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A letter to the San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission
At the 31th Anniversary of our Community
Feast of Christ the King

致聖荷西華人天主堂成員信
於我們團體第31週年
基督君王節

English PDF | English Letter
Chinese PDF | Chinese Letter


 Dear brothers and sisters, friends,

This past summer, we had a very inspiring retreat with fifty people attending from all across the community with the intention of listening to Pope Francis apostolic exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel. The Pope calls the whole church to a missionary renewal, to move out of our comfort zones and go forth to reach out the whole world with the joy of the gospel. He calls us to "a pastoral and missionary conversion..." He urges us to be "permanently in a state of mission".

During the retreat we contemplated on the Pope’s teaching, listened to a touching sharing, and as a community reflected on our strengths and weaknesses in the field of evangelism. Finally, we discussed in small groups what we think are the most important areas of improvement for a more effective program of evangelization. We don't want our work during the retreat to become empty words. For this reason, I want to recall with this letter those conclusions and confirm some important and realistic goals to make sure we follow through on those excellent ideas from the retreat. The Pastoral Council and I have identified twelve key action items covering four major pastoral areas that are full developed in the appendix, they are as follow:

  1. Effective management of organizational structures
  2. Building the community
  3. Fostering a culture of evangelization
  4. Improving our communication

To be successful in our goals we need the participation of all of you. These are not just action items for the Pastoral Council. This plan will not work unless everyone in the community takes at least a small step forward out of our comfort zones. I would like to emphasize that the most important action item should begin in our hearts. Only if there is a missionary longing first in our hearts can there be a missionary change in our community.

Pope Francis tells us that "the primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus". If we grow in our love for Jesus, our missionary plans will become actions, our missionary dreams will become realized. Please keep praying for each other,so we will be able to answer the call from our Pope to a new period in the life of our Mission,a period marked with the joy of the Gospel. " Merry Christmas for all of you!

Fr. Olivera

Appendix

Area 1: Effective management of organizational structures

  1. Ministries, such as liturgy and choir. A great percentage of community members are involved in some ministry, such as liturgy teams and choir. We will keep promoting the different ministries and help facilitate the rotation of members to avoid unnecessary stress. At the same time we want to provide spiritual support to all the ministers so that their service will become a joy and growing opportunity instead of a burden.
  2. RCIA, promotion and support. We want to keep supporting the Chinese and English RCIA before and after Baptism. We also recognize that the RCIA should provide to the candidates not only lessons of catechesis but mainly the opportunity to encounter Jesus and begin a personal relationship with Him, in this way the catechumenate become a community of faith.
  3. The Catechetical Ministry, Chinese School and Watermark are very important for our Mission. We want to support the families of our students and promote different events with the participation of the whole family, like local pilgrimages, outdoor picnics, etc. We would like to support the parents in any possible way so they will be able to live their faith in their family lives.
  4. College students and young adults. We need to give better support to our college age students, many of them are far from their families and need spiritual support in a new environment. Regarding the young adults we want to encourage them to take more responsibilities in the life of the community. At the same time we want to encourage them to be passionate missionaries for other young adults that still do not have faith.

Area 2: Building the community

  1. Small faith communities, regional Bible groups and prayer groups. The conclusions of the retreat emphasize the importance of the small communities of faith, we want to support their activities in all the districts of our Diocese, we want to encourage the groups that already exist and promote the creation of new ones. The formation of these groups helps us to address the different needs of our members, like supporting young couples, whether they speak English or Chinese. We would like to help these groups to become school of prayer and new centers of evangelization.
  2. Community annual events, cultural events, etc. The annual events of our community are great opportunities to invite new friends and to show them our warm family of faith. We want to properly prepare these important events. Our hope is that the different groups of the community will share the responsibility of these events.
  3. Wider community, our life in the Diocese of San Jose. As a Catholic Chinese Mission we cherish our relationship with Diocese of San Jose and with the local Parish of St. Clare. We also keep friendship with other Catholic Chinese Communities in the Bay Area. Together with them we can be more effective in our work of evangelism. Together with them we can more easily organize any kind of events like retreats or seminars.

