Thursday, September 03, 2015

XXV General Chapter of the Claretians underway...

XXV General Chapter of the Claretians underway...

From the Chapter hall 
“I declare open the XXV General Chapter of our Congregation”. With these words, Fr. Josep M. Abella concluded his encouraging “Initial Reflection” addressed to the Chapter members. The General Chapter of the Claretians, celebrated every six years began on 24 October and expected to conclude on 17 September.

We missionaries in China greet you and pray for all the delegates  of the Chapter for the guidance of the Spirit and blessings in abundance! By the time you are reading this Blog, Claretian Missionaries will have a new Superior General, whose election is expected to be on 5 September. Dear Fr. Josep M. Abella, China mission stands indebted to you! Thank you! 

Bringing the Good News to "the cloud"

Bringing the Good News to "the cloud" is one of the challenges identified by some 130 young Asian Catholics who gathered in Manila from 13 countries to celebrate the first ever encounter of the Claretian Family and the youth of Asia East from 3 to 8 August. 
The Hong Kong Delegation at the AEYG + CF 2015 
"Our young people are called to be evangelizers of a new continent — the Internet continent," said Father Eduardo Apungan, director for apostolate of the Claretian congregation in the Philippines, which hosted the event. "Young people in Asia have a lot to share to the world," he said, adding that the youth are the "multipliers of evangelization."
Fr. Bobin (Taiwan) - Director, Youth Ministry with  Fr. Julio (Japan) and Fr. Jose (Hong Kong) -
Youth Coordinators of East Asia Delegation 
Father Leo Dalmao,  Claretian provincial superior in the Philippines, said the gathering in Manila is an attempt to consolidate young people in Asia to become "evangelizers to other parts of the world."  The Gathering in Manila is our response to the challenge to use new media in evangelization, he added. 
Claretian Seminarians performing during the "Vocation Night"
The activities during the weeklong event included multimedia productions and discussions about the use of social media as tools "to evangelize the youth in the context of information technology, and hence the theme: 'Meeting Christ in the Cloud,'" Fr. Dalmao said. 

Presentation from Taiwan during the "Claretian Family Night" 
But young Catholics in Asia also are facing a lot of challenges, especially in non-Christian countries. In Japan, for example, "there are many young people who do not know or do not believe in God," said Shimizu Ayaka,  from Osaka, Japan. "It is very challenging to be a Christian in my country," she said. "There are a lot of challenges in spreading the Good News."
Fr. Julio leads the performance from Japan during the "Claretian Family Night"
Gemma Doromal, a member of the Kaulo tribe in the southern Philippines, said the entry of modern technology to the hinterlands has "brought problems, immorality, and vices." "We lost some of our young tribal leaders who were lured to the cities," the girl said in her local language. Doromal said she joined the gathering in Manila "to learn how to deepen our experience with other young people." "What we will learn here, we will also share back to our tribe," she said.
A performance by the animation team

For Ayaka of Japan, "the keyword is joy". "Christian life is a happy life," she said. "People ask me why I am happy, and I tell them because I am a Christian." She said young Asian Catholics should not only be activists but become "happy witnesses of the Gospel". "People find us attractive, and I think this is an opportunity for us to introduce God to them, whether in the streets or on the Internet," said Ayaka.  
Shimizu Ayaka (centre) with a few kids from the Street 
There were nine youth from Hong Kong to participate in the five day event. "AEYG was a great opportunity for youths in Asia to get together and know each other", said Lucia Tam from Hong Kong. She narrated an interesting anecdote that touched her: "Although not part of the event, some of us had a chance to visit the people living in the slum one afternoon with MC Sisters (Missionary Sisteres of St. Antony Mary Claret). These people lived in places with piles of rubbish and their houses were small and dark. I guess that was why they preferred sitting outside their houses. We didn’t get off the van, as it was a bit dangerous. As the van drove through the village, a lot of faces looked at me. I thought I needed to do something, so I smiled at them. They smiled back. At that moment, I understand why people said possessions will never bring you happiness. Those smiles from these people were simple and true. They were truly happy to see us. Some of them even followed the van and cried out, “Sister! Sister!” The MC sisters must have done a lot of work for them to gain their friendship. For me, it was even more meaningful to see the work of the Claretian family". 
Lucia Tam (left) anchoring the "Claretian Family Night"
"After the visit, I kept reflecting on their smiles", recalls Lucia. "You don’t see this kind of smile from metropolis very often. Honestly, I can’t imagine myself smiling like them if I live in places where they are living. However, this is exactly what I find amazing. Living in a materialistic world, I learnt to weigh everything in terms of wealth. I compared with others and was sadden to see what I didn’t have. Seldom have I thanked for what I have and give praise to the Lord. Only people who are content with what they have will have happiness and true smiles. I have heard this for a lot of times but it shed some light on me when I saw the smile myself. And I thank God for it".
Ophelia with Fr. Paulus, Youth Director, Indonesia 
Ophelia, another participant from Hong Kong was thankful for the opportunity for "praying in such an unusual way, which I have never expected; singing and dancing for God is fun and joyful. I can feel the joy in praising the Lord with the local Filipino, and have really enjoyed a lot". "It was hard not to get involved in all the activities. Thanks a lot for being so welcoming and approachable to me and the Hong Kong team". 

