Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Welcome to the China Bulletin December 2015

"I have many people in this city..." - Acts 18:10

Claretian Missionaries have been present in Hong Kong from 2007 onwards. And we began to serve in the diocese of Hong Kong from 1 November 2011. Four years later, on 1 November 2015 when the diocese assigned the parish of Epiphany in the Lantau Island in Hong Kong to the Claretians, we couldn't but help to see the Divine Providence in the whole process.
Some historical notes from the Booklet, "Footprints..."
on the History of Claretian Presence in China 
There is a painful yet beautiful history behind the presence of the Claretian Missions in China. The Missionaries first came to China way back in 1930s and developed a mission centre in the valleys of the famous Yellow Mountains in Anhui Province. 
Anhui Province in China 
Over a period of 20 years, the mission centre flourished with more than 25 missionaries from Spain and Italy serving in the region and they had established schools, clinics and chapels in the region.

Soon, the region was raised to the status of a Vicariate and Msgr. Fogued, the pioneering Claretian in China was appointed as the Apostolic Prefect of Tunxi.

Many more seminarians back in Spain were preparing themselves to go to China as missionaries, one of them being Blessed Rafael Briega, who was martyred in Barbastro during the Spanish Revolution in 1936. 

During his years in the seminary, he was also learning Chinese and even wrote letters to the missionaries in Chinese. In 1992, Saint Pope John Paul II beatified Rafael Briega and 50 other Claretian martyrs of Barbastro. 
But in the early 1950s, with the changes in the political scenario in China, all the foreign missionaries had to leave the country. On 1 November 1952 the last batch of Claretians left China, with a 'hope to return soon'!
The beatification of Rafael Briega was boost for the Congregation to reopen its mission in China. And this new impetus resulted in missionaries reaching Taiwan in 1994. The missionary presence was extended to Macau in 2006 and to Hong Kong in 2007.
Pilgrims from Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong in Wongsaan,
the pioneering mission centre of the Claretians in China in April 2015
Claretians in Macau and Hong Kong with their collaborators in the Mission
In 2011 when I was taking my first assignment in the diocese, the Vicar General asked me for a date on which I could make myself available. I was due for my two months of vacation and I said, I would be available from November that year. Thus, the diocese appointed me as the Assistant Parish Priest in St. Benedict Church on 1 November 2011.
The Claretian Community in Hong Kong with Fr. Paco, Delegate Superior (in red shirt)
On 1 November 2015, at Mui Wo in Hong Kong
Four years later when the discussions were on regarding taking up of the new parish in Lantau, once again, the date happened to be 1 November. And now we love to believe that it was not just a mere coincidence that on 1 November 2015, the Claretians establish their community in Hong Kong. Our pioneers left China on a November 1 and perhaps All Saints whom we honour on that day, prays for the missionaries in China and make this date a special one for us!

-" Do not be afraid, go on speaking... for I have many people in this city" (Acts 18: 9-10) 

No comments: