The feast day of St. Bonaventure was a day to be remembered. I went to school as usual, introduced “The Seraphic Doctor” of the Church in the morning assembly, announced to the students the news about Fr. Joseph Ha’s new move, learned of something exciting from Sr. Judith and — attended the first farewell lunch prepared by my beloved catechism teachers.
Everyone in the team — Margarida, Isabel, Simona, Lucia, Sr. Bernadette, Patricia, Pauline, Anna and Virginia — gathered together to reminisce over the flavorful Cantonese fare in an exquisite restaurant. The food was sumptuous, so was their love for me.
It was actually the first lunch we have had outside the school for all these years. We had duties to fulfill, homework to correct and meetings to attend during our regular break. All the Wednesday lunch hours were dedicated to the catechism activities for the primary and secondary Catholics. We all knew the sweat and tiredness as much as we knew God’s abundant grace in each of the meetings.
Isabel and Anna — the newly baptized– gave a swift and definitive yes when being invited to join the ranks. Both have been well taken care of by Margarida and Pauline, their partners and mentors. Sr. Bernadette entered only last December, and in the Lenten season that followed, she made more than a hundred angelic pendants for charity sale. Her artistic talent was highly appreciated too by our beautiful pregnant mother, Lucia, who offered her very best to help her new partner take up the task while attending to the spiritual needs of her Catholic girls.
Virginia, my classmate and confidant, has always touched me with her priority on the catechism class despite her tight schedule. She made an unprecedented effort to teach the form five and six girls how to make the knot Rosaries via live demonstrations and YouTube, not to mention the many small acts of kindness shown to me and to the group.
Simona and Patricia, though playing solo, did not feel in any way hindered or, rather, saw it as a means to feel the love of God more palpably through the devotion and creativity of their girls and assistance offered by other team members.
With the entrance of Sr. Judith as the principal in 2006, the catechism team underwent a revolutionary change. The weekly gathering remained unchanged, only that there was more cooperation, diversity and dynamism . Among the team were class teachers, department heads and senior administrative staff, but they did not mind going the extra mile so as to bring the girls before Christ.
Not only did they view their lives from the perspective of faith, they understood very well the essence of unity while maintaining diversity. During the Lenten season of this year, each primary level of catechism teachers took turns each week to carry out a unique and fascinating activity for almost 60 girls.
As a secondary catechism teacher then, I enjoyed the part most when my team members were supportive of the mission. I shared with Pauline and Anna my idea of raising funds for the Trappistine sisters in the form of art and food. In an instant, they mobilized their girls, provided the materials and accompanied each of them till the task was complete.
In the last evaluation meeting, we freely shared our observations on both the girls’ spiritual growth and our faith experiences. God has undoubtedly touched each of our lives: Isabel and Margarida said their primary one and two girls miraculously lined up in single file when they were going up the stage for their performance. That was not so in their previous practices! Some of my form five girls showing little care over the catechism class simply offered their entire lunch break to sell the cookies for charity.
St. Bonaventure once said, “Let meditation of Christ’s life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study.” God’s love is seen in the person of Jesus, and all these beautiful individuals – colleagues and sisters in Christ — who exemplify His holiness in their daily arduous work have moved me closer to Christ.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.” (Psalm 118:1)