobody knows when the legendary story about Nihn began. Nihn was a ferocious beast. It had lion-type head with elephant-type body. Nihn couldn't find the food in the cold winter time, because many animals hibernated in the mountains. Hence, it had go down from the mountain to find the livestock. Later, It become a man-eater.
Nihn was too strong to kill. For the fear of Nihn, every winter night, people kept themselves locked-up inside the house. Years later, people found out that Nihn was afraid of red, fire and noisy sound. So they cut red-color peach wood hanging on the door, made a campfire in the front of the door. When Nihn approached the village, then people put the bamboo into the fire to make cracking sound. They also beat the metal kitchen and farming utensils to make noisy sound to scare Nihn away.
Those who survived the passing night, celebrated congratulated each other on the next day. People felt like a restarting point after passing the disaster. Then, they called Guo-Nihn (passing Nihn) as the day before the new starting day. [Does the story sound a bit too familiar? Going back to the book of Exodus and reading the Pass-over story might help!]
The Chinese New Year is for sure the most colourful celebration among the whole of Chinese population. Every year, the new year is welcomed with cleaning up the households, family reunion meals, prayers, greetings, exchange of gifts, fireworks, and cultural events. The Following clip shows this year's New Year Parade in Hong Kong.

- Courtesy: TVB

International colloquium on “Asian Cultures in Dialogue”

Fifty experts, scholars of culture and religions of Asia, from Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Taoism - from ten countries and regions in Asia and Western countries met in Thailand to address some issues and respond to urgent needs of modern society.
Among the most important issues discussed at the meeting include the violence, economic crisis, corruption, conflicts between cultures, environmental damage, destruction of cultures and values ​​and good governance.

The meeting was held at the Catholic University of the Assumption of Bangkok, with the theme: "Dialogue between cultures of Asia." The event was an initiative of Archbishop of Guwahati Thomas Menamparampil, the office responsible for the Evangelization at the Federation of Asia Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
Fr. Jojo [left] with Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil [Middle]
The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the rich religious and cultural diversity of different countries, to promote positive attitudes toward other religious traditions and highlight the contents of goodness, truth and beauty as well as promote cooperation with other faiths in pursuit of a mutual understanding and sharing of common concerns. Fr. Jojo Ancheril, cmf., was Special guest for this event.

Bishop Tong becomes the 7th Chinese Cardinal in history

As they celebrate the New Year and enter the Year of the Dragon, Chinese Catholics have additional reasons for rejoicing: Pope Benedict XVI will make Hong Kong’s Bishop John Tong Hon a cardinal on February 18 and, for the first time in history, there will be three Chinese in the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal-elect Bishop John Tong Hon
Bishop Tong is the seventh Chinese cardinal in the history of the Church, and the first to be born in Hong Kong. A quiet, scholarly, reserved, spiritual man, he spent ten of the first twelve years of his life in mainland China.

He holds a Master's degree in Chinese philosophy. Since 1980 he has been Director of the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong, the leading Catholic research centre on the Church in China, and is one of the most informed people on this subject. He is also a member of the China Commission established by Pope Benedict.Bishop John Tong Hon [in the middle] with Frs. Josep Abella, Superior General [left], Mario [second from right] and Marcel-li Fonts, Delegate Superior [right] in 2010

He firmly believes that “only dialogue and negotiation can resolve conflicts”. At the same time he insists that Beijing has to “allow complete religious freedom and human rights to all our brothers and sisters in the Church”, if it wants normal relations with the Catholic Church. As cardinal, he can play a significant role by helping bridge the gap between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities.

Bishop Tong considers himself “unworthy and privileged” to be named cardinal, he told Hong Kong’s Sunday Examiner, January 9. He regards this honor as “a sign of the Pope’s great love and concern for the Catholic Church in China, and an encouragement for the efforts of the Hong Kong diocese in its efforts to promote reconciliation and full communion between the China Church and the Universal Church.”
Claretians of China region seen with Bishop John Tong Hon
at the Maryknolls House in Hong Kong
Bishop Tong was born to non-Catholic parents on 31 July 1939 as the first of three children (two boys and one girl). When he was two years old the Japanese invaded Hong Kong and his family had to move to Macau (his mother’s birthplace). Soon after, however, to ensure his safety, his parents sent him to stay with his paternal grandmother in a village in Guangdong province, mainland China (where his father was born). He remained there until the age of six. After the war ended on 15 August 1945, he was reunited with his family in Canton, and started primary school. But then his father, an accountant, fell ill with tuberculosis, and his mother had to work as a teacher to support the family.

