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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Lone woman brings Tibetans to Catholicism

August 29, 2010
August 24, 2010

Xining -- Father Joseph Li Dongsheng blesses
converts from Tibetan Buddhism to Catholicism during a recent ceremony

A Chinese Catholic woman has pulled off a rare
feat by encouraging a number of Buddhists to
convert to Catholicism in the Sino-Tibetan province of Qinghai.

Father Joseph Li Dongsheng, parish priest of
Xining Church, praised the woman’s achievement in
a region that has only 4,000 Catholics in a total population of one million.

"I never even thought of converting ethnic
Tibetans myself as they are so deeply rooted in
Buddhism. It’s almost impossible," he said.

The five new Catholics, aged from 20 to over 50,
come from three families of the same clan and were Buddhists since childhood.

When the woman married into the family two years
ago, she told them about her faith and gave them
the Bible and some religious books to read.

"They didn’t accept it at first," said Father Li.
"But after reading the books, they got a better
idea of our faith and started to feel how great
God is. Now, at Lunar New Year, they even hang
the icons of Jesus and the Blessed Mother up at home.”

The five were baptized along with five other
converts on August 15, the Feast of the
Assumption, at a ceremony attended by 700 people.

Father Li says he plans to give them ongoing care
and education to help sustain their faith as
"they may have to face discrimination in this Buddhist environment."
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