By: Corinne Monogue
One out of five people on the planet live in the country of China. It is hard for me to even imagine that many souls (1,344,130,000 is the reported number as of 2011). As we all have read or heard, but perhaps cannot fully understand, Catholics have been persecuted in China and the Church and faithful afflicted by considerable political oppression. Yet, here are many millions of men and women longing for the Gospels – for the Truth.
It is for these reasons that the September beatification of Fr. Gabriele Maria Allegra is such a major event for Chinese Catholics all around the world, including right here in our diocese. Fr. Allegra (a Sicilian Franciscan and a Scripture scholar) arrived in China in 1931 and worked for about four decades to provide the Chinese with an accurate, beautiful translation of the Bible.
He is truly a saint of the new evangelization! Almost every Chinese Catholic I know in this diocese has Fr. Allegra’s translation in their home. He helped light the fire of evangelization and love for God within millions and millions of people!
Sadly, relations between the Church and China did not allow him to be beatified until recently. Yet now, we can all recognize a man who embraced the power of God’s Word in his own life and dedicated himself totally to bringing that Word to an entire culture.
We have so many brothers and sisters in the faith in China. I, for one, will pray for Fr. Allegra’s intercession, that the Word of God may continue to bring them joy and love of the faith.