Friday, September 01, 2017

Welcome to China Bulletin Blog September 2017

Typhoon 'Hato' shatters Macau and HK 

Typhoon Hato which hit Macau and Hong Kong on 22 August left 16 people dead in South China  
Those braved the winds to be outdoors were up for a surprise, and holding on to anything stable was important 
At least 16 people died in the Signal #10 Typhoon Hato, which landed in South China on 22 August. Eight of the victims died in Macau, while the others were from neighbouring Guangdong in Mainland China, according to the state-run CCTV. About 27,000 people were evacuated to temporary shelters in the Chinese province.
video

Residents in Macau began clearing debris Thursday a day after the casino hub was lashed by hurricane-force winds and torrential downpours, which also battered southern China and brought Hong Kong to a standstill Wednesday.

Hato was the strongest typhoon to hit the region in 18 years, resulting in injuries and property damage, flooding and uprooted trees.

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Training the Trainers for the Mission  

A year ago we have spoken about a training programme on NLP given in Epiphany parish by Ms. Cecilia, Tan Chew Yen. Cecilia, a Professional trainer who holds training sessions for corporate groups, is a parishioner of Epiphany parish. For the past many years she has been availing her expertise for the Church in the Mainland China. Over the years she has trained hundreds of priests, nuns and lay leaders. Recently she was in Bianchun one of the most flourishing Catholic places in Mainland. We have many friends there.  Ms. Cecilia shares her experience: 
Concelebrants with the
Perpetually professed nuns in Bianchun 
Since the millennium, Sister Nancy Mak has engaged me to take part in her ministry of educating young nuns and priests in China.  From the use of computers to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), later to communication to leading a team.  Together with her, I travel to different parts in Guangxi and Guizhou.  Later there were demands from different convents and other Catholic organisations in Hebei and Zhejiang.  NLP can enhance their effectiveness in their evangelisation work, and help them better serve the disabled, the aged, the poor and the congregation.   
In August 2017, I conducted workshops for two NGOs who served the disabled in Beijing and Tangqiu on how to collaborate better as a team.  Almost 95% of the staff are Catholics.  From the feedback, I would like to think that I have made some impact as there were tears, joy and more importantly concrete action plans to bring about changes.  
The Final Vow of the Nuns 
Our Lord also grant me the opportunity to witness the final vow of 7 nuns.  All of whom my students.  It was a moving experience to see their making a commitment to a religious life.  One of them was from the Tibetan ethnic group in Yunnan.  When she joined the convent in Hebei, she could not even speak Putonghua.  She had much to overcome (learning to write and speak the language, food, culture etc) in her quest to follow Jesus. 

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Flying against the Wind 

By Brent Fulton on Aug 30, 2017 

Nestled in a spring-fed valley in the desert northeast of Los Angeles, St. Andrew’s Abbey is a long way from its roots in Chengdu. The only living link that remains is Brother Peter Zhou Bangjiu, a 91-year-old Sichuan native who rejoined the abbey in 1985 following his release from a Chinese labor camp.

Peter Zhou Bangjiu, a young aspiring priest, had just taken his vows when the Communist army seized Chengdu in 1949. Unable to pursue seminary studies, he nevertheless became a defender of the faith and wrote an open letter that was circulated to Catholics around China. For his refusal to join the patriotic church, Zhou was arrested in 1955 and received a 20-year sentence.

Zhou’s sentence was extended twice due to his refusal to repent of his crimes. During one episode of intense interrogation in 1970, he was handcuffed and arm-cuffed for a period of three weeks, his limbs bound painfully behind his back. When guards realized that this torture had permanently disabled Zhou’s right hand, they removed the cuffs and instead shackled his feet. The shackles would remain for five years.

To keep his mind active while in labor camp, he composed poems commemorating various incidents leading up to, and during, his imprisonment. Having no access to paper and pen, he committed these poems to memory. They would eventually number more than 2,000. When Zhou was finally released he began to transcribe them and, later, to translate many into English and French.

Zhou’s poetry provides a prisoner’s-eye view of the turbulent events taking place outside the labor camp. Interspersed with Zhou’s commentary is his hope that he would one day be released, tempered by his insistence that he would not bow to official pressure in order to win his freedom.


When his third appeal for a reconsideration of his sentence was rejected, he mused:

The Angelus Bell in the Abbey 
The Angelus Bell in the Abbey
I wielded my pen to upbraid the slanders,
Showing my loyalty once more,
The three thousand words express
My high ideals and my fervent sentiments.
I prefer to sit in the jail cell for the Lord
Until its bottom breaks
Than to bend down![1]

Zhou was finally exonerated and released in 1981 as China’s reform and opening policy brought a new official stance toward religion. In Zhou’s words, “I didn’t change my attitude; they changed their position.”

He later discovered that his missionary brothers had regrouped following their departure from China, not in their native Belgium, but in Southern California. He recorded the joy of their reunion in “Return to My Monastic Home in Triumph.”

With Jesus assisting in fighting,
I had defeated again and again
The struggle meetings, beatings, shackles and handcuffs.
Throwing out my chest,
I departed from prison;
Holding my head high,
I left the country,
Now, finally,
I celebrate my reunion with my monastery![2]

The Faithful Dove Flies Against the Wind by Br. Peter Zhou Bangjiu is available from St. Andrew's Abbey.

Notes
^ Zhou, Peter Bangjiu, “The Third Appeal to the Court,” in The Faithful Dove Flies Against the Wind. Valyermo, California: St. Andrew’s Abbey, 2013, p. 191.

