Hong Kong Group Founded in Memory of Missionary

Commemorates 400th Anniversary of Father Ricci

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HONG KONG, JUNE 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A 17th-century missionary to China is being commemorated with the establishment of the Hong Kong Ricci Heritage Society.

Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) arrived in Peking in 1601 and the Chinese emperor allowed him to stay in the capital until his death on May 11, 1610. Macerata, his native diocese in Italy, re-launched his process of beatification last January.

The society held its inauguration Saturday at Hong Kong Ricci Hall, a Jesuit-run residential hall at the prestigious University of Hong Kong. Established in the context of the 400th anniversary of the priest’s death, the society was created by local Catholics and alumni of Ricci Hall, with support from the Jesuits in Hong Kong.
The Ricci Heritage Society will promote knowledge about Father Ricci’s life and missionary work, and raise awareness and interest about his impact on the exchange of Eastern and Western civilization some 400 years ago.

Father Ricci, together with Chinese scholar Paul Xu Guangqi (1562-1633), worked to translate Western texts on mathematics, hydraulics, astronomy, trigonometry and geography into Chinese. Together they also translated the classics of Confucianism into Latin, thus introducing into Europe the dominant Chinese philosophy.

At the inauguration of the Hong Kong Ricci Heritage Society, Jesuit Father Stephan Rothlin, general-secretary of the Center for International Business Ethics in Beijing, reflected on the relevance of Father Ricci for mainland China and Hong Kong.
There are Ricci Institutes in Taipei, Paris and Macau, and the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at the University of San Francisco.
Compared to these institutes that have a wider focus, the Ricci Heritage Society will focus itself on the missionary’s life.

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