Flashback: Memories from May

O Clarim News Desk (English)

The church of St Joseph the Worker, Macau

Patronal feast day celebrated at St. Joseph the Worker Church in conjunction with Confirmation and First Holy Communion

The decline in the global pandemic allowed parishioners to celebrate the growth of the community in the St. Joseph the Worker Church, through the celebration of Mass, Confirmation and Holy Communion.

Bishop Lee Bun-Sang, who celebrated the Mass, encouraged the faithful to live up to their responsibilities through their work but to avoid being slaves to modern life, focusing too much on work, money and prestige while neglecting a life of faith; to regularly look back at the fruits of their work and to seek ways to live out their faith.

After the Mass, Cheung, a student who was confirmed last year, said, “The path of faith is a difficult one. I have thought of giving it up, but thanks to God, He gave me the courage to finish Sunday school. I will continue to live my faith from now on.”

A Sunday school teacher was asked to share her thoughts on witnessing her students receiving Confirmation. She said, “The meaning of Sunday school is to guide students to understand that faith is worthy of joy. I believe that those who have Confirmation, no longer need care from others, since they have the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They can use their strength to serve others, making the Church the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

In addition to the 6 faithful who received Confirmation, 11 children received First Holy Communion.

There was a celebration after Mass. Although the number of participants at the reception was limited due to pandemic restrictions, there were singing performances from the priests and altar servers. Some faithful performed dances and martial arts. A delicious meal and a beautiful four-layer homemade cake were prepared for the church celebration. In addition, the prizes of the lucky draw were homemade food cooked by the members of the parish, which went to the Sunday school teachers, parents, catechism teachers, receptionists, choir members, hearing-impaired group and the faithful who organized the celebration.

St Lazarus Church at Sao Lazaro civil parish, Macau

World day of prayer for vocations focuses on call to holiness through all vocations

The Diocese of Macau celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on 8 May 2022 at the St. Lazarus Church, praying for the vocations of Macau and the whole world. Bishop Lee Bun-Sang concelebrated the Mass with other priests.

After the reading of the Gospel, homilies were preached in Chinese and English by diocesan priest Fr. João Evangelista Lau and Fr. Fausto Gomez, respectively.

Fr. João Evangelista Lau pointed out, in his homily, that Pope Francis’ message “Called to Build the Human Family” for the 2021 World Day of Vocations did not focus on just vocations to Holy Orders, but rather looked at vocations in a broader sense.

Fr. Fausto Gomez recalled that he was celebrating his diamond jubilee, but he still needed to cleanse and purify himself like a diamond so that he could keep shining for the Lord.

“Jesus sacrificed his life for his sheep, and we are his sheep. To be God’s sheep, we need to recognize the voice of the Shepherd, to know Jesus, to trust him, to know Him and to learn to love him,” said Fr Gomez.

After Mass, the faithful celebrated the diamond, gold and silver jubilees of priests and nuns. On behalf of the Diocese of Macau, Bishop Lee Bun Sang presented certificates of appreciation to the priests and nuns for their contribution to the Church over the years. Bishop Emeritus José Hung-Seng, who is celebrating his golden jubilee this year, was not able to attend the ceremony as he was staying in the seminary, but all the faithful nevertheless gave him a warm round of applause and congratulations.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Church of Our Lady of Rosary (St Dominic’s Church), a 17th century Baroque church in Largo São Domingos

Message of Fatima Cautions: Spiritually Adverse Results Follow Repudiation of God

On 13 May, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima was concelebrated by Bishop Lee Bun Sang and other priests in St. Dominic’s Church, in Portuguese and Chinese. Due to pandemic restrictions, it was the third year that the motorcade of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and some of the liturgies were broadcast online. Despite the heavy rainfall in Macau the previous week, the faithful were still able to pay homage to Our Lady of Fatima.

In his homily, Bishop Lee said that both readings of the day were about motherhood and that Our Lady’s apparition at Fatima is a reminder that Our Lady is our mother. He said the Fatima message is a reminder to all not to live a life that forsakes and blasphemes God, because such lives will lead us to fall into hell.

The bishop also pointed out that when we lose God, our lives are in danger, as Our Lady showed us the conditions of purgatory. “But Our Lady says to us not to be afraid and gives us the confidence that it is her duty to protect us, to bring us under her shelter, her radiant garment,” said Bishop Lee. This leads to a second message where through her beloved son, Jesus Christ, we are given hope and strength to overcome all sins.

The third message is for us to pass on this hope to others. Through a pilgrimage each year, we not only maintain a relationship with our Mother but also show Our Lady of Fatima to the world, to soften and warm the hard, cold hearts of the world. Despite the sins of war and violence, we must be filled with confidence and hope.

After Mass, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was taken in a motorcade to the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha. At the destination venue were held Eucharistic adoration, the recitation of the Rosary and Eucharistic benediction, praying for peace in the world and the end of the pandemic.

Mong Ha
The St. Francis Xavier Church at Mong Ha was originally built with a school by a Jesuit priest in 1907. Later, it was transferred to the Canossian sisters.

St. Francis Xavier Parish Confirmation Retreat Galvanizes Students to Personify the Spirit of Christianity

St. Francis Xavier parish of Mong-Ha held a one-day retreat “To Know Oneself, to Know Christ and Follow Him” for Confirmation students on the 22 May 2022. The assistant parish priest Fr. Rafael Vigolo, Ms. Liu, three youth volunteers together with two Sunday school teachers planned the retreat. Altogether there were 17 Confirmation students who joined the one-day retreat in Vila De Santa Isabel. Upon arrival, the students did some drawing and explored the characteristics of Jesus from the Bible. Then they compared them to their own strengths and weaknesses to reflect on how to imitate Jesus Christ.

Nowadays young people care a lot about their relationships with families and friends. Therefore the first part of the retreat started with role play of the young people in their daily lives, to guide them in adopting the right attitude in dealing with families and friends. In the other session, Fr. Rafael Vigolo called on each student, Sunday school teachers and youth volunteers, just as Jesus called his disciples, to become evangelists and explained the meaning of receiving the sacrament of Confirmation.

One of the most touching parts of the retreat was when the students read out letters from their parents to them. The letters were a surprise to the students. Although they did not weep when reading the letter, it was clear that they cherished the contents which contained the expectations of their parents about their faith.

In the next session, when some students were receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, other students copied Bible verses about the Holy Spirit.  Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the session proceeded in silence. Finally, Fr. Rafael Vigolo celebrated Mass and concluded the retreat.

The Confirmation students received the sacrament on 5 June, Pentecost Sunday.