Area 3 Fostering a culture of evangelism

  1. School of evangelism, how to spread the Gospel. Many of our members has express the desire to learn how to evangelize, we will work with faith formation team to address this need. We want every member of the community to feel confident to be a missionary, Pope Francis is telling us: that " In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients。"
  2. Welcoming team, follow up new friends and guest. It has been also stressed that the "welcoming team" need more support, we want to improve our follow up with our new friends and guests. The English Lower Church Community also needs the same kind of ministry team.
  3. Caring and outreach, finding Jesus in our brothers and sisters. Pope Francis calls us "to care for the vulnerable". This reminds us that advocacy for human life at any stage is also part of our Mission, like caring for the poor, the elders, the children and also the unborn children. In this sense, the ministry of 5th Street community and the kind of apostolate of Legion of Mary is so precious.

Area 4: Improving our communication

  1. Internal relationship, responsibility of the PC to promote dialogue. We want to keep improving the communication between the Pastoral Council and the whole community. The Pastoral Council will keep reporting the monthly summary of their meetings and will welcomes at any time the questions and recommendations of the leaders of the community. We recognize that the Pastoral Council has an important role to support the different ministries and to promote in the community a warm spirit of family.
  2. Web and social media, the new tools of evangelism. Our website as well as Facebook are great tools of evangelization. Many people have found the community through internet searches. We want to keep improving these areas as well as our Holy City Magazine. We also need to prepare flyers and brochures.

  親愛的兄弟姐妹、朋友們:

今年夏天,我們的團體有一個令人鼓舞的避靜,有五十位成員參加。避靜的目標是答覆教宗方濟各在他的勸諭『福音的喜樂』中的召喚。教宗召喚整個教會開始福傳的新的時代,拋棄我們自己的舒適區,走出去把喜樂的福音帶給全世界。教宗召喚我們「達到一種牧靈和福傳的更新...。」他要求我們能有「一種永久的福傳態度」。

在避靜期間我們首先默想教宗的教導,又聽了一個感人的分享,並反思我們在福傳方面的優勢和劣勢。最後,我們分小組討論更為有效的福傳改進方案。我們不希望在避靜期間的工作成為空談。因此,我想以這封信回憶那些結論,並確認一些重要的行動項目,以確保我們從避靜所得到的結論能夠進行到底。牧靈委員會和我針對四個主要牧靈領域確立了十二個關鍵行動項目,綱要如下(詳細內容請參見附錄):

  1. 組織架構的有效管理
  2. 建立團體
  3. 培養傳福音的文化
  4. 團體內外的溝通和交流

為了這些目標的成功我們需要大家的參與!這不僅僅是牧靈委員會的行動項目,只有團體的每個成員共同參與,這個計畫才能成功。 我想強調的是,這個計畫最重要的行動是從我們心中開始。只有先在我們心中有一個福傳的願望,才可能在我們團體有福傳的前景。 教宗方濟各告訴我們:「福傳主要的動力是耶穌的愛。」只要我們對耶穌的愛增長,我們的福傳計畫將會變成行動,我們的福傳夢想將會成為事實。讓我們彼此祈禱,回應教宗的召喚,在我們的堂區開始一個新的福傳時代,以福音的喜樂為標記。祝大家聖誕快樂!

