Priests and nuns from China give a choral performance at the China-Singapore Religious Cultural Exhibition. Photo by Darren Boon
SINGAPORE – Chinese Catholic delegates have expressed hopes for more interaction between the China and Singapore Catholic Churches.
They spoke to CatholicNews after their choral performance at the China-Singapore Religious Cultural Exhibition on Dec 19 at Suntec Convention Centre.
Father Li Jianmin from Beijing hopes that Singapore Catholics will visit the Catholic Church in China to see the Church’s progress over the years – which he said was a “step-by-step, arduous process” – and to “help promote the Chinese Catholic Church”.
There could also be more exchanges and interaction in the areas of evangelisation and social services, said Mr Joseph Liu, Secretary General of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
Chinese delegates pose for a photograph with Sister Theresa Seow (front row, third from right). Next to Sister Theresa are Joseph Liu (front row, second from right) and Bishop Ma (centre of photograph). Photo by Darren Boon
Mr Liu, who visited St. Joseph’s Home here, said he was touched and impressed by the nuns’ and volunteers’ dedication and spirit of service to the old folk. The Singapore Catholic Church, he said, could use its expertise to help the Chinese Catholic Church develop its social services in areas such as caring for the old folk and sick.
Both Churches can learn from one another on how to spread the Gospel, Mr Liu added, “so that people would know about Christ and the Good News, which would lead to the Church flourishing”.
When asked what the Singapore Church could do for Chinese nationals in Singapore, Mr Liu said that the local Church could guide the Chinese Catholics and non-Catholics “to accept the Gospel and to be a true Christian disciple within the Christian flock”.
The Chinese Catholic Church can do the same for Singaporeans who are in China, he added.
At the same time, Mr Liu added that China’s growth and social progress presented a big opportunity for the Chinese Catholic Church to cater to those seeking to satisfy their spiritual needs. Thus, he said that the Chinese Catholics should unite as one to spread the Good News and to show Christ’s love. They should not be torn by internal conflict between the underground church and the patriotic church, which he said both followed the same standards as the Roman Catholic Church.
“Even the Vatican acknowledges that there is one Church in China. The differences arise from other factors outside the Church – political factors, difference in self-benefits or gains, and problems from grievances,” said Mr Liu. “As Christians we should discard these selfish desires and strong feelings. These conflicts have tainted our Christian image and spirit, and it’s a sad thing.”
Bishop Ma Yinglin of the Kunming diocese said he was happy to have met Archbishop Nicholas Chia and to have visited the various Catholic organisations. He hopes that both sides will have closer interaction in the future, “to work together for the growth of the Catholic Church”.
By Darren Boon