Pastoral visit to Macerata, Foligno and the Gran Sasso 6-19-1993Pastoral visit to Macerata, Foligno and the Gran Sasso 6-19-1993
S. John Paul II
Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 of June 1993
This is written by Francisco Tarsicio Carboni, Bishop of Macerata:
John Paul II, on September 13,1992 wrote to me: «Since I love China so much and my interest in that Church” It has been a special and constant encouragement of my Pontificate” (Letter to the bishops of the world of January 6, 1982 – L’Osservatore Romano of 24.1.82), I make a vivid vote that the figure of this man of God may be better known and appreciated for the merits acquired in his 57 years of life, of which he spent 28 in that vast region ”(L’Osservatore Romano, October 27, 1992, p. 2).
Now is the time to stop with the Holy Father in front of the house where Matteo Ricci was born and walk the streets of Macerata where the Apostle of China had the first seed of his vocation. Mateo Ricci was born in Macerata on October 6, 1552, on August 15, 1571 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, on May 18, 1577 he left Rome to go to the Eastern Missions, on July 26, 1580 He is ordained a priest in Cochin (India); on September 10, 1583 he arrived in China, and died in Beijing on September 11, 1610.
“Today,” wrote the Pope in 1982, “the figure of Fr Ricci is alive before the Chinese people with the name of “Li Ma-tou “. He constitutes a common heritage of the Church and of China and is presented as a solid and emblematic point of reference for a constructive dialogue for the future »(L’Osservatore Romano, October 27, 1982).
Only 11 years have passed and the coming of the Holy Father to Macerataconfirms and gives new impetus to the fraternal relationship “Church-China” that,there’s more than one reason to believe it undeniably, it’s going through Macerata: Since two years a diocesan seminary missionary “Redemptoris Mater” has been operating in Macerata with the specific purpose of forming priests willing to give their lives, like Fr. Mateo Ricci, for the evangelization of China: there are already 18 seminarians who are studying regular studies of Philosophy and Theology.
Already in the 1993-94 school year the number of students may reach 30 individuals, who will train in the seminary campus, waiting for a structure capable of hosting a hundred in a few years. The Holy Father will bless in the cathedral the first stone of the new “seminary for China” that will emerge here in the city of Mateo Ricci, rightly considered “Bridge between the West and the East”. The local university has started to teach a Chinese language course, attended by our seminarians and other students interested in the Mandarin language.
They are lights of significant clarity, according to the phrase of the Holy Father: “The future is where we must look” (Teachings of John Paul II, IV, 1, 1981, p. 384).”I hope for copious benefits, not just for action missionary of the Church – writes the Pope – but also for all dear Chinese people, to whom the Apostolic See looks with special sympathy and affection for all the admirable reality of traditions and culture, of high humanity and rich spirituality, which forms the historical and current heritage of the great Chinese nation ”(Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, January 24, 1982).
The Pope’s presence among the 18 seminarians looking at China will energize these hopes.