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(Photo courtesy Father Peter Zhai)

Many of the 150 Chinese Catholics and others who gathered at Vallombrosa Retreat Center for the North America Chinese Catholic Apostolate conference Oct. 7-9.

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Evangelization focus of North American Chinese Catholic conference
October 18th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

“The mission continues” to evangelize the world for Jesus Christ said one of Pope Francis’ top Vatican officials for evangelization during his visit to the San Francisco Bay Area to speak to North American Chinese Catholics on the topics of mercy and evangelization.

“It goes back to Jesus’ command after his resurrection: Go and preach the Gospel. It’s fundamental,” said Archbishop Savio Tai-Fai Hon, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 2010. He is also currently serving as apostolic administrator in the Diocese of Guam because of issues in the diocese.

“That becomes part of the nature of the church,” he said, citing the Vatican II document published 51 years ago, “Ad Gentes: On the Missionary Activity of the Church.”

“The church needs to renew itself,” Archbishop Hon said, a Salesian of Don Bosco who was born and lived much of his ministry as a priest in Hong Kong, citing Pope Francis’ philosophy, adding: “To leave the comfort zone is part of the mission of the Christian life.”

Archbishop Hon spoke on the topics of mercy and evangelization and on the topic of mission at the North American Chinese Catholic Apostolate conference held Oct. 7-9 at Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park. The conference drew more than 150 Chinese Catholics from as far as Canada and even New Zealand, said Father Peter Zhai, director of Chinese ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The archdiocese and the dioceses of Oakland and San Jose co-sponsored the conference.

Evangelization is a global phenomenon, with missionaries going forth today from Asian countries including Vietnam, Korea and India to serve their own immigrant communities in other countries such as the U.S., but also for instance, Korean missionaries are working in Africa, Archbishop Hon said.

In the archdiocese, the role of Father Zhai, a Divine Word Missionary born in China, is important to accompany Chinese here, Archbishop Hon said. “We need Chinese-speaking priests here. While they are facing all the challenges here, if someone can accompany them with certain Christian messages, that is already good evangelization. At the end of the day we are not simply raising family … after this life, we are aiming for something more. Inside our desire, we do have this tendency for beyond this life.”

For more information on the Chinese Catholic ministry in the archdiocese,

From October 20, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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