20year

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.

我的大哥

 

陳一德


2007年10月9號我的大哥要去醫院做穿刺檢查,我在他要去醫院前幾天打電話給他,當時是為了媽媽回台定居後的照顧問題與大哥聯絡,在電話中只是禮貌的問候他的病情,但我可以感覺到他的歡喜,因為我們終於言歸於好,我們兄妹已有好幾年不來往了,這次若不是媽媽回台定居,我為了媽媽的福祉,才開始對我的幾個哥哥嫂嫂們說好話,其實我心裡想的是現在媽媽在你們手裡我才這麼耐心的與你們調節,將來媽媽走了我才不理你們這些哥哥了。但是當10月14號我得知大哥因誤診病情轉壞住進加護病房,我一時嚇壞了,一個小小的穿刺竟然病菌感染。我馬上不停的祈禱,希望天主能施予恩寵救我大哥,我這個小信德的人,在幾天後得知我大哥病情回穩,我做了感謝主的祈禱後,又回復我那平常的生活,三天曬網兩天打漁的日子,誠如我先生常說的,我只會享受天主,這樣過了幾天我再打電話回台,得知我的大哥病情又再度受感染而完全失去了控制,醫生宣佈為敗血症。這時我多麼的悔恨我是那麼沒有信德的人,我又再度來到天主前祈求,每天下班後一定到聖體室祈禱,不論教堂有沒有人在,有時跪在聖體室窗外的草地上,就這樣一次又一次的祈求,一次又一次的得到新的學習,一次又一次的了解主的恩典有多大,這樣十幾天來在每一次的祈禱中都有新的認識與體驗,在天主的大愛中我明白我擁有的那麼多,在11月20號時我得知大哥一天洗腎能洗出7公斤的水,我向主祈禱,主給我啟示應該回台一趟,臨時買了機票回到台灣看見病榻上的大哥,我的心也一樣痛苦,我日夜無法闔眼,只知道不停的祈求天主,停留在台灣四天,大哥如奇蹟般的白血球指數一天一天降下來而逐漸穩定,感謝主的恩典,不因我是一個小信德的人而離棄我,今天我的大哥在加護病房住了二個月後,已出了加護病房在逐漸的康復中。我們兄妹四人也因為這一次大哥的生病學習認識主的恩典,更能相愛相敬,我自知才疏學淺,在靈性的修為上更是沒有,但我以虔誠敬主的心寫下我的一段心路歷程。

感謝天主!

人物專訪 - Garza Family Story

Deborah Garza


Our names are Ruben & Deborah Garza. We were both born and raised in Brownsville, Texas to working class parents who wanted more for us by encouraging us to get educations. I earned a Masters Degree in Library Science. Ruben earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Our daughter’s name is Mei Li. We adopted her from China on November 24, 2002.

Ruben and I were married for 12 years before we adopted Mei Li. One day we e-mailed about 20 adoption agencies. Two weeks later we made some decisions! I called everyone in my extended family: “I’M HAVING A BABY!” “Are you pregnant?” “NO!” My smile resounded over the phone line.

It was a long wait. It took us 6 months to put together our dossier and another 13 months of just waiting. In the meantime what to name her? We felt that since her surname is Hispanic, her personal name had to be Chinese. Unfortunately, I do not speak the language and baby naming is an art form that I know nothing about. So I started with what I know best: Books. I listed the names of beautiful, heroic, Chinese protagonists that I found in books in my library and we decided on one: Mei Li, which was written by Thomas Handforth about a little girl who celebrates her first Chinese New Year. It was perfect! Mei Li Garza. The name rolled off our tongues as if God had planned it for her since before we were born.

We traveled to China in November of 2002. We landed in Beijing and saw a country that no textbook could adequately describe. It was beautiful and fascinating. We walked through the Forbidden City and climbed the Great Wall! Three days after our arrival we traveled to Hunan Province, where Mei Li was presented to us. She was tiny with pudgy red cheeks. I couldn’t stop counting her fingers and toes, and I knew that God was smiling over a well-carried-out plan. We met people on the trip who looked at us and then looked at Mei Li and said, “Lucky Baby.” We walked across the threshold at the American Consulate in Guangzhou and made her an American. On the last day of our stay we literally “shopped ‘till we dropped”. The flight home was filled with excitement and expectation. We couldn’t wait to introduce Mei Li to her new extended family.

