Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2003
China's Catholic wall crumbling
Local parish plans pilgrimage to offer solidarity
By RENATO GANDIA
"The government began to realize that religion could be a stabilizing force in a very materialistic society."
- John Keng
He sees the exchange of experiences between the westerners and the Chinese as a sign of solidarity and unity in Christ.
During his trips in China, Keng observed many changes in the country. Being a Catholic he paid attention to how the Church in China is evolving.
"In the early '80s, I observed how the Church was very timid to express its faith. But now things have changed.
"The young people are becoming more open in expressing themselves. They started to think about their future and what is the meaning of life."
This is what encouraged Keng to organize this pilgrimage.
"In the last five years or so, the government began to realize that religion could be a stabilizing force in a very materialistic society.
"In this trip, I like to share with Canadian Catholics what I have been seeing during the past 10 years.
"The other side of the coin is to let Chinese Catholics meet with Catholics from the West.
"They are beginning to emerge again and I want to bring them an experience of fellowship with the Canadian Catholics."
Matthew Hertz and his wife Beth went to China almost four years ago. Matthew is going again, this time with the pilgrimage group.
He is encouraged because he saw how China's "philosophy is starting to change from what it has been."
"I'd like to see what the Church is doing in China. It broadens my participation in the Church to see what is happening in other places."
A similar trip was made eight times by a group from the U. S. called, U.S. China Church Bureau in Washington D.C. Amitie Chine in Montreal is another group dedicated to reaching out to Catholics in China.
For more information call John Keng (780) 988-6394, Matthew Hertz (780) 430-8959 or John Calpas (403) 317-2262.
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