According to the Diocese of Macau Chancery Notice (CN/14/018/2021) of 14 July, the Centro Pastoral Católico of the Red Market will cease its operation by 26th November. At the end of almost half a century of mission, the Centro Pastoral Católico held a gathering last Sunday (November 28) to bring together again friends who have participated in various activities of the Center of different generations.
One of the founders of the Centro Pastoral Católico, Sister Victoria Lau, said, the most important meaning is the fact that the work of youth formation will be adjusted according to the needs of different generations. Pope Francis has said, “History does not begin and end with us. We live in a history in which God walks with us, which we are called to come to a certain place, to start and meet different young people, to be with this group of young people at this time.”
Sister is not concerned about the closing of the center. “It is not an end, there are many lives start here and have been different since, not only for themselves, but also for their next generation. We have seen many examples like this. Many of our friends have become parents, but when they become parents or teachers, they have different ways of teaching their children and how to treat their families. I believe the mission of the center has to pass it on this way, it is granted by God and God would let it grow. That’s why we are not sad with the closing of the center.”
She also added: “I know that the Diocese of Macau has another plan for the young people. I wish them well and think the most important is to realize the growth in their lives. What we could do and achieve is a secondary matter, but the most important is to let young people to grow through some activities and some contacts.”
Another founder Fr. Pedro Chong stated that it was the first week of Advent, and the Gospel talks about the end of the world. When Jesus comes again, when the new life comes, the old and past will be wiped away. Fr. Chong thanked Sister Lau, other staff and volunteers, reviewed the meaning of the mission of the Pastor Center from a different perspective, “to know oneself, to appreciate others and to be communion with the Lord,” noting that this mission is the whole life of the Centro Pastoral Católico.
Another faithful shared her feelings, with a grateful thanks to Fr. Chong. She was not a Catholic before, but she came to the Pastoral Center because of family matters. She is grateful to Fr. Chong for always taking care of the poor, the sick, the weak with a Christian heart. A garment worker before, she is now a clerk thanks to Father.
A volunteer from the Summer Vacation Activity who studied the Chinese Portuguese Law in the University of Macau, Ar Koeng, shared that, he knew many friends through Pastoral Center, and was a place for him to grow, even though he had many shortcomings, he still received encouragement and care from everyone at the center, so that he could really grow and hoped that he would continue to contribute to the society and spread the gospel with what he had learned at the center in the future.
The Secretary General of the Centro Pastoral Católico and the Diocesan Youth Commission vice supervisor Tammy said that it was also on the same day 45 years ago (November 28) that the Pastoral Center was founded, and it was also the Advent period. The mission of the Pastoral Center ends because there is a new mission to start, and the spirit of the Center will not disappear because of the end of the building. She thanked all those who have participated and accompanied the young people for these 45 years. She also encouraged the audience to continue to support the Diocese, the Diocesan Youth Commission work for the young people.
A faithful from Mong-Ha church, Ms. Ng, said, it looked like “closure” is a pity, but in fact there was a new direction and development. “In fact, society is changing all the time, we need to keep up with the times. We all had a great time today and I believe we all understand the meaning behind.” She also said that over the past 45 years, the Pastoral Center has nurtured many young people. “It helped to raise the awareness of the young people to the society and contributed to the society of Macau. Besides, the center has also built many pillars of the community that are not visible, but in fact play different roles in different job positions.”
Another faithful, Mr. Tam, stated that the Pastoral Center had accomplished its mission and that God had arranged another new direction for development: “According to the times, there are many changes, to bring out light and enthusiasm for the good of Macau.”
The building in Red Market: A testimony of history
In the office of the Centro Pastoral Católico hangs the “German Catholic Social Service” stone monument on the wall. Sister Lau explained that Bishop Paulo José Tavares moved to help many refugees who came to Macau, and Germany provided subsidies to the refugees in Macau. They set up the tools for earning money, for example sewing machines and other machineries. The stone monument was a proof of financial support to the refugees at that time.
In the 1970s, the number of the refugees shrank, and the building was therefore vacant. That was when Bishop Arquimínio Rodrigues da Costa decided to convert it for the youth apostolate.
Bishop Arquimínio Rodrigues da Costa blessed the Centro Pastoral Católico on 28th November 1976. The Bishop of the Diocese appointed the Supervisor of the Center and the Diocese was responsible for all expenses of the Center.
The planning and establishment of the Center included Fr. Pedro Chong, Fr. João Evangelista Lau, Fr. Luis Lei Xavier, Fr. Jacob Chong and Sister Victoria Lau. The logo of the center is formed by three open and converging arrows, indicating that the center is a place of scattering and gathering.