Monday, December 01, 2014

Welcome to the China Bulletin- December 2014

We Missionaries in China 
wish you all the joys and blessings of 
a prosperous New Year 2015 

Church contributes to the Unity in China: Alberto

O Clarim, the local newspaper of Macau in one of its November issues carried an interview of Fr. Alberto Rossa. Here are the excerpts:  

A priest from Argentina, Fr. Alberto Rossa believes that the Catholicism has contributed to to promote national unity in China.  Born in Argentina, Fr. Alberto has worked for 27 years in the the Philippines, before settling in Macau. During his service in the Philippines and now in Macau,  he was instrumental in developing the Claretian Publications, a subsidiary of the Claret Publishing Group, with offices in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Bangalore, Chennai, Manila, Barcelona, Madrid and in Macau. 

Why Macau? 
Fr. Alberto Rossa: Between 1920 and 1949, We had missionaries of our congregation in Anhui Province, in the People's Republic of China. They Were Expelled, like all other [Catholic missionaries due to the Cultural Revolution], but in our Congregation there was always the desire to do something for China. And as we where in estern part of the world [in the Philippines], near China, I became a volunteer for the mission in China. Later on, other misionaries arrived and now we are in Macau and Hong Kong. 

O Clarim - Talk about the Claretian Publications? 

Alberto- Claretian Publication in Macau is established under the aegis of the Pastoral Bible Foundation, registered in the Philippines. We publish the Bible in twelve languages. Several books are in traditional Chinese for Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in mainland China we publish the Bible in simplified Chinese.

O Clarim- What is the Importance of this work?

Alberto - It's my basis to Work With teams from China and other parts of the world, Especially for the publication of the new translation of the Bible in Chinese. We Recently Launched the New Testament and other books for use of Seminarians or pastoral workers. Since we can not do direct missionary work in mainland China, we indirectly help in the formation of evangelizers. 

O Clarim - There is some institutional bridge Between the publisher and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association? 

Alberto - Publishing books is an open ministry Because it can not be hidden. In the 90s, while I was still in the Philippines, it was Necessary to ask for authorization if I wanted to do something Involving publications.  I have simply asked for permission from the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and, to my surprise, were always generous. They saw the content we wanted to publish and said there was no problem. Since the regulations in PRC prevents us from making the distribution of books in China, we are cooperating with the the largest Catholic publishing house in the country, The Faith Press. Even they can not sell the books on the open market, but they are allowed to publish and distribute books to the six thousand parishes and associations in China 

O Clarim - Catholicism've Helped the unity of China? 

Alberto - Definitely! Catholics want to preserve the culture and accept people as they are. Even the government officials find that the moral values of the people are encouraged by the Catholic Church. Through our publications, we try to help as we can so that the values of the Gospel is spread thoughout China. 

O Clarim - But why are so many Difficulties in Establishing the relationship Between China and the Vatican? 

Alberto - It's very complicated. There were times that were close.  Recently, a Catholic writer [Shueng Chiaretto Kin Yan] presented a manuscript called "Sharing the Joy of the Gospel in China." The last part of the book deals precisely with the difficulties in the relationship between China and the Vatican. The author, himself a Chinese who Studied abroad, Proposes several possibilities. 

O Clarim - Can you tell some of them very briefly? 

AR - The relationship Primarily Should be based on trust, respect and not trying to invade! If not it will be very hard...

O Clarim - For example? ... 

Alberto - Long ago, once in Beijing, I Asked why China is not open to dealing With The Vatican? And the answer I had was that, "how it was possible that the Vatican with one hand extended the olive branch [symbol of peace] and with The other allowed or tolerated those members of the Church always attack the regulations China. 

O Clarim - Will it be due to the concept that the Western powers want to control China? Catholicism is really strong in the West, and China is skeptical of the true intentions of the Church? 

Alberto - Not really. One of the problems now Is That the Catholic Church has no control over the opinions of the people of the Church. There may be a bishop or a person in the United States to say something very strong against the government of China. On the other hand, We have seen recent signs that the Vatican aims to bridge the gap With China.

O Clarim - There is little knowledge of China in the West ...

Alberto- I think people who are now in the Vatican with Pope Francis know what is happening in China and are working on it. This is just my opinion ... 

O Clarim - Do you personally know the Pope Francis? 

