Sr Judith Yuen, FMM
How God gives young people limitless strength and enthusiasm is surprising, sometimes even hard to understand. After my baptism and giving service in the parish for several years, I entered into the age of youth (during those days one was categorized as youth at the age of seventeen, much earlier than that of today). We, a young group, started to organize activities for the whole parish. Our parish priest took great effort to form the young people in the parish, he gave us space to develop our creativity and leadership. With his encouragement and the craziness of youth, we were able to accomplish the impossible.
To foster the family spirit in the parish, we organized an outing for the parishioners. The response was very good. Around one hundred joined the activity. In high spirits, we wanted to do everything ourselves. We even dared to prepare food for the big group! A few days before the outing, we planned the menu: chicken wings and eggs. We did the shopping. The cleaning and seasoning were big jobs. The four young inexperienced cooks squeezed into a small kitchen to do the cooking, it took more time than we expected: we started in the afternoon and stayed up the whole night for the cooking of the big amount of food! Though exhausted, our fatigue and sleepiness were all gone when we saw the satisfaction on the parishioners’ face as they enjoyed the food.
Another big event was to respond to the request of the parish priest to provide entertainment for the parishioners. In the 60s, no public activity centers had been set up by the government. Children and young people would enjoy roaming around in the park or rent comic books at the side walk place. They read the books at the place, often shared between two of them to minimize the expenses. Another place to go was the shop selling herbal drinks. They could ask for the cheapest drink and be allowed to watch TV for an hour. Not to mention the elderly who could stay at their door or to go the park when it was cool.
To prepare for the cultural night for the parishioners, all the associations of young groups in the parish started to submit their programs: songs, dances, drama etc. The members of the Children of Mary did not like to repeat the performances of the others, so we presented to do an extract from a famous current movie on an ancient Chinese king falling in love with a young village girl. We also presented a humorous skit on a modern couple. We were the editors, the directors and the actresses. We also prepared the backdrop, the costumes, and did the make-up ourselves. In both shows, I played the male character. During the practice, we all roared with laughter. At the very evening for performance, we got nervous when we saw the hall fully packed and there were even spectators peeping from outside. Our fear turned into joy when we saw the whole audience enjoy our shows. We thanked God for his many graces and we thanked each other for our joint effort and cooperation.
God is good, he made young people full of curiosity, daring to take risks, able to endure hardships and work with others. Our parish made use of the special qualities of young people. The Youth Committee was set up to run activities for the young people in the parish. The members of this new committee were selected from different youth organizations in the parish. We were full of enthusiasm to serve in the parish. We started with outdoor activities like hiking and ballgames, then camping. First we went to well-established camp sites, mostly those in Cheung Chau Island. In order to explore new camp sites for adventure, eight members of the Youth Committee went to a remote place called Lai Chi Jong near Sai Kong at To Lo Harbour. It was a place the diocese planned to develop into a camp site. Since it was not yet developed, there were only empty houses without any facility for living. We needed to bring our sleeping bags, clothing, food and simple cooking utensils. The journey was tedious, we took various kind of transportation to arrive at Sai Kong and took a sampan to go to the place. When we arrived at the site, we saw several single storey houses there. Practically the houses had only a roof and four walls. What attracted our sight was the beautiful and peaceful environment. There was the sea in front the houses, green mountains at the back, we looked up to the blue sky decorated with white clouds, we paddled in the clear water with fish at our feet. We thought we were in paradise. The most exiting activity was to catch the sea cucumbers and to dig oysters. The three days excursion enabled us to be near nature, come closer to our Creator and to live out sisterly and brotherly love. Moreover, our bond of unity and spirit of cooperation had grown, our zeal to serve the parish had been strengthened. (to be continued)