After the war, his mother, who had studied in a Catholic school, decided to become a Catholic and was baptized. In the following years the whole family followed suit.

In those years, the Communists and the Nationalists engaged in fierce fighting in northern and central China, and many wounded, destitute soldiers sought refuge in Canton where the Tong family lived. The young John witnessed the compassion and love shown by the Catholic missionaries (American Maryknollers) in Canton to these people, and was greatly impressed. His parish priest, who introduced him to Catholic primary school, was among them and his example inspired him to become a priest.

Underground Christians must learn to forgive as does the Pope

AsiaNews published an interview with the Secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, Chinese Msgr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai. The last question was dedicated to the accusation made by those who argue that the Vatican has somehow "forgotten" Chinese underground community.

Msgr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai

This is the answer of the archbishop:

"It is often said that the Vatican has forgotten about them, but it is not true. The Holy See can not publicise all the help it gives and its closeness to them. We help the whole Church and do not distinguish between official and underground, and take into account what is important for evangelization. It is also important that the underground communities learn to forgive: the martyr, like St. Stephen, is also one who forgives. For example, in the case of illicit Episcopal ordinations of months ago, many official bishops were obliged to attend. After this many of them asked for forgiveness from the Holy Father. And the Pope granted it. They also must be magnanimous and rebuild unity in reconciliation"

Macau celebrates 98th International Day of Migrants

The Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Macau has taken the leadership in organizing the 98th International Day of the Migrants in Macau on Sunday, 15 January. A few thousand people got together for a celebration of the Eucharist and then shared a meal with people from different countries, culture and religion. Fr. Jojo was one of the organizers of the event. Local television channels (in Chinese, English and Portuguese) echoed the voice of immigrants and the displaced, to share their views and claim their rights. The clipping from the English News bulletin shows a short interview with Fr. Alberto on the event.

"The art of living together" - Fr. Cristo Rey

Fr. José Cristo Rey García Paredes, cmf
On the feast of the Holy Family on 30 December, the P. José Cristo Rey García Paredes, Well known Claretian Theologian, writer and lecturer, offered Claretian priests and religious of Macau, a reflection in English on the theme: "The Art of Living Together".
We were joined by about 80 persons including Bishop Jose Lai, the Bishop of Macao. The sharing of a family meal, where everyone had something to contribute reinforced the theme of the day: "The art of living together"

"One Hundred Years of Grace" for the Diocese of Tian Jin

Tianjin diocese has begun a year-long series of special celebrations marking 100 years of a permanent Catholic presence in the northern Chinese city. The opening Mass took place at the Charity Mansion, one of the oldest Catholic buildings in Tianjin. During the Holy Mass, the founding of the Apostolic Vicariate of Coastal Chi-Li in 1912 was commemorated. The Vicariate was renamed Tianjin in 1924. It was later elevated to a diocese in 1946 when the Holy See established the Church hierarchy in China.

In 1866, when Catholicism was first introduced to Tianjin, nuns from the French Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul order opened the Charity Mansion to serve the sick and orphans. 10 nuns were killed here by an anti-Catholic crowd during the Tianjin Massacre in 1870. The diocese, which covers Tianjin municipality, has two bishops, around 40 priests and more than 100,000 Catholics.

Our publications

Throughout our monthly newsletters we used to let you know of our editorial work done at the Claretian Publications, Macau. An important part of our work to China and the rest of the world is done online. We have been regularly updating our website

It is so heartening when we get emails like this from the remotest corners of the world:

"Thank you for the wonderful page of" Liturgy Alive. " The Holy Spirit speaks clearly through you and feeds me each and every day. That love and peace of Christ be with you today and always. "
Our website has content in English, Chinese and Spanish .... You can 'click' here:In addition we introduce the latest arrival: "The Catholic Study Bible", that has just arrived in our hands. A hardcover edition and a deluxe edition are available.
The Catholic Study Bible is best presented and most complete, we have published to date. Copies of the first edition have been sold prior to publication. We have the rights to publish this Bible study in Asia and Africa.

The Winter Wonderland

Colorful ice sculptures and winter activities can be found at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China’s northern Heilongjiang province, on Jan. 5, 2012. Visitors from all over the world brave sub zero temperatures to view the beautiful works of art and participate in winter activities like sledding.

Yet another clip, celebrating the human skills! The message is simple - sky is the limit for one who has a will to go! Enjoy!!