Monday, February 01, 2016

Welcome to the China Bulletin -February 2016

Sinulog Festival in Bui O 
Statues of Santo Niño, or the child Jesus
The Sinulog festival is one of the grandest, most distinguished and most colourful festivals in the Philippines. The major festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City to honour the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, the patron of the whole province of Cebu. It is fundamentally a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino people's pagan past and their recognition of Christianity.
Epiphany parish of Lantau Island has a large Filipino community and although away from their homeland, they celebrate this annual festival with all its traditional flavours. 

Macau has a new Bishop!

The announcement of the retirement of Bishop Jose Lai on 16 January 2016 on health reasons came as a surprise for the faithful both in Macau and Hong Kong. Bishop José Lai Hung-seng is the first Macau-born and the second Chinese bishop of Macau. On 23 January 2001 he was appointed as Coadjutor and became its Bishop on 30 June 2003.
Bishop José Lai Hung-seng with Fr. Jojo 

This year, Bishop José Lai Hung-seng is reaching 70 years of age and for health reasons and medical treatments he decided to present his resignation from office of Bishop of Macau to the Holy Father. Pope Francis has accepted his resignation and at the same time has appointed H.E. Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, as the new Bishop of Macau.
Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang taking the office of the Bishop in Macau on 23 January 
Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang took possession of the Diocese of Macau on Saturday, 23 January 2016, at 3 p.m. with the Eucharistic celebration at the Cathedral which also marked the 440th Anniversary of establishment of the Diocese of Macau.

Our Publications

Pastoral Bible Foundation, a project of the Claretians in Biblical ministry has published millions of copies of the Bible in various languages around the world over a period of two decades.
On 30 January, the Indian Bible Foundation, a project of the Claretians of the Province of Bangalore, India has published a new translation of the Bible in Hindi, the most spoken language in India and the fourth most spoken language in the world.
Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, the Superior General of the Claretians released the new Hindi version of the Bible in Bangalore. China Bulletin and Pastoral Bible Foundation, Macau extends our appreciation to Fr. Benny Kanjirakkattu, Director of the Indian Bible Foundation for his dedicated services! 

Our Visitors...

Past month has been a joyous one with many of our confreres and friends visiting us in Hong Kong. Here are a few of them: 
Friends from the mainland and Fr. Joy Pulickan (second from right)
from India at the statue of the giant Buddha 
Fr. Benoy and Fr. John (right) from India together with Jose, Jijo and Alberto in Mui Wo 
In Nanlian Gardens, Daimond Hills
Chiqui Basmayor with Jun her husband and daughter. 
Chiqui was working with the Claretian Publications for nearly 20 years in Manila 

"The Finger of God" behind the Divine Mercy Congress in Macau

In response to Pope Francis' announcement of the Year of Mercy, Claretian Missionaries together with lay collaborators organised Divine Mercy Congress in St. Lawrence Parish, Macao from January 22 to 25, 2016. The main theme of the Congress was "Jesus Christ- the face of the Merciful Father ". There were nearly eighty participants from Mainland. Macao, Hongkong and Taiwan.

The congress began with the opening mass presided by Fr. Stephan Rothlin, SJ. In his homily he showed how social teaching of the church springs from the fount of Divine Mercy. There were four speakers from Mainland, Hongkong, the Philippines and India leading the  sessions of the Congress. 

Aside from six biblical talks showing God’s mercy in the Old and New Testament, the participants also experienced Divine Mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation and through prayer. During the entire events priests were available for the sacrament of reconciliation. Fr. Joy Pulickal, CMF conducted a healing service with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer for inner and physical healing. Each day, many participants gave their testimonies - the stories of conversions and forgiveness, of healing and transformation. The Gospel was alive again and all realised that God’s mercy is something real, concrete, and experiential.
Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Bishop of Macau presiding over
the Concluding Eucharistic celebration of the Divine Mercy Congress.
The last day of the event was graced with the presence of the newly appointed shepherd of the diocese of Macao, bishop Stephen Lee who presided over the concluding Eucharist. After the Holy Mass, he spent an hour with the participants sharing his life and experience, and answering their questions. It was truly a time of God’s mercy and -as one of the participants said- one could see ‘the finger of God’ behind the event. 
Year Of Mercy Bread! 
Joyously joining hands in preparing the "Mercy Bread"! 
Fr. Jojo and St. Lawrence Parish have taken up numerous programmes for celebrating the Jubilee year of Mercy. The parishioners join hands to prepare a bread for the needy. They prepare it twice a week and distributed freely. The project is run with the help of many generous contributors. 

