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ASIA-DIARY Dec-11-2007 (450 words) xxxi

Popular biblical diary by Chinese Catholics goes into second print

By Catholic News Service

MACAU (CNS) -- A biblical diary with scriptural reflections by Chinese Catholics went into its second print run in less than a month.

Macau-based Claretian Publications printed 3,000 copies of the pocket-sized Bible Diary 2008 in traditional Chinese characters in late October. The company had to print 3,000 more after the first batch sold out in just two weeks, the Asian church news agency UCA News reported Dec. 11.

To ensure distribution on the mainland, the publishing house run by Claretian missionaries cooperated with Hebei Faith Press in northern China to make an additional 3,000 copies in simplified Chinese characters available in late November.

Priests, seminarians, nuns and laypeople from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan contributed the scriptural reflections.

"Our goal is to bring the word of God to the people in China and everywhere. We are in a shared mission to form evangelizers in China," Claretian Father Alberto Rossa told UCA News Dec. 6.

He added, "We hope that the word will find open and receptive hearts."

Father Pedro Chung, vicar general of the Macau Diocese who helped organized the project, told UCA News in November that the English Bible Diary, also published by Claretian Publications, has been available since 1986. However, no similar Chinese version followed until now, he said.

"Through the publication of this Chinese book, we hope to foster a habit of Bible reading among Chinese Catholics," he said.

Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau wrote in his preface to the diary, "To be genuine Catholics, we should read and study the Bible." He urged its users to "accept God's word in obedience, faith and action."

The 448-page diary contains daily scriptural readings, reflections and prayers designed to help the user integrate faith and life. The scriptural passages are taken from the Chinese edition of the Bible published by Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Hong Kong.

Zhou Xiaoxiong, deputy chief editor of Hebei Faith Press, said the press will offer free copies to parishes on tight budgets and will send the diary to clergy, nuns and seminarians as gifts.

Zhou said that before printing, the press asked some mainland church leaders for their views on the diary. He added that they found it useful, especially for travelers who can reflect on Bible verses while on the move.

"As people become busier in the market economy, the diary would remind our Catholics not to forget to reflect on our faith and life regularly," he said.

The diary in traditional Chinese costs between $4.60 and $5.10. For mainlanders who use simplified Chinese characters, the corresponding version of the diary costs $1.20.

Both versions also can be downloaded at www.bible.claret.org.


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