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News from the USCCA and the church in China

The Journey of Lent: Week 4

Week Four: A meditation - fasting and abstinence during Lent. 

The USCCA invites you to participate in the journey of Lent. 

Diverse religious traditions of world agree that fasting and abstinence can be helpful throughout various times during our spiritual journey.

The Gospel of Mathew 4:11 tells us how Jesus "fasted forty days and forty nights and afterwards was hungry."

This fourth week of Lent we might consider our relationship with food. While some might equate fasting and abstinence as a kind of "cultural cleansing," such rituals should rather accentuate that we seek a "spiritual cleansing." 

In doing so, we are then able to turn our attention to God. In other words, the decision to "give up" some food or drink is in fact an "intentional sacrifice." And when done with purpose and humility it reminds us of our hunger to know God and let God to know us.  

This Lent, we also invite to join the 2024 USCCA Book Circles, whose aim is to educate friends and affiliates of the USCCA in learning more about the Church in China. In keeping with our mission, the Book Circles aim to build bridges of friendship among ourselves and across the Pacific.

The most recent Book Circle conversation was held on Saturday, March 9 (U.S. time zones: 9 am PT, 10 am MT, 11 am CT, 12 pm ET). The discussion focused on Arturo Sosa, S.J.’s “The Church in China: Notes for ‘writing the future’” (La Civilta Cattolica (20 August 2019), accessible here.

Father Sosa is the superior general of the Jesuits. He said the Jesuits have sought, are seeking, and will continue to enculturate themselves among the Chinese and there to seek the voice of God among the people. He spells out the Gospel dimensions of such a presence in this article.

Our prayers together and your financial donation (large or small) assist in our mission of friendship this Lent.

Lenten Blessings and Peace,

Rev. Rob Carbonneau, CP, Ph.D., Director Emeritus

And All of us at the USCCA



  • Throughout the twentieth century, at least two generations of American Catholics were often told to eat all the food on their plate. After all, weren't they more fortunate than those without food in China?  Rarely was it acknowledged that the United States and China suffered from food disparity in 1930s. We have come to understand that The Great Depression was actually international in scope. Furthermore, both nations faced economic scarcities and human suffering because of war in the 1940s. It is best to remember both of these examples when looking at this photo.  

  • Let us engage with Chinese man as he enjoys his food in Shanghai during the late 1920s. This Lent 2024, our religious faith might lead some of us to decide practice fasting or abstain from food. Indeed, this is worthwhile. At the same time, another option might be our participating in a credible program that addresses the injustice of ongoing world hunger.

  • Original Photo: Mactavish & Co. Shanghai, circa 1928. Image is now part of the Passionist China Collection. 800.02_025.038. Located at the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History, Boston College. 


Reflections from Rev. Rob Carbonneau, CP, Ph.D., Director Emeritus

Finally, if you have enjoyed your visit to the USCCA website and learning about our mission, donate $35 to honor the 35th anniversary of the USCCA 


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