Alberto - I do not know, but I can say one thing: The Claret Publishing Group owns the rights of the books Pope Francis wrote while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. These Books Have been translated into 28 languages. In Macau, the Claretian Publications has Published some of these works in English and Traditional and Simplified Chinese. 

O Clarim - What is the latest title from the Publications? 

Alberto - It was not long ago that we published the title "Open Mind, Faithful Heart" by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis in Traditional and Simplified Chinese. 

Reprint for Books on Pope Francis

In the Year 2014, the Claretian Publications have published numerous titles both in Chinese and English on Pope Francis. Now the visit of the Pope to the Philippines next month, there is a great demand for some of our titles, forcing us to go for a second print.
This is a pocket-size book edited by Fr. Alberto 
This book presents the reflections of Pope Francis for  teachers 

FABC Bishops' Visit

The Bishops in-charge of the Social Communication in Asia were gathering in Macau in November for their conference. We were glad to welcome the Bishops to our House Cum Publications during their stay in Macau. The Bishops were appreciative of the publishing ministry by the Claretian Publications in Asia.
Frs. Jijo. Alberto and Mario with the Bishops in Claretian House, Macau 

A Visit to the Old Mission - Huangshan, China

The Huangshan Mission was featured in several earlier issues of the China Bulletin as the Missionaries still cherish an emotional bonding to this pioneering missionary venture in the Mainland China. Huangshan was the first Claretian Mission in China where the missionaries were serving the Church until they were expelled in 1950.

The old mission centre was traced back 19 years ago when Fr. Mario started visiting the mission. Recently together with Fr. Jojo, Fr. Mario paid a visit to Huangshan.
Fr. Mario with Bishop Hefei and some friends in the cathedral church

Fr Mario and his great friend Nicholas. 

Nicholas was an altar boy when missionaries were expelled in  1950. Nicholas served many years in the prison and 'survived' meditating the Gospel of St. John!  He has copied the entire gospel of John in Spanish by hand and holds the manuscripts! 

125 millionth copy of the Bible by Amity

The world’s largest bible factory, operated by the Amity Foundation in Nanjing, has just published its 125 millionth copy amid a surge in demand in China over the past decade.

Just two years after recording its 100 millionth bible, Amity has now sold 65.7 million copies in Chinese languages and exported 59.3 million to 70 countries. “This year we will see even more bibles printed compared to the past year,” Amity’s General Manager Liu Lei is quoted as saying. 

Amity’s factory, a joint venture with United Bible Societies, is the only state-sanctioned bible publisher for China’s domestic market although small underground printers do exist along with a handful of export-only factories. Amity began exporting bibles in 2003, accelerating production after 2008 when it moved into a new factory in Nanjing, the world’s largest bible production facility.
Ms. Divine De Leon and Teresa Li from the Claretian Publications, Macau
at the Amity Press [File]
Claretian Publications, Macau does most of our printing works in Amity both in Chinese and in many other International languages. 

Christianity is the fastest-growing religion in China with up to 100 million followers including 12 million to 21 million Catholics.
- Courtesy: UCA News 

Spiritual Journey of an aspirant from the Mainland

Reflection on "The Life of Pi"
The following note is a reflection of her life in faith by a girl from the Mainland, who aspires to become a nun. The Lord has peculiar ways of calling people whom he loves!
After 2 years I finally watched this Oscar award movie. As my mainland parish priest recommended, it is a good movie for those who have or going to have a religion. Being a Roman Catholic, I found my own conversion experience in it.
    The Same as Pi, I was Born as a Religious Child although none of my parents HAS any Religion. I Thank God for that. He gave me the "seed of contemplation" and all the ability to seek for the Truth. I also had a period in my life that would like to believe every tales about any god and admire them in my creative ways. These memories are like shinny stones, covered already by layers of sand. But God has His own way to polish it again.
    My first Mass was at the feast day of Christ the King. With the melody of entrance antiphon, a drop of holy water dropped right onto my forehead. It was like a seal of Jesus, imprinted on my head and in my heart. Although I barely knew who Jesus was and almost had no concept of Church, I begged the Priest to baptize me right at the next Ester. My intention was simple, since I was going to Hong Kong (an absolute new place for me then) I need to be reserved by God so that He could protect me whatever happens. It proved to be the wisest decision I have ever made though it looked nonsense at that time.
    I have to admit I was anything but a good Catholic after my baptism. I did not go to Church nor did I fast. In short, I suddenly stopped practicing my religion. Few months later, I flew to HK all alone. During those days I felt a deep corruption in my behavior and my heart. I had a relationship but ended in as short as a month. Then I started to go to church irregularly. I went for retreat to find ways to release all the guilty feelings and I cried for no particular reason in front of the Eucharist. All things I did at that time was for atonement. Not because I was frightened of the "after-life" punishment but to prove I am not that worthless. I metaphor that period as in the middle of a swamp, my struggle only make me even more dead. Just as Pi when the first few days he got on the boat with that tiger, and struggled to live but the situation did not improve.

