Saturday, March 02, 2013

Welcome to Macau-China Bulletin Blog - March 2013

Lunar New Year Celebrations....

Lunar New Year is a special time of family re-unions for the Chinese.  “To the various peoples of the Far East—the Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and others, who are celebrating the Lunar New Year today,  I wish that the aspirations of these peoples for a happy and prosperous life can be fulfilled” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said from his study window on February 10, the first day of the Year of the Snake. 

We Missionaries in China had our share of celebrations as well! Here are a few stills:
Fr. Jose [right] together with Frs. Simon Li [left] and Edward Yu [middle] during the Chinese New Year celebrations in St Benedict Church, Hong Kong 

Lunar New Year in Family

After Mass, the 'table'.We share a few moments of the Lunar New Year celebration at our home in Zhuhai (China):The lady in black, right, is Catholic, owner of a factory with more than 100 employees and offers a large living room on every Sunday at our disposal for the celebration of the Eucharist in this city of Zhuhai with more than 2 million inhabitants, but there is no 'church'.
See if you guess what kind of food we are enjoying ...

Friday, March 01, 2013

Life of Faith - Missionary Life

On the occasion of season of Lent in the context of the Year of Faith, many dioceses in the Mainland China have organized many special programs for reflection, formation and evangelization. We share some of the noteworthy examples:
                                               Zhe Jiang Province
                          100,000 km2 of area and has a population of 55 million

To celebrate Lent in the Year of Faith, the Diocese of Wen Zhou in Inner Mongolia organized a special retreat. The information comes to us through the website of the diocese: On 13 and February, 14 priests, religious and lay people gathered under the theme "Strengthening the faith and proclaim the Gospel".  Numerous testimonies by the faithful was a way of sharing the experience of faith. 11 priests helped in administering the sacrament of reconciliation for the 2,000 strong gathering. For many of them, it was a reunion with faith.
                                              Inner Mongolia Province.
                    It has 1,183,000 km2, an area, two times larger than Spain!

Itinerant priests visit the Basic Ecclesial Communities in this vast territory of Northern China and help the believers to rediscover the faith and enrich their Christian formation. Topics covered in the Month of February were: "God is Love", "Open your heart so you can find God", "Accept the challenges your faith requires."
                                                   Zhaan Xi Province
                               205,800 km2 in area nd 38 million people.

The Diocese of San Yuan, in the province of Zhaan Xi has chosen a missionary training theme for this Lent. More than 80 representatives from 35 Catholic parishes met in retreat and training course from 17 to 24 February. The theme: "The House of the disciples: Re-discovering faith and renewed efforts of evangelization."

Hunger for the Word of God ... and Hunger of bread ...

And hunger for bread ...

We have already told many times about our work with the Amity Printing in China: a group of people who came to be so friendly and grew into a family bonding.

The Amity Printing is part of the Amity Foundation, which has many charitable and cultural activities. One of these activities is a bakery which employs people with intellectual disability ... or with physical disabilities.
The Chinese text says: "Committed to help find employment for people with intellectual disabilities."
This bakery is located in Nanjing (the same city where the printing press is situated). Around a third of employees working here are affected with mental disabilities. It's called "Ai De Bakery" or "Amity Bakery". These people have an intellectual level of children of 5 or 6 years and they have three bakeries in Nanjing. "Here is bread and love" says the poster.

It happened that this news hit the blogs in four days and attracted more than 20,000 hits and 1,500 comments. One of the people who discovered this blog on the internet says: "I immediately went to the site of Amity and after reading the news, bought 5 boxes, all delicious ... Love is different than giving alms. To teach these people to live with independence and dignity is far greater charity to give alms. I hope others will also cooperate. "

Wenzhou diocese holds its first “Little Rock Study Bible” General Assembly

On February 16, 2013, Wenzhou diocese organised its first "Little Rock Study Bible" General Assembly in Yueqing Wengyang Church. Over two thousand participants, members of the “Little Rock” groups from Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Fujian Province, Taizhou, Ningbo, and Wenzhou took part in the gathering.  The activities were divided into three parts: lecture, testimonies, and the Eucharist.
The assembly was guided into prayer by the parish priest of Yueqing Parish, Fr. Wu and was followed by the words from the bishop of the Wenzhou diocese, Bishop Shao. The bishop congratulated the members of the “Little Rock” for their successful campaign of encouraging lay people to read the Bible daily, as a way of transforming their lives.

The lecture was given by Fr. Zhang. It was divided into four parts, namely, “the Word and the Church”, “the Word and liturgy”, “the Word and life”, and “the Word and evangelization”.
The lecture was followed by the testimonials. Some of the participants recounted their personal life-changing stories upon reading the Bible, thus confirming the sayings of the Little Rock, “open the Bible, let life change.” They have found true, joy, refuge, and the light of life.
The assembly ended with the Thanksgiving Mass presided by Bishop Shao. During the homily Bishop Shao encouraged everyone to read the Bible, reminding them that "not knowing the Bible means not knowing Christ. Reading the Bible brings about many insights and fruits into one's own life". He also encouraged the participants to share the Word with those who do not hear it yet, because only by being obedient to the Spirit and sharing the Word with the world one can truly become the servant of God.  The bishop proclaimed St. Paul as the patron saint of the Little Rock Study Bible movement in the Wenzhou diocese. The mass ended with all the participants being commissioned to go and share the Word with the world.

Sharing ...

