– Jasmin Yiu
An annual activity “Joyful Feast Eucharistic Congress 2019” organized by TOUCH, a Catholic youth community in Hong Kong, will first be held in Macau from 19-21 July (Fri-Sun), at the University of St Joseph. This year’s theme is taken from Luke 18:41 “Lord, please let me see.” Sherman Luk, one of the founders of TOUCH, talked to O CLARIM about the goals and reasons for starting this community, as well as Joyful Feast that attracts over 500 participants every year.
What kind of group is TOUCH? Can you explain its nature?
TOUCH is a Eucharist-centric and prayerful Catholic non-profit community formed by youth. At the very beginning, we did not think it would go in this direction. At the very beginning, back in 2002, it was originally in the form of a “fellowship,” but His Providence showed us, through prayer, that “fellowship” was not the way of the community. After discerning and praying for a few years we realized Eucharistic Spirituality is our mission, and we started developing in this direction in 2006.
There are three spiritual pillars for TOUCH: Eucharist, Our Lady and the Holy Spirit. The true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is definitely the center of our faith; and Our Lady, as the Mother of the Eucharist, always leads us to Jesus; and the Holy Spirit is also very important, as the Scripture says if there is no [Holy] Spirit, we cannot say God is our Father (cf 1 Cor 2:11), and we cannot see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In your understanding, what does “Eucharist-centric” mean? Why is this concept so important?
“Eucharist-centric” means living a life with Jesus as center. If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist, we will definitely place the Eucharist as our center, just as the CCC says “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). If we disregard the Eucharist as the center, then our Christian faith will be in doubt.
What prompted you to start such a huge community?
At the very beginning, we didn’t think of these kinds of activities. We were just a few in a group of young people who wanted to passionately serve the Church, so we started some fellowship gatherings. They were quite successful, and everyone was happy with it. But afterwards, I felt “there is something wrong.” I asked myself, “if all participants die suddenly, can they all repent and go to heaven after attending the event?” I couldn’t answer it, meaning the goal of our work has been wrong. If souls are not saved, everything goes in vain. Therefore, I realized the most important thing is to convert the life of the participants. A soul can be saved only when there is conversion. So thank God for letting us see this direction, and we put down all our original plans, go on a pilgrimage and find the way God wants us to embark on. After spending two years discerning, we came to the conclusion “Eucharist-centric Spirituality” and to promote it to young people.
“TOUCH” is a very special and innovative name. What is its meaning, and what was your idea when giving this name?
Originally it’s the interaction between the Holy Trinity and us, and the concept comes from “to touch and to be touched,” which means: we must first take the initiative to touch Jesus, and hence [our hearts] will be touched by Jesus. Just like the woman in the Gospel who had been subject to bleeding, to touch Jesus’s clothes with faith. We too, we need to step out: our first step is to touch, to be in contact with God, and to give Jesus, give God a chance to touch us in return.
Where does the idea of “Joyful Feast Eucharistic Congress” come from?
The concept of “Joyful Feast Eucharistic Congress” is similar to the concept of TOUCH. With limited resources, all volunteers are willing to contribute everything for Jesus and Our Lady. It is not merely from me, I’m just one of the tiny instruments. To be honest, these ten years is a miracle.
The main purpose of “Joyful Feast” is to create a camp with deep religious atmosphere, so that young people can convert. There are four key pillars of the youth festival: (1) Devotion to the Eucharist; (2) Devotion to Our Lady; (3) Conversions & Confessions; (4) Consecration & Vocations.
(1) Devotion to the Eucharist: bring every youth to Jesus, and Our Lord will work according to His will. Therefore, during the three-days-camp, there will be an overnight vigil, and all participants are required to take shifts in Eucharistic Adoration. Surprisingly, we receive much feedback from the youth, what touches them are not singing or dancing or talks, but the overnight vigil, because they could really feel God is talking to them through the Holy Eucharist.
(2) Devotion to Our Lady: Our Lady is our mother, and she can definitely bring us to her Son, to the Eucharist. Therefore, according to her requests, we organize different Marian devotions (such as processions and recitation of the Holy Rosary). Also, in answer to her apparition at Fatima, all volunteers start “a fasting-chain”: they fast on water and bread for nine days before the event, to pray not for the success of the event, but for the conversion of the participants. Moreover, we also invite the cloistered religious to pray for conversion during the event, because fruits can only be born through prayers.
(3) Conversions & Confessions: to have real contact with Jesus, one can be transformed and converted; and a soul will be converted only when they confess. Through providing input about “sin” through talks, we have a whole afternoon, inviting over ten priests to hear confessions.
(4) Consecration & Vocations: love is not reserved, so we must love wholeheartedly. We must challenge the ego of the youth, and to provoke them to be opened to vocation. They won’t immediately realize they have a call to celibacy, but the first step is to be completely opened to the Will of God, basing on the love and faith to God.
It is the first time for Joyful Feast to be held in Macau. As one of the founders, what is your expectation?
Thanks to the support of Bishop Stephen Lee and the Diocese of Macau, also with the help of many faithful, Joyful Feast can first land in Macau. Just as Bishop Lee mentioned last year in promoting the “Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Movement,” we hope to share the “Eucharistic Culture” to Macau faithful, to enkindle their love towards the Holy Eucharist, and to promote the exchange of youth in Macau, Hong Kong, China and other areas, to grow in the devotion of the Eucharistic.
For more information, please consult: touchcommunity.org