Dialogo è accettare l'altro come è e come egli stesso si definisce e si presenta a noi, di non cessare di essere se stessi mentre ci si confronta con il diverso, di essere consapevoli che la nostra identità esce arricchita e non sminuita da chi di questa identità non accetta alcuni elementi, magari anche quelli che noi riteniamo fondamentali. La riconciliazione è possibile, tra i cristiani e nella compagnia degli uomini. (Enzo Bianchi, priore della Comunità di Bose)

Hopes for Ricci’s helper to become a saint too

Catholics are hoping that Paul Xu Guangqi, the first Catholic in Shanghai, may also be proclaimed a saint along with Father Matteo Ricci.

Italian Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Catholic Chinese imperial official Paul Xu Guangqi (1562-1633) collaborated closely in Beijing to translate Western texts on mathematics, hydraulics, astronomy, trigonometry and geography into Chinese.

They also translated Confucian classics into Latin so as to introduce the dominant Chinese philosophy to Europe.

Father Ricci arrived in Beijing in 1601 and the Chinese emperor allowed him to stay in the capital until his death on May 11, 1610. His native Macerata diocese in Italy re-launched the process of his beatification in January.

Some Shanghai Catholics told UCA News that they hoped Xu could also enjoy the same honor, as their diocese would begin a similar process soon.

Jesuit Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, 94, is known as a “fan of Xu Guangqi,” Church sources said.

They pointed out that the bishop has included “Guangqi” in the names of many diocesan organizations including the publishing house, social service center, formation center, a school and a home for the elderly.

Xu, a Shanghai-born bureaucrat, agricultural scientist, astronomer and mathematician of the Ming dynasty, first met Father Ricci in 1600 and was impressed by his knowledge and holiness.

Xu was baptized three years later and took on the name of Paul. He then invited another Jesuit priest to spread the Gospel in his birthplace. His family became the first Catholic family in Shanghai.

Xu died in Beijing in 1633 and was buried in today’s Xujiahui district in downtown Shanghai, where his family used to live. In 1847, Jesuit missioners built their missionary headquarters on a large piece of land in Xujiahui.
Ricci exhibition in Shanghai

Father Ricci and Xu translated Euclid’s Elements, the mathematical and geometric treatise by the Greek mathematician, and their work is on display at the Shanghai Museum from April 3-May 23.

Shanghai is the second stop of the touring exhibition titled Matteo Ricci: An Encounter of Civilizations in Ming China, which would coincide with the Shanghai World Expo, which runs from May to October.

The exhibition has attracted crowds of visitors, including local priests, nuns and laypeople. They described it as “worth seeing” and “very fruitful.”

Maria, a laywoman told UCA News that she was moved at seeing many books, musical instruments, religious statues, priests’ garb of the 16-17th centuries, as well as Father Ricci’s first catechism book in Chinese, a world map he drew, and an ancient costume worn by Confucian scholars at the exhibition.

“As Catholics, we have to understand [that Father Ricci] contributed not only to the local Church, but also to the development of science and culture of China,” said Maria, who said she had read Father Ricci’s biography.

The exhibition is organized by Italy’s Marche Region, which covers Macerata, to mark the death anniversary of Father Ricci and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Italy. The 113 exhibits come from museums in mainland China and Italy.



10 maggio 2010