Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Welcome to the China Bulletin - July 2014

News from Claretian Publications & PBF

New Testament in Chinese 
In it's 15 years of existence  the Pastoral Bible Foundation (PBF)we have published the Bible in 12 languages. The most recent publication is the Chinese New Testament. A labor of love of a group of highly committed people.

The main characteristics of this new translation are:

·      A completely new translation to modern Chinese directly from the original Greek text.

·      A translation that is faithful to the original language and at the same time of easy understanding for the reader, using the principle of dynamic translation.

·       A completely new set of commentaries to make the text more intelligible to the reader following the big tradition of the Catholic Church and connecting Bible and life.

·       There is also a guide for Lectio Divina: every paragraph has an invitation for personal and group discernment with a guide to: Read, Reflect, Pray, Act.

·       Six years of intense work with the best Chinese biblical scholars available.

·       A total of 700 pages.

·       With the approval of the Catholic Church (Imprimatur).

It is our fervent desire that this new Catholic bible translation be of help to readers of present and future generations to attune their lives with the Good News of Jesus. Meanwhile the biblical team continues working on the translation of the Old Testament to modern Chinese.

"Human Prayer" - by Pope Francis 

In June, we have also published the writings of Pope Francis in Chinese. It is a translation from the Spanish original "Mente Abierta, Corazón Creyente" - later published by us in English as: "Open Mind - Faithful Heart".
These are writings Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The original book has been divided into four volumes and the first one to be published is on Chinese is "On Human Prayer". You will find that many of his 'surprising' ideas are already present in these books. The book has 136 pages.

Daily Gospel 2015 

Every year, we print the Daily Gospel both in Traditional and Simplified Chinese. The Daily Gospel is expected to be ready for distribution by early October. The print is in full color.

Here, we present the covers of the Daily Gospel 2015. 
This is the cover for Traditional Chinese (distributed outside mainland China):
And this is the cover for the Chinese Simplified  
130,000 copies for distribution within China:

Classes in Beijing Seminary

Our community is of eight Missionaries of five nationalities: Italy, Poland, Argentina, India and China.
In the picture is Fr. Peter Chao - Chinese Claretian missionary, 
At the end of a course delivered at the seminary in Beijing in the month of May and June. 

Learning Chinese ... Fr. Jijo shares his experiences

When we want to say that something is almost impossible, we say: "This is Chinese to me!" Well, our latest student of the Chinese language shares with is great language:

"I'm studying Chinese at a university in the mainland China. The 16,000 students in the Campus are much younger to me. This helps me take this responsibility very seriously. China has many languages ​​and dialects, but the national language is Mandarin. I've already spent a year and a half to study the language, but I still have much to learn. Most interesting are the tones of the language. All words have a certain tone and syllable can mean very different things depending on the tone in which it is said. For example, the syllable "ma" has five different meanings ... and you can call 'horse' your mom if you do not use the corresponding tone! Moreover, The Chinese language is so loaded with traditions that even an ordinary conversation will throw up Chinese proverbs, which an outsider will take a long time to understand. Oh! The Chinese culture is locked in its language! He exclaims. He is determined to learn it for one more semester.

The Chinese Catholics
Fr. Jijo shares his experience: 
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Guangzhou, China
I chance upon every now and then a student wearing a cross around one’s neck. Early this month, I met a guy wearing it in the bus. He was wearing a cross. I befriended him and asked why he was wearing the cross. He started telling me that he was a catholic! His hometown has a church. He has a request to officiate his marriage! I went to the ‘Stone Church’ a beautiful old cathedral in Guangzhou city. When I reached a large group of Afro-Americans had gathered for a catholic charismatic prayer in hall adjacent to the church, while a Korean group was having a mass inside the Church. China is more catholic than I had imagined.

When God Calls...!

After 15 years at Claretian Publications, eight of which here in Macau and the previous Seven years in Manila, our partner Ian Dacayanan has felt God's call to missionary life in the Claretian congregation.

On June 30 he left for Taiwan to begin his formative years. We wish him the Heaven's choicest blessings through the powerful intercession of Our Blessed Mother!

Ian, pictured with Tess, another tireless collaborator in Macau.

Another cause for celebration was the conclusion of six years of work with the publication of the New Testament in Chinese. Winnie Wong has spent the last 5 years for this project, coordinating the work of translation into Chinese.
Winnie [left], along with a friend, classmate
We celebrate the feast of the Heart of Mary (Saturday 28) 
and send off to Ian & the publication of  the New Testament in Chinese. 
(From left to right: Alberto, Mario, Ian, Tess, Jijo and Winnie).

