Mission Little Diaries - I

CHSR3 April 2017. It was a six-hour trip for a distance of more than 900 kilometers from Shenyang to Shijiazhuang on the high speed G-train, a trip punctuated by periods of 350-km-per-hour speed in some segments of the trip. That trip brought me back to 1988 when I first went to Beijing from Guangzhou, a journey of 1,890 kilometers which took me 36 hours. How I wish I had taken photos of that time!

China had indeed changed a lot these past 30 years. I used to bring my own toilet paper when I traveled on the train for use in the squat toilet which was a hole that opens directly to flush down all unwanted materials down to the railway track. Now, passengers have a choice between a squat toilet and a “throne,” with water flush for both, but you don’t get to see the track anymore. And the best part of it is the soft two-ply toilet paper to be had in abundance!

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去年在波蘭的事... Last year in Poland...

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The way of the cross, the way of the Lord.

IMG 20170319 WA0011It has been some years since the Claretians started accompanying the Chinese Catholic community of Yokohama, Japan. This year, as part of their Lenten observance, the community organized a pilgrimage to one of the highest peaks of the Kanagawa mountain range, Mount Sannoto (三ノ塔).

On March 18, 2017, around 40 members of the Catholic community, including 7 children –the youngest one being just 5 years old, gathered at the base of Mount Sannoto to begin their Lenten pilgrimage. It was 10 o’clock in the morning, and after a short prayer we started our ascent to the top of the mountain; everyone was joyful. After 2 hours walking, half way up the mountain, we began the way of the cross. It was a moment of deep and prayerful experience for many, and everyone took turns carrying the cross. Singing and praying, step by step, we reached the top of the mountain at 12:45.

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ASCLA East Major Superiors Meeting in Japan.

IMG 20170307 113634The superiors of the Philippine province (Eduardo Apungan) and the Independent Delegations of Indonesia-Timor Leste (J. M. Vianney), Korea (Gabriel Kim) and East Asia (Francisco Carin) gathered in Hirakata (Osaka, Japan) to hold the ASCLA-E major superiors' annual meeting. During the meeting they also had the opportunity to get in touch with the culture of the hosting country, Japan, with a visit to the ancient capital of Kyoto, near Osaka, the different Claretian missionary positions in the area, to the RMI (Claretian) sisters in Takatsuki and have a one day visit to the city of Hiroshima, the first city to experience the devastating effects of the Atomic Bomb. In front of the cenotaph in memoriam of those who died in that terrible August 8, 1945 in Hiroshima, the superiors made a short prayer advocating peace and justice for the world and invoked our common Father to bless humanity.

During the meeting the superiors shared the missionary life and work of the different organisms of ASCLA-E and devised ways for cooperation and assistance, specially in areas like youth ministry, formation and opening of new mission posts.

More Pics after the jump

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Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose mercy endures forever.

1At the beginning we started with easy trails, like Hohuang North and South, Hualian's Taroko trails, then Snow Mountain (the second highest peak in Taiwan), Tapaqian, Wuling 4 peaks, the Three Stars of the southern cross road, Lake Jiamin, Peitawu, Yushan first peak, Zhijiayang and Nanhu Mountain among others. I remember how one sister, Daughter of Jesus, was astonished when thinking that it was a foreigner like myself who was working hard to show them the beauty hidden in their own country, Taiwan. In recent years we have to fight against the most ferocious of enemies, bureaucracy… climbing in Taiwan became a tiring red-tape adventure to the point of taking away the breath before putting the foot at the base of the mountain.

Nevertheless, it was, and it still is, an opportunity to bring closer Creator and creature in the midst of the wonderful, yet sometimes dangerous, gift of God: Creation, in particular mountains.

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