Posts Tagged ‘China’

Jesuit Bishop Jin of Shanghai, Who Worked to Rebuild Church, Dies at 96

Jesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin LuxianJesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, a prominent figure in the Chinese Catholic Church, died April 27 of pancreatic cancer. He was 96.

“Bishop Jin was a towering figure in the history of the church in China. Always gracious, ever perceptive, he will be missed by the people of China,” said Jesuit Father Thomas Smolich, president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.

In the early 1980s, the bishop, who spent almost three decades in a Chinese prison and a labor camp, made the decision to cooperate with the Chinese government, which strove to exercise control over the church through organs such as “patriotic associations,” including one for Catholics.

Jesuit Father Michael Kelly, executive director of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News, said of his fellow Jesuit: “From the 1980s, much to the suspicion of some, the condemnation of others but the amazement of most, Jin walked the thin line between recognizing the authority of the government while sticking to what he believed was most basic and important to Catholicism in China.”

Jesuit Father Thomas Lucas, a professor of art and architecture at the University of San Francisco, had the opportunity in 2002 to collaborate with Bishop Jin on a five-year project to install 56 stained glass panels in the windows of St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai.

“Bishop Aloysius Jin was a remarkable man and a great Jesuit,” said Fr. Lucas. “He returned to his native Shanghai in 1951 after studies in Europe, knowing that imprisonment was the likely outcome. Incarcerated for 28 years, five years of which he spent in solitary confinement, he emerged unbroken in his faith and optimism.”

Bishop Jin, who was born in 1916 in Shanghai, was ordained a Jesuit in 1945. Two years later, he left for studies in France, Germany and Italy and earned a doctorate in theology. He returned to Shanghai and served for four years as rector of what was then known as the Xuhui Regional Seminary, later Sheshan Seminary.

He was arrested in 1955 because, he has said, he “opposed several laws of the state.” During his time in prison, he prayed and taught himself Russian. After his release, Bishop Jin was sent to northern China for almost 10 years, where he spent his time working the land and working on translations for the Chinese government.

Jesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin LuxianHe returned to Shanghai in 1982 to serve as rector of the Sheshan Seminary at the request of the Shanghai Diocese.

“I don’t regret coming back,” he said. “Now I can educate seminarians as previously. I can publish books. … It is important for Catholics. Now I am also in charge of church contact with foreign visitors. I can promote the mutual respect and confidence between the Chinese church and the church abroad. These things are contributions for the whole church.”

Bishop Jin was elected auxiliary of Shanghai in December 1984 and was ordained the next month, without the approval of the Vatican. He became bishop of Shanghai in 1989 but did not reconcile his status with the Vatican until early in the 21st century.

Bishop Jin also became a figure at the national level. He persuaded the authorities to allow inclusion of prayer for the pope in the Eucharistic prayers during Masses and helped to develop the liturgy in Chinese.

According to Fr. Lucas, Bishop Jin’s decision to preach the Gospel and bring the sacraments back to the people of Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution was controversial, as it meant working with — rather than against — the regime.

“Yet the decision bore great fruits for the re-evangelization of his native city,” said Fr. Lucas. “He built 15 new parishes, restored St. Ignatius Cathedral and became the beloved shepherd of a diverse community. Fully reconciled with the Holy See and the Jesuit Superior General a decade ago, Jin’s legacy of patience, endurance and practical wisdom was an inspiration to all who called him Father and friend.”

More than 1,000 people attended a funeral Mass for Bishop Jin on April 29. A government-organized memorial service is scheduled for May 2, after which his body will be cremated, according to UCA News. [Catholic News Service]

China opens Ricci Exhibition Center

China’s first exhibition center dedicated to Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) has opened in Zhaoqing, the place where the Italian missionary first set foot on the mainland, reports Ucanews.

The new Matteo Ricci Cultural Exchange Exhibition Center details the life of the Jesuit priest, known as Li Madou to Chinese people, through an array of exhibits and written accounts.

The center is located near the ruins of the first church and Jesuit house that Fr. Ricci and his companion Jesuit Father Michele Ruggieri were allowed to build after they arrived in China in 1583. The church, called “Xianhua Temple” out of respect for Buddhist custom, was dedicated to the Blessed Mother.

Jesuit Father Gabriel Li Jiafang of Jiangmen, who attended the opening, hoped the exhibition, which is designed to boost tourism, would make more people aware of the missionary and the Catholic faith.

“The local Church has provided historical material such as books  and written records for the Ricci exhibition center which is managed by the  city museum. A replica of a Ricci statue owned by the parish is also erected there,” the pastor of Zhaoqing’s Immaculate Conception Church said.

