ICC Note: Father Joseph, a Chinese priest from underground church, explains what it was like to grow up as a faithful Catholic in China. When he was only 15 years old, Joseph was inspired by the local priest to go into priesthood. Joseph said that the freedom of worship is only allowed for those who belong to the state-controlled Patriotic Church. Many Catholic priests in China were left without anything because of their faith- they are under house arrest and under surveillance, there are people who monitor their visits, whom they meet and their topics of conversation. Even though his freedom was restricted in China, Joseph was able to pursue his faith and continues to serve in his capacity.
11/17/2017 China (CNA) – Fr. Joseph of Jesus is a Chinese priest, faithful to the Catholic Church. Life is not easy for Catholics in China. Those who adhere to Rome are persecuted by the Chinese government, which only grants freedom of worship to those belonging to the state-controlled Patriotic Church.
Fr. Joseph recently shared his story on the “In the Footsteps of the Nazarene” program by the EUK Mamie Foundation, run by the Home of the Mother of Youth congregation of religious sisters.
His back faces the camera in the interview, and the precise details of his life in China, as well as his precise location – he is currently in Europe – are withheld for security reasons.
Fr. Joseph described what it was like growing up in a Catholic family in China. He is the third of five children, despite the rigid one-child policy instituted by the Chinese government.
“From time to time when the police would come into town, my parents had to go into hiding, away from us,” he said. “My older brother took care of us, we also had to hide everything we had in the house, because if the government discovered there was more than one child, they could take everything away from us.”
“Because they had more than one child, some Catholic parents had their houses destroyed and they were left with nothing,” the priest said.
“It was a test of faith, because as a child you don’t understand why it is that because you’re Catholic you have to live on less food and be separated from your parents,” he said.
However, he still persevered in his faith. His brother is also a Catholic priest.