Friday, December 01, 2017

Welcome to the China Bulletin - December 2017

A Blessed Season of Advent 

An Advent Reflection :Returning to Essentials

Hospitality is the practice that keeps the church from becoming a club, a members-only society. —Diana Butler Bass

Practical, practice-based Christianity has been avoided, denied, minimised, ignored, delayed, and sidelined for too many centuries, by too many Christians who were never told Christianity was anything more than a belonging or belief system. 

Now we know that there is no Methodist or Catholic way of loving. There is no Orthodox or Presbyterian way of living a simple and nonviolent life. There is no Lutheran or Evangelical way of showing mercy. There is no Baptist or Episcopalian way of visiting the imprisoned. If there is, we are invariably emphasising the accidentals, which distract us from the very “marrow of the Gospel,” as St. Francis called it. 

We have made this mistake for too long. We cannot keep avoiding what Jesus actually emphasised and mandated. In this most urgent time, “it is the very love of Christ that now urges us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Pastor Philip Gulley superbly summarises how we must rebuild spirituality from the bottom up in his book, "If the Church Were Christian". Here I take the liberty of using my own words to restate his message, which offers a rather excellent description of Emerging Christianity:

Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.

Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.

The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.

Gracious behaviour is more important than right belief.

Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.

Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.

Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.

Peacemaking is more important than power.

We should care more about love and less about sex.

Life in this world is more important than the afterlife (eternity is God’s work anyway).

If this makes sense to you, you are already inside of Emerging Christianity.

Gateway to Silence:

Rooted and growing in Love.


Fr. Marquez helps in Mui Wo 

Fr. Jose Ruiz Marquez, a Claretian Missionary based in the Philippines was in Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo for over a month helping in the parish. While two of the priests from the parish were away on studies and vacation, Fr. Marquez made himself available to serve the English community. 
Epiphany parishioners had the opportunity to listen to a series of classes on liturgy and Bible as Fr. Marquez is a Professor of Theology and a priest with wide reading. During his Bible Study classes in Mui Wo and Pengchau, he challenged the enabled the parishioners to look beyond the traditional understanding of devotions and practices of faith, in order to make the scriptures more relevant and meaningful in our daily life. 


Claretian Family reach out - Candle Light
In the past couple of years, the Claretian lay associates - "Candle Light"- from Hong Kong and Macau have been making huge strides in their reach-out programme for the needy: leprosy affected people in the Mainland China and for the educational aid for the children in Nepal. All this was possible with the help of generous assistance from our friends and well wishers. 
Candle Light volunteers participating in the Caritas Charity Sale in
St. Benedict Parish, Shatin
Over the past year, the Parishioners of Epiphany parish, Mui Wo have been sending used clothes, toys and house appliances to help the informal settlers in the Philippines. 
Fr. Lito CMF, the parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, UP Village, Metro Manila  distributing utensils and rice for the fire tragedy victims 
Recently there was a fire accident in one of the informal settlers area where in over 150 houses went up in flames. Many of them belonged to the Claretian Parish in Quezon City. 
Fr. Lito, CMF with the volunteers of the Claret Urban Poor Apostolate (CUPA)after distributing the basic necessities for the fire tragedy victim
Hearing the news of the fire tragedy, a group of our friends from Macau - "Grace Educare" - made some generous contributions to provide immediate relief for the affected families. Relief materials were distributed by Fr. Lito, the parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Quezon City.  

The generous help from numerous well wishers in
Macau and Hong Kong for the surgery and medical
help for the Children has gone a long way! 
We have been assisting a group of Sisters - Franciscan Daughters of St Elizabeth - in the Philippines in their medical mission programme for the children. The Sisters have come across a large number of children who are badly in need of medical help. This time too, a lot of our friends from Macau and Hong Kong have done generous contributions that we were able to raise more than a million pesos for the surgery and treatment of children. 
Waiting for the Vice President Ms. Leni Robredo at Saklay Centre 
Another project in the Philippines where generous contributions from Hong Kong and Macau is reaching is for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts. 
Fr. Arnold with the Vice President of the Philippines,
Ms. Leni Robredo at Saklay 
With the now infamous 'war on drugs' by the Government forces and having over 13,000 people already gunned down in just over a year, the Claretian Missionaries in the Philippines responds to the need for 'giving them another chance' and opened a centre for the addicts. Fr. Arnold Abelardo collaborates with the Police forces and the health department to spread the message of 'No to deaths, Yes to Life'. 

