Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Welcome to the China Bulletin Blog - November 2017

Golden Jubilee of Fr. Mario and Feast of St. Claret

Courtesy: O'Clarim
Fr. Francisco Carin, Msgr Javier Herrera Corona, Fr. Mario Bonfaini, Fr. Agustine Takenobu and Fr. Jojo Ancheril during the Golden Jubilee and Founder's day Celebrations in St. Lawrence Church, Macau on 5 October 
The Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians) celebrated Fr Mario Bonfaini’s Golden Jubilee of priestly ordination on October 5 at St Lawrence’s Parish, on the occasion of the Feast of St Anthony Mary Claret. Fr Mario presided the Mass, with Delegate of the Vatican Msgr Javier Herrera Corona and over 35 priests concelebrating.
Fr. Mario Bonfaini, CMF 
Former Superior General Fr Joseph Abella and the Delegation Superior Fr Francisco Carin gave the homily in English and Mandarin respectively. In his homily, Fr Abella reminded the faithful, using the teaching of St Claret as a missionary, about the meaning of joy. “Joy is something that deepens and multiplies when it is shared. God distributes generously His gifts in the church,” said Fr Abella.
Fr. Joseph Abella, former Superior General  
Msgr Javier Herrera Corona, (left) the Vatican representative to Hong Kong, exchanging peace with Fr. Mario
He further explained that these given gifts with charisms are given with two purposes: 1. To help each other to follow Christ more faithfully; 2. to help the Church to fulfil the mission that has been entrusted to her by Jesus with joy and with hope in any part of the world.
Fr. Mario Bonfaini, CMF with the concelebrants 
after the Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration 
Fr Abella explained the meaning and charism of being a missionary. “St Anthony Mary Claret is one of the persons who received these gifts from the love [of God]. His charism was to be a missionary, not only to bring the good news to the people, but to be with the people and responding to the real needs of the people. Like what Pope Francis said, we went “to reach out to the people.”

He added that 109 Claretian martyrs will be beatified on Oct 21st, at the Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family Basilica) in Barcelona. Among the martyrs, 50 were priests, 30 missionary brothers, and 29 students who were still in the formation process, one of them was only 16 years old. 
The Official icon for the martyrs:  Surrounded by a starry sky, the Virgin appears in a prayerful attitude, interceding for her children.
“Being beatified is not just an honor, but it is the Church that is telling us to look at them (the beatified), to know the way to be faithful to Christ and to be faithful to your missionary vocation as Christian,” said Fr Abella.
Fr Francisco Carin, Superior, East Asia Delegation  
In the Mandarin homily, Fr Francisco Carin said the Mass was celebrated with three ends in mind. First of all, it is the feast of St Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Congregation. Fr Carin said the feast was not to celebrate St Anthony Mary himself, “but to celebrate [the fact] that he had received graces and gifts from God. He did not keep these graces in his heart, but used them to serve the Church and all people.”
Fr. Mario flanked by Msgr Javier Herrera Corona and Bishop Stephen Lee of Macau during the felicitation gathering
The second end was the beatification of the martyrs, who did not turned their backs on Christ in the face of trial, giving up their lives because of their love towards Christ.
Fr. Mario with Bishop Stephen Lee
The third was the Golden Jubilee of Fr Mario. He stressed that the three ends of the celebration converged on one theme: to be a witness for Christ.

“To witness is not just the job of a saint, of martyrs and of a priest (Fr Mario), but it is [the responsibility] of every single Christian. At the moment of our baptism, we became disciples and ambassadors of Christ, we have the mission of being a bonfire,” said Fr Carin.
Children dancing to the tunes of a Bollywood song during the Agape Gathering after the Eucharistic celebration 
Fr Carin went on to say that we need to become ambassadors and witnesses of Christ, because we need to spread the Gospel, and to tell others what is the meaning of God’s love. “Spreading the Good News means we would like to establish a world according to God’s will. A world that lets everyone become a child of God, and understands the meaning of living under God’s love.”
The front-page coverage on the Jubilee Celebrations by O' Clarim, the newspaper of the Diocese of Macau 
Fr Carin concluded that every baptised Catholic has a story and has an anniversary of his/her vocation. “We can ask ourselves today, how much and how many years have I given to Christ, to serve the Church and His people? Can we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, like Fr Mario, in our vocation as a Christian?”