As we arrived home, her education came into discussion. She was going to Catholic School, that was a given. She had to learn the language of her adopted culture: Spanish, which we could teach her. But what do we do about the Chinese? She had to learn that too. The problem was that our knowledge of Chinese Culture was textbook, and we don’t speak Mandarin.

One day Ruben read “The Texas Catholic” and found that Fr. Paul Pang and his Chinese congregation was building a church on highway 544 and Los Rios in Murphy. Ruben and I looked at each other. How often does God drop a church, a specific church, in your midst? Did He do this just for us? Does Mei Li hold some divine importance that we are not aware of? My definition of God’s Glory changed forever. We started going and we all fit in like a glove. We are so much more alike than unlike. Then Mei Li and I enrolled in Chinese School. It was really hard at first. I knew it would be. My only intention was to do it for her. I am over 40 years old. My time to acquire a new language ended when I was 13. Research proves this. I couldn’t read the language so I could not help Mei Li with her homework. The ladies were really nice. They said, “Don’t worry about it.” We stuck it out, but I was beginning to feel it was a moot point especially since helping Mei Li was next to impossible.

Then one day I learned my sounds. Mei Li was saying words. Ruben bought us a Chinese dictionary. We began to make strides and I was able to help Mei Li with her homework! Is it possible for God to refute years of research? Yes! He does it all the time. Shortly after Chinese School one day I was quietly praying and God said, “Yes! I want Mei Li to learn Chinese, but I want you to learn it too. Forget the research!” So we study every night. Mei Li’s bedtime stories are in English, Spanish and Mandarin. She is perfectly content with that.

Mei Li is now in Kindergarten at St. Paul Catholic School. We still go to Chinese School and can converse in simple sentences. Sacred Heart is now a fixture in our household as is the Moon Festival and Chinese New Year. Even though she may not realize it, I believe Mei Li has a special connection with God who has big plans for this little Chinese, Hispanic, American girl who can only grow up in America.

Tsi Chien Tien Su

My Reflection of Haven

 

Eric Tseng


I haven’t always had religion, but I did have faith. It’s something that all of us have, something that we all need during those hard times. I see religion as a way to practice that faith: to put it to use and help people while helping yourself. The world can be an intimidating and confusing place. We have been raised to reap what we sow, that every decision no matter how small can have dire consequences. But now that I have embraced religion, it has opened my eyes to things around me that previously have simply passed by. Just waking up in the morning and stepping outside to feel the cool wind against my skin makes me silently but reverently praise God for His magnificence. The wind is the way I would best describe our Lord’s perfection. It is something we take for granted but so necessary for the Earth to function, with the power to weather away the tallest mountains yet caresses us with a gentle breeze; unseen but felt by all.

Society is caught up in a different type of wind, a zephyr which hurls the worldly things of this life just beyond our reach and in turn we chase blindly after things we think we need. Many can justify their quest for material things by throwing words like happiness, comfort, and convenience around. But sit back and think. Does that 50-inch HDTV make you happy or the car that costs more than most middle class houses make life more convenient? Maybe or maybe not, but now think of the happiness that charity brings not only to your own life but to the people that you can help.

This past summer I took a trip to Taiwan to help out at a Catholic music camp in a rural city next to Tainan. I lived in the church for a little over a week and helped take care of a group of 60 kids ranging from the age of 5-12. Many of these kids were from poor families and most weren’t Catholic; it seemed more like a daycare than a camp.

Kids would arrive at church everyday as early as 5 AM and stay until after dark. The church provided them with fun activities and food for the entire day at no charge, and if that weren’t enough, at the end of the camp they gave presents to all the kids. I could tell that many of these kids came from broken families; all they wanted was love and friendship. They could spend all day just hugging you and sitting with you, and although I didn’t speak the best Chinese, they couldn’t get enough conversation.

The other thing that touched me on this trip was the other camp counselors who volunteered their entire week to help out. They showed immense patience and control while dealing with these children all day. Not once did I see them not pay full attention nor not show maximum enthusiasm while working with these kids.

I must admit that I was frustrated and impatient at the beginning. I didn’t know how to handle the hyper-activeness of these kids and the hot tropical sun without air conditioning. But once I learned that all I needed was to show a little love to the children, the entire situation changed for the better. It was the best experience of my life.

