Verbiest Institute Taipei (Pastoral Centre)

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Official name Verbiest Institute Taipei (Pastoral Centre).
Country / Continent Taiwan / Asia
Director of the institute Mr. José Lin Chan-jen.
Legal holder of the institute Verbiest Foundation Leuven.
Sponsor of the institute Verbiest Foundation Leuven.
Year of foundation 1970.
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 9 full-time staff

2 volunteers

2 freelancers

Staff members of your institute 10 lay Catholics

3 non Catholics.

Contact P.O. Box 8-121

Taipei

Taiwan

Tel: + 886 2 23149631

                    23119481

Fax: + 886 2 23119794

vftaipei@seed.net.tw


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Verbiest Institute Taipei (Pastoral Centre).

Director of the institute

Mr. José Lin Chan-jen.

Legal holder of the institute

Verbiest Foundation Leuven.

Verbiest Foundation Leuven.

Vision / mission statement

Vision: Witnessing for the presence of God’s love in China and in overseas Chinese Catholic communities through building a new relation and building up the local Church community, as “partner in mission”.

Mission: Offering our pastoral service to promote dialogue and cultural exchange with China and with the Chinese communities of other overseas churches.

Engaging in joint academic research with institutes in China and in Belgium.

Cooperation with the Church in China in a spirit of Christian brotherhood and equality among particular Churches.

Main areas of work

Pastoral formation activities with an aim to foster leadership of Church in China.

Publication of the Witness Magazine (publishes bi-monthly)

Supporting and facilitating pastoral institutes in Mainland China.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

As far as course is concerned, participants from the Taipei Archdioceses are the priority, yet it is also opened to other dioceses in Taiwan at large. Course participants are mostly Sisters and Lay Catholics.

Accepting invitations of facilitate activities of various dioceses in Taiwan and Mainland China.

Inviting priests, sisters and lay Catholics from Mainland China to participate courses and activities in Taiwan.

Year of foundation

1970.

Organisational structure of the institute

Three Sections:

Research and Publication

Pastoral Formation

Human Development.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

9 full-time staff

2 volunteers

2 freelancers

Staff members of your institute[2]

10 lay Catholics

3 non Catholics.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

1 Doctor’s degree

6 Master’s degree

6 Bachelor’s degree.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

In Taiwan: Pastoral Formation of the lay Christians.

In Mainland China: Pastoral Formation of the religious sisters and lay Christians.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

RCIA, Catholic Social Teaching, Pastoral Letters of the Pope.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

To provide pastoral formation for leaders of the local Catholic community. Assisting dioceses and parishes to promote and put their pastoral plans into actions. Assisting dioceses in Mainland china to establish their pastoral centers and facilitating their formation programs.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

Supporting pastoral formation sessions in Taiwan and Mainland China, as priority. We hope to explore and enlarge the scope of service to other Chinese Catholic communities in other overseas regions in the future.

Providing scholarships to priests, religious sisters, seminarians and lay persons for education in China or overseas.

Give away our bi-monthly publication “Witness Magazine” to particular seminaries, dioceses and individual priests in Mainland China.

Subsidizing particular dioceses and congregations in their pastoral formation activities.

In terms of pastoral formation, we invite and send teachers of Taiwan as well as of overseas to teach in particular dioceses and seminaries in Mainland China.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

In Taiwan: RCIA session organized annually.

In Mainland China: Formation activities of pastoral centres in various dioceses, for instance:

Pastoral and Catechetical program in Baoding diocese, Hebei Province.

Formation program in theology and catechesis in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province.

Evangelical Conference of Lay Catholics and Catechetical Formation for Sisters in Ningxia Diocese.

Pastoral Formation program in Hong Dong Diocese and Taiyuan Dioceses, Shanxi Province.

Pastoral formation for lay Christians in Shashi Diocese, Hubei Province.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

For our case, it means:

Catechesis: Sunday School; RCIA; Formation for the youth; Icon-making.

Deaconry. Organizing and sending teachers to teach in seminaries in China.

Liturgy: Formation session on Funeral Ceremony and ultimate concern for the dying; Formation session for Eucharistic Ministers in Diocese; Formation session on Sacrament of Marriage.

What notion of God inspires your work?

