CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 February 2019

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Pastoral course for Chinese in Belgium

LEUVEN (SE): A group of 30 Chinese priests, lay people and religious attended an eight-week summer course organised by the Verbiest Institute in Belgium at the Catholic University in Leuven.

All 30 took part in a programme that included segments on pastoral catechesis, social ethics, counselling and spirituality from both the eastern and western traditions.

The Verbiest Institute offers scholarships to Chinese Catholic people who are involved in studies at Leuven and Ghent, Fu Jen University in Taiwan and institutions in The Philippines, to take part in the course during the summer vacation, as well as in the spring.

All courses are taught in Chinese and concentrate on updating the skills of priests and ministers in the fields of preaching and social ethics,  which the organisers believe the Church must contribute in order to be involved in addressing the problems of modern society.

Some of those who have graduated from the course in past years are now running similar sessions at home in their own dioceses, where they organise pastoral formation sessions.

On July 22, the group travelled to the headquarters of the Scheut Mission Society in Brussels, where it was received by the superior general, Father Jan Reynebeau CICM, with whom they visited the tomb of the founder of the society, Father Theofiel Verbist.

Father Verbist died in 1868 in Laohugou, but in 1931, his remains were transferred to Belgium and now he is at rest in the crypt of the Verbist Chapel in Anderlecht.

They also paid tribute to the 679 members of the Scheut Society who served in China, 250 of whom are buried in Jehol in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Xinjiang, Ningxia or Datong.

This was followed by a visit to a gallery that has the photographs of some 3,700 missionaries who have served around the world in the past on display.

Father Jeroom Heyndrickx said that the finale of the course featured a two-day forum on Religion and the Rule of Law, which marked the beginning of an ongoing exchange programme between the Verbiest Institute and the Pu Shi Institute in Beijing.

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