Thursday, October 01, 2015

Welcome to the China Bulletin Blog - October 2015

Mid Autumn Festival - the festival of lights in China

Among the many traditional festivals celebrated in the East Asia , the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most colourful. For centuries, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been one of the most important Chinese festivals, a time when families get together to celebrate the abundance of a good harvest and to gaze at the full moon. This year on 27 September 

Children play with lanterns of different shapes and colours adding a delightful ambience to the festivities. Traditionally, the festival is a three-day event, with people welcoming the full moon and the second day is often marked by a family day at home. And in recent years it has become customary to take young children to the nearest park after dinner and settle down on the ground to light small candles and nibble moon cakes. 

Moon cakes are a traditional and indispensable part of the Mid-Autumn festivities. Friends and relatives give one another moon cakes as gifts to convey blessings and good fortune. Moon cakes date back to the Yuan dynasty when Han Chinese rebels passed secret messages to one another hidden in the cakes to prevent their plans for insurrection being discovered by their Mongolian rulers. 

The celebrations also include colourful Chinese lanterns. Shops all over town sell coloured Chinese paper lanterns usually in the shape of animals, but more recently, in the shape of space ships and cartoon characters etc. There are also large thematic lantern displays in different areas of Hong Kong.

Claretians in China welcomes the election of the New Superior General

“Called to evangelise: witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel”, was the theme of the General Chapter of the Congregation of Missionaries, Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretians) which was celebrated from the last week of August till the third week of September in Rome. 

The Chapter elected the New Superior General and his Counsellors, who would serve in the Office till the next General Chapter to be held in 2021.

Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF: Superior General
Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF, Bangalore - India: Superior General
Fr. Gonzalo Fernández, CMF, Santiago: Vicar General, Prefect of Spirituality
Fr. Manuel Tamargo, CMF, Santiago: Consultor, Econome
Fr. Leo Dalmao, CMF, Philippines: Consultor, Prefect of Formation
Fr. Artur Teixeira, CMF, Portugal: Consultor, Prefect of Apostolate
Fr. Henry Omonisaye, CMF, West Nigeria: Consultor
Br. Carlos Verga, CMF, San Jose del Sur: Consultor, Prefect of Youth Ministry & Vocation

On Friday, 11 September, Holy Father Pope Francis gave an audience to the Chapter Delegates where he thanked the Congregation for the missionary services rendered by the  in different parts of the world. Meeting with the delagates, Pope Francis had this to say to the Congregation: 
Pope Francis during the audience to the Claretians 
"I should like to say three words that might be useful to you: to adore, to walk and to accompany.

To adore: We, in this world of efficiency, have lost the meaning of adoration, including in prayer. It is true, we pray, we praise the Lord, we ask, we thank.... However, adoration is being before the One God, the One who is above price, who does not barter, who does not exchange.... And everything that is outside of him is a “cardboard imitation”, an idol.... To adore...In this we must make an effort to grow in this way of prayer: adoration. Adore, adore God. This is lacking in the Church at this moment, because it is not taught. This sense of adoration that we see in the Bible in the First Commandment — “Adore the one God. You will have no other God. He is the Only One you must adore...” 

To walk: God cannot adore himself, but God willed to walk. He did not want to stay still. He walked from the first moment with his people. Do you remember that lovely passage about Moses? “Think, what people had God so close that he walked together with you?” Walk. To walk is to open frontiers, to go out, to open doors, to seek paths. Walk... do not stay seated, do not settle down in the negative sense of the word...Walk as God walked, [God] who made himself a companion on the journey.

The third: to accompany: Do not walk alone, because it’s boring.... Accompany the people, because God walked accompanying. It is so beautiful to recall what Jesus did, when he played the fool, he “played dumb” with those who were running away from Jerusalem to Emmaus: he joined them and accompanied them there; he accompanied the whole event....

Accompany moments of joy, accompany the happiness of couples, of families. Accompany them in difficult times, in moments of the Cross, moments of sin.... Jesus wasn’t afraid of sinners, he sought them out. They criticized him: “This one is too forward, this one is imprudent...”. Accompany. Accompany the people; accompany the many desires that the Lord sows in the heart, and leave them to grow well.
This is what I wanted to say to you. Adore, walk and accompany!

We wish our General Government the 
Heaven's choicest blessings!

Our Visitors...

Deacon Ken Masuda 
Fr. Mario with the Claretian Deacon Ken Masuda
Looks could be deceptive! Here Deacon Ken, from... Spain? Italy ? America? Sorry! He is Japanese! His mother is Spanish and father, a Japanese ... He is preparing himself to be ordained a  deacon, soon to be ordained a priest in Japan.
Deacon Ken during a Eucharistic celebration with Father Mario
Fr. Mario received him in the kindergarten in Japan when Ken was just 3 years old! ... Now the little boy visits his 'grandpa' in Macau. Ken paid visit to the Claretian Community in Macau in September.
Ken at the Claretian Community in Macau 

Angels on our way

The universal Church assigns two days in the liturgical calendar for the special veneration of the Angels: September 29 is the Feast day of the Arch Angels and and October 2 is the feast of the Guardian Angels. Indeed, God has blessed us with many "angels" in our mission in China, Macao, Taiwan and Hong Kong. One of them is called "Gabriel" - our 'messenger' in Macau. He generously makes himself and his car always available for our need. Along with Patricia, his wife, he helps us immensely in our apostolic work in Macau. 
Here is the picture we celebrate the birthday of Gabriel in our house in Macau.