^ Zhou, p. 439.
- Reproduced from: http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/from-the-west-courtyard/flying-against-the-wind

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NEPAL SCHOOL PROJECT 

The Candle Light charity group, of whom we have talked about in the past issues is extending their reach to the needy even outside of China. The Charity group was formed under the guidance of Fr. Jojo and has been operating for over two years in service of the Leprosy Affected in the Mainland China. 

The relief works for the earth quake victims in Nepal brought Jojo and the Candle Light closer to the plight of the children in Nepal. Initially they hoped to help the education of a few children in a particular village in Nepal, but once the news reached the villages, the request was overwhelming and the villagers came out in full strength to repair their old school. 

Candle Light Volunteers with an inmate of the Leprosy Village in the mainland 
Our benefactors in Macau and Hong Kong decided to sponsor the entire school, although they had not enough resources at hand! It meant that they had to do the overtime job. They went around the parishes in Hong Kong and Macau, selling religious articles and religious books on Sundays. Many of the parish priests gave them whole-hearted support and permitted them in their fund-raising project. 
The Children of the School in Nepal  
They It was indeed a leap into the dark, trusting in the providence of God. And the miracles began to spur up! Contributions - large and small - began to pour in. 
Preparing the furniture for donation to the School in Nepal
Tables from Hong Kong for the school 
All the members of the Candle Light Charity are professionals, who have their own responsibilities and are employed full time in their companies and businesses. Yet they find time to visit the parishes and also the leprosy rehabilitation centers. The Lord rewarded them their sacrifices. 
Candle Light Charity Volunteers with Fr. Jojo 
If you wish to share your blessings and be part of our missions, write to us! And more importantly, pray for the missionaries and the missions. 

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Pastoral Renewal Programme 

The Participants of the Programme in EAPI 2017
Fr. Jose is attending a four-moths Pastoral Renewal and Updating for Leadership in Mission programme in East Asia Pastoral Institute, in Ateneo de Manila. There are 36 participants from 20 countries attending the programme which started on 1 August 2017. 
With my Spiritual Director Fr. Adolfo Nicolas,
the former Superior General of the Jesuits 

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Fr. Christo Rey in Hong Kong  

The faith formation programme in Epiphany Parish, in Hong Kong continues with our regular weekly Bible Study Classes and web ministry in Chinese and English. In preparation to the solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady, famous Claretian Theologian, Fr. Cristo Rey gave a talk about Mary's Assumption. He has written several books on Mary.

Fr. Jose Cristo Rey García Paredes, is a Prolific writer, Professor of Theology of Consecrated Life and a visiting professor at the Theological Institutes of Religious Life in Brazil, India, China, Philippines, and soon in Nigeria. At present, he combines his teaching with his work as a writer, as well as accompanying and being a theological adviser to religious congregations and institutes. He has recently been appointed Consultant to The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life by Pope Francis.

"Be open to a mysterious life... life, love and happiness after the resurrection of Jesus", said Fr. Christo Rey while addressing the parishioners. "In Mary everything was good... God glorified her body. She continues to be present in the world today. When we visit a Marian sanctuary, we are not visiting a cemetery! Rather we celebrate her living presence in the world. The Holy Spirit is inspiring, advocating and helping us through Mary- that's the feast we celebrate on August 15. The Eucharist is also a celebration of our interconnectedness with Mary". 

Fr. Christo Rey's talk is available in our Parish web page: 
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AEYG 2017+CF - Yogyakarta  

The second edition of the Asia East Youth Gathering in Claretian Family [AEYG+CF] was celebrated in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 1-7 August 2017. Fr. Bobin lead a five-member team from Taiwan to attend the gathering which attracted over 200 Claretian Youth and their animators from the East Asian countries. Fr. Bobin shares his experiences: 
From August 1-7, 2017, the Claretian youth of Taiwan (EAD) attended AEYG 2017+CF in Yogyakarta, Indonesia under the theme “Be Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel in Diversity.” This theme was in fact the continuation of the theme of the first AEYG-2015 “Meet Him in the Cloud”. Encountering God in the Cloud in 2015 inspired many young people to become the Witnesses and messengers of the joy of the Gospel in the diversity of the Asian Context. Seven participants from Taiwan attended the youth gathering in Yogyakarta. In spite of the language barriers and cultural differences, the enthusiasm and energy that emerged during the encounter really united the whole group into a clan of young people walking in the same road witnessing the joy of the Gospel in diversity.
During the encounter the general prefecture of the youth and vocation ministry Bro. Carlos Verga cmf exhorted the young Claretians telling “The DNA of the Claretian Youth is to be the Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel in one’s own living contexts. It was also a moment of grace for the Claretian family as it fostered the spirit of brotherhood, joy of the Gospel and missionary passion as envisioned by our Founder St. Antony Mary Claret. We were also fortunate to attend the 7th Asian youth day closing mass at the Air Force compound of Yogyakarta on 6th August which gave a wider vision of the Catholic family to the young Claretians.
For the youth of Taiwan it was also an occasion to renew their friendship and love which they experienced in the first AEYG in Philippines. As the AEYG 2017came to an end I could see many of the young ones with the tears of pain of departure and a promise of smile in their face to meet each other again in the next AEYG 2019+CF in Timor Leste. 
Thanks to the East Asian Delegate superior, Francisco Carin and all the council members for their encouragement and support to participate in this youth encounter. I also place a word of thanks to the Delegation of Indonesia-Timor Leste and the AEYG 2017+CF organising committee for the meticulous planning and amazing execution of this event, which will definitely remain as a unique experience in the hearts of all the young ones who participated in it. 

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