At the end of the Holy Mass, Fr. Mario thanked God for the graces that He had entrusted to him. He also thanked all brothers from different regions and con-celebrating priests, as well as all faithful who had attended and prayed for him in the mass.

Pengchau Chapel Feast

Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel in Pengchau Island celebrated the Chapel feast day on 1 October, Sunday. Rev. Fr. Gabriel Altamirano, MG, the Dean of Hong Kong South and Outlying Islands Deanery, officiated the celebrations. 
Marian Procession during the Feast Day celebrations on 1 October 
Peng Chau - A brief history: 
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, in Peng Chau to the Diocese for evangelisation.  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 Wo. Since 2015, the Claretian Missionaries take care of the parish. 
Our Lady, Queen of Peace is the patron saint of the Catholic Community of Peng Chau. Although no priest resides in the island, priests from Mui Wo comes to the Chapel three days of the week to celebrate the Eucharist and conduct Bible Classes. 
Every year, the first Sunday of October is observed as the feast day of the Peng Chau Chapel, bringing together the small Catholic community to proclaim their faith and to share the peace and joy of their faith. This year the first Sunday of October was on 1 October. Incidentally, 1 October is the most important day in the History of Modern China as it Celebrates the foundation of the Republic. 2017 is the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Hence, it was also an occasion to pray for the Nation and pray for the Church in this land. 
Fr. Fr. Gabriel Altamirano and Fr. Ezakias Anthony Swamy lead the faithful in a Marian Procession through the streets of this small Island, praying the Rosary. The procession was followed by the solemn Eucharistic celebration. In his homily Fr. Gabriel deliberated on the gift of peace that the Lord offers to all his faithful and the role of Blessed Mother in bringing us to this peace of the Lord.  
A variety of cultural performances by the parishioners and the students of the Holy Family School provided a colourful finale to the celebrations. 

East Asia Assembly of the Claretians 

From October 2 to 6 the Claretians from East Asia Delegation gathered in the the Choc Van Convention Center in Macau to hold their Assembly. 26 Claretians working in Japan, Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong and China met to share their life and mission. It was a time for coming together as one family under the same Spirit of our Founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret. 

It was a fruitful time for evaluation, discussion and sharing based on the present situation of our Delegation, especially in the light of the last XXV General Chapter and the letter of the General: Called to Radiate the Joy of the Gospel. All the participants were actively involved in all the sessions throughout these four days of get-together.

It was a great opportunity to reflect on and review as a community the various ministries of our Delegation in these regions. The sharing session on the Church in Mainland China by the Nuncio, Msgr. Ante Jozic helped us to better understand the possibilities and the challenges of the China Mission for the Congregation. 
Assembly Participants with the "Candle Light" team
Some of the friends and collaborators of Claretians in Macau and Hong Kong came to share their “Candlelight” ministry, a Charity group involved in the social welfare projects in China and Nepal.

From the Editor's Desk:

The Claretian Publications, Macau had it's flagship title 每日聖言 2018 (Daily Gospel 2018) officially released on 5 October by Msgr Javier Herrera Corona, the Vatican Delegate in Hong Kong. 
Msgr Javier Herrera Corona releases the 每日聖言 2018 in Macau as Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy, Director, Claretian Publications, Macau looks on 
Releasing the new title, Msgr Corona emphasised the significance of the daily reading and reflection of the Word of God in the life of every believer. He was addressing the gathering during the Feast of St. Claret and Jubilee of Fr. Mario in St. Lawrence Church, Macau. 
A booklet on the life and witnessing of the 109 Claretian Martyrs of Spain was also released on the same occasion
During the occasion he also released a booklet on the life and witnessing of the 109 Claretian martyrs of Spain. The Blessed Martyrs were beatified in a solemn Eucharistic celebration held in the Holy Family Cathedral, Barcelona on 21 October. 

