Friday, May 01, 2015

Welcome to the China Bulletin - May 2015

Ordination in Japan
The Catholic Church has about 509,000 faithful in Japan - less than 0.5% of the total population. There are 16 dioceses, including 3 archdioceses with 1589 priests and 848 parishes in the country.
Deacon Maximilian Kolbe Nagasaki So
Catholicism and Christianity in general, was introduced to Japan by Portuguese explorers and missionaries, especially the Jesuits, as St. Francis Xavier. 

On Sunday April 26, universal Day of Prayer for Vocations, at 2.00 in the afternoon, our brother Maximilian Kolbe Nagasaki So was ordained a priest in the Cathedral in Osaka. Together with him a diocesan deacon was also ordained a priest .
The Ordination Mass in the Osaka Cathedral 
The Osaka Cathedral, which was recently reinforced to withstand earthquakes, hosted the celebration. The ordination was an occasion of great celebration before a packed cathedral and in the presence of three bishops. 
Newly Ordained Priests. Fr. Nagasaki So on the left 
Along with the many priests of the diocese the Claretian Missionaries of Osaka and Tokyo participated in the celebrations.  

First Mas of Fr. Nagasaki So 
Perpetual Profession and Renewal of Vows
Ken Masuda making his perpetual commitment before Fr. Francisco Carin ,
Delegate Superior of the Claretians of East Asia 
On Monday 26 April at 5 pm, the Claretians Missionaries in Japan gathered in Hirakata Residence Chapel to celebrate the renewal of vows of our Vietnamese brothers, Stephen and Paul, and the perpetual profession of our brother Ken Masuda. The parents of Ken, Takashi and Teresa, joined us in the celebration.
Renewal of vows 
It was a simple but solemn celebration. The readings (Col 3:12-17 and Lk 4:16-22), chosen by those who made their profession, invited all of us to reflect on some key points of our life as Claretian Missionaries: brothers in mission united in love and zeal for the Gospel.
The three professed Claretians in Japan 
Also, as Father Claret himself lived and believed, and clearly expressed in the texts of Isaiah and Luke that Claret cherished so much and are considered central to his missionary vocation, ours is a mission that has a preferred subject —those who have been left out by the powers of this world, a mission centered on mercy and empowerment

Novitiate for Ian Dacayanan

Ian has collaborated with the Claretian Publications in Manila for 15 years and for nine years here in Macau. He was a Claretian Seminarian before starting his association with the Claretian Publications. Now, after years of discernment and a year of postulancy in Taiwan, he is permitted to do his Novitiate in Spain and enter the Claretian Congregation.
Ian Dacayanan
He left for Madrid in the first week of May. Ian has been a key person in our mission and in our ministry of publications: he was responsible for all page design and the the website maintenance. Yet, Dear Ian, we the Claretian Community in Macau are HAPPY TO MISS YOU! (for a while!)

Retracing their footprints....

Our Missionaries on arrival in Hefei were given a cordial welcome
On numerous occasions, we have talked about the Pioneering Claretian Presence in China in the 1930's  in a remote region in the Province of Hefei, called Huangshan or Wongsaan. On the Easter week of 2015, the friends and well-wishers of Claretians from Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan accompanied by six missionaries made a pilgrimage to this region - a first of its kind activity since the return of the missionaries to the region twenty years ago. Here is a report:  

Fr. Mario exchanging sign of peace during a Eucharistic Celebration in Hefei 
“Returning to the roots” could be a jargon but still would fit well to express my feelings on my trip to Huangshan. The great interest shown by the entire East Asia Delegation in organizing this pilgrimage itself was a sign that how much does the Claretian Community value our history and draw inspiration for our missionary projects in this frontier.

The 38 pilgrims from Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan
were greeted by the local community in Hefei
We 38 pilgrims including six priests, from Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan had set out for a pilgrimage to Huangshan in China on the Easter Monday of 2015, taking with us the message of the Lord’s resurrection!
People falling on their knees before the priests for a blessing
One of the best outcomes of the pilgrimage, I would say, happened much before the actual event itself: “Retracing their footprints, Revisiting our China Mission” – publication of the booklet in six languages, tracing back the history of the missions undertaken by our pioneers in China, thanks to Fr. Paco and Claretian Publications Macau, was indeed providential! If not for this event, a brain-child of Fr. Mario, the booklet would not have been a reality.
Our team on the Snow-covered Huangshan 
Another positive outcome of the pilgrimage cum sight-seeing tour was that we could bring together friends and well-wishers from Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as one group under the banner of the Claretians.
Fr. Jojo exchanging peace during the Eucharistic celebration 
This being the first ever joint venture by us, hats off to Jojo and Mario for taking the initiative and to the communities of Taiwan, Macau and Japan for the support offered.

