Delegatie Chinese Bisschoppenconferentie op bezoek

Overweging Preek - gepubliceerd: dinsdag, 12 september 2023 - 2012 woorden

De Stich­ting Verbiest uit Leuven heeft een bezoek van een dele­ga­tie van Chinese bis­schop­pen geor­ga­ni­seerd, mede ter voor­be­rei­ding op een grotere con­fe­ren­tie die men volgend jaar rond deze tijd wil hou­den. Vier Chinese bis­schop­pen en een pries­ter van een vijfde bisdom zijn enkele dagen te gast in België, Neder­land en Frank­rijk. 11-12 sep­tem­ber waren zij in ons bisdom.

Onder dit artikel vindt U de inlei­ding die ik heb gehou­den rond het thema van missio­naire kerk en de preek die ik tij­dens de H. Mis heb gehou­den.


De con­fe­ren­tie volgend jaar en ook de gesprekken van dit jaar had­den als basis het boek dat kar­di­naal Joseph de kesel Schreef: "Geloof & Gods­dienst in een seculiere samen­le­ving". Het bezoek dat met alle verant­woor­de­lijken goed was afgestemd, begon op 7 sep­tem­ber; op 15 sep­tem­ber keren de bis­schop­pen terug.

De dele­ga­tie

De dele­ga­tie werd geleid door Bis­schop Guo Jincai, van het bisdom Chengde, die juist voor het vertrek was benoemd tot bis­schop-moderator van het natio­naal semi­na­rie in Peking, een goed uur reizen in hogesnel­heidstrein vanuit zijn bisdom. Bis­schop Guo Jincai spreekt Frans en enig Engels. Bis­schop Pei Junmin van het bisdom Shenyang spreekt goed Engels. Daar­naast waren Bis­schop Liu Xinhong van bisdom Anhui en bis­schop Cui Qingqi van het bisdom Wuhan aanwe­zig. Het bisdom Chongqing is al twin­tig jaar zon­der bis­schop, hoewel dat een stad betreft van 30 miljoen (!) inwoners waar­van 200.000 katho­lie­ken. Van dit bisdom was Fr. Ding Yang aanwe­zig, die in Rome gestu­deerd had en goed Engels spreekt.
Het was een vreugde deze mede­broe­ders te ont­moe­ten en met hen erva­ringen uit te wisselen, het thema te bespreken en met hen de Eucha­ris­tie te vieren en gezellig samen te zijn.

Stich­ting Verbiest

Vanuit de Stich­ting Vebiest was pater Scheutist Jeroom Heyndrickx aanwe­zig, 92 jaar, maar zeer vitaal. Ik stond ervan te kijken hoe iemand van zijn leef­tijd zo ge­mak­ke­lijk overschakelde van Chinees, naar Engels, Frans en Vlaams en steeds een goede en inte­res­sante inbreng had. Daar­naast waren dr. Hugo Vanheeswijck, die ’s avonds een inlei­ding hield als aanzet voor gesprek, Fr. Matthew Gong en Elisa Weng van de Stich­ting aanwe­zig.

Het pro­gram­ma

Voordat de dele­ga­tie naar ons bisdom kwam had­den de bis­schop­pen al een ont­moe­ting gehad met kar­di­naal De Kesel en mgr. Harpigny van Doornik (Tournai) waar de dele­ga­tie had deel­ge­no­men aan de plech­tige pro­ces­sie die afgelopen zon­dag door die stad is gehou­den. In België was er ook een ont­moe­ting met de Scheutisten en een bezoek aan de abdij van Park. Na een bezoek aan Steyl en Broekhuizer­vorst (bis­schop Schraven-stich­ting), arri­veerde de groep tegen 16.00 uur in Heiloo waar we ge­za­men­lijk dineer­den en van gedachten wissel­den over de inter­na­tio­nale con­fe­ren­tie die in 2024 is voor­zien. Zoals vermeld hiel­den Dr. Hugo Vanheeswijck en ik er een inlei­ding. De volgende ochtend vier­den we de Eucha­ris­tie en na een bezoek aan het hei­lig­dom van heiloo ver­trok­ken de bis­schop­pen naar Am­ster­dam waar zij wer­den ont­van­gen in de Sint Nicolaas­basi­liek. Vanuit Am­ster­dam ver­trok­ken zij ver­vol­gens naar Parijs voor het laatste deel van het bezoek.

