By Fr Lanfranco Fedrigotti, SDB
The Bishop of Hong Kong and the Bishop of Macau contributed their gracious episcopal permission and welcome and designation of a suitable independent venue (= non-Salesian site) to receive the witnesses. The Archbishop of San Fernando Pampanga contributed its Episcopal Delegate Msgr. Mario Roche and his Notary Senior Seminarian Benjamin Espiritu. The FIN Province contributed the old Vice-Postulator Fr Nestor Impelido and the new Vice-Postulator Fr Emiliano Santos. The CIN Province contributed more than a dozen witnesses.
Tuesday, June 14th the site of reception of witnesses in Macau was identified as the Seminario Diocesano São José, close to the Parish of São Lourenço near the Salesian Mother House. After visiting the Bishop of Macau Msgr. Stephen Lee Bun Sang, the hearing of the first 5 witnesses began. These first witnesses included an 87 year old past pupil Mr. Domingos Cheong, two elderly Salesian Brothers, 88-year old Br. Marius Lu Hua Ching and 77-year old Br. Paul Hao Pou Loh, and two elderly Salesian Priests, 87-year old Fr Francis de Assis Lau and 77-year old Fr Norbert Tse Shiu Chung.
Wednesday, 15 June, another 10 other witnesses joined the inquiry about the Servant of God Fr Carlo Braga. Of the 10, three were past pupils of the Salesian Missionary House Orphanage. The star witness of the day was the 101-year old Fr Gaetano Nicosia, followed by 87-year old Fr John Tsai Kuo Chang, and 87-year old Fr Stanislaus Loh Tat Cho. These two witnesses were interviewed, exceptionally, in the Salesian setting of Casa Braga and Salesian Missionary House.
In the afternoon, the setting was transferred to the Bishop Lee International House, where the first witness was Shanghai-born 88-year old Fr Joseph Lee Hei Lung, followed by his junior also Shanghai-born 85-year old Fr Peter Tsang Yong Ken and the three Past Pupils of Don Bosco: Mr. Martin Tsoi, Mr. Ho Kwok Wah, and Mr. Peter Tam. Mr. Ho Kwok Wah brought with him the Chinese “Giovane provveduto” given him personally by Don Carlo Braga in 1950 with Don Braga’s own dedication and signature. The last witness was the CIN Provincial himself who considers himself blessed to have had the fortune of knowing the Servant of God for half a day. It was mid-August 1969, when Don Carlo Braga visited the international Studentate of Philosophy of Cheung Chau Salesian House. He had been invited by the first Chinese Provincial Fr Alejandro Machuy to return to Hong Kong to celebrate his 80th Birthday (Don Braga was born in 1889) and the Golden Jubilee of his missionary life that had begun in China (1919-1969).
Thursday, 16th June, the Pampanga Investigators went to St. Paul’s Hospital to receive the witness of another star witness, 84-year old Shanghai-born Card. Joseph Zen Ze Kiun and continued with some other Salesians who made their first vows in the hands of Don Carlo Braga on 15 August 1969, Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.
China province is grateful for this important step in the beatification process and continue to pray.