New Mission Parish in Hong Kong

Frs. Ezakias Anthonyswamy, Jojo Ancheril, Vicar General Rev. Fr. Dominic Chan, Alberto Rossa and Josekutty Mathew during a meeting in the Diocesan Centre, Hong Kong 

1 November 2015 will go down into the history of the Claretian Missionaries in East Asia as the General Government erects a new Claretian Community in Hong Kong on the Feast of the All Saints, with Fr. Ezakias Antonyswamy as its Superior. Frs. Alberto Santiago Rossa and Josekutty Mathew are the other priests who would be part of the new community which will based in Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo, South Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

On the same day, the missionaries will also take charge of the newly created Epiphany Parish which consists of mass centers in Tai O and Pingchau.

Epiphany Church, Mui Woo 

As early as 1970’s, the religious community in Mui Wo rented a small village house in 51 Chung Hau Street as the chapel. The chapel was run by priest in Tai O Church who came every week for the Sunday mass.
Claretians in HK-Macau with Fr. Henry SVD (left) and Vicar General of the Diocese of Hong Kong, Rev. Fr. Dominic Chan (4th from left) in front of the Parish in Mui Woo 
The chapel was once named “Jesus the Holy Child Chapel”. Although its origin could not be traced, people remembered that there was once a nicely carved baby Jesus statue placed in the church, which was a gift by another chapel during renovation.  The name “Epiphany Chapel” was given by Bishop John Wu in 1987.
Fr. Alberto Rossa in front of the Epiphany Parish Church, Mui Woo
Address  : Block D, G/F, Silver Pearl Mansion, Mui Woo Ferry Pier Road, Lantau
Sunday Mass : 9.00 a.m. (Cantonese), 10.45 a.m. (English)
Weekday Mass: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 8.00 p.m.  (English)

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel(Tai O)
Inside the Church in Tai O with Fr. Dominic Chan, VG (3rd from right)
There was a church building at this location around 1923 but it was not designated as a church.  The building was then destroyed by typhoon.  After being redeveloped in 1937, it was designated as a church and renamed Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, belonging to the Cheung Chau Parish and operated by the Fatima Church.

Fr. Manoj SVD with Frs. Rossa and Mario on the terrace of Tai O Church 
In 1965, Tai O Church and Cheung Chau Church were separately designated as independent parishes.  In 1966, it was renamed Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and erected to parish status on 1.7.1979.  Later, the parish was shifted to Mui Woo and the and the Mass Centre in Tai O was taken care of by the Epiphany Parish of Mui Woo from 8.9.1980.

Address   : 112, Tai Ping Street, Tai O, Lantau
Saturday Mass : 10:00 a.m. the first Saturday of every month (Cantonese)

Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel(Peng Chau)

In the autumn of 1958, Madam Chan On Don, a lady who worked as a maid, donated her only property located at 21, Wing Hing Street, Peng Chau to the Diocese for evangelization.  Bishop Bianchi and the General Secretary Rev. MENCARINI, Lido PIME accepted the offer and handed the premises over to Fatima Parish of Cheung Chau. The parish rector REV. NICOLA RUGGIERO, PIME refurbished the property, turning it into a church and commenced religious services for the locals.  On 15.8.1958 (feast day of ascension of holy mother), the first batch of 30 catechumens were baptized in the chapel.   

By 1995, the chapel was placed under the care of Epiphany Parish of Mui Woo.  As the majorities of the congregation are energetic young people, they expect to spread the good news and bring God’s love to the entire Peng Chau and Lantau.  They also wish to convert all to become His sheep and sing the song of glory in praise of the Lord.

Address  : Block E, G/F, Far East Consortium Building, 15, Wai Tsai Street, Peng Chau 
Sunday Mass : 10:30 a.m. (Cantonese) 
Anticipated Sunday Mass : Saturday 8:30 p.m. (English)
Weekday Mass: Friday 8:30 a.m.  (Cantonese) , The first Wednesday of every month 8:30 p.m. (English)

Our publications

Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. Was there another Encyclical ever before in the history that had grabbed the world’s imagination and media attention? Laudato si’ – the encyclical titled after words of St Francis of Assisi  in his Canticle of the Creatures - urges the world to embark upon a revolutionary ethical rethink and change of heart in its relationship with the planet earth. “We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us.” Laudato si’ begins from where “The Joy fo the Gospel” ( Evangelii Gaudium ), the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, has stopped.

The encyclical of Pope Francis on the care of creation has 200 pages. For those who have no opportunity or time to read the full text, we have prepared a 'summary': "40 Days of Pilgrimage with Pope Francis to Care for our Common Home". It consists of 40 paragraphs, preceded and followed by an illustration, a short reflection and a prayer. Indeed, an appetizer to encourage reading!
An illustration in the title on "40 Days of Pilgrimage" 

Bible Diary 2016 

In the introductory page of the Bible Diary 2016, Fr. Alberto shares a story that occurred 30 years ago in the Philippines. Its about the origins of the concept called Bible Diary. Claretian Publications in the Philippines, under Fr. Alberto brought out the first Bible Diary 30 years ago, precisely for the benefit of the parishioners. Today, 30 years later,  Bible Diary is available in 30 countries, in 20 languages and over a million copies are sold! We thank God for His amazing ways and using us in this ministry of spreading His Gospel!