Thursday, May 01, 2014

Welcome to the China Bulletin - May 2014

 China set to be 'world's most Christian country' by 2030
The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America, reports The Telegraph. The People's Republic of China remains, at least officially, an atheist country. But the number of Protestant Christians in China has grown from one million in 1949 to more than 49 million in 2010. Experts believe that number could more than triple over the next generation:
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.  In his book The Rise of Christianity, sociologist Rodney Stark estimates that during the first 350 years of Christianity, the religion grew at a rate of 40 percent per decade. During the 61 year period from 1949 to 2010, Christianity grew at a rate of 89% per decade.

Part of the reason for the exponential growth is attributable to the sheer size of the population of China. With 1.351 billion people in the country, Christians comprise only 5 percent of the country. If current trends hold, in 2030 Christians in China will make up almost 9 percent of the total population. While the ratio of Christians to population would still be small, the total numbers are astounding. By mid-century, China may have more citizens who identify as Christians than the United States has citizens.

"I was sick and you visited me ..."

Healing the sick was always a priority for Jesus. And ministry to the sick still remains a priority of the Church even today.
For the past five years, a group of people who are close to our missionary work, have been visiting a couple of treatment and rehabilitation centres for people affected with leprosy. The centre is situated around 150 kms. from Macau.
In the last week of April they visited them again, to celebrate the joy of Easter with the inmates of these centers most of whom are abandoned by their families and the society.


Month of April had its own share of celebrations as we had many of our friends visiting us and Fr. Alberto celebrating his birthday and of course, the big Feast of Easter.  
 Happy Birthday Fr. Alberto
Fr. Alberto Rossa celebrated his Birthday on 29 April, and we had a beautiful gathering to thank him for what he is to us and to thank God for the gift of Fr. Alberto!
Fr. Alberto - 3rd from left together with the 
members of the Community and 
Council members of East Asia Delegation
The Council Members of the East Asia Delegation were in Macau for a three day meeting in the last week of April. Fr. Shinji Takenobu, One of the Council Members also visited Hong Kong.
 Frs. Ezakias and Jose with Fr. Takenobu in St. Teresa's Church. 
Fr. Ezakias is one of the Asst. Parish Priests here 
Enjoying the skyline at the famous Victoria Harbour
Fr. Joseph Mundackal, A Claretian Missionary from India visited us on his way back from Manila. 
Fr. Joseph with Ezakias
A Day-out in Ocean park

Holy Week & Easter Celebrations

A painting by a Claretian Missionary, Fr. Cerezo Barredo
While the universal Church celebrates the paschal mysteries of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord during the Holy Week, the small territory of Macau with just 27 km2 was bustling with tourists from all over the world. The city is home to 29 huge casinos where neither the Hope nor the Light of the Risen Lord shines! Huge crowds of men and women pour in to this "city of dreams" to wake up in a 'city of nightmares'.
Local Media, however still pay attention to the religious celebrations in the Church. Ms. Divine, One of our colleagues in the Claretian Publications, who hails from the Philippines was asked by the journalist how different the celebration of Easter in Macau was from that of the Philippines. Of Course, Easter stands for the dawn of a new hope in the midst of apparent hopelessness, both then and now!
Enjoy a short video on 
Holy Thursday Liturgy in St. Benedict Church, Shatin Wai, Hong Kong