Web site - Catholic Music Camp in Tainan, Taiwan
http://www.catholic.org.tw/tainan/f40/

人物專訪 - 歌薩家的故事

楊漪婷 譯

我們家姓歌薩﹐我是黛博拉﹐我先生的名字是如彬。我倆都出生及成長在德州布朗士維爾市的工薪階層家庭。雙方父母都對我們期望較高﹐鼓勵我們受更好的教育。我有圖書管理的碩士學位﹐如彬有企業管理的碩士學位。我倆的女兒名叫“美麗”﹐她是我們在二零零二年十一月二十四日從中國領養的。

領養“美麗”之前﹐如彬和我已結婚十二年了。我們曾以電子信與大約二十個領養機構洽詢。終於在兩個星期後﹐我們作了決定!我打電話給所有的遠親近戚﹐告訴他們﹕『我要有小寶寶了!』『你懷孕了嗎?』『不是!』我鄭重其事的回答﹐笑意回響到電話線的另一端。

等待的過程非常漫長﹐我們花了六個月準備所需的一切文件﹐又苦等了十三個月。在等待的過程中﹐我倆商量著該給女兒取什麼名字?我們認為她既有了西裔的姓氏﹐那麼她該有個中國名字。不幸的是﹐我不懂中文﹐對中國人給孩子命名的藝術一無所知。我只好求助於我最熟悉的事物──書本。從我工作的圖書館書籍中﹐找出主角為中國人的書,將其中漂亮,英勇的主角名字列出,然後我們從中選了一個名字。“美麗”是作家湯瑪斯‧漢德福筆下的一個中國小女孩。書中描述她過中國新年的經歷。“美麗歌薩”﹐真是完美無缺!這個名字從我倆舌尖滑出﹐彷彿早在我們出生之前﹐天主就替她預備好了。

二零零二年十一月﹐我們到了中國。飛機降落在北京﹐我們見到了一個任何教科書都無法適當描繪出的國家。這是一個漂亮又令人著迷的地方。我們行越紫禁城﹐還爬上了長城!抵達後的第三天,我們到了湖南﹐見著了“美麗”。她好小﹐有著胖墩墩紅撲撲的臉蛋。我不由自主的不停數著她的手指及腳趾﹐我知道天主正笑瞇瞇的實現祂的完美計劃。有些在旅途中遇到的人﹐看看我們﹐又看看“美麗”﹐然後贊嘆的說︰『好命的小寶寶』。我們跨過了在廣州的美國領事館門檻﹐“美麗”拿到了美國籍。在中國的最後一天﹐我們著實瘋狂大採購了一番。飛回家的旅程中,心中充滿了興奮與期待。我們迫不急待的想把“美麗”介紹給她的新親人。

回家後﹐她的教育成為一個議題。她要上天主教學校﹐這是理所當然﹐早已認定的。我們自己也可教她領養家庭的文化—西語。但是中文怎麼辦?她也必需學中文。問題是﹐ 我們只有從教科書上得來對中國文化的粗淺認識﹐我們也不會說中文。

有一天﹐如彬正在讀《德州天主教》﹐突然發現彭保祿神父和他的華人教友正在建一座教堂﹐教堂靠近墨非市﹐位置在544號公路和洛斯里約路附近。如彬和我看著對方﹐一座教堂從天而落!一座非常特殊的教堂就落在我們中間!這種事發生的機率有多少?難道天主特別為我們做了這件事嗎?難道“美麗”有什麼我們不知道的特殊神恩嗎?從此我對天主“榮耀”的定義﹐永遠改變了。

我們開始去這座教堂﹐而且溶入了這個團體。我們和這個華人團體的相似程度﹐遠遠超過了彼此的相異。然後“美麗”和我在教堂的中文學校註了冊。正如我所預期的﹐起頭非常困難。我學中文的唯一目的是為了“美麗”。我已經四十多歲﹐學另一種新語言的時機﹐早在我十三歲時就已結束。科學研究也證明這種說法。我不認識中文﹐也無法幫助“美麗”作家庭作業。中文學校的女士們非常和善,她們安慰我︰『別太擔心』。我們辛苦的堅持著,但是我開始懷疑能否繼續下去﹐尤其是因為要我幫助“美麗”幾乎是不可能的。

直到有一天﹐我學會了發音﹐“美麗”也可以說一些字詞了。如彬給我們買了一本中文字典。我們終於有了進步﹐我也能幫助“美麗”的家庭作業了!天主可能會反駁人類多年研究出的科學結論嗎?會的!祂經常如此做的。有一天﹐中文學校放學後﹐在我靜靜的祈禱中﹐天主說︰『是的﹐我要“美麗”學中文﹐我也要你學中文。別再理那些科學研究的結論了﹗』。從此﹐我和“美麗”每晚學習。“美麗”的睡前故事有英語﹐西語及中文。她非常滿足於這樣的安排。

“美麗”目前在聖保祿天主教學校的幼稚班上學。我們仍然上中文學校﹐而且能用簡單的句子交談。耶穌聖心現在是我們家的一部分﹐就如同中秋節和中國農曆新年一樣。即使她現在還未明瞭﹐但我深信“美麗”和天主之間有一種奇特的聯結﹐在這個只能成長於美國﹐流著中國血液﹐西裔美籍的小女孩身上﹐天主必有一個遠大的計劃。

感謝天主!