De ont­moe­ting was een mooie erva­ring en van harte hoop ik dat de weder­zijdse uit­wis­se­ling mag bijdragen aan goede contacten tussen Oost en West, tussen de Kerk in China en onze streken die zoveel his­to­rische ban­den hebben met dit grote land, daarover heb ik in de inlei­ding hier­on­der meer gezegd.



When I became the dio­ce­san bishop of this diocese in 2020, I proposed four themes that I believe are important for being a Christian and therefore for the church in our diocese, from the perspective of a Church in a secular society, like we are in The Netherlands, where more than half of the population declares itself “non believers”:

- We are “Church together”.

That is an important reality: we must and may do it together. As baptized and formed Christians, we face the same task together, we all share in the mission our Lord entrusted to His Church. We have the calling to inspire and encourage each other and the society we are living in and to experience our solidarity in concrete terms. We do this with reverence and respect for the various cha­risms, talents and forms of spirituality that exist in our Catholic Church. I think of the many volun­teers who are active in our parishes. In our diocese we experience solidarity with believers of all nationalities, with young people and the elderly: together we are that body of Christ that is the Church, together we form one community .

- Church seeks contact, as much as possible and with everyone.

She is essentially mis­sio­na­ry. Pope Francis has underlined this: he wants a church that goes out and looks for ways to be in contact with the people in our society. What ways can we find to introduce them to the value of our faith? And the good news of the risen Lord? Often the light falls on what is not allowed: “Thou shalt not...”. Many people only know the prohibitions of faith, while you can only place them once you have discovered the treasure of faith and the relationship with Jesus Christ. It is therefore essential for every faith community in our diocese to go out, bring people into contact with the riches of the Gospel and respect the steps of their growth. That is why broa­der and topical social or cultural religious initiatives will also be welcome and necessary; they can help people in a secula­rised society to get in touch with catholic faith in this broa­der context and put a step forward on the path of the gospel.

- Being a Christian expresses itself in actions.

No one can be a Christian without acts of concrete charity. In what we do for our neighbour, being a Christian becomes visible and concrete. This makes it clear that being a Christian is not about 'nice words', but that it is real (cf. 1 John 3:16-18). The experience of mutual love and care for the poor and people in need was the hallmark of the first Christians. Others were attracted by this and wanted to get to know the Gospel and the community of faith (cf. Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-36). Caritas is therefore an essential and attractive aspect of our church and Christian life; commit­ment to charity and friendship with the poor are necessary.

- Young people and families have the right to our attention.

Young Catholics - young people and families - do not always easily find a struc­tu­re and incentive to live their faith with peers in Dutch society. They are busy sha­ping their lives and rai­sing their children. It is therefore very important that we offer them community, support and education in order to realize their beautiful calling - which receives too little attention in our time.


These themes are of great importance to our diocese of Haar­lem-Am­ster­dam and we try to work on them. Of course, other themes can be mentioned that are also important. For now, I'll leave it at that. We will certainly have the opportunity to develop these and other aspects in more detail in our discussions and reflections.

Let us pray that our commit­ment to the gospel will be fruitful. It is only grace that can make it fruitful, it is not in the hands of man. Let us therefore implore God's bles­sing upon our mission! May Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us.

Haar­lem, 11 sep­tem­ber 2023

+Johannes Hendriks
Bishop of Haar­lem-Am­ster­dam


How should we be Church and evangelize in our society today?