每日聖言 2018
每日聖言 2018 is printed both in simplified characters for the readers in the Mainland, Singapore and Malaysia and in traditional characters for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The copies are already available for grab in all the leading religious bookstalls of Macau and Hong Kong. 

Frankfurt Book Fair 
For the past 25 years the Claretians have participated in a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the most important book fair in the world and a meeting point for publishing houses. This year's Book Fair, held from the 11th to the 15th of October, was participated by eight editorials of the fifteen-member Claretian Publishing group of our Congregation. 
In the photo from left to right are Fr. Denis Tamayo (Philippines), Fr. Alonso Sanchez (Argentina), Fr. Luis Erlin (Brazil), Fr. Alberto Rossa (Hong Kong), Fernando Prado (Madrid), Fr. Henry Omonisaye, Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy (China), Fr. Manoj Kandathinkara (India), and Mr. Marcel·lí López, editor of Editorial Claret de Catalunya.
Fr. Rossa with the Officials of Amity Printing 

For Fr. Rossa and Fr. Jijo who represented Hong Kong, Macau and China, it was also a time for meeting up with some of the best business  and mission partners in the ministry: 
With Fr. Luis of Ave Maria Publications, Brazil 

Fr. Rossa with Mike Roberts of the Redemptorist Publications, UK 
Fr. Rossa and Fr. Jijo with the Amity officials  
Meeting with Bob Byrns of Paulist Press, our long time partner in ministry and Ms Kathy of Amity. We will soon publish the Paulist Press Biblical Commentary done by several bible scholars, after the NJBC! It's a result of 15 years of hard work.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn festival is also called "the moon festival" as it is celebrated when the moon is believed to be the biggest and fullest
Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival, celebrated in most East Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam. The festival takes places on month 8 day 15 of the Chinese calendar. In 2017 it was celebrated on October 4th.
Moon Cakes  

It is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. To the Chinese, the festival means family reunion and peace. 
Family Reunion in China means a mass exodus of people from the cities to their hometown. As a result, Chinese travellers have made about 710 million trips to domestic destinations over the holiday break, a 10 per cent increase on last year’s total, according to the China Tourism Academy, a government think tank. 
The mass movement, second in scale only to the Lunar New Year exodus, is again putting the transport system under great pressure.
In many of China's neighboring nations Mid-Autumn is widely celebrated. Many interesting activities with unique local features are held. In Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, countries with many ethnic Chinese citizens, celebrations are more Chinese, such as lighting lanterns and dragon dances. 
Lantern Decorations in Hong Kong during the Mid-Autumn Festival 
In other countries, such as Japan and Vietnam, which have also been influenced deeply by Chinese culture, new celebrations have been derived from their unique cultures.
Encounter with Claret: Fr. Rossa 

It will certainly be an inspiration for anyone to listen to a man of age and wisdom. But here, he speaks not of himself, rather about the amazing ways of God that that lead him guided him to what he is today. Are you interested in knowing more?! Scroll down to have a glimpse on the vocational journey of Fr. Alberto Rossa as he shares about it: 
Daring to take the plunge! 
It was the year 1951. My six-month-old brother had swallowed a small metal cross with 8 tips, a wick holder for the oil lamp used at night. The doctors had given up hope on him. They gave him back to my mother to die at home because there was no way a baby could excrete that metal without it cutting its intestines. My mother, feeling desolate, embarked on a journey back to the village. A woman approached her on the train when she saw her crying. My mother told her the terrible drama. The woman comforted her and gave her a picture with a relic as she said, “Pray to this saint with devotion and you will see that everything will be well.” My mother, a woman of deep faith, made a novena to this new saint. A few days later, my brother passed the metal without any problem. The doctors could not explain how it happened. My brother, Victor, is now 66 years old and lives in Argentina.

Audience with Pope Francis, bringing
along his latest project: The New
Chinese Translation of
the New Testament
A few years later, a bashful missionary came to town and asked me if I wanted to go to the seminary. I was 11 years old.

He spoke with my parents and my mother related to him what had happened to my little brother. Yes, the newly canonized saint was Anthony Mary Claret and the missionary was a Claretian, a very timid newly ordained priest who was doing his first mission.

