Good morning Loyola! Catching up

I feel that I have been neglecting my devoted readers. The blog from Beijing has been a little difficult for two reasons. First, we have been going from morning until late (for me!) at night, so there is little time for Tim and me to blog. Secondly, at times it has been difficult to access the Loyola web site due to necessary updates to the web system. ITS often uses vacation times to this necessary work so it is understandable. I am grateful to our friends in ITS for their diligent work during the time most of us are relaxing with families or entering into the Christmas shopping frenzy.

Tim has already mentioned Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception but I would like to make a few additional comments , the photo of the Cathedral taken from about a block away was a bit of a homecoming for

an old Jesuit like me. You see the Baroque architecture that is traditional to Jesuit churches throughout the world. Even from a distance I knew that I would be attending Mass in a church associated with the Jesuits. Indeed, this church reminds me of the old Jesuit church in my hometown of Boston, “the Immaculate” on Harrison Avenue, the original home of Boston College. Notice that the churches share the same name indicating the particular devotion of the Society of Jesus to the Blessed Virgin. Upon arriving at the church, hidden from the street by a high wall and courtyard, I learned that this was indeed the site of the first community of Jesuits in Beijing. And Tim has already noted the prominent place of the statues of Matteo Ricci and Saint Francis Xavier (See the statue of Saint Francis Xavier above). It is also worth noting the difference between the two photos in terms of air quality. There has been a perpetual haze in the air since we have been in Beijing reflecting the coal being burned to heat frigid Beijing.

One of my faithful readers has asked about the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Chinese government which is, of course, officially atheist. Many will recall that the government understands that the Catholic Church in China is independent from the authority of the Holy See (or the Pope) and that this has been a source of tension between the Vatican and the People’s Republic and between those Catholics in the Patriotic Association (the church recognized by the government) and the underground church. In recent years, the Vatican has taken what might be described as a middle road; recognizing that the ordinations of the priests in the Patriotic Association are valid and licit and so the Vatican has given these priests faculties (or a license) to practice their pastoral and sacramental ministries. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to attend the Catholic masses offered publicly in China. The Mass that we attended was celebrated in English and all of the hymns would be familiar to anyone who attends Sunday Mass at Loyola. The sacramentary (missal) was the one we use in the USA and we prayed for Pope Benedict in the Eucharistic prayer as all Catholics do. In his most recent letter to the Catholic of China Pope Benedict XVI has urged both the Patriotic Association and the underground church to work for reconciliation and harmony.

About the Jesuits in China. The Jesuits and our lay colleagues who are here are representatives of the American Jesuit universities and not of the Catholic Church. The work they do in China is not pastoral but academic and scholarly. In addition, the focus of The Beijing Center is international and not domestic (note that the library is entirely in English and other western languages). Virtually all of the teaching is done by lay persons and the Jesuits provide pastoral support to the American undergraduates and the necessary link to American Jesuit universities who send their students to this great program.

I have much more to tell you about the Great Wall and the wonderful dinner with our students but I know that I am already late for my next adventure in Beijing. God Bless!

More on the Center, and Word from the Street

My writing this trip will be relatively sparse, for I am staying in a wireless-less room. : ) As Father noted, our hosts, Fathers Anton and Ribeiro, have been spectacularly thoughtful, and our trip has helped us understand how we might partner further with the Beijing Center to accelerate and broaden learning in our Loyola Programs.

The Beijing Center, here in the University of International Business & Economics campus, is indeed a sight to behold. Father Linnane covered the main points, so I will only add that the works of art within the Center are of major-museum quality, yet one is able to get close to and even handle some of them. This renders the works symbolic not only of China’s past, and people and events associated with it, but also the ways in which the Beijing Center brings about academic quality via “hands on” learning. Another example is more direct: each semester, students engage in an immersion (travel) experience, with each assigned a distinct research topic for presentation during the trip and a paper that is due following the trip’s conclusion. These are only small examples of a program that has been tuned over the years for maximal intellectual engagement. Not only is the program sound, academically, but the price is good, too: living here ends up being a bargain for students, who can subsist on just a few dollars per day (even less than ten), and they can get rid of car insurance for a semester!

The campus is surrounded by interesting commerce, including many superb restaurants. A subway (station) is within walking distance, as is a lovely park that runs parallel to a canal (and vestiges of a City wall!).

I have to keep this post short because we are going tomorrow to the Great Wall and to the Summer Palace. Tomorrow evening, we have Mass and dinner with our students. Though Fathers Anton and Ribeiro have explained all one may ever want to know about the program, Beijing, and the student experience, the students will have plenty more to disclose from the inside!

Enjoy and See you again soon,

Tim

PS: Here is a cloud of pictures from today.

