China / Society

Church puts faith in recruitment drive

By Xu Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-19 07:18

Church puts faith in recruitment drive

Meng Dongdong. [Photo by Xu Wei/China Daily]

・ Fifth Year: The Liturgical Year; The Theory of the Holy Trinity; Statutes; The Works of St. John; The Epistles of St. Paul; and Catholic Theory.

・ Sixth Year: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Paul; Catholic Social Doctrine; Holy Rituals; and Diocese Management.

Source: The National Seminary of the Catholic Church in China

First Person:Meng Donghui

'The priesthood was like a voice repeating in my mind'

Meng Dongdong, a fifth-year student at the National Seminary of the Catholic Church in China.

I grew up in a house just a few steps away from the church in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

The Catholic faith in my family can be traced back as far as my great-grandparents. The close proximity of the church meant the local priest lived and ate at our house, and that's how my admiration for the priesthood started. I just saw the priest as a member of my family. As a child, I would follow him around the parish and watch as he helped the parishioners. I also took part in church rituals. I just enjoyed being with the priest, and I learned a lot from him about how to become a better person.

The thought of ordination crossed my mind several times when I was growing up, but the choice may have seemed irresponsible, because I am the only boy in my family and my decision meant my older sister would have to take care of my parents in the future. When I told my parents of my intention, they objected strongly and told me to forget it.

However, when I graduated from college in 2010, the priesthood was like a voice repeating in my mind. Even though I had a job, I was unable to concentrate. Later I got a job closer to my home, but the situation didn't improve. I realized it was time to make up my mind.

I couldn't wait until I got married and then make a decision. That would only cause great regrets for me and even greater pain for my family. I was aware that I had to make my intentions clearer than ever, because all my efforts to talk to my family had been in vain. I resigned from my job without consulting my parents. It was very hard for them, but they finally agreed.

When I arrived at the seminary, I hoped to devote myself fully to studying and praying, but I found there was still a gap between what I could do and what I wanted to do. I wanted to be close to the saints, and I hoped to read more and pray as often as possible, but I found I didn't have enough energy or time.

In my previous life I could only read and memorize the few books that were available, but in the seminary, I am allowed to formulate my own thoughts about theology and the Catholic Church. That has proved very helpful in my reflections about God and my own faith.

Meng Dongdong spoke with Xu Wei.

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