歐維禮 神父

附錄

領域一:組織架構的有效管理

  1. 侍奉小組,例如禮儀組和聖詠團。關於我們堂區的侍奉小組,我們看到大比例的團體人員的參與,如禮儀組和聖詠團。我們將繼續推動團體的各種侍奉組並促進成員的輪換來避免不必要的壓力。同時,我們也希望提供給侍奉人員屬靈的支持,使他們的服務將成快樂和成長的機會,而不是一種負擔。
  2. 慕道班,支持和促進。我們要繼續支持慕道班,領洗前和領洗後。我們也承認慕道班應該提供給慕道者不只是道理的教育,更主要的是幫助他們認識耶穌及跟耶穌建立個人的關係,這樣慕道班就能形成一個信仰的團體。
  3. 小孩子教理班,中文學校及青年組。團體的小孩子教理班,中文學校及青年組是很重要。我們為了支持學生的家庭,希望舉辦各種家庭活動,如地方朝聖之路,戶外郊遊,等活動。我們也想以任何可能的方式支持父母,使他們能夠在每天的家庭生活,活出他們的信仰。
  4. 大學生及青壯年人。 我們必須更好的支持在大學年齡的學生,其中不少離家很遠,在一個新的環境中需要屬靈的支持。關於青壯年,我們要鼓勵他們在團體的生活採取更多的責任。同時鼓勵他們向那些沒有信仰的同齡朋友熱情地福傳。

領域二:建立團體

  1. 信仰小組,社區查經班和祈禱小組。避靜的結論也強調信仰小組的重要性,我們希望支持這種小組的活動在我們教區的各社區,我們要鼓勵原來存在的小組,和推動建立新的小組。這些小組的形成幫助我們面對我們的成員的不同需求,比如說我們這樣能支持說中、英文的年輕夫婦。我們希望幫助這些小組成為福傳的中心。
  2. 團體年度活動,文化活動,等。團體的年度活動,譬如:聖誕節、農曆新年、中秋節是很好的機會邀請新朋友,認識我們信仰的大家庭。我們希望好好準備這些重要事件,讓不同小組負責及分擔活動的內容。
  3. 廣大之團體,我們在聖荷西教區的生活。作為天主教的華人堂區,我們珍視我們跟聖荷西教區及地方堂區聖佳蘭的關係。我們也與其他在灣區的華人團體保持友誼。與他們一起更有效地傳福音、組織各種活動,比如避靜和信仰講習會。

領域三:培養傳福音的文化

  1. 福傳的學校,怎麼傳福音。讓我們感動的是許多成員表達了希望學習如何福福音,我們會跟信仰小組討論如何能滿足這一需求。我們希望堂區的每一個人都能感到有信心成為一名傳教士。教宗方濟各說:憑聖洗聖事,每個天主子民都成為門徒和福傳士。所有的基督徒,無論如何他們在教會地位或者在信仰教學的水平都應該是傳福音的人員。設想一個福傳計畫依靠專業的人員而讓其他的教友只有被動的接受者的角色一定是不足的。
  2. 新人小組,跟進新朋友和客人。在避靜的過程中有人強調新人組需要更多的支持,我們希望能夠更好的建立我們新朋友和來客的聯繫。英文的樓下教堂也需要同樣的侍奉小組。
  3. 關懷和外聯,在弟兄姐妹身上找到耶穌。教宗方濟各在『福音的喜樂』也叫我們照顧脆弱者。這是我們的一個神聖責任:關懷在任何生命階段的人,像長輩以及未出生的小孩子。在這方面,「五街團體」的侍奉和「聖母軍」的福傳方式是珍貴的。

領域四:團體內外的溝通和交流

  1. 團體內的溝通,牧靈委員會的責任。我們要不斷改進牧靈委員會和整個團體之間的溝通。牧靈委員會將繼續報告每個月的開會、總結並隨時歡迎團體領導人員所帶來的新提問和建議。牧靈委員會的重要角色是支持各種侍奉,並促進團體內溫暖的家庭精神。
  2. 網頁和社交媒體,傳福音的新工具。我們的網站以及 Facebook 是福傳的很好的工具,很多人經過網上搜索找到我們的團體。我們要不斷提高網站以及《聖城通訊》福傳的性質。我們也需要準備介紹團體的傳單和小冊子。

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