On the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret
Benedict Keith Ip
The Claretian Missionaries Macao – Hong Kong Community celebrated the Feast Day of Claretian founder St Anthony Mary Claret on October 24, 2015 (Saturday) at St Lawrence Church, Macao. The event included a sharing section on Consecrated Life at 5 PM, followed by the Holy Eucharist at 6 PM and ended in a fellowship reception at 7:15.
During the sharing section, the Claretian Community invited Msgr. Ante Jozić and Msgr. Andrea Francia from the Holy See Study Mission to share the message of the Year of Consecrated Life and Jubilee Year of Mercy respectively, which received a warm response and encouraged discussion among the audience. Msgr. Jozić put emphasis on the past, present and future aspects in reflecting of the consecrated life as well as some concrete steps which the church has taken during this Year of Consecrated Life. As for the coming Jubilee of Mercy, Msgr. Francia shared seven important points for religious and faithful to live the Year of Mercy together with the universal church.
After the sharing, the Holy Eucharist was presided by the Bishop of Macau, Jose Lai together with around 20 priests in St. Lawrence Church. During the homily, Bishop Lai praised the spirit of the Claretians, and expressed gratitude to the missionaries who serve in Macau, making it possible for people in Macau to share in their spirituality. The Bishop also encouraged the faithful to join the Eucharistic Adoration, and try to spend some time to accompany Jesus.
The Mass was followed by a joyful reception at the side of the Church. More than 250 faithful participated.
About the Claretians
“Today a great work begins,” Anthony Claret announcedto the five young priests around him in a small room of the Seminary of Vic, on 16 July 1849. Thus, the life of the Congregation of the Missionary Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary begins. Early missions since 1875 began to expand from Spain to the world, including Cuba (1880), Equatorial Guinea (1883) and Mexico (1884).
The Claretians first received an invitation from China on October 5, 1927 when the future Regional Seminary of Kaifeng (開封) in Henan (河南) wanted to entrust the seminary to the care of the Claretians. They accepted this offer on February 11, 1928. Two missionaries: namely, Fr. José Fogued and Fr. Anastasio Rojas were sent to China on September 20, 1929 to mark the beginning of the mission in China.
By December 2014, the Congregation had 19 bishops, 2,176 priests, 1 permanent deacon, 157, brothers, 533 professed students and 114 novices in 64 countries in 484 communities.