Award dinner to support the education of priests from China

January 15, 2019

At the graduation for Father Yifu Lyu, the first student sponsored by the China Education Fund, are (left to right) Professor Patrick Leung, chair of China Education Fund; Father Lyu; Father Donald Nesti, founder of China Education Fund; and Peter Tan, vice chair of the China Education Fund. Photo by Luke Liu.

HOUSTON — Experience Chinese culture and support Chinese clergy when the Spiritan China Education Fund for Advanced Formation hosts its second Father Matteo Ricci, SJ, Dinner on Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m. at Ocean Palace Restaurant, located at 11215 Bellaire Blvd. in Houston. 

The benefit dinner seeks to raise funds for the formation of Chinese priests and improve awareness for the situation in the Church in China. 

In the first dinner two years ago, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz joined 500 others in solidarity with the Catholic Church in China. 

Cardinal DiNardo will once again show support and welcome guests at the dinner. He received the Our Lady of China Award in 2017. This year the award will be given to Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of Diocese of Beaumont and Father Louis C. Zee, former pastor of Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston. 

Bishop Guillory, who was a former auxiliary bishop with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and Father Zee will be honored for their lifelong concern and service for the Chinese faithful. 

The Community Service Award will be given to Bonna Kol, president of the Asia Society Texas Center, for her dedicated endeavor to strengthen ties between Houston and Asia. Kol worked for the KIPP school system and served as the president and CEO of Catholic Charities for six years. 

“We believe that these fine people represent the true spirit of service to God and the universal Church, especially those facing everyday challenges in China and Asia,” said Gordon and Sylvia Quan, honorary chairs of the event. “Their service carried the Gospel message of compassion, justice and peace.”

The event will feature a talk about a profound encounter with the Church in China by Father Binh The Quach, CSSp, Ph.D., the upcoming director of the Reverend Donald Nesti Center for Faith and Culture in the University of St. Thomas. Father Quach has been the vicar general of Hsinchu Diocese, Taiwan, and served in mainland China for many years.

“Adding to the educational part, we are showing our friends the best of Chinese culture,” said Peter Tan, event chair, former Diocesan deputy and former chapter president of the Knights of Columbus of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “We will have exciting lion dance, Beijing opera by a UK performer, folk dance and ancient Chinese musical instruments by Chinese children, etc. People really felt entertained last time.”

Founded by Father Donald Nesti, CSSp, the China Education Fund aims to bring Chinese priests and sisters to Houston for graduate study so they can return home to better evangelize. Father Yifu Lyu, the first student brought from China three years ago, has just successfully obtained his master’s degree at the University of St. Thomas. 

“I am going home to shepherd my flock in grave spiritual need,” said Father Lyu. “I want to express my deepest gratitude for those who helped my English, life and academic struggles. Your generosity in Christ has equipped me to make a deeper impact when back home. I keep each of [you] in my prayer.”

Patrick Leung, chair of the China Education Fund, felt Father Lyu’s success was a “mission accomplished.”

“Our next one is coming,” Leung said. “We are working hard to bring the second priest student from China. Let Houston be ready. We will bring him here, no matter how huge the hurdles. We need your continued support to help cultivate another leader for the Church in China, one at a time.” 

Luke Liu, a board member of the China Education Fund, said, “Sponsoring priest formation is perhaps the most practical and visionary way to lend your helping hand to the Church in China. Myself being a sixth generation Chinese Catholic, let me admit that building support overseas is not easy, but it is a worthy cause. Through the success of Father Lyu, we witness the return of American investment in the people of God.” 

China today has about 10 to 15 million Catholics (1 percent of all Chinese population), whereas the Protestants about six times the size of the Catholic. 

Those who are interested in taking professional Church tours and connecting with the Church in China can refer to U.S. Catholic China Association at

To register for the event, email Liu at Any financial support is welcome. †