Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Welcome to our February blog…

January 31: Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4712 begins on Jan. 31, 2014.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
 A railway station is packed with passengers on January 28, 2014 in Guangzhou, China.
 Mechanics perform a check on a high-speed train as railways
across China prepare for the holiday rush on January 7, 2014 in Xi'an, China.
 Passengers prepare to board the trains that will eventually take them home
for the Spring Festival on January 26, 2014 in Beijing, China.
A toddler waves a train ticket, excited to be part of the world's largest human migration.
Shanghai on the eve of the Chinese New Year.

Known as the largest human migration, over three billion people take to the rails during Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival. Many are migrant workers who left their rural hometowns in search of employment in larger cities. The race to get home started long ago, with train tickets selling out months in advance. The journey home is infamously arduous and passengers face overcrowded railway stations and cramped train quarters.

More than 800,000,000 (eight hundred million) people travel for the Lunar New Year.

World get ready: This year 100 million Chinese travelled abroad. The number will double to 200 million by 2020. 

Taking care of the poorest

Once again Frs. Jojo and Mario accompanied a group of parishioners and friends to visit and celebrate the New Year with leprosy patients from several centers in China. There were 500 people sharing not only their gifts, but especially their warmth and care.
A new visit is scheduled for February 6. Caring for sick and imprisoned people is one of the apostolates of this community.

25 years of priesthood for some of the first priests ordained after the Cultural Revolution

More than 4000 faithful of Shaan Xi Province in mainland China took part in the solemn celebration for the 25th anniversary of priesthood of 8 priests of the Diocese of Zhouzhi. The celebration was an intense moment of thanksgiving to the Lord and a strong reminder of the importance of vocational education and evangelization. The 8 priests who celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary were in fact among the first to be ordained after the Cultural Revolution, at the time of the reopening of the government of the Church, in the 80s.

According to information sent to Fides Agency, over fifty priests concelebrated, and fifty nuns were also present, from different Chinese congregations . The Bishop who presided the Mass during the homily recalled the vocational path of the priests, highlighting the "historic moment" of their ordination, which took place at a time when the Church in China, was devoid of human and spiritual resources. With their ordination, these 8 priests have thus become vital force for the life of the local Church. The 8 priests renewed their commitment to continue to carry out their pastoral ministry with even more dedication.
Diocese of Zhouzhi

Chinese New Year: opportunity for vocational pastoral ministry and evangelization

Several mainland Chinese Catholic communities are taking advantage of the winter and New Year holidays to organize formation initiatives for young people, migrant workers, students or young couples, for vocational animation, evangelization and witness of faith.

According to information which Fides collected, more than 500 faithful of the Diocese of Zhouzhi, in the province of Shaani Xi, participated in the biblical formation sessions from January 23 to 25. Among them were migrant workers and college students who returned home for the New Year, but also farmers. 
Led by priests and religious, they prayed and studied the Scriptures together, and took part in the celebration of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. During the missionary mandate that concluded the meetings, they expressed their desire and their availability to the mission and to be witnesses of Christ in society.

New priests at the beginning of the year, a sign of hope for the mission

The Diocese of Kai Feng and the Diocese of Zhu Ma Dian, in Henan province in mainland China, had the joy of welcoming six new priests at the beginning of the year, a sign of hope for the mission of the Church.

According to information sent to Fides Agency, over a thousand faithful attended the priestly ordination of three deacons of the Diocese of Kai Feng and one from Xing Tai. The solemn celebration was held on January 2, presided by His Exc. Mgr. Lian Jian Sen, Bishop of the Diocese of Jiang Men, the new church dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Fifty priests concelebrated and also forty seminarians of the Seminaries of Shi Jia Zhuang (He Bei), Tai Yuan (Xi Shan), Chi Feng (inner Mongolia) and Wu Han (Hu Bei) were also present, as well as several religious sisters. For the diocese it was most numerous ordination in recent years. Instead, for the diocese of Zhu Ma Dian the two ordinations held on January 1 was also a historical moment: it was in fact the first ordinations since 1933.
Map of Henan Province

The Population of Henan Province is close to 100 million people and 167,000 square kilometers. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州) which literally means "central plains" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 5,000 years of history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

The Catholic community intensifies the works of charity and evangelization in view of the Chinese New Year

Inner Mongolia has only 25 million people and 1,183,000 square kilometers.

In view of the Chinese New Year, which was celebrated on January 31, the Catholic community of mainland China has intensifying the works of charity and evangelization, especially regarding the elderly, the sick, the poor, the needy and all the weaker sections of society. According to information gathered by Fides Agency, the faithful of the Group of Charity of various parishes in the Diocese of Ji Ning, Inner Mongolia, have become hairdressers, cooks, family doctors and cleaners during their visits to the Houses of Elders, without forgetting the gifts for the New Year. Guided by the priests, they are bringing Christian love to these lonely, elderly, sick people who are often forgotten by their relatives. The priests and the faithful volunteers also bring the sacraments to Catholics.

“The Joy of the Gospel” presented in Hong Kong

Fr. Ezakias is assigned in one of the main parishes in Hong Kong. He organized a seminar on the Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” and asked Fr. Alberto to present it on January 19. 

100 Year Celebration of the Day of Migrants and Refugees

Around 15% of the people living in Macao are migrants, we included. January 19th was the 100th. anniversary of the Day of Migrants and Refugees organized by the Church. We gather more than 1000 migrants for a solemn Mass, cultural presentation and a shared lunch. 
Claretian Publications published a souvenir book for the occasion and 3000 copies were distributed for free.

Preparation for the launching of the Chinese New Testament

Meeting with a group of Chinese biblical scholars. They are priests and sisters who after spending several years studying Sacred Scriptures abroad, have come back to China as professors. We have brought them together and asked them to revise the final draft of the New Testament we are preparing.
 We share experiences and the methodology used in the Chinese translation of the biblical texts.
With the team of editors of “Faith Press”. This Chinese publishing house has permission to publish religious books. The Chinese books that we prepare for publications we give to them and they print and distribute. One example: They distributed the Chinese version of “Daily Gospel 2014”—more than 100,000 copies. 

Knowing China…

As we celebrate the Chinese New Year
 we share some pictures of this beautiful country