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News from the USCCA and the church in China

“You are my friends.”

Jesus said, “You are my friends.”

By Tom McGuire, USCCA Board member

From August 2-4, 2024, the USCCA's 29th International Conference will gather people from China, the United States, and other parts of the world to build bridges of friendship and dialogue with each other. This Gospel-inspired mission flows from our intimate friendship with Jesus, who chose us with the words, “You are my friends because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father.”

Matteo Ricci describes this intimate friendship in human terms when he writes,

“Although a friend and I may be of two bodies, within those two bodies, there is but one heart between us.”

His description of human friendship opens the way to discovering communion with one another in Jesus Christ, a sharing of

“…everything I have learned from my Father.”

Shirley Wang, a Chinese international undergraduate student searching for a way to share her newly discovered relationship with Jesus with others, wrote this about friendship with Jesus.

"It is so true and so good that our friendship with Jesus makes the foundation of our other friendships. I realized that Jesus can be friends with people through my friendships. It is what I needed to know because it is difficult at times to love my friends, but it is easier and sweeter when I realize my love for my friends is the Lord’s” … I desire to grow in my relationship with Jesus and let Him love other people through me."

Jesus’ friends are his disciples, and he has a mission that requires keeping his commandments as he kept the commandments of his Father. A foundational mission

command for missionary disciples is “This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for

his friends.”

Friendship with one another in Jesus Christ takes us beyond political ideology and divisions that lead to misunderstandings and aggressive rivalry.

  • Building bridges of friendship and dialogue can break down the security walls of ‘my truth,’ ‘my way,’ and ‘my culture.

  • Unselfish listening to one another is the Way of Jesus, who, although divine, shared in our humanity.

He shows us a Way to risk emptying ourselves of our security and entering into another person's experience. Jesus said, “You are my friends.”

The 29th International Conference will provide opportunities to tell stories about and experience the command Jesus gives his missionary disciples.

“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

The joyful friendship of Catholics in the United States and China is a witness to the Love of God for all people. Let us pray that Conference 29 will produce the fruit of building bridges of friendship and dialogue in our communities.

So people who do not yet know Jesus Christ will say what Tertullian, 192 C.E., reported people saying of the Christian communities,

“See how these Christians love each other.”



Note: Shirley Wang was first introduced to the USCCA through our Book Circle initiative; please read our most recent blog post on this topic: “The Church in China: Notes for ‘Writing the Future.’” All are welcome to join our Book Circles in April and May 2024; see the blog post for more details.

Finally, if you have enjoyed visiting the USCCA website and want to learn more about our mission, please get in touch with or consider donating $35 to honor the 35th anniversary of the USCCA. 


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