TORONTO – Salt + Light TV is collaborating with Chinese Catholic media to reach Chinese audiences in Canada and beyond.
“Evangelization to Chinese people in Canada and abroad is not an easy task. It takes a lot of collaboration and learning from each other in order to improve, just like any Catholic media,” said Rodney Leung, a Salt + Light producer and Chinese program co-ordinator.
Salt + Light’s Chinese language programming staff has been collaborating with organizations such as the Hong Kong Diocesan Audio-visual Centre (HKDAVC).
“That started off eight years ago,” said Father Thomas Rosica, Salt + Light CEO. “They produced some wonderful films, so they share their films with us. And they use our films as well to talk about Chinese Catholics in Canada.”
The centre, as part of the Diocese of Hong Kong, is known for producing Catholic TV content for Chinese viewers.
Salt + Light’s Chinese language programming, which is broadcast in both Mandarin and Cantonese, has also created co-operatives abroad with organizations such as the UCA News (operated by the Jesuits in Taiwan) and Vatican Radio’s Chinese division.
“Resources available to Catholic media are generally scarce,” said Leung. “We believe that through co-operation and collaboration we can better synergize the limited resources that we have, and most importantly we can learn from each other through the journey of faith.”
With Chinese Catholics making up fewer than 10 per cent of the 1.3-million Chinese Canadians, and the majority of this population having no religious affiliation, the “Chinese Canadian population has a need to be shepherded and evangelized,” said Leung.
“In order to do so, we need to use the language and customs that they are comfortable with and can relate to when it comes to evangelization of the Catholic faith.”
The seed for Salt + Light’s Chinese division was planted in 2002 when a group of Chinese Catholics in Toronto for World Youth Day walked into Rosica’s office – Rosica was executive director of WYD 2002 – with a portable stereo and played the World Youth Day hymn in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
“Chinese Catholics in Canada represent a very important and vibrant group in the Church. They’re young, they’re youthful, they’re energetic and they become a bridge for us to reach Chinese Catholics throughout the world,” said Rosica, adding that Chinese Catholics have been a Church priority.
“Since 1949, China’s government has severed the relationship with the Vatican and imposed rules to limit freedom of religion and the evangelization of the Catholic faith freely,” said Leung. “Many millions of people in China have not heard of the Good News of our Lord.”
Some of the most popular Salt + Light Chinese TV shows are the Vatican Connection in Chinese, the conclave that elected Pope Francis and the 2012 Special Coverage Shanghai Bishop Ordination.