Category Archives: Local

2017 H.E. Bishop Stephen Lee Christmas Message — Straighten the path starting from youth and family

In these days of Advent, as one walks through the streets of Macau, aside from the colorful Christmas lights, we can also observe meticulously decorated Nativity scenes or Christmas cribs. Even if these have become just one more Christmas decoration, nonetheless for us Christians, they carry a special meaning. I am so glad to learn that some organizations in our Diocese have promoted the setting up of the cribs in homes or visiting the Nativity scenes in the different churches, in order to present once more the great mystery of Christ’s Incarnation. It enkindles our hope and prepares our hearts as we approach an incomparably joyful Christmas and the beginning of the New Year.

I believe you already know that His Holiness Pope Francis announced at the beginning of this year that in October 2018 he will convoke the Synod of Bishops with the theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” The Holy Father’s heart is on the wellbeing of the youth, and in the name of God who is abundant in mercy, he invites young people to walk the path that Jesus Christ has prepared which is full of goodness.

Everyone also remembers the abundant graces that the Year of Mercy has brought to the Church, and this year I made an appeal for our Diocese to promote the “Culture of Mercy” that Pope Francis has spoken of (cf “Mercy” 20), in particular stressing the recognition and practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I hope that in the coming year we can continue to deepen this “Culture of Mercy,” and spread this concern to young people. We need to promote the renewal of the family and strive to address the diverse concerns, needs, problems and hurts of the youth. Today’s world is seeing many changes and problems that are not easy to solve. As the Holy Father says, “As adults, we find it hard to listen patiently to them, to appreciate their concerns and demands, and to speak to them in a language they can understand” (Evangelii Gaudium, 105).

Be a gift for others

Sr Sam

Come the month of December, everyone thinks about Christmas and celebration.

Everyone is excited, waiting to buy new clothes, new cosmetics and gadgets. Food and branded sweet items get more attractive. It is noticeable that Christmas has become more commercialized than its original meaning.

Christmas is a celebration, celebration of “giving”. God “giving Himself” to humanity. And this celebration of “giving” will be incomplete, if we, those who celebrate Christmas don’t give ourselves to others, especially those who are in need.   Because it is in “giving”, that one feels happiness and fulfillment. One may wonder, what can I give? Everyone has everything. Though everyone has everything, they are still poor , because they don’t have anyone nearby to talk, to share their feelings with, their difficulties. They are poor, when they don’t have their children nearby, they are poor when they have lost their loved ones. They are in poor when their teenage children land up in drug addictions, they are poor when they are suffering psychologically — depression and loneliness drags them to the darkness of their life.

It is to them we need to give, to give our time, our presence, our consoling words, and our support.

Jesus and children

Rino Cammilleri

As it is well known, Marx was not affectionate with religion (“opium of the people”) and in Christianity, he saw at most the dialectical time of the passage from the ancient world to the medieval one. But of one thing he was grateful to Christianity: to have been taught to love children. We Westerners are now accustomed to soothe them, cuddle them, adore them, so we cannot imagine a time when it was not like this.

 

If you do not become like children

 

With this in mind, therefore, we must go back to the Apostles’ dismay when they see their Master embracing the children. They were noisy – as always – and threatened to disturb the venerable Rabbi. The Apostles, therefore, seek to send them away, but they were astonished by Christ’s halt. He not only embraces them, but also goes to the extent of pointing them out as an example: “If you do not become like these children you will never enter the Kingdom …” In fact, the disciples remain astonished. They did not have to become masters in religion, scholars in Scripture and commentaries, no. But candid as children. And even illiterate, if necessary. Unheard of. But Jesus does more: He embraces children. He threatens the most severe sanctions, he that was so merciful – to those who dare to scandalize one of these children: a millstone on his neck and down into the sea.

Unheard of

The world around him considered childhood a nuisance, a harassment to get rid of as soon as possible. The Roman father (and the Romans were the most advanced civilly) waited for the midwife slave, who lay before him his last born. The ceremony demanded that the father would take the child in his arms and lift him up. In this case, the child was accepted. Otherwise he would be “exposed,” i.e., left in some corner or crossroad: if he survived, a slave merchant could decide to raise him. Or leave him there. For females it was even worse, because females – who were not valuable even for the very civil Romans – needed a dowry and so they were, in short, a burden. The females did not even have a proper name, their family name sufficed. Everything depended, in short, on the good heart (or calculation) of the pater familias. And if this was done by the Romans …

COMPASSION AND HOPE — Macau students lend a hand to depressed areas in the Philippines

 

Honlam Education and Research Association is organizing work camps in the Philippines that give Macau students first-hand experiences on how difficult life in depressed areas can be. We listened to stories of compassion and hope.