My life in the seminary was a happy experience. We went through many hardships, even hunger, but we were happy. The years went by and I finished my theological studies in Washington, D.C, in the United States and returned to Argentina to work with university students for 6 years. One day I received an invitation from Father General asking if I was willing to serve in the Philippines since I knew English.

I arrived in the Philippines in early 1978 with a 5-year agreement that later turned into 27 years. 
he reality of this country, socially very similar to our Latin American countries, launched me into a totally new ministry: sharing in the Philippines the experience of a new model of Church, inspired by Vatican II, vibrant at that time in Latin America.

I gradually learned the job of “publications” and it was there that I had a strong encounter with Father Claret. I remembered all the editorial work of Father Claret, with the poor means of the 19th century, especially the “Bible with little hands.” The obstacles were great, but as it was written in one of the first books I published, “If you know where you are going, the world will stop and let you pass.” It was not easy. When I asked the Provincial permission to dedicate myself to publications to bridge the Church of Latin American with the Philippines, he told me, “Remember that you are a parish priest and that is your first obligation; what you do with your free time is up to you. And second, never ask us for money because we do not have.” Thus was born Claretian Publications in the Philippines. 
In Amity Printing Co. with his pet project: The Christian Community Bible 
After a couple of years I was already full-time dedicated to publications. I have always been enlightened by the intuition of Father Claret: “Use all possible means for evangelization.” Publications was a new ministry for me in which I had no experience; I learned by doing! I remember that when we had published 160 titles we looked at Father Claret again, remembering that with the poor means of his time he had also come to publish a similar number of books and booklets. But we kept going and now we already have more than a thousand titles published. Then came the Bible: “servants of the Word,” another feature where Father Claret served as an inspiration and model. That “Bible with the little hands” inspired us to bring the Word of God to the ordinary people. We had published the Bible in 12 languages ​​and are currently completing a new translation into modern Chinese, with comments and a guide to Lectio Divina for each chapter of the Bible. In 2006 I left the Philippines for a new assignment and the work of publication there continued with the local Claretians. My new assignment brought me to Macao for a work focused also on publications, but directed especially to Mainland China. I asked myself many times: What would Father Claret do in this immense frontier? The definition of a missionary that Father Claret gave us in his autobiography inspired me—a great manifesto!
With his old friend, Cardinal Emeritus Gaudencio Rosales, on 20 February 2017 in Macau
Father Claret made use of the help of assistants to carry out his mission. Over the years, a group of highly selected people who felt the same passion for this ministry joined me. They are a group of lay people inspired by the Claretian charism and have dedicated their lives to this work and are consecrated for the mission. A saying from Confucius comes to mind: “Find the work you love and that will be the last day of your life in which you work.” These collaborators live for the mission. Also, over the years, some co-workers discovered their missionary vocation and today they are Claretian Missionaries. China was and is a unique experience. It is something unheard of for a foreigner to publish books in China, however, a voice in my ear reminded me: “Nothing daunts him….” What was done in the Philippines—to foster a new model of being Church through publications, we now do in China—with all the necessary permissions, of course. An experience beyond all expectations was the contact with a printing press in China, where for 20 years we have been printing our books, especially the Bibles that we send to different countries. In February 2017, there was an act of recognition in Macao for the work done and was attended by several leaders of Amity Press (a company with 600 employees and only 3% are Christians—it is the largest Bible printing company in the world). This is what Mr. Li, the former Director said:

Ready for a plunge into the unknown!
An Act of Faith! 
“If I have done something, it has been through the influence of Christians, people like you and others who contribute their energy, time and money for the missionary work. Although I am not yet a Christian, it gives me great joy to see the Bibles coming from the printing press because I know that people are waiting for them and they will bring peace to their hearts which is good for a harmonious society.” These days mark the 60th anniversary of that encounter with a young Claretian priest who asked me if I wanted to be a missionary. The evangelizing dream and the missionary zeal of Father Claret have accompanied me in all the stages of my life, and in God’s plans, even as my little brother was miraculously healed through the intercession of that newly canonized saint.

Fr. Alberto Rossa CMF