"Boodle Fight" at Saklay! 
The Saklay Centre for the drug dependants is located in the Province of over 100 kms north of Manila. On 28 November the third batch of drug dependents completed their recovery treatment programme and the Vice President of the Philippines, Ms. Leni Robredo herself was present on the occasion. According to Fr. Arnold, over 500 drug dependents have benefited from the Centre.     
The Volunteers and staff at Saklay
We missionaries are greatly indebted to all our friends and benefactors who joyfully responded to share in this ministry. We pray for the heaven's choicest blessings on all of you! 

If you wish to be part of this ministry to the needy, please contact us through email: 
or visit the Claretian Volunteer's facebook page:


Pastoral Renewal and Leadership for Mission
The Participants in EAPI this time were from 21 Countries
I have been attending a renewal programme for the past four months in the East Asian pastoral Institute (EAPI) in Ateneo de Manila University. The programme was titled "Pastoral Renewal and Updating for Leadership and Mission". 

With Fr. Bruno,  who's visit to the Philippines was a pleasant surprise
Together with the 19 participants from the stream of Sabbatical Pilgrimage Experience, and 35 in the Pastoral Renewal stream, we were 54 participants, mostly priests and religious from 21 nationalities participated in the renewal programme which started in August 2017. 15 modules on varied themes spanning from Spirituality, Psychology, Pastoral leadership, Ecclesiology, Interfaith relations, etc. were conducted during a period of 18 weeks. The programme served as a platform for renewal of vocational commitment as it was well structured with opening and concluding retreats and an eight-day Ignatian retreat in the middle. 

Although the life in the Ateneo campus was pleasantly away from the harsher realities of life in the out, the time in EAPI was tailored for ample exposure to the struggles of the less fortunate. A visit to the informal settlers area in Navotas and my personal involvement with the mission projects of the Claretians and Franciscan Missionary Sisters in Manila was helpful in identifying my responsibilities. 

The generosity and commitment of the ordinary people is a huge lesson which no university or institute would teach and has often put me to shame! How little have I done! How much more am I called to be! 
Certification on completion of the Course in EAPI
by Fr. Peter Pujol, the Director of EAPI 
During our Missioning Mass on 30 November, Fr. Antonio SJ, the President of the Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference, wished all the participants "Couragio"! 
That's what I aspire for! But for the time, thanks to my Community in Hong Kong for sparing me for the past six months and thanks to EAPI for accommodating me for the past four months!  


Claretian Day Celebration in Taiwan 

21st October 2017 marked a unique day in the life and mission of Claretian Missionaries in Taiwan. The Claretian Community in Taiwan ventured herself into dedicating the whole of this year (2017) for helping the recipients of our missionary service know more about the Claretian Congregation, its founder-St. Anthony Mary Claret, its various missions and missionary initiatives around the globe etc. 
Thus, beginning from the month of May until October, we dedicated each month for various themes and programs, such as, prayer of initiation, pilgrimage, Power-Point Presentation on the Congregation and her mission, Claretian movies, Marian Spirituality etc. 
As a culmination of the whole celebration, on 21st October 2017, we had a joined Claretian Mission Day Celebration at Keelung Assumption Church, with a distinct participation of nearly 150 of our well-wishes from all the missions and parishes we are rendering our services-such as, Keelung, Ruifang, Qidu, Wulai and Zhonghe Aboriginal Pastoral Centre. The final day celebration enormously made an impact on everyone to know mutually and particularly our missionary commitment in this region.

2nd International Choral Festival, Macau

The second edition of Cantata Macau will be plugged in on December-6, 2017. Eight choirs from Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, Mexico and Philippines, will flood the Cathedral and Saint Lawrence vaults with their distilled musical extravaganza for 4 days in a row. The highlight of the event is the Grand Concert on 8th December at 7.30 pm in the Cineteatro, Macau.
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The Cantata Macau, the International Music Festival Macau started last year with an intention to offer an alternative signification to Macau, which is known to the world as a land of casinos. 
Paradoxically, the negative synonyms showered on this city do not suit the natives of Macau who generally, cherish their religious identity and enjoy what is holy. The Music Festival is an attempt to redeem this sublime past of Macau.

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