Faith & Dialogue

Newsletter of the USCCA | June 2020 | Issue 002

The world is a very different place than it was a short six months ago. As the China Association navigates this shifting terrain, it is evaluating how best to continue its mission in solidarity with people of faith in China and in service to the Gospel.


This issue of Faith and Dialogue includes report of hopeful developments and of programs we have run – new Board members, engaging public talks, a pilgrimage that opened new perspectives. We also suffered disappointments – a conference postponed, mission appeals canceled, and study tours called off.


Looking to the future, the Board and staff of the China Association plan with hope and necessary humility: a conference tentatively rescheduled, possible study tours for next year, and a campaign to keep us moving forward.


I invite you to glance over this issue of Faith and Dialogue and reflect on how our efforts may serve your own vision and plans.


With hope,

Father Michael

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What Can Catholics Learn

from a Welsh Baptist Missionary?

Are there lessons to be learned about effective cross-cultural work from a 19th century Welsh Baptist missionary? According to Beijing-based Dr. Andrew Kaiser, the answer is a resounding yes!
If you tuned in to “Real Lives of Real Missionaries: Timothy Richard (1845-1919)” you had the opportunity to hear the story of one of the great missionaries to China, someone who share the Good News and who in turn was also profoundly influenced by his encounter with Chinese culture.

Initiative Xu - Thank you, friends from

Catholics Join Hands Across the Pacific to Face the Pandemic

When the coronavirus that came to be known as COVID-19 caused began filling Chinese hospitals, the director of Jinde Charities in Hebei Province reached out to the USCCA for assistance. The China Association sent out word to its network appeals. Fr. Michael also conveyed word to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Hospital Association of the U.S.A.
At the time, little did anyone realize that within weeks, COVID-19 would soon begin spreading at a rapid clip in Europe, then the United States. Suddenly, the medical supplies volunteers were packing and shipping to China were also needed at home.
Likewise within weeks, in China local Catholics and other friends of the USCCA began asking how they could help. And soon assistance from China to the U.S. was gearing up.

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The China Association

Welcomes Eight to its Board

Together they bring Christian service, scholarship, and business acumen to the USCCA.

The China Association is honored to welcome eight distinguished new members to the ranks of it Board. Some are previous Board members who are now returning for an additional term of service.

Kenneth Wang, MBA (Santa Clara, California)

A Taiwan native, Mr. Wang is VP of Sales and Business Development at Anchor Semiconductor Inc. He fostered the growth of the now flourishing San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission (SJCCM) in the Diocese of San Jose. He brings a long history of service to the Church and the Chinese community to the USCCA. 

Anne Tsui, PhD (South Bend, Indiana)  

An emeritus professor of international management at Arizona State University who has taught at tier-one universities across China, Dr. Tsui is currently Adjunct Distinguished Professor at the University of Notre Dame. She currently heads a project fostering contemporary business ethics in China. 

Amanda Clark, PhD  (Spokane, Washington) 

Dr. Clark is Director of the Library and Associate Dean of Special Programs at Whitworth University. Having previously served as secretary of the Board, she now returns as director emerita.

Anthony E. Clark, PhD (Spokane, Washington). 

A noted authority of the history of Christianity in China at Whitworth University, Dr. Clark has previously served on the China Association board and led a USCCA pilgrimage in China. He shares his vision, his scholarship, and his deep faith with  colleagues here at the USCCA.

Richard Madsen, PhD (San Diego, California)

Dr. Madsen is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California–San Diego. A respected authority on China, civic culture, and values in contemporary society, he has served as an expert witness both for the U.S. Congress and for the Vatican.

Rev. George da Roza, SSC, PhD (Walnut Creek, California)

Fr. Da Roza has ministered to Chinese communities in the U.S. since 1985. He holds a doctorate in Chinese literature with an emphasis on modern literature and Chinese film.

Rev. Peter Zhai, SVD (San Francisco, California)

Born into a long-standing Catholic family in China, Fr. Peter joined the Society of the Divine Word in the 90s and eventually came to the U.S. for studies. He now serves as Director of Chinese Ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

Rev. Drew Christiansen, SJ, PhD (Washington, D.C.) 

