Joy amidst crisis: 3 children receive First Holy Communion in Taipa as Covid-19 looms, Cathedral cancels ceremony for 15 others

Marco Carvalho

“I am sure that everyone will keep walking the good road of faith,” says Sister Maria Lúcia Fonseca, a Franciscan missionary who is preparing her farewell to Macau, with her heart overflowing with hope and a strong confidence in the future. She believes that the children and youth whom she has accompanied in Our Lady of Carmel parish, over the last few years, have learned to acknowledge God’s presence and, therefore, their faith will grow stronger as they get older.

The catechetical year in Taipa’s sole Catholic church reached its zenith on June 12th with the celebration of the First Holy Communion of three children.

The ceremony, Sister Maria Lúcia notes, marks the beginning of what she sees as a long lasting journey of faith, shepherded by the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ceremony is also a living testimony to the strength and stamina with which the Word of God has taken root in the parish of Our Lady of Carmel. The three children who received the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time ever prepared for the celebration with a small retreat which focused on the value of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Sister Maria Lúcia tells O Clarim, “The children had a one-day preparation retreat with a Father Eduardo [Aguero] demonstrating the value of the Eucharist as the central moment of the Holy Mass. This preparation retreat ended with a small gathering. A Mass was celebrated just for the children and their families. It was a very important and meaningful moment for them. In a certain sense, it was the announcement of a lifelong journey, but one that allowed them to take a taste of Jesus.”

 “I’m sure children don’t forget these things. These moments will remain forever in their memory,” the sister of the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady adds.

Fifteen other children were in line to receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist last Sunday at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. The ceremony was cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. Masses and other public religious celebrations were suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Macau in all local churches due to the public health crisis.

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