 Cardinal Filoni presenting the Catholic Directory of India.
For years, we collaborate in our Publishing Ministry with our sister publisher - Claretian Publication in India. And our good friend, Fr. Benny, has just released an immense work: The Catholic Directory of India. The work was assigned to the Claretian Publications by the Catholic Bishop Conference of India [CBCI] for the second time.

Cardinals with the copies of the CDI
The releasing of The Catholic Directory of India was held in New Delhi and was attended by cardinals and bishops. Benny sends us the stills from the event:
Fr. James K, Provincial Superior of the Claretians of Bangalore, India [left] and Fr. Benny, Director, Claretian Publications, Bangalore [Right], on the occasion of the release of the CDI

Macau hosts youth camp for faith formation

Lunar Year holidays for Chinese is a season for gathering and family reunion. In 13-19 Feb, as Lent began,  80 Chinese youth met in Macau for a happy gathering and faith formation program. 
Trans-cultural and trans-languages, they were from Malaysia, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and speaking Chinese, Portuguese and Cantonese.
Input sessions: about the Holy Trinity, from personal knowledge to community life.
 Morning prayer, praise and dancing by seaside.

Fasting day (with only water) and skit: The Passion of Jesus. Being a facilitator, a religious sister said, "Somehow we have too much fear to allow young people fasting and knowing the suffering Jesus. Now I see their commitment and how they love the Lord." 
The cultural night with shows.
Winnie, our Chinese editor of the Claretians publications, was one of the facilitators accompanied the youth in visiting historical Churches and street evangelisation. 
The youth joined the Good Jesus procession of the first Sunday of Lent, each of them tied a purple ribbon on the wrist. Up holding their hand as a sign of the group, they were willing to up hold the Christian way of life and value as the sign of their faith in the society.

Our Editorial Team

Claretian Publications and the Pastoral Bible Foundation are two projects of the Claretians in Macau in the Publication ministry. We work mainly in Chinese, English and Spanish. Our editors work in different countries, thanks to the  the internet and advanced technologies. Today we introduce two of our editors:

Fr. Joseph M. Ruiz Marquez is the author of most of the commentaries to the Biblical texts of the New Testament in the Biblia de Nuestro Pueblo. These days he is in Macau, working on more extensive commentaries on the New Testament.

Winnie Wong is our editor for publications in Chinese. Our latest project is the preparation of  new commentary to the Old Testament in Chinese.

Our publications

One of our latest arrivals is the Special Edition of the Bible for Panama, commemorating the 500th anniversary of evangelization in that country.

The Chinese Church under the Pope Emeritus: A reflection

Ever since the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation broke, a lot has been said and discussed about the tensed Sino-Vatican relationships and critics say, this pope has failed in terms of China-Vatican relations.  An article by published by the UCAN evaluates the contributions of Pope Benedict XVI to the Chinese Church and opines that "the Chinese Catholics would give the pontiff substantial credit for what he has done for the Church in China.
"During his eight-year pontificate, Pope Benedict erected two Hong Kong bishops — Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and John Tong Hon — as cardinals. He also made Cardinal Fernando Filoni and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai prefect and secretary-general of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which is responsible for missions around the world, including China.
Chinese faithful hold up signs reading "Thank you" during Pope Benedict XVI's 24 February, Sunday blessing, in St. Peter's Square

"These four figures have in-depth knowledge of the China Church gained through teaching experience in mainland seminaries and research on Church life in the Communist country. Additionally, in 2007, Pope Benedict established a commission, comprising experts and missionaries, to deal with important issues concerning the China Church. In June that same year, Pope Benedict wrote a pastoral letter to Chinese Catholics. It was the only letter he addressed to Catholics of a specific country. In it, he created a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.
Cardinal John Tong Hon (L), Archbishop of Hong Kong receives the biretta cap from Pope Benedict XVI in Saint Peter's Basilica on February 18, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican

"The theologian pope’s letter was his response to long-standing demand of Chinese Catholics for unambiguous instructions on a number of key issues related to their faith life. He did not avoid mentioning tensions between the “open” and “unregistered” Catholic communities but pointed out their problems, as well as the position the Church holds on dialogue with the Communist government.
Bishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai from Hong Kong, receives a blessing by Pope Benedict XVI during a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

"In a footnote, the papal document also rejected the constitution of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, stating that it is incompatible with Catholic doctrine. This government-sanctioned entity, which advocates an independent Church principle as well as governmental interference regarding bishops’ appointments, are the main sources of conflict between the two communities and with the civil authorities.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Archbishop of Hong Kong, receives the biretta cap from Pope Benedict XVI , March 24, 2006.
"The Vatican under his leadership is bravely saying “no” to the world’s largest Communist regime. When China decided to ordain unsuitable candidates as bishops once again, after its previous attempts in 2006, the Holy See first persuaded the candidates to rethink. After these efforts failed, it declared publicly for the first time in 2011 that a clergyman receiving episcopal ordination without papal mandate would incur automatic excommunication.
A member of the Diocesan Youth Group from Hong Kong, receiving Communion from the Holy Father

Though some critics may look upon his adherence to Church principles as “conservative,” we need to recognize that the nature of the Vatican's diplomacy is different from other states. It must comply with principles of faith because its ultimate goal is pastoral...

Pope Benedict XVI may have lost marks on his diplomatic relations with the communist regime. Yet his contribution to maintaining the integrity of the faith of the China Church is substantial enough to give him a place in Church history.
                                                                                                - Courtesy:

And to say goodbye ..

We always share a unique and interesting note about China and the Chinese. 
Here's one for a good time and admire ...