Sharing: 2014 Maryknoll Colloquium on Confucianism

         Christianity finds itself in a radically new situation today at the threshold of third millennium.  Many Christians, especially of Europe and the Americas, turn to the Eastern masters and traditions for spiritual nourishment today; this has to be taken as a sign of the times, and consequently it has to be interpreted with openness to the question: what the Spirit telling the Church today?  Karl Rahner, SJ seemed to have understood this challenge: “The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or else no Christian at all!”  A genuine seeker will listen to the Spirit on the crossroads of religions.  Deeply rooted in one’s religion one will open oneself to the power and presence of the Spirit manifest in other religions, in their sages and symbols, scriptures and traditions.  The religious person of the future will thus be an inter-religious person.  The spiritual depth of each religion unfolds itself through inter-religious dialogue.  “Through dialogue we make God present in our midst.  As we open ourselves to one another, we open ourselves to God…As believers of difference religions we are all co-pilgrims in pursuit of the goal that God sets for us.” (Pope John Paul II, at Madras and at Asisi, 1986).  The encounter between the heritage of the West and of the East takes place deep within each person, each religious community. (written by the colloquium comittee)
            In this spirit of inter-religious dialogue, Maryknoll Society organizes a colloquium on inter-religious dialogue every two years for the members of Maryknoll Society, Congregation, Lay Missioners and partner in Mission.  The topic for this year is Confucianism/Ruism, which was held in Hong Kong and hometown of Confucius in Qufu-Shandong Province on May 18-27. 
            There were 31 participants attending the colloquium in Hong Kong while 23 participants were able to go to Qufu.  They are coming from several mission countries: China (Hong Kong and mainland), USA, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Bangladesh.  The four Philippines Lay Missioners were not granted the China visa.
               There were small group sharing followed by plenary session regarding personal experience on inter-religious dialogue and its influence on ministry; meditation led by Sr. Kathleen Reiley, MM; presentation on Confucianism by Dr. Lauren Pfister, who is a Baptist Ru scholar at Hong Kong Baptist University; presentation on “Affectivity in the Confucian Tradition” by Fr. John Brinkman, MM; presentation on Maryknoll’s early presence in China by Fr. Bill Galvin, MM; presentation on Maryknoll’s return to China by Fr. Brian Barrons, MM; visiting Hong Kong Museum of History guided by Ms. Margareth; watching movie “Confucius” ( ; trip to Qufu to visit Temple of Confucius, Kong Family Mansion, Temple of Yanhui, Cemetry of Confucius, Temple of Duke Zhou and Mount Ni (the birth place of Confucius) guided by Mr. Ben; and also Sunday Mass at Jinan Cathedral.
            Mass and farewell party for Br. Bob Butsch, MM, who will retire in USA, was held on May 20, while memorial Mass for Fr. Richard Dries, MM followed by cook out was held on May 28.
            The colloquium was very well planned and organized by Fr. Brian Barrons, MM, Br. John Beeching, MM, Fr. Russ Feldmeier, MM, Fr. Roberto Rodriguez, MM, Sr. Kathleen Reiley, MM with the help of Ms. Wang Wei, who is the Maryknoll China group mainland coordinator.       
            I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this colloquium as it gives me better understanding not only on Confucianism but also on inter-religious dialogue including private lecture on the polarities in spirituality by Br. John Beeching, MM, and the opportunity to share stories and experiences with the rest of the group, including my classmates during Maryknoll Lay Missioners Orientation Program in 2009: Ms. Lindsay Doucette.   Thank you very much! 
            Here is the link of about Confucianism:, Qufu:,
Analect: and the pictures:   and
Hong Kong, May 30, 2014

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

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