She was moved by the scenes of "children begging right in front of me and poor people sleeping alongside the road...I have seen it for real". Voicing her sense of commitment she added that "Injustice is everywhere, and as Catholics we must stand with them and help them". 

The AEYG experience must be a wake-up call for the Missionary commitment to the youth who possess the passion and energy to take the message of the Lord to the masses. 

The following video is prepared by  Sandra Tenguan, presenting the life of the Church and the missionaries' involvement in the Youth Ministry in Hong Kong.  

Lectio Divina for Families

In preparation for the Synod of Bishops on Family and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (USA) this September, Pope Francis had suggested for a Lectio Divina Bible in various languages. The Pastoral Bible Foundation of the Claretians has collaborated with the project for the New Testament texts in English, Tagalog and Creyol.

In mid-August five volumes of this special edition of the New Testament were presented to Pope Francis: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Italian, Portuguese. The editions in French, Chinese, Creyol and Arabic are soon to follow.

We have a couple of Novices ...

Ian Dacayanan and Mr. KC (left) together with the Novice Master
and other Novices in Seville, Spain 
On 2015, August 15, solemnity of the Asumption of our Lady, the novices of East Asia Delegation Ian Dacayanan and Mr. KC started their canonical novitiate together with Novices from Betica, Portugal and Santiago. According to the Provincial of Santiago, Fr . Luis Angel de las Heras, they were very joyful and spirited for the occassion.
KC (left) and Ian (right) in the Novitiate 
Ian Dacayanan  worked with the Claretian Publications for more than 15 years, before re-entering the Claretian formation programme. We wish all the Claretian Novices the very best and blessings in abundance! 

Our Visitors

Fr. Alberto, during his studies in the Catholic University of America in Washington in the late 1960s and early '70s, had developed a friendship with Fr.Donald Reece. Fr. Reece even traveled to Cordoba in Argentina to attend the Ordination of Alberto in August 1971.
Archbishop Emeritus Donald Reece (left) with Fr. Alberto Rossa at the Great Wall in Beijing 
The Years passed by and the friends parted ways, but their friendship, down the decades grew stronger. Fr. Reece went on to become the Archbishop of Kingston, Jamaica while Alberto was busy with his Publishing ministry in East Asia. At the age of 81, Archbishop Emeritus Donlad Reece decided to make the long journey to the East to meet his old friend in Macau, China. He was in Macau and China during the second half of August.
With Bishop Jose Lai, Bishop of Macau 
During the same time, another group of Missionaries also landed in Macau for having a first-hand experience of the Church in East Asia. The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy was founded in 1218 and is an international community of priests and brothers, who live a life of prayer and communal fraternity based on the Rule of Saint Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order.
Archbishop Donald Reece (left) with Fr. John Ledesma SDB (second from right)
and priests from the Community of Order of Mercy , in Beijing 
Fr. Paul Ordoñe , Superior General of the Order of Mercy, accompanied by three other companions from Brazil, Mexico and Italy were happy to follow the Archbishop and Alberto to the mainland where they had a feel of the richness of the Chinese Culture and traditions and of the life of the Church in this part of the world.
Fr. Alberto and Archbishop Donald with the Mercedarians 
Coat of Arms of the Mercedarians 
Mercedarians commit to a fourth vow, Added to traditional three vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, Mercedarians commit to a fourth vow, "to free those weaker in the faith, when their life threatened on account of their faith. His motto was: "My life for your freedom."