T-Shirts, Jackets, Coffee-cups and medallions are also prepared as souvenirs of the Jubilee Year  


Youth and Vocation Ministry

Claretian Youth and Vocation Ministry for the East Asia region was held on 12th January 2016 in St. Lawrence Church. Four Claretians youth animators and three youth leaders from the different regions of EAD (Japan, China and Taiwan) attended the meeting. 
An evaluation of the Youth and Vocation ministry of during the last triennium, and a plan for the East Asia Youth and Vocation Apostolate for the next triennium was the major agenda of the meeting. Deliberations were also made about the 2016 Claretian Family gathering and WYD in Poland. Claretians and youth leaders who participated in the gathering shared their own experiences in the concrete situations in which they work. After the evaluation and sharing, some of the plans for the next three years were discussed.

Epiphany - Story of a God who went in search of His people

The feast of Epiphany in the Church celebrates the visit of three wise men from the East to the newborn child - Jesus in Bethlehem and offering him three-fold gifts. 

But Bishop Michael Yeung, the auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong invited the faithful of Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo to have a deeper look into the feast and said that 'it is also the story of a God who went in search of His people'. 
Bishop Michael was giving his homily during the Feast Day mass in Mui Wo on 3 January 2016.
It is not merely about three wise men went in search of the newborn king, rather the entire Salvation History is is about a King who went out in search of His people. And His search is on till this day to find the lost. 

The Epiphany parish of Lantau celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany as the parish feast day. This is the first Parish Feast, celebrated after the redefining of the parish territories in November 2015.

An overcast day and occasional rains couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the faithful to come out in large numbers for over a kilometre-long marian procession through the streets of Mui Wo coast.

Later, Bishop Michael conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on four candidates during the Eucharistic celebration.
Fr. Mario and Fr. Alberto team up for an Italian number during the cultural event!
The Nativity story with local flavours! 
And "the magician" was an instant hit! ... thank you Fr. Jojo !

Pilgrims from Macau

Pilgrims from Macau at the Monastery of Our Lady of Joy 
Fr. Jojo concelebrated with the Monks in the Trapist Monastery  
Pilgrims at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O 
As part of their Year Of Mercy activity, over 100 pilgrims guided by Fr. Jojo from St. Lawrence Church, Macau made a one-day pilgrimage to the "Holy Doors" in the Monastery of Our Lady of Joy in Lantau Island and participated in the Eucharistic celebrations in the Monastery. Later, they also visited the Epiphany Church in Mui Wo and Our Lady of Perpetual Help chapel in Tai O before leaving for Macau in the evening. 

Christmas and New Year Celebrations in Tai O

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, Tai O 
Tai O is one of the mass centers of the Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo. Although the Catholic presence in Tai O dates back to the early 1920s, a Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was established only in the year 1937. The Chapel was part of the Fathima parish in Cheung Chau. 
The fishing village of Tai O

In 1965, Tai O was separated from Fathima parish and was erected as independent parish with Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church as the parish centre.  The diocese redesigned the parish territories in 1980 and Tai O became a mass centre of the Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo. 
The gathering on 2 January to celebrate Christmas and New Year 
Today the number of Catholics residing in Tai O are nominal, yet the old building of the Wing-Cho (Perpetual Help) school and the Chapel tell the stories of once flourishing faith in the predominantly fishing village. Many natives still remember the days when they were students of the Wing-Cho primary school. 
The New Year party! 
The parishioners of Mui Wo share great concern for the Tai O mass centre and join the monthly eucharistic celebrations, held on every first Saturday of the month. On 2 January, Saturday, a few parishioners of Mui Wo and pilgrims from Hong Kong joined the residents of Tai O to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Fr. Edward Yu from St. Benedict Church, Shatin officiated the liturgy. A tea party with some sharing and singing after the mass added colours to the celebrations. 

Pilgrims of Mercy

Pilgrims gather in the Our Lady of Joy Monastery in Lantau Island
for the opening of the Holy Doors in the Year of Mercy
1 January of this year also marked the opening of the Holy Doors in seven designated churches in the diocese of Hong Kong. Our Lady of Joy Abbey  - the Trapist Monastery – of Lantau Island was one of the seven Churches where Bishop Stephen Lee, Auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong officiated the liturgy. 
Pilgrims attending the liturgy on 1 January 
During his homily, Bishop Lee reminded the 1000 plus faithful who gathered in the gardens of the Monastery that while passing through the Holy Doors, one should leave behind all that is not becoming of a true Christian and enter into a new life of grace and mercy of the Lord. Numerous priests and religious from across Hong Kong participated in the liturgy began at 3.00 pm.

A good number of parishioners of Epiphany Parish in Lantau Island participated in the liturgy as the Monastery is situated within the boundary of the Epiphany parish. Earlier in the morning, a group youth from St. Benedict Church in Shatin joined the parishioners of Mui Wo on a two-hours long pilgrimage walk to the Monastery. 
Confessions prior to the liturgy of the Opening of the Holy Doors 
Introducing the pilgrimage walk, Fr. Alberto addressed the pilgrims and said that we are all pilgrims on this planet and through our life in faith we progress every day towards our final destination. 
Fr. Alberto addressing the pilgrims in Epiphany Chapel
before setting of for the monastery 
Pilgrims on their way