I like this one because it gives you a sense of how mountainous Hong Kong is. As you can tell from other pictures, Beijing is as flat as Toledo—my home town.

This is not your normal tourist picture, but it gives you a sense of how some of commerce takes place here. Hong Kong’s beach area featured rows of these.

Father spoke about how terrific our guides have been. They work with students on the various excursion trips; we benefited from their expertise and their warm care. Here Chen, mentioned in Father’s blog, allows Father to contemplate the heavenly beauty of the subway system. He noted frequently the glass doors that protect travelers from falling onto the tracks. The subways themselves offer smooth, swift, quiet transport—and for cheap!

So often, when we travel abroad, we see configurations of color that would not necessarily be accepted (or attempted!) back home. I thought this one was of such a type.

Fathers Anton and Linnane are with a statue of Matteo Ricci, an influential Jesuit scientist, mathematician, and cartologist Jesuit who visited China in the sixteenth century. This was outside of the South Cathedral, at which we attended Mass this morning. It was packed!

I like this one for many reasons. It is the same players as above (Matteo included), but, now, with the Church visible. The Church’s architecture contrasts with all that surrounds it.

The number of bicycles outside the “Dirt Market” was…plenty!

Had you smelled these vendor-roasted yams, you, too, would have bought them!

Father Anton and Chen lean out here to rein in a cab. I like the shot because it illustrates a small example of their thoughtful nature (this was outside the market—Father Anton brought the backpack in case anybody purchased anything). It also gives a sense of the many styles of conveyance in Beijing.

Greetings from Beijing

Your (more or less) faithful correspondent, Father Linnane, is writing to you from the guest quarters of The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC) at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing. I am in Beijing with Dr. Snyder and his spouse, Carol Costello, to visit TBC administrators and faculty as well as the sixteen Loyola University Maryland students presently studying here. I am very grateful to Father Ron Anton and Father Roberto Ribeiro (Founding Director and Director respectively) for making this trip possible during these difficult economic times for all universities. I believe that it was very important for me to take advantage of their kind invitation in order to learn more about the Center and to explore increased collaboration with the Center. This is particularly important in light of the new strategic plan for the University that seeks—in part—to promote opportunities for global and international studies both on the Evergreen campus and beyond. Further, while the intellectual heritage of the Christian West will always be at the heart of a Jesuit university, I believe that Loyola must to do more to encourage our students to study and explore non-Western cultures and societies. Dr. Snyder and I hope that this blog will help our readers better appreciate the value of international academic programs and encourage 2012 and 2013 students and parents to seriously consider participating in the programs offered at Loyola.

The Beijing Center (www.thebeijingcenter.org) is a collaborative project offering instruction in Chinese language and culture primarily for students at the twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Students for the Jesuit universities around the world as well as some undergraduates from non-Jesuit schools also study at The Center. In addition there are graduate courses in business and immersion programs for faculty and staff. It is also important to acknowledge that The Center’s outstanding English language collection of Chinese studies attracts scholars from around the world. Since it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I am sorry to report that I left my camera in my room the morning that we toured the facilities of TBC (poor, old Father is not dealing with jet lag as easily as he once did!) but I promise to get back with my camera and get some photos. What I will say at the present is that Dr. Snyder and I were impressed with the up-to-the minute technology in the classrooms and the extensive holdings of the Anton Library of TBC. The Center occupies the fourth floor of a recently constructed academic building on the campus of UIBE and is decorated in traditional styles of China with beautiful antiques and works of art. Just to wander the hallways and library of The Center makes one eager to get out and explore the wonders of Chinese history and culture. Stay tuned!

I can show the dramatis personae of this trip. The first photo on the left below is of Dr. Snyder and his spouse, Carol Costello. This photo was taken during a brief but delightful stopover in Hong Kong on our way to Beijing. I think they look great after 24 sleepless hours! The next photo is of yours truly who looks worse for the wear but is still trouping the Loyola colors. The third photo is of Father Ron Anton, Founding Director of TBC, and Chen, Administrative Assistant, Guestmaster, and tour guide at The Center. At the right hand photo is of Carol Costello, myself, and Father Roberto Ribeiro, the incoming Director of TBC. The discerning reader will recognize the disparity in temperature between Hong Kong and Beijing.

The final photo for this blog is of myself, Chairman Mao, and Billy, the great tour guide from TBC who showed us both the Forbidden City and the Olympic Village. He also knows where to get the best pizza in Beijing! More on the Forbidden City later. It is time to leave for the Chinese Acrobats!

By the way, was there a photo of Kara and Nick ice skating on the Quad on Loyola’s webpage?

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels back to Charm City.