Catholic Diocese of Macau postpones summer program, may opt out of World Youth Day

