Our community has more than twenty years of history in Dallas. What began as five or six families coming together to study the Bible and pray together, quickly became a community that regularly gathered at nearby churches for Masses and meetings. As the numbers grew, they requested that the Diocese of Dallas help establish a permanent Chinese Catholic community in 1990. In 1992, we put our money together and purchased a small office building in Richardson, Texas. By the end of 1993, we had renovated it to become our sanctuary and activity hall. With the guidance of priests seconded from Taiwan and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, our small community grew stronger in numbers and in faith.

A Word from the Pastor

The Holy See and the People’s Republic of China

Fr. Paul P. Pang O.F.M.

A press release from the Vatican has just reached this writer with the title: “No confrontation, but dialogue in truth!” The subtitle is: ‘An invitation by Benedict XVI to the PRC and to the Chinese faithful’. The dispatch is sent by The Reverend Jeroom Hyendrickx, cicm.

This has been a piece of news foretold around the world. It stressed on the strong and urgent will of Benedict XVI to dialogue with China. This Vatican China Meeting took place in the Vatican from January 19 to 20, 2007. The Holy See made it clear that, in spite of three illicit Episcopal ordinations in 2006, the Holy See still wishes to dialogue with Beijing. Pope Benedict XVI follows in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II who promoted dialogue during 25 years. This is, so far, the most significant China initiative of Pope Benedict XVI. The ball is now clearly in the court of the PRC. Beijing has to prove that it is also ready for dialogue.

The high-level China meeting was called at the explicit request of Pope Benedict XVI. The highest Church officials present were: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Secretary of State, who presided), Cardinal Ivan Dias (Prefect of the SCEP), Cardinal Paul Shan (formerly of Kaohsiung, Taiwan), Cardinal Joseph Zen (Hong Kong), Archbp. Mamberti (Committee for Relations with Foreign Countries), Archbp. Claudio Celli (APSA), other bishops from Hong Kong and Macao and experts on China Church matters. According to the press, some participants have in the past been open to dialogue with the PRC; others were more confrontational.

One had predicted to the press that the meeting might decide on disciplinary measures for Chinese bishops who took active part in the illicit ordinations. However the press release stated: “The wide-ranging and intricate debate was characterized by a frank and fraternal cordiality”. In other words there were blunt, yet cordial exchanges; a good meeting with genuine dialogue. The most hope-giving message of the Rome meeting is expressed in the last two paragraphs stating that the Holy Father will write a letter to the Chinese faithful, who have been expecting such a letter since a long time. We have an indication of what we may expect in that letter: “what emerged was the will to continue along the path of respectful and constructive dialogue with the governing authorities, in order to overcome the misunderstandings of the past. The hope was also expressed that a normalization at all levels could be achieved so as to facilitate a peaceful and fruitful life of faith in the Church, and to work together for the good of the Chinese people and for the peace of the world.” In other words: a constructive dialogue, based upon “the fundamental principles of the Church’s divine constitution and religious freedom”: a solid basis for a constructive dialogue in truth. (To be continued)

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