Nov. 9 award dinner supports the education of priests from China

October 25, 2022

Above, A believer prays outside St. Joseph's Church in Beijing in this Oct. 1, 2018, file photo. (CNS photo/Thomas Peter, Reuters)

Below: Left to right, Professor Patrick Leung, chair of China Education Fund; Father Yifu Lyu, first student sponsored by the fund; Father Donald Nesti, founder of the fund; and Peter Tan, vice chair of the fund. (Photo courtesy of the Spiritan China Education Fund for Advanced Formation)

HOUSTON — Spiritan China Education Fund for Advanced Formation will host its third Father Matteo Ricci, SJ, Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m., at Ocean Palace Seafood Restaurant.

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

In the previous dinners, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz joined local faithful in solidarity with the Catholic Church in China. Cardinal DiNardo received the Our Lady of China Award in 2017, which, this year, will be given post-mortem to the late Bishop Sheltz. The Charity and Service Award will go to the Knights of Columbus Phil Kelley Council 6878.

With Father Tommy Chen from the Diocese of Victoria being the Master of Ceremonies and Scanlan Foundation the honorary chair, the event will feature talks by Chinese priests studying in the U.S.

“Adding to the educational part, we are showing our friends the best of Chinese culture,” said Peter Tan, event chair, former Diocesan deputy and past chapter president of the Knights of Columbus of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “We will have martial art by our local Chinese pastor, 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 evangelize better.

Father Yifu Lyu, the first student brought from China six years ago, is now shepherding his flock in China after obtaining his master’s degree at the University of St. Thomas.

“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 your souls in Houston in my prayer.”

“We had our second Chinese priest just graduated and now is pursuing another degree in the U.S.,” said Professor Patrick Leung, chair of China Education Fund. “We are working hard to educate the third priest in Houston and bring a nun here from China. We will bring them here, no matter how huge the hurdles. We need your continued support to help cultivate leaders for the Church in China, one at a time.”

“Sponsoring their formation is perhaps the most practical and visionary way to lend your helping hand to the Church in China,” said JP Liu, a board member of the fund. “Myself being a sixth-generation Chinese Catholic, let me admit that building solidarity overseas is not easy, but it is a worthy cause. Through our prior success, we witness the return of American investment in the People of God.”

Those interested in engaging with the Church in China can refer to U.S. Catholic China Association at

To register for the event, email to register. Any financial support is welcome.