Fr. Christiansen serves as Professor of Ethics and Human Development at Georgetown University. Formerly, he directed the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. bishops. He brings an expertise on the Church and international relations.

Read more about these new members, as well as their colleagues on the USCCA Board, here

The Spiritual Wisdom of
John C.H. Wu (吳經熊)

John C. H. Wu is best known in secular circles as the principle author of the Constitution of the Republic of China. Born during the last years of the Qing Dynasty, he was a jurist and scholar whose life spanned a remark-able period in the history of China and it relationship with the West.


At the same time, a convert to Catholicism, he also served as a bridge between the spiritual traditions of China and the West.


On the one hand, he translated one of the most famous and challenging of Chinese philosophical works, the Dao De Jing, providing commentary to make it accessible for a Western audience. On the other, he translated the Psalms into elegant Chinese. Wu also wrote about the spirituality of Therese of Lisieux, as well as the convergences between Chinese and Western spirituality.


Professor Robert Gimello of the University of Notre Dame, a one-time student of John C.H. Wu, grave a talk on the contributions of his mentor at Santa Clara University in April 2019. At this event, sponsored by the China Association, Vincent Wu, grandson of John C.H., also spoke about his grandfather.


You may view that talk, along with an annotated list of books by and resources about John C.H. Wu at the page dedicated to Wu on the USCCA website. 


Witnesses to the Faith
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“First and foremost, I want to thank God for this incredible opportunity to be a pilgrim in China, and for His protection, strength, and guidance during the trip.  I also want to thank Him for everything He taught me over the course of the pilgrimage.  His blessing is greater than can be expressed in words.”

Last April, one of America’s premier scholars of Christianity in China, Dr. Anthony E. Clark, led a USCCA pilgrimage in northern China marked by study, prayer, and reflection. 
Participants, both Catholic and Protestant, traced a route which included the tomb of Matteo Ricci, the famous North Cathedral in Beijing, the spectacular mission churches in Tianjin, and the celebrated Christian village and pilgrimage site of Dongergou. At many of these sites, Christian martyrs gave their lives in witness to the faith.


The China Association has put together a resource page on our website featuring news outlets and publications that specialize in Christianity in China.  Some explore the relationship of Christianity and Chinese culture, while others report on contemporary news in relation to the Chinese Church.  


Our list includes reputable publications such as:


Tripod by Holy Spirit Study Centre

This is a publication of the Diocese of Hong Kong, which has served as a bridge between the Church in China and the larger Catholic community. It offers commentary on issues in the news, as well as larger trends that bear on what it means to be Christian in the world today.


Union of Catholic Asian News


UCAN’s mission is to inform all Catholic believers on the developments of the Asian Catholic Church. “To cover the challenges and joys, the hardships and triumphs of ordinary people who strive to put their faith into practice in their communities by helping those less fortunate than themselves.”  


To find out about other publications and news services, as well as how to subscribe (often at no cost), click here

Keep Informed on the Church in China: USCCA Website Resources

Keynote - Ian Johnson, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist based in Beijing, and author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao - named one of the best books of the year by The Economist and Christian Science Monitor

Keynote - Ian Johnson, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist based in Beijing, and author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao - named one of the best books of the year by The Economist and Christian Science Monitor

China, Christianity, and the Dialogue of Civilizations, cosponsored with Santa Clara University, is an event spanning 3 days. It features five keynote speakers, a range of pastoral reflections, academic panels, practical workshops, and many other events.  Its purpose is to foster a deeper conversation surrounding Christianity, culture, and the friendship between the Church in China and in the U.S.


Due to the Covid-19 Virus, the China Association postponed the bi-annual conference to October.  Please note that even the October date is tentative due to evolving circumstances and Santa Clara University’s ability to be open at that time.  We will make a final determination of the date by the end of July. The other option is the second weekend of March.  

Mark your calendars!


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28th International Conference of the USCCA slated for October

Keynote - Ian Johnson, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist based in Beijing, and author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao - named one of the best books of the year by The Economist and Christian Science Monitor

Keynote - Rachel Zhu (朱晓红) is associate professor and a founding member of the Religious Studies Department at Fudan University, Shanghai. She has written on a wide range of topics, including Christian philosophy, Catholicism, the contemporary Church in China, and feminist theology. 

Keynote - Lü Nan (吕楠) Unrivaled in his capacity to capture and reveal human dignity and the poignancy of the human condition, Lü Nan will speak about his work and his vision as a photographer.  One of his internationally acclaimed series documents the lives of Catholics in rural China between 1992 and 1996.

Invited presenter – Chiaretto Yan (甄健湘) Author, International Speaker.  Chiaretto holds a doctorate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome). His primary areas of research are interdisciplinary approaches to the religions and cultures of Asia. 

The conference will also include:

  • Award Banquet honoring Brent Fulton and Joann Pittman of ChinaSource, a Protestant source that has kept the American public informed about issues that affect Christians in China, as well as the evolving encounter between the Gospel and Chinese culture. 


  • Prayer and Liturgy, Pastoral & Practical Sessions, vigil mass, a festive banquet, and much more! 

In May, USCCA study Tour coordinator Bernard Ciernick and executive director Father Michael met with staff of the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies ("TBC"). The USCCA partners with TBC to arrange its study tours. They met on Zoom, of course, since at the time Ciernick and Agliardo were "sheltering in place" in different cities in California, while the TBC staff is based in Beijing, on the campus if the University of International Business and Economics.


At the time of the call, life in Beijing was slowly getting back to its former vibe. However, China had not issued tourist visas since early March. Even Chinese citizens coming into the country are subject to a two-week quarantine. 


The question on the table: So would it be possible to host study tours in next year? This was a question raised by the people who had signed up for the study tours that were canceled this year. And of course, the question could not be answered. 


Nonetheless, three possible tours have been proposed for 2021, and the China Association will continue to explore both their feasibility and their advisability. Under discussion were the following:


From the Heartland to the Borderlands

Journey from the centers of traditional China to its cultural peripheries – Xi'an, near the first capital of imperial China; Yunnan, where Tibetan Catholics practice their faith; Shanghai, home to a cosmopolitan Catholic community; and more.


China, Ever Ancient, Ever Young

A study tour which takes in China’s great cities and historical sites – with a twist. This tour will include the opportunity to meet with China’s young people, Catholic, Protestant, and part of the wider Chinese community, some college students, some members of church youth groups, and some young seminarians and religious sisters. Especially for educators who work with Chinese students in the U.S.


Witnesses to the Faith

A journey of faith in Northern China similar to the inspiring tour run by Dr. Anthony Clark and Fr. Hung Nguyen in 2019.


Will these study tours run? Drop a note to                                            to be kept in the loop. 

Will We be Able to Visit China Again?
Facing Unprecedented Challenge,
the China Association will Launch its
“Keep the Faith Campaign”

Over the past several years the China Association has been building capacity, revamping its website, its mission appeals, its public events, its conferences, and its study tours. It has taken on staff and laid the groundwork for new initiatives involving outreach to Chinese international students. 


Now with tensions rising between the U.S. and China and a global pandemic hobbling societies around the globe, all of us are facing crises large and small. At the China Association, mission appeals – a mainstay of USCCA funding – have been canceled. So many priorities demand attention. 


Still, in a world that now sees churches closed on both sides of the Pacific, the mission of the China Association remains more vital than ever. 

In order to meet the challenges of the moment and carry its mission into the future, the USCCA will shortly launch its “Keep the Faith” Campaign.

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Voices from the Church of China

The following reflection gives us a view from the front lines of the struggle to make Christ present amidst all the complications of life in China.

A Religious Sister Reflects on Easter in a Chinese Village


This is a simple reflection of my ministry experience during Easter of 2019. Hopefully my sharing will give you a better understanding about the Church in China.


Today, there is a Chinese flag in each church as well as in each small chapel. Parishioners are also asked, even forced, to hang statements about government law in the churches. Young children (under 18 years of age) are not allowed to go to church. Teachers in schools keep statistics on students who are Christian; Christian students are told not to go to church with their parents.


This Easter was my first time, in almost ten years, to do ministry in a small village; it was an opportunity for me to minister in a parish for a short time. I wanted to know, What do lay people think about living with the present situation of the Church in China? How are they living out their faith in ordinary daily life? In this reflection I would like to share something of what I saw, heard, and felt when I stayed with the parishioners in a village during Holy Week.

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