Fr. Takenobu venerating the relic of the Martyrs of Barbastro, placed in the Chapel in Huangshan 
 Presence of Fr. Takenobu in the group, representing the Delegation Council, was indeed an encouragement. This has definitely helped the members of the group to realize and appreciate the commitment to and richness of our mission in China.
The group from Hong Kong on the Mount Huangshan
Although I have heard many times about the old mission centre in Mainland China, this first-hand experience of our pioneer mission brings me a better understanding of the situations. The fact, that our missionaries had gone to such far off places 70 years ago when infrastructure and transportation facilities were bare minimum and had worked under such hazardous surroundings in itself is an inspiration for our present missionary efforts in China, particularly in the mainland.
Mr. Nicholas (In the middle with a cap on his head) the only surviving
Catholic from the time of our pioneering Claretians in China in the late 1940s 
In Huangshan, I have seen how much do they desire to attend the Holy Mass and receive the Blessed Sacrament. I have heard some of the group members from Hong Kong, after being prevented from celebrating mass, commenting that “How blessed are we that we can attend the Mass and receive the Eucharist every day!”
The officials got wind of pilgrims in Hunagshan and they accorded a good accompaniment
 even with a smart, young linguist who was fluent in Japanese, Korean, English and Spanish!  
I admire the enthusiasm of Fr. Mario! Although he couldn´t celebrate the Mass, he had a sort of ‘dry Mass’ with singing all the songs of the Mass, veneration of the statue of St. Claret and the relics of the Bl. Martyrs etc.
The chapel in Hunagshan 
People gathered there were so enthusiastic as well. They sang their heart out! Mario went around the chapel greeting people, holding the hand of Mr. Nicholas. It indeed created a feeling of the Resurrection!!
Colours of life! 
Even at Hefei Cathedral, as we were about to leave, all the faithful gathered there approached the priests and fell on their knees asking for our blessings. I realize that the people are in need of priests to celebrate the Word of God and the Eucharist, but there are very few of them for such a vast region.
The chapel in Hunagshan, where a statue of St. Antony Mary Claret
 and the relic of the Martyrs of Barbastro are placed 
The sightseeing part of the trip, going up the snowing Huangshan Mountain by cable-cars and a visit to the Hefei world heritage centre in particular, was beautiful as well. Indeed the travel and accommodation were well taken care of.

Looking back into the pilgrimage just concluded, I believe Huangshan still needs our support and encouragement. We need to find ways to reach out to them either directly or through our friends in the parishes in Macau, HK and Taiwan.
三兄弟 = This means "Three Brothers".
The popular Bollywood movie - "Three Idiots"was translated as 

A click for history books! I was happy to be clicked with
Nicholas and Frs. Takenobu and Yoon from Japan 

For more stills from the trip. scroll down the page and watch the video! 

Daily Gospel 2016

Daily Gospel 2016 - 160,000 copies for China

Nine years ago we started the project to present the Scriptural text of the daily liturgy with a brief reflection. The first edition was 5000 copies. And, after getting the necessary permissions, we began distribute them within China. The traditional character edition is also published for the readership in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, etc. It is the ninth year for Daily Gospel in Chinese! In 2016 we are printing 160,000 copies for the mainland China. Here is the cover of the simplified version:

Exploring the Middle Kingdom

"The Middle Kingdom" - is the literal meaning of the word 中國 / 中国  - the Chinese name for China. 

Fr. Rossa together with Father José Rovira and Father Joseph R. Márquez have made a trip across the mainland China, meeting our mission and business partners.

One of their destinations was the Amity Printing Co., in Nanjing where millions of Christian Community Bible and many  other titles are printed every year. On arrival, the Amity management rendered  a royal welcome to their priced customers! Below the Amity logo, you find a banner welcoming the visiting guests! 

For Fr. Alberto, it is business as usual!  Busy having swift "proofing" in Amity 

The Trio in Tienanmen Square, Beijing; 
Its time for a 'selfie' with the "Forbidden City" in the backdrop  

A snowy "great wall" 

On the Great Wall, but Father Joseph R. Márquez (in the middle)  refuses to be off-guard! 

Another historic Icon in Beijing: The Temple of Heaven 

St. Joseph's Church in Beijing 

This is in Macau. Some youngsters attempt a sky walk, over 300 meters above the ground level,  Of course, with all the possible harness around them 

On to the snow-covered Wongsaan hills

Mount Huangshan, often described as the “loveliest mountain of China”, has played an important role in the history of art and literature in China since the Tang Dynasty around the 8th century, when a legend dated from the year 747 described the mountain as the place of discovery of the long-sought elixir of immortality.  This legend gave Mount Huangshan its name and assured its place in Chinese history.  Mount Huangshan became a magnet for hermits, poets and landscape artists, fascinated by its dramatic mountainous landscape consisting of numerous granitic peaks, many over 1,000 m high, emerging through a perpetual  sea of clouds.  

During our five day pilgrimage to Huangshan, the enticing mountains were indeed a destination. It was Robert Frost who said,  

"Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here !  
To watch his woods fill up with snow". 

Oh yes, feelings and experiences were similar! On to the mountains, you are all on your own, no matter how big a multitude surround you and probably none is bothered of you! True! When you walk up to Him on the mountain, it is no one but just you!!  

But then, I have to finish it with the words of Frost himself: 

                                      "Woods are lovely, dark and deep
                                        But I have miles to go before I sleep"....

The clip is a bit long, enjoy the music and the visuals when you have some time!