PEDRO DANIEL OLIVEIRA

 

From Dec 26-31, the Honlam Education and Research Association (HERA) is going to hold a work camp in the Philippines, aiming to help underprivileged people living in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

“There will be 7 professionals and 2 high school students from Yuet Wah College who will be participating in this program,” the HERA’s organizing member Joseph Sy-changco told O CLARIM.

The work camp consists of visiting depressed communities, where the participants from Macau will pay home visits to the poorest families, besides providing school supplies and giving lessons to about 100 children.

“Christmas gifts will be given to each visited family. And there will be a visit to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, where Macau participants will have the chance to speak and play with sick children, and talk to their parents. The participants will also pay a visit to the Willing Hearts Orphanage for Street Children,” Mr Sy-changco said. He is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Macau.

Reverend Father Claude Lo passes away

Macau Diocesan priest Reverend Father Claude Lo (羅啟瑞神父) passed away from an illness in the morning of 13 December 2017 at the San Januario Hospital. He was 84.

Father Lo was born on 1 November 1933 in Hong Kong. He joined the St Joseph Seminary in 1949 and was ordained priest on 31 December 1961. From 1962 to 1965 he studied Church History and Liturgy in Rome at the Gregorian University from which he obtained a master’s degree.

A FILIPINO TRADITION SINCE 1668 – Crowds expected for Simbang Gabi

PEDRO DANIEL OLIVEIRA

Starting today, the Filipino Catholic community, led by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), is holding the Simbang Gabi (Dawn Masses) in Macau, an ancient religious tradition introduced in the Philippines by the Spaniards.

From Dec 16-24, the Masses honoring the Blessed Mother and preparing for Christ’s birth will be at 5:30 AM in St Lawrence’s Church. For those who cannot make it to the dawn Masses, Simbang Gabi will be celebrated at 8:30 PM from Dec 15-23 in St Joseph’s Seminary Chapel.

“The importance of this festivity to us, Filipinos, is that first of all it prepares us for the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord,” Fr Alejandre Vergara, SOLT, told us. “This is the time to unite ourselves with one another to celebrate the love of God for all of us. This is a kind of thanksgiving to God for all the graces and blessings that we received especially for the gift of Jesus who was born for us,” he added.

NOVENA AND MASS — Macau honors St Francis Xavier

The Jesuit community and friends in Macau held a novena to St Francis Xavier from November 24 to December 2 at St Joseph’s Seminary Church. Throughout the nine-day devotion, many different lay persons came to share their thoughts on topics such as the family, discernment, service, vocation, education, and thanksgiving, among others.

This year, the 3rd of December, feast of St Francis, fell on a Sunday, so the celebration was moved to the following day, Monday, 4th of December.

Fr Paul Chan SJ spearheaded the novena. He had composed it several years ago, and wanted to promote it in Macau this year, hoping that lay witnesses can share their own experiences about how to face hardship and keep up their hope.

SVD GENERAL COUNCILOR IN ROME FR JOSÉ ANTUNES DA SILVA – “Our Society has been blessed with many vocations in Asia”

The Society of the Divine Word is gaining momentum in Asia with the growing number of new vocations, says the SVD General Councilor in Rome Fr José Antunes da Silva. Speaking to O CLARIM, he mentions about the establishment of missions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, the challenges the congregation faces throughout the world and the work carried out by Pope Francis in the Vatican. Macau is also a topic of conversation.

PEDRO DANIEL OLIVEIRA

 

You are an SVD priest in Rome. Can you describe the nature of your role?

I am a member of the General Council of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). My role, together with the other councilors, is to help the Superior General to coordinate the Society’s work around the world, and to animate our members and our collaborators in their life and mission.

 

MONG HA SUNDAY SCHOOL STAFF – An Enlightening Advent Retreat

 Angela Chong

It was the feast of Christ the King on November 26, and an Advent retreat was held for the Mong Ha Sunday school staff.

Father Joey Mandia, our retreat director, inspired us greatly with useful information in relation to Christ’s kingship. With special emphasis on our need for regular confession, he explained very carefully how we should live our lives on earth in order to enter the Kingdom of God afterwards. Finally, he discussed how we become united in the kingship of Christ through baptism and how we should share in His kingly, priestly and prophetic offices in our everyday lives.

His talk initiated a lot of our thinking. And we appreciated the opportunity to ask related questions at intervals throughout the discussion. Indeed a lot of questions were raised and Father Mandia not only answered every one of them with patience and wisdom but also guided us to explore deeper into the issue being discussed.

MSGR GERVAS ROZARIO ON THE PAPAL VISIT TO BANGLADESH – Apostolic journey “like a joyful feast”

Pedro Daniel Oliveira

Msgr Gervas Rozario, Bishop of the Rajshahi Diocese in Dhaka, shares with us his thoughts on the Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh. Speaking to O CLARIM, he highlighted the enthusiasm of Catholics to have the Holy Father among them, and pointed out what is at stake with the Rohingya crisis.