Other exhibits include Fr. Ricci’s writings, items of clothing, scientific instruments and astronomical data, to help visitors understand his background, his six years in Zhaoqing (until 1589) and his contribution to cultural exchanges between East and West.

Letters from Shanghai: Keeping the Flame of Faith and Joy Alive

A little more than half a century ago, Jesuit Father Charles J. McCarthy sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge on his return to San Francisco as one of the last two Jesuits released from prison in Communist China, a confinement he endured for four years following an earlier house arrest by the Japanese during WWII.

Waiting for him were his brothers, Walter, Alex, Robert and their families, including Walter’s 10-year-old daughter, Mary Jo, who would later chronicle the dramatic story that linked her father and uncle, a story documented in hundreds of letters written by the two men over more than 50 years.

The letters illustrate the history of China, from the Japanese occupation in World War II to the Communist takeover; they also reveal the devotion of brothers, a connection that endured despite distance and deprivation.

Aug. 2, 1952 – From Charles to Walter: Today is my 23rd anniversary as a Jesuit. It doesn’t seem that long since the family was all together. We certainly had some good times and lots of fun around the table. Dad was especially encouraging when I raised the vocation question with him, and he talked Mom out of the idea I was too young. The trip to Los Gatos was a step light-hearted enough for me, but I’m sure Mom and Dad felt deeply the first splintering of the family. Fortunately, though, there’s never been any real separation of our hearts.

In 1941, Charles sailed for Peking, where he studied Chinese for two years before the Japanese placed him and 29 colleagues under house arrest in Shanghai until the end of World War II. “He was able to send me letters via the Red Cross,” said Walter.

Upon his release, Charles taught theology in Shanghai until July 1946, when he returned to the U.S. to study journalism at Marquette University. He moved back to Shanghai in 1949, where he was appointed the superior of the Jesuit School of Theology in Shanghai, making him the highest-ranking American Jesuit in the Shanghai Jesuit Mission. He worked with Jesuit scholastics until his arrest by the Communists in 1953, when he was led away from his room at gunpoint, accused of “ideological sabotage” for giving harmful guidance to his students.

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Jesuit’s Students Unveil Exhibit on Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke with items featured in the Boston College exhibit "Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings." (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

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Boston College Assistant Professor of History Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke helped his undgergrad students create an exhibit that opened on Mar. 21 titled “Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings.”

The exhibit, which highlights the history of East-West exchanges, has a number of multimedia resources to demonstrate Christian mission history in Asia.

In the 16th century, the Chinese were utilizing what at the time was advanced technology through their observatory in Beijing, Fr. Clarke said.

“In one display, we show the observatory and all the astronomical devices that they used during the time the Jesuits were there,” said student Alexander Gilman ’11.

Utilizing excerpts and outtakes from Clarke’s documentary, “Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church,” students were able to compile their own virtual history.

“One of the ways people learned about East-West cultural exchange was through six melody lines written down by a Jesuit in Beijing at that time,” said Clarke. Using these melodies as a creative point of departure, Clarke commissioned the composition of an aria that is played as people pass through the exhibit.

A number of rare books are also on display, including Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, the translations of the first three of the four canonical books of Confucianism. A group of Jesuits originally translated the philosophies of the Chinese to lead to greater understanding of Chinese thought and brought the culture to Europeans and beyond, Clarke said.

For more information, watch a video preview of the exhibit and visit the Boston College Chronicle.

Jesuit's Students Unveil Exhibit on Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke

Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke with items featured in the Boston College exhibit "Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings." (Photo by Gary Wayne Gilbert)

Share

Boston College Assistant Professor of History Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke helped his undgergrad students create an exhibit that opened on Mar. 21 titled “Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings.”

The exhibit, which highlights the history of East-West exchanges, has a number of multimedia resources to demonstrate Christian mission history in Asia.

In the 16th century, the Chinese were utilizing what at the time was advanced technology through their observatory in Beijing, Fr. Clarke said.

“In one display, we show the observatory and all the astronomical devices that they used during the time the Jesuits were there,” said student Alexander Gilman ’11.

Utilizing excerpts and outtakes from Clarke’s documentary, “Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church,” students were able to compile their own virtual history.

“One of the ways people learned about East-West cultural exchange was through six melody lines written down by a Jesuit in Beijing at that time,” said Clarke. Using these melodies as a creative point of departure, Clarke commissioned the composition of an aria that is played as people pass through the exhibit.

A number of rare books are also on display, including Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, the translations of the first three of the four canonical books of Confucianism. A group of Jesuits originally translated the philosophies of the Chinese to lead to greater understanding of Chinese thought and brought the culture to Europeans and beyond, Clarke said.

For more information, watch a video preview of the exhibit and visit the Boston College Chronicle.