    Then I thought of being a nun. In my impression, they are all good people and I will at least be better to be among them. Silly right? But I am working on it. I attend different Catholic related gatherings and get to know people with absolutely different background from me. Their perceptions and views flooded into my head. I forced myself to swallow without chewing. It seems I had a huge step forward in my religious life and I arrived at the place where I am now. Like Pi, he uses his own ability to learn, to face, and to make his life better. But he is still floating.
    Witnessing the love pounding and echoing between Jesus and our sisters, I started to ask myself "Do I love Him?" It is undoubted that He loves me all the ways He could but do I love Him? Then one day on a bookmark He said to me: How much you feel the love of God is the proof of how much you love Him. He does not even allow me to say there is no love between us!!  Now I finally fell in love with Him, for sure! I am finally landed.

    I believe that all the past has passed and my life is just begun. I did not have as fabulous experiences as Pi did but I have my own interpretation of my life. Thanks Lord for each day He gave me and for the love and blessings . Pray I could be as confirm after years. 
An Aspirant

A Christmas Wish from the Choir of St. Benedict Church, Shatin Wai

Wish all the valued readers of China Bulletin, 
A Blessed Christmas &
A Joyful New Year 2015 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Welcome to the China Bulletin - November 2014

Issue: 100!
Yes! We are glad to reach you with our news, views and comments for 100th time! 
We express our sincere appreciation for your support and encouragement! 
Will begin this issue, taking guard all over again! 
Hence, a recap of the Vol.1, Issue.1  
This issue went on line in April 2006 

Feast of St. Claret celebrated in Hong Kong

The various service groups and pious associations of St. Benedict Church in Shatin Wai, Hong Kong joined hands to celebrate the Feast of St. Antony Mary Claret [1807-1870], the Founder of the Missionary Congregation of the Sons of  the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 24 October.
Fr. Alberto with the Lay Claretian friends
Prior to the Eucharistic Celebration 
Fr. Edward Yu, our Main Celebrant 

Rev. Fr. Edward Yu, Asst. Parish Priest of St. Benedict Church presided over the concelebrated Holy Eucharist. For the parishioners of St. Benedict, this was a way of expressing their love and appreciation for the missionaries. Over two hundred guests from Hong Kong and Macau had joined the celebrations. 

For more visuals from the Feast Day celebrations, check out the video at the end of the page! 

From the Publications

One of our recent titles from the Claretian Publications, "Sharing the Joy of the Gospel in China" by a Chinese author, Chiaretto Kin Sheung Yan, was officially launched in Macau in the last week of October.
The Poster for the event 
The Event 
Chiaretto Kin Sheung Yan (the author); Bishop Jose Lai (Bishop of Macao); Florinda Chan (Secretary for Administration and Justice in Macau) ; Alberto and Jijo  (event coordinator)

Other Titles from the Publications 

"Meeting Jesus" - in Traditional Chinese : One of the four volumes of the book
"Open Mind, Faithful Heart" by Pope Francis 
Daily Gospel 2015 in Simplified Chinese for mainland China 
The cover for the Simplified Chinese version of the title,
"Open Mind, Faithful Heart" by Pope Francis

Fr. Ezakias moves to Rosary Church

Fr. Ezakias Antony Swamy, CMF 
Fr. Ezakias has completed his two years of service in St. Teresa's Church is appointed the Assistant Parish Priest in Rosary Church at Tsim Sha Tsui. On his return after two months of vacation in India, he moved to his new parish on 19 October.  We wish him the very best and God's blessings in abundance in his new parish. 
Rosary Church, Tsim Sha Tsui
Rosary Church in Tsim Sha Tsui was built in 1905. This is the oldest Catholic Church on the Kowloon Peninsula. The history of the Church traces back to the time of the Boxer Uprising in 1900, when Great Britain had mobilized several regiments of army to Hong Kong to be stationed in Kowloon.

