For the Claretian Missionaries in China, month of February is a special one. Ninety years ago, on 11 February 1928 the Congregation had officially accepted the Mission of Kaifeng in China. Five years later, in another February, the Apostolic Prefecture of Tunxi (Huangshan) was established and Claretian Father Jose Fogued was assigned as its first Apostolic Prefect.
Add to this, 25 years ago, on February 14, 1994 the Congregation Started the Taiwan mission.
Ninety years have passed, most of which was the turbulent for the Church in China, yet the missionaries strive to spread the message of the Gospel “through all possible means.” In the given circumstances in the region, foreign missionary presence is illegal and religious practices are tightly monitored and controlled even as the people hunger for the Good News.
It is a paradox that while the many young people in the so-called ‘free world’ shows no more passion and commitment for matters of faith and religion, numerous youth from the controlled Church risk persecution and their securities in their daring act of keeping their faith alive. Their brave choices sometimes even put us missionaries to shame and make us aware of the truth it is they who evangelizes us and not vice-versa!
Father Jijo Kandamkulathy who currently serves as the Director of Claretian Publications, Macau is in the process of re-loading the Word Mission Project for the mainland China. In the past years, he has visited and made contacts with numerous communities and Church leaders there, introducing the Word Mission method of using the five keys in reading the scriptures.
Missionaries on the boarders of China celebrated our ‘February connection’ this year by hosting a group of youth, introducing to them the new way of reading the Bible. As part of the Word Mission project, a group of 13 young adults spent three intensive days of Biblical formation in Hong Kong, in the second week of February. Father Jijo, Father Peter K, a Claretian Biblical Scholar and Ms Winnie Wong, a student of Biblical Theology handled the sessions. Role-playing of the biblical story followed by a Mass on the picturesque beaches of Mui Wo culminated the three days’ event. Epiphany parish in Mui Wo in the diocese of Hong Kong is taken care of by the Claretians.
By Jose Cherukara.