Your Excellencies, dear brothers in Christ,

Let me first repeat
that I am grateful
and very pleased and honoured by your visit
in our diocese of Haar­lem-Am­ster­dam.
Am­ster­dam is proud to have
the first China town
of European mainland,
it is just behind the basilica
you will visit today in Am­ster­dam.
Chinese new year is celebrated there
with colourful processions.

Our ties

Yesterday eve­ning I told you already something
about my personal connection
with the Scheutist Fathers and the church in China
[I was an altar boy in their missionshouse in my birthplace
and a member of the "Hamer­club" for the missions, espec. in China]
You will know better than me about the historical ties
that bind us together.

Missionaries from the Netherlands

It is almost 160 years ago nowthat Father Théophile Verbist
during the summer of 1864,
visited some semi­na­ries in the Netherlands
to win candidates for the mission work in China.
Ferdinand Hamer from Nimwegen
was the first to present himself.
This was only a couple of weeks
before his ordination to the priesthood.
So he changed his direction
answe­ring - so I may say -to a Divine calling,
he entered the young community of Scheutist Fathers
and already one year later, in 1865
he left together with Father Verbist
and a few others
to set out for the missions in China.

You visited already the home
of the Vincentian bishop Frans Schraven,
another Dutch mis­sio­na­ry and bishop in China,
who took a courageous stand
in the time of Japanese occupation.
When I was young I heard
the old Scheutist missionaries
who had been in China
still spea­king of the Chinese people
with much respect
for their culture, their faith, their science.

Mary set out...

It came to my mind
while I was rea­ding today’s Gospel,
indicated for the memorial
of the holy name of Mary.
It was the gospel
that was central to the recent World Youth Days:
"Mary set out and traveled in haste".


Together we pon­der
the central and fun­damental question:
“How should we be Church and evangelize in our society today?”
This is an important question
and nobody can answer it in fullness,
because at the end
it is grace and only grace
that begets faith,
so the question really is:
How can we become good instru­ments
to prepare the way for grace?
The book written by His Eminence Cardinal Joseph De Kesel
about faith and religion in a secular society
gives us a good basis
and a star­ting point for this reflection.

A star

We ask today for the intercession
of the blessed Virgin Mary for this reflection.
She was full of grace and the best instru­ment for grace.
One of the possible explanations
of the mea­ning of her most holy Name,
that we celebrate today,
is that it means “Star of the sea”,
indica­ting that the blessed Virgin Mary
is a guide in spiritual life
like the star of the sea is a guide for sea voya­gers.
Both Saint Pope Paul VI and Saint Pope John Paul II
entrusted the work of Evangelization to Mary,
calling her the “Star of the New Evangelization.”

Evangeli­zing. What did she bring?

Today we hear about her, evangeli­zing.
Having heard the news
the archangel Gabriel brought her,
she went in haste to share the news
with Elisabeth.
Mary’s gree­ting and presence
brings spiritual joy and exultation
to Elizabeth and to the infant in her womb
and also Mary herself
proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and she rejoices in God her saviour.
I think an important pathway is shown her:
the main characte­ristic
of this first act of evangelization is:
joy, praise and gratefulness,
which implies: trust in God’s grace.

The first characte­ristic

Every eve­ning we repeat these words of Mary:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord”.

So that should be the first characte­ristic
of evangelization:
that we radiate the inner joy
that the Lord touched our lives,
that He brought us salvation,
that we trust in His grace
that we show our joy and gratefulness
for what the Lord did to us.


The Virgin Mary received a High calling:
her Son would be a King, reig­ning for ever;
however this did not exclude suffe­ring,
we all know how her life went on...
But she remained steadfast:
after all, what we hear from her is
that she was there
during the prayer of the Pentecostal novena
and the outpou­ring of the holy Spirit
on Pentecost.

Now that we honour
the most holy Name of Mary,
star of the sea,
let us pray
that she may intercede for us
and help us to be
instru­ments of grace.


Klik op een foto voor een uitvergroting.