“God sees every creation as His beloved child; God loves every single person” (Colossians 1:16). Therefore, we are inspired to work in a spirit of Christian brotherhood and equality.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

“Prayer, Eucharistic liturgy, Word of God” is the spiritual foundation in our work.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

“See, Judge, Act” is the methodology we use to organize and analyse the reality of our work. These processes invite us to be more sensitive and innovative to look at this world in God’s eyes. We are trying to convey this concept to every participant who takes part in our pastoral programs.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

We take the Catholic Social Teaching as a norm and guidance to shape the society.

We do cooperate with the “Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk-Association of Major Religious Superiors in Taiwan” in some activities.

We published the Chinese version of “The Social Agenda – A Collection of Magisterial Texts”.

Social concern in one of the topics which we highlight in our bi-monthly publication of “Witness Magazine”.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

As mentioned above.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

Publication of academic research on History of the Church in China under series of Leuven Chinese Studies.

Publications under titles on deposit at the Verbiest Institute.

Series published or c-published by the Verbiest Institute. PIs refer to: http://www.kuleuven.be/verbiest/publication for above publications.

Witness Magazine (bi-monthly Chinese magazine)

Verbiest Newsletter.

Verbiest Update:

“Verbiest Courier” (In Dutch, French, English and Chinese).

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

Pastoral Formation.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

Regular evaluation is taken after the completion of each activity, an overview evaluation is carried out every six month.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

We are making an effort with a hope to expand our pastoral formation work to a wider region besides the church in China, for instance the Catholic Chinese community in South East Asia.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

Financial resources for:

Pastoral formation programs in the Mainland China.

Scholarship to priests, seminarians, religious nuns and lay persons who study in China or abroad.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

Political restrictions in Mainland China.

Materialization and secularization in the society of China. (We take the Catholic social Teaching as guidance in the face of these challenges).

Lack of finances to conduct programmer on parish level.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

We hope to witness the presence of God’s love, share and exchange our pastoral experiences with Church in China an din overseas Chines Catholic communities through building a new relation and building up the local Church community, as “partner in missio”, to promote dialogue, trust and mutual confirmation in faith.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

In light of the spirit of Vatican II we perceive lay Christians as the Rhythm of the Society as well as the basis cells of the church. All members of Taipei Verbiest Institute are laypersons.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

We cooperate and work together with the following organizations:

Archdiocese of Taipei: Activities hosted by Taipei archdiocese and implemented by Verbiest Institute Taipei. Dioceses in Taiwan as well as friends from protestant churches are welcomed to participate the activities.

Other dioceses in Taiwan and Mainland China: Accept invitation to cooperate with other dioceses in organizing pastoral programs.

Other organizations in Taiwan: Veritas Radio Chinese Section, Faculty of Theology of Fujen University, Rerum Novarum Center, Friendship House, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk-Association of Major Religious Superiors in Taiwan.

Other organisations in the diocese of Hong Kong:

Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong. Hong Kong Liturgy Centre. Commission for Apostolate of Mandarin-speaking Singapore.

Church in Mainland China: Coverage of areas: Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, Inner Mongolia, Hubei Province, etc.

We also invite follow Christians from other protestant denominations to take part in our Open Forums, which is held bi-monthly.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

We work together with Taiwan Bishop’s Conference, particularly with the following commissions:

Commissions for Sacred Liturgy; Commission for Aborigine Apostolate, Commission for Doctrine of the Faith and Catechetical Instruction; Commission for Evangelization (one of our colleagues is its committee member).

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

In the Catholic Church: Taiwan Bishop’s Conference; Taipei Archdiocese, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk-Association of Major Religious Superiors in Taiwan.

Off the Catholic Church: Protestant Churches; Buddhist organizations; Our Witness Magazine is sent regularly to Taiwan Ministry of Interior and Taiwan National Library; Occasional cooperation with Publishers of Protestant Churches in Taiwan.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

Working closely with: Verbiest Institute Leuven, Belgium, Singapore Diocese, Hong Kong Diocese, Representative from USA, Representative from Malaysia, Partners in Belgium/Europe.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

Open Forums organized under Witness Magazine, always invite friends from other religions such as: Authors from other protestant churches, friends of civil religions, friends from other religions.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

Keeping a close relation with pastors and friends from protestant churches.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

No.

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

We are making an effort with a hope to expand our pastoral formation work to a wider region besides the church in China. Aids in the forms of ideas, suggestions, hands-on assistance as well as financial support are welcomed.




  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.