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 Peopl Republic of China (continuation)
Fr. Paul P. Pang O.F.M.

We are still waiting for the publication of the promised letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI that he will write to the Catholic Church in mainland China. The main objective of the letter is expected to be the Pope’s solicitation for a genuine dialogue with the People’s Republic of China, as mentioned in the first part of this article. This solicitation was the result of the high ranking Vatican officials’ conference held at the Vatican on January 19 to 20 this year. The conference was held at the personal request of the Pope.

When in November 1979, when this writer had already been working for one year in the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome, as the director of the same University’s Centre for Chinese Studies, a meeting of the same nature was also held at the Vatican, the newly elected Pope was personally present in it. He was Pope John Paul II, elected to the Seat of Peter on October 16th 1978. This writer had also the privilege of being one of the participants. We could almost feel the same strong desire of the new Pope to dialogue with the communist regime which was undergoing a tremendous change for the better, after the death of Mao Zedong and the re-instatement of Deng Xiaoping at the helm of the Chinese government. About one and a half year later the Pope wrote a letter to the Catholics of the persecuted Church in mainland China. The Pope praised the courage and constancy of the faithful in the face of terrible sufferings because of their faith and encouraged them to continue to be good citizens of the country. This writer was then publishing a tri-lingual China Bulletin (Italian, English and French, to inform the Roman Curia and all past- and present- missionary Institutes and China Study Centres around the world, about the religious and social situations in mainland China), and was able to report and widely comment on the Holy Father’s letter. After almost thirty years of suffocating persecution under the communist regime through its class struggles, confiscation of private properties and land reform and especially during the ten years of Cultural Revolution, a general estimate was that out of a Catholic population of 3,275 million (official statistics of 1948), almost half a million Catholics were put to death directly or indirectly because of faith and almost all the missionary bishops (about 110 out of 129 dioceses) and half of the five thousand or so clergy (practically all missionaries) were either imprisoned or expelled and about one third of the Chinese clergy was away from China either for further studies or for ministries in foreign countries. At some point during the Cultural Revolution almost all clergy was imprisoned and many killed. Almost all churches have been destroyed or severely damaged or confiscated for government use. In the midst of such devastating experience, the Holy Father, now encouraged by the new Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s introduction of rehabilitation policy, expressed his strong desire for a genuine dialogue. What Deng inherited was a decades-long closed China. But the China today is wide open because of its economic initiatives. And the present Holy Father has genuine hope that an authentic dialogue can be established in which both the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China can draw benefits. Let us fervently pray that such a policy can be realized and bear fruits for both sides. May this long awaited letter can be the bearer of such good tidings! (End of article).

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