The Gaokao (高考)

In China, applying to college is about one thing and one thing only: the gaokao. Gaokao (高考) is short for 普通高等学校招生全国统一考试 (“The National Higher Education Entrance Examination”) and a student’s score on this all-important standardized test is pretty much the only thing that matters when it comes to determining whether or not they can GO TO COLLEGE -- and if they can, what schools they can attend.
Students waiting outside of the exam centre in Dongguan 
As you might imagine, preparing for and taking the gaokao is a grueling ordeal, and students are under huge amounts of pressure from their parents and teachers to do well. THE FINALyear of high school, especially, is often focused intensely on preparation for the exam, and it isn’t unheard of for parents to go so far as quitting their own jobs to help their children study during this year.

This pressure has even been linked to some cases of depression and SUICIDE amongst Chinese teens, especially those who perform poorly on the exam.
Art students draw sketches in Jianan, Shandong province 
Probably needless to say, because the gaokao is so vitally important, there are always students willing to attempt cheating on it.
Invigilators monitor examinees in Suining, Sichuan in case of any malpractices. 
And with modern technology cheating has become a veritable arms race between students, the authorities, and enterprising merchants who offer everything from false erasers and rulers to tiny headsets and CAMERAS connected to off-site helpers using the internet to scan questions and feed you answers. Authorities now often outfit test sites with a variety of signal-blocking electronic devices
These students took oxygen while studying chemistry at a hospital in Suining.
Leading up to the exam, students and teachers take part in 
pressure-release activities, like this trust-fall.
- Photos Courtesy: http://www.businessinsider.com/

And speaking of tests ...

The puzzle that children solve in seconds can create headache for adults. Consider this one:

This was a puzzle asked in the test for admission to the elementary school in Hong Kong. In the social network media it has become a viral phenomenon!  In which parking spot number is the car parked in the illustration? This was a question to the six-years old children, seeking admission to Primary school in Hong Kong.  Children have 20 seconds to answer.

As expected, the kids take a few seconds to solve this puzzle, while the Secondary school students solve it in few minutes, but the university students and adults grind their head on it for hours looking for the answer!  Why? The solution is easier than it appears!  You just have to put aside logical thinking and approach the problem more creatively. This is what is known as lateral thinking, fostered in Eastern culture.

Have you found the solution? Remember to think like a child. If not yet, patiently read through the blog, and you will get it!  ... do not cheat ... !!

A work of Biblical proportions

Dino Mazzoli is an Italian artist living in England
• He has undertaken a work of Biblical Proportions!
• The House-bound artist copied by hand the entire Christian Community Bible
• made over 5000 color illustrations of scenes from the bible 
• Years of work - finally completed
• He hopes to make his work appear online soon

On June 26, Dino wrote to Fr. Alberto. Excerpts: 

…I have the feeling that my Bible will be well received.. I frequently look at work done and admire at myself to how I have been able to finish this immense work... My 80 years I could not write one new page.. Someone must have prayed a lot for me!

My dream is to see this bible published in a BOOK, or better, in many volumes as it has 1500 pages of large size with 5000 color illustrations, all handmade. No one has done such a thing before. (Please do not misunderstand me ... I do not mean to boast of Mazzoli Dino ... I'm just a sinner). II have more than 15,000 works of art that I don't want to exhibit or sell. 

I will not receive a penny when this work is published. All services will go to charity.
Fr. Alberto, hope you can read this letter. Given my current condition,  Usually I spend 20 hours in bed and the other 4 I fight to be seated... but I'm going to watch the World Cup football matches...!!

I ask you to pray for my family and ask for your blessing.

Celebrating the Word of God

Preaching the Gospel through varied means is our mission and Claretian Publications in Macau has been engaging the media, both traditional and new, in its evangelising mission. 
This is the Chinese Blog : 與聖言同行
During the past couple of months, we have introduced a new blog in three languages to share the exegesis and reflections on the Sunday Liturgy. 
Our English Blog: Celebrating the Word of God
The reflections are by Fr. Fernando Armellini, an Italian Missionary and Biblical scholar. With his permission, the original Italian text is translated into English, Chinese and Spanish. 
The Blog in Spanish: Celebración de la Palabra

Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry gets a special emphasis in the Church's focus on Evangelization in the modern world. Fr. Jose has been working with the Diocesan Youth Commission for the past three years. The Commission organizes regular training programme, prayer gatherings, pilgrimages sports events etc. in schools, universities and parishes in Hong Kong. The video is a few visuals from the annual sports meet conducted by the Diocesan English Youth.

PS: If you do not have the answer to the puzzle yet, 
imagine the picture rotated 180 degrees and have a look at it again !!