Hence, a Mass centre was opened in the premises of the Canossian Missionaries to serve the needs of the Catholic military and lay people. As Tsim Sha Tsui district expanded and the population increased, a small Church which could accommodate 800 people, was built in 1901. But soon it became obvious that the small Church could not meet the local needs as the expatriates – especially the Portuguese community - living in Tsim Sha Tsui had greatly increased. Thus, Rosary Church was rebuilt on 8th May 1905. 
Interior of the Church 
Over the years, many improvements have been made to the original structure . In preparation for the centenary celebration, large-scale renovation and improvement works, as well as refurbishment of the Parish hall, were undertaken and completed in 2003. The architecture of Rosary Church is in classic Gothic style with the original floor plan based on a Roman Basilica model.
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rosary Church 
In 1950 with the addition of the nave, the floor plan appeared as a Latin crucifix, a long nave passing through the baptismal font leading to the semi-circle sanctuary. The Monuments and Antiquities Board has classified Rosary Church as a Class B heritage building as recognition for its architectural uniqueness.

Taiwan Claretians are 20 Years Old!

Participants of the East Asia Delegation Assembly at Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan
Claretians in The East Asia had their 8th Delegation Assembly from October 27 to 31, 2014 at St. Clare Retreat House in Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan. 
Meals time! 
28 Missionaries from the East Asia, together with Father General, Josep Abella CMF, came together for fraternity, sharing and discernment of our Claretian presence in this part of the world.
Fr. Jijo [L] presenting a Chinese translation of a book written by Pope Francis to Rev. John Hung Shan Chuan, SVD, Archbishop of Taipei, even as Fr. General, Josep Abella [R] looks on 
The Macau Community with Fr. Paco [in shorts!] and Fr. General, Josep Abella [4th from right]
Rev. John Hung Shan Chuan, SVD, Archbishop of Taipei presiding over the Eucharist 
The year 2014 is of great significance in the life of the Claretian community in Taiwan as it marks the 20 years of our Missionary presence in Taiwan. 
The Community celebrated the occasion with a thanksgiving mass, Presided over by Rev. John Hung Shan Chuan, SVD, Archbishop of Taipei. 

Recollecting the early days in the region, Fr. Francisco Carin, one of the pioneers to Taiwan, expressed his gratitude towards all those who have supported the missionaries over the years. Fr. General went a step further, thanking God for his providence, appreciating the people for their support and love for the missionaries and also asking pardon for any failure in missionary commitment which we should have done. 
Dancers from the Amis Aboriginal Community during the offertory procession
Archbishop John in his homily appreciated the missionaries for their commendable services in the diocese, with the aboriginals and in parishes.  
Fr. Arturo [R] with the Archbishop 
Concluding the celebrations, the movie, "Un Dios Prohibido", on the the Martyrdom the Claretian Martyrs of Barbastro, with Chinese subtitles was screened. Many were seen wiping tears as the movie ended! A word of thanks would not suffice to express our appreciation for our Missionaries in Taiwan for the meticulous planning and commendable execution of the whole event which lasted for over a week. A job well done, dear brothers!  

With the Archbishop 

The General Assembly and Jubilee celebrations were also an opportunity for some us to explore the scenic beauty of Taiwan. The personal attention and care by the missionaries was more than what one could ask for! Here are a few visuals our Taiwan exploration

Bitou Cape Trail
A view from the Bitou Cape Trail
On Fulong beach: 
The Taiwan International Sand Sculpture Championship is held here annually
Villa of Our Lady at Wu Fung Chi 
ILan County, Taiwan
A pretty awesome ride out to Wufen Mountain (五分山: 757m)
Hsinchu - Kansai - Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Hsinchu County, Taiwan
Persimmon (Kaki or Shizi) Fruit - 晒柿餅 
Every autumn, farmers in Hsinpu Township, Hsinchu County, Taiwan harvest and peel persimmon fruits, then put them in the sun for drying
In a Persimmon (Kaki or Shizi) Fruit garden 
Enjoying a Korean Dinner 
Thank you Fr. Liju for all the hard work! 
Fr. Ezakias with Fr. Liju at Chungshan Building, Yangmingshan