譯者註:

“美麗”(Mei Li)是美國作家湯瑪斯‧漢德福(Thomas Handforth) 1939年獲得Caldecott Medal的得獎兒童讀物。 書中既勇敢又聰明的中國農村小女孩“美麗”﹐在1930年代重男輕女的中國﹐儘管從未被允許離家﹐卻能說服哥哥﹐帶她去鄰近的大城﹐過了一個生平第一次快樂的中國新年。並安全返回家中﹐向父母證明男孩女孩一樣好。此書反映出作者1934年居住於中國的親身見聞。書中主角“美麗”脫胎於作者在中國遇到的一個真實小女孩。真實的“美麗”是一個被遺棄在傳教士門口的棄嬰。後來被一位住在北京的美國女士收養。美國女士回國後﹐“美麗”又被託給一個貧窮的農家。雖然命運艱困﹐“美麗”卻依然勇敢堅強﹐熱愛生命。湯瑪斯深深被她感動﹐並將“美麗”化身成為其書中的主角。

我所認知的天堂

 

史雅潔 譯


從小到大,我並未有真實的宗教信仰,但我自認是一個很有信心的人。其實這是我們每一個人都擁有的,當人生遇到困境時我們更是需要它,我認為宗教信仰正是把這樣的信心真實化,在我們用心幫助別人時,自己也得到了成長。

對我來說,這世界可算是一個充滿迷惑與惶恐的地方。我們從小就一直被灌輸「一分耕耘,一分收穫」的觀念及只要一個小小錯誤就可導致重大失敗的後果。但自我有宗教信仰以後才讓我打開心靈,真正體會到就在我身旁,但我一直都未留意過的事物。清晨一起來,踏出房門,就感到微風徐徐吹來,使我不禁在心中默禱且讚美造物主無限的偉大。風是讓我最能體會造物主的完美,它是自然存在,不被看見,卻讓我們每人都能感受到,它既有弭平高山峻嶺之威力,又可給予輕柔的擁抱。

在同時,社會上也吹著一種風,此風之巨大把我們吹向盲目追求我們認定必須的物質世界,且是冠以快樂、舒適、便利這些字眼之物質世界。但是,讓我們靜下來想一想,難道這些50吋超解析度大電視或一部比一般住屋都貴的豪華車子,真能使你本質上覺得較快樂及舒適嗎?現在我認為的快樂應該是愛心慈善工作,不僅給自己帶來快樂,也給別人帶來幫助。

去年暑假我來到台灣台南鄉村一個天主堂辦的音樂營服務,我在那裡待了一個多星期,主要工作是負責看顧60個年齡5-12歲的孩子,這裡其實是個幼稚園,大部份的孩子並非天主教徒且家境並不好。

每天早上有的孩子清晨5點就來到教堂一直待到天黑了才回家。教堂免費提供許多食物及有趣的活動,在音樂營結束時,並贈與許多禮物,我可以看出很多孩子來自破碎的家庭,他們最需要的是友誼及愛,他們可以整天跟著你,要你的擁抱,或坐在你身旁,可惜我的中文說得不好,不能跟他們多交談。

在這個服務的經歷中,另一件讓我感動的事是這些參與服務營的義工,整天與這些孩子在一起所顯出的耐心及自制力真讓人敬佩。我察覺到他們對這些孩子的真誠與熱心都確實是出自內在的愛及關心。

我必須承認,我在開始的一、兩天,真不知怎麼應付這些好動的孩子,又不能忍耐炎熱而沒有冷氣的日子,但當我學習到只要對這些孩子付出多一點愛心,整個情況就改善了,就變得好過多了。這是我一生中最好的經歷。

譯者(史雅潔)註:台南教區玉井天主堂音樂靈修生活營「吾樂之緣聖母」朝聖地 :

http://www.catholic.org.tw/tainan/f40/

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