Shared mission to:

during their visit to China for 10 days, they walked important places, talked with Chinese friends and new contacts were established with a view to mutual assistance in the context of our mission. The experiences were many and memories abound. Here we share some pictures, first with the Archbishop Donald.
Archbishop Donald with Alberto in the Macau Tower.
The sign says: " Everyday Do something that reminds you that you're still alive."
With Fr. Jojo,  in the parish of St. Lawrence
With Sister Catherine, in the Trappist monastery in Macau
And in mainland China:

The publishing house "Faith Press" is authorized to publish religious books in China. Claretian Publications work with them to printing and distribution of books in mainland China. In the picture we are with the directors.
At the Faith Press, China
We witnessed an intense Christian life within China.
In this Mass there were more than 1000 people,
40 priests concelebrating and
many religious - 5 of them made their profession that Sunday
Vocation to the consecrated life - a hundred religious
This community is blessed with plenty of children everywhere ... 
Sunday in another county chapel in the mainland. At 5:30 in the morning
the church was full for the Mass at 6:00 pm
The parishes of this area hold summer camps for children for three weeks. This parish gathered more than 300 children. Helping the pastor is a group of parents and mothers to instill a solid human and religious formation. We have seen similar scenes in other parishes
With the Bishop and priests in Beijing 
You can not come to China without visiting the Great Wall. 
Archbishop Donald would not care about his 81 years! 
In the cathedral in Beijing we find a group of Korean pilgrims ...
We were welcomed by the Archbishop of Beijing, Msgr. Joseph Li Shan
and we presented him some of our publications in Chinese

Pilgrimage - Therese 500!

In a March 28 letter addressed to Fr.  Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Pope Francis wrote that it is providential that the anniversary of the saint's birth should coincide with the Year of Consecrated Life, which began late last year.  St. Teresa of Avila, the Holy Father said, “shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God.”

A group of pilgrims from Hong Kong and Macau did a week-long retreat on Teresian Spirituality in Alba de Tormes and Avila, during their 19 days pilgrimage in France and Spain.
Santiago de Compostela. 
The pilgrimage also included a visit to the relics of the Apostle James, interred in the grand old Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Ever since the grave of the Apostle was discovered in AD800, hundreds of thousands of the great and good have trod the path across northern Spain, making the pilgrim trail the most famous pilgrimage in the world.

Cathedral, Burgos 
Sheer joy of reaching the holy shrine of St. Therese in Alba de Tormes. The Saint's body, especially her heart and arm are on display for veneration above the altar of the shrine here

Reaching Avila 
Searching for the "Interior Castle" - Annunciation Monastery in Avila.
St. Therese lived 27 years of her religious life here
and later returned to the monastery as it its prioress for a term of three years 

The Chapel at El Escorial, where Blessed Mother is believed to have appeared to a peasant woman named Luz Amparo Cuevas Arteseros.
On June 14th 1981, Trinity Sunday, Our Lady of Sorrows appeared to Luz Amparo at a property named Prado Nuevo, in El Escorial ( Madrid).  That day Luz Amparo says she saw Our Lady of Sorrows on an ash tree. Our Lady asked her to build a chapel in her honor to meditate her Son's Passion «which men have completely forgotten». And she added, "If they do what I say, there will be healings. This water will heal (She referred to the spring that is next to the ash tree). I will bless all those who come to say the holy rosary daily. Lots of you will be sealed with a cross on your foreheads. Make penance. Pray".

At the apparition site in El Escorial 
After the Holy Mass at the Cathedral of "Our Lady of Pilar", Zaragoza 

With Fr. Jorge CMF, (right) at the Heart of Mary Parish, Zaragoza 

Heart of Mary Parish, Zaragoza 

Saint Francis Xavier, was born 7 April 1506, in Xavier Castle, near Sangüesa, Navarre [Spain].
He died on 3 December 1552, in Seungchuan Island, China.
 He was canonized on March 12, 1622

Saints! Two of the past and three of the future ...
Daveed - Our trusted driver - it is second time to tour Europe with him! 
Fr. Jose in Lourdes with Theresa Li
Pilgrims by the side of the river Tormes in Spain 
The in-corrupt heart of St. Terese of Jesus above the altar of the Chapel in Alba de Tormes 
Another Jump!  Sr. Claire-Marie, Fr. Sergio, Fr. Jose and Michelle 
Born on March 28, 1515 in Avila, Spain, St. Teresa is known as a mystic and reformer. Entering the Carmelite order in 1535, she became disillusioned by the laxity of monastic life within the cloister, and committed herself to reforming the order. She is considered as one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites.
Relic of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela 
Pilgrims in front of St. James' Cathedral, Santiago de Compostela 
Walking towards the Cathedral while reading, reflecting and praying over the Letter of St. James was a noval form of "Lectio Divina". Participating in the International Eucharistic celebraiton was one of the highlights of the whole trip.
Eucharistic Celebration in the countryside - somewhere in Burgos 
After starting off our days of pilgrimage from the holy shrine at Lourdes, we also traveled to two other shrines of Marain Aparitions - one in Zaragoza - the first ever case of Marian Aparition in human history; and the other, in El Escorail - a site of of the latest cases of Blessed Mother appearing to the humans. Two other contemporary saints of St. Teresa, namely St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier were also part of our journey.
Basilica of St. Ignatius in Loyola