It is extraordinary how what appears to be a casual meeting with a person may develop into something very significant. Some years ago, I met a young Chinese lady through “Night Watch” and pro-life activity. Her name is Bernadette Chang. As my missionary work was chiefly in Africa, I had met very few Chinese people. But, it did not take long for me to realize that Bernadette was a very sincere and active Catholic and, while she has a very busy office job, most of her spare time is devoted to pro-life activity. She is a member of the Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church. The pastor there is Father Peter Leung, who came to Canada only a few years ago from Hong Kong and who has developed a very active parish. The parish is named in honor of 120 Chinese martyrs who were canonized by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 2, 2000. The Catholic World News reported it as follows: “Despite the rain that fell on St. Peter’s Square, some 80,000 people gathered there on Sunday for the ceremonies marking the canonization of 120 Chinese martyrs.”
About a year ago, at the request of Bernadette, Fr. Leung invited me to the church to preach on pro-life and sell my books in aid of Campaign Life Coalition. I am not good at keeping accounts, so I don’t know how much I took in. But I believe I ran out of books and I was very impressed by the enthusiasm of the people and their generosity.
With the gracious permission of Fr. Leung, a pro-life dinner was arranged to take place at the China Buffet King Restaurant in Richmond Hill on April 30 this year. The event was organized by a pro-life committee under the leadership of Mrs. Jenny Wu and her husband Raphael, plus a committee which included Bernadette. About 130 people attended, all Chinese with the exception of some Campaign Life members including Jim Hughes, Yoli Singson and her daughter, Samantha, Gillian Long and myself. Fr. Leung said grace and welcomed us and we sat down to a really delightful Chinese dinner. I had no idea that Chinese food is so palatable. But, I laid back my ears and devoured everything that was laid before me and then slunk up to the counter and helped myself to more.
Four people were asked to speak. I was first on the list. As I thought the Chinese people might not appreciate my Irish jokes, I read an account of the canonization of the Chinese martyrs. Gillian Long was next and she spoke on the importance of getting youth involved in the pro-life movement. The star speaker of the evening was Samantha Singson. She is the international affairs officer for CLC at the United Nations. She spoke on the international situation with regard to pro-life. Jim Hughes gave a brief talk on the grassroots of the pro-life movement. Each of the talks was translated into Chinese.The evening concluded with an excellent video on the 25th anniversary of Campaign Life presented by Steve Jalsevac. Watching the heroic activities so many pro-life friends who have gone to their eternal reward brought tears to my eyes. And thus the evening concluded. I would like, on behalf of Campaign Life Coalition, to express gratitude to Fr. Leung and the parishioners of the Chinese Martyrs Parish for presenting us with such an enjoyable and meaningful event.