Over the weekend of July 23-24, Fr. Michael Agliardo, executive director of the U.S.-China Catholic Association (USCCA), and Br. David, a seminarian from northern China working with the USCCA, traveled to Irvine (in Orange County, California), for a mission appeal. They spoke at eight Masses at St. Thomas More Parish about the witness to the faith of Chinese Catholics and the ways the USCCA could collaborate as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The community, their pastor, Fr. Eugene Lee, and their pastoral vicar, Fr. Kiet Ta, were all extremely gracious in hosting the USCCA. The diocesan mission officers, Greg Waldenbach and Ruth Guzman, also arranged for a luncheon that Friday. It was attended by representatives of the two main Chinese Catholic communities in the Diocese of Orange, including Deacon Leonard Sun and Deacon Louis Liu. Bishop Kevin Vann took time to join the gathering.
Bishop Vann has a keen appreciation of the challenge and opportunities for evangelization in society today. That Monday, Bishop Vann invited Fr. Michael and Br. David to his office to discuss a book project that he is supporting that draws connections between the Bible and the Dao De Jing. The latter is a key text in both philosophical and religious Daoism (Taoism). Often the Dao De Jing and the Bible are viewed as quite different from one another, but on a deeper level, works of profound wisdom meet in ways that are both common sensical and surprising.
In addition, Bishop Vann and Fr. Michael discussed ways that the Diocese of Orange might participate in and support USCCA’s Campus Engagement Initiative. Many newcomers from China reside in Orange and study at U.C. Irvine and other area schools. Bishop Vann understands the importance of outreach and welcome to the Chinese in his diocese.