We just got back from our month long trip to Italy and Ireland. We were blessed to have met many wonderful people who are great witnesses of the love of God. We will be working with both the Rome and the Dublin Chinese Catholic Communities.
One of the first people we met was Father Michael Goh. He is the pastor of the Chinese Catholic Community in Rome. He celebrates mass in Chinese every Sunday at 4PM at San Bernardino da Siena Church. We had a chance to meet him for lunch and to talk about evangelizing the tens of thousands of Chinese living in Rome
We visited Vatican Radio in Rome. We met the people responsible for Chinese language programming there. Their work is very challenging since they are responsible for the translation into Chinese of everything the Holy Father says and writes. It is not an easy job by far.
ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TRIP WAS VISITING THE LITTLE TOWN OF CORIANO. WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS PLACE IS THE PICCOLA FAMIGLIA DELL ‘ASSUNTA WHO LIVES THERE. THIS IS A SPECIAL GROUP OF SISTERS AND BROTHERS WHOSE PRIMARY CHARISM IS TO CARE FOR THE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED. HOWEVER, ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO A CHINESE MAN WAS BROUGHT TO THEM NEEDING A PLACE TO STAY. HE DIDN’T SPEAK ITALIAN NOR WAS HE CATHOLIC. THE COMMUNITY TOOK HIM AND WHAT HAPPENED WAS TRULY MIRACULOUS. NOT ONLY DID HE CONVERT, BUT HE WENT BACK TO CHINA AND BROUGHT HIS WIFE BACK TO CORIANO WHERE SHE BECAME CATHOLIC AS WELL. FROM THOSE TWO PEOPLE A NEW MINISTRY WAS BORN. THERE ARE SEVERAL SISTERS AND BROTHERS WHO SPEAK CHINESE AND SERVE THE CHINESE COMMUNITY LIVING THERE. THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO EVANGELIZE THAT COMMUNITY WHERE NOW MOST OF THEM HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED CATHOLIC.THEY HAVE ESTABLISHED AN AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM WHERE MORE THAN 50 CHINESE CHILDREN COME EVERY DAY AND THEY ALSO HAVE A SUMMER CAMP.THEY HAVE CLOSE TO 100 PEOPLE ATTENDING CHINESE MASS EVERY SUNDAY. IMAGINE IF THEY WEREN’T OPEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN THAT FIRST MAN CAME. THIS MINISTRY WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED.
On our trip to Ireland, we visited the Chinese Catholic Community of Dublin. We met their Pastor, Father Anthony Hou who celebrates mass twice a month in St. Andrew’s Church. He has been serving that community for about a year. It was a privilege to be able to share with him our experiences of evangelizing the Chinese living in Diaspora. We attended Sunday mass at St. Andrew’s and were warmly welcomed by all the parishioners. About 80% of them are newly baptized Catholics which is so wonderful to hear.
We were also blessed to have met Joanna at Church that day. She is known as the “walking Saint”. Joanna is 92 years young and spent 30 years of her life in a Chinese prison. Her crime: being a Catholic. She has been living in Ireland for the past 28 years and at last can practice her faith in freedom. She is a most joyful person and loves to talk with people. What a privilege to have met her.