CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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Bit of Catholic television coming to China

TAIPEI (AsiaNews): The third season of a weekly television show on Pope Francis called Oh my God ended in a great fundraising dinner put on by its producer, the Kuangchi Programme Service, with more than 1,000 donors, the best event of its kind in the recent history of the diocese of Taipei.
 
Oh my God is the title of Taiwan’s long television marathon about Pope Francis and the Catholic community’s pastoral and social work on the island. Its third season has just ended after 39 episodes screened on Taiwan television and is available online for free.
 
It is the story of the many leading figures who built hospitals, schools, places of worship and migrant shelters.
 
It is especially the story of ordinary people who made available what they had, or their free time, to offer it to others, the community and the poor.
 
The authorities have recognised the work of these people. The Foreign Ministry sponsored and broadened the initiative with an English-language insert in the Taiwan Panorama magazine, featuring a detailed description of the work of nine filmmakers in the series.
 
The series has made ripples even in mainland China where plans are underway to make a documentary on the historical roots of the Church’s mission in China, starting with the emblematic figure of Matteo Ricci. International fundraising for this has already started.
 
“This fundraising was very special,” an accountant at the Kuangchi Programme Service said, “because the money that is being raised goes almost entirely to one of mainland China’s biggest television production companies to make a documentary about Matteo Ricci, which is linked to Pope Francis’ message.”
 
But the vexing question is, “How to adapt this television show for the mainland in Taipei?”
 
Father Emilio Zanetti talked about his marathon among parishes around Taiwan. “Some jinx told us that we would not be able to sell the documentary, either as Ricci and China, or Missionaries and Beijing.”
 
These are delicate issues that can scare people in Taiwan or make them turn inward.
 
“As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in sections five and eight of his Letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007, there is only one Church. If a pope says this, why can’t we believe it too?” he quoted the previous pope as saying.
 
His assistant and colleague, Dean Ferng, agrees. “From what we saw, parishioners think by themselves with the sensitivity of the gospel… They have already figured out one thing that involves them emotionally, namely that dialogue is not only a good and Christian thing to do—loving one’s fellows on the mainland and around the world—but it is a task in which everybody must give a hand and be active. Amazing!”
 
The final remarks made at the fundraising dinner by Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan, from Taipei, sealed the deal. “Such great participation shows our deep love for the pope’s mission. We want to continue to give our support.”
 
This is the strength of the mission in the media, with the certainty of being aired on the world’s largest television network, the Nanjing-based Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation with whom the Jesuit-run Taiwanese service has worked for years will reach tens of millions of viewers.
 
In all likelihood, the documentary on Matteo Ricci will be completed and then broadcast in Chinese at the beginning of next year. Afterwards, it will also be shown in Taiwan and later dubbed in other languages.
 
Its action time.

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