首任宗座駐華代表剛恆毅總主教(後陞為樞機)到中國之初洞悉中國為文化古國，若不在思想上先讓人心服，便無法發揮福傳功能，而當時教會在中國雖有三百年歷史，卻都由傳教士主持，因此無法落地生根。剛公有鑑於此，便於 1927 年 1 月 4 日向傳信部（現為萬民福音部）申請創立第一個中國神職傳教修會 — 主徒會，旋即獲准，並開始招收會士。此後，以中華文化向海內外的中華兒女傳播福音就成了主徒會的神恩。
When Archbishop Costantini arrived in China as the First Apostolic Delegate to the country, he was already aware that evangelization to people of this nation of splendid ancient civilization could not be easily done without wisdom and true conviction. Though foreign missionaries had been carrying out their evangelization work in China for over three hundred years, Christianity never took root in the country. Thus, Archbishop Costantini wanted to localize the Church for both the mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese. On 4th January 1927, he applied to the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith (the present Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) for the establishment of the first Chinese Catholic religious order, the Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord (CDD). The application was immediately approved and CDD began to take in its first candidates. As a result, missionary work to the Chinese in mainland China and overseas through Chinese culture has become the charism of CDD.
- Members of CDD devote themselves to consecrated life (Poverty, Chastity and Obedience) and the study of eastern and western cultures. They work in the areas of education, publication, missionary work, evangelization, and social work. CDD provides a new direction for the Chinese people to turn towards God, just like St. Paul who provided a way for the people of Athens, who knew no God, to come to the Lord.
- The first community house of CDD was founded in 1928 at Xuanhua District of Chahar Province (the present province of Hebei) in China. Many candidates came to join the order and many who completed their study stayed in the northern provinces of China to serve the Church.
- In 1949, with the establishment of new China, came the prosecutions and arrests of the members of CDD. The General House in China was forced to close down and subsequently moved to Taiwan. Since then, CDD began their missionary work in the Archdiocese of Taipei, in which the Archbishop Joseph Kuo, CDD was the shepherd of that time. Besides the works in Taipei, CDD also went to other places in Taiwan, such as Koahsiung, to build churches and serve local communities. Meanwhile, religious members were sent to several countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, to build schools and churches for serving the overseas Chinese.
- Today, the CDD Fathers continue to contribute their missionary work and pastoral care in Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada.
Aims and Special Characteristics of the CDD
- Proclamation of Gospel values within and through culture.
- Special services to Chinese, both in China and overseas, as a first priority.
- Self-sanctification and evangelization complement each other.
- Fervent love for the Holy Eucharist, strong loyalty to Christ’s Vicar in the church.
Objectives of CDD
- To serve dioceses, especially in areas lacking ministries.
- To open and to administer schools and colleges.
- To publish apologetics and periodicals.
- To serve the youth.
- To look after the poor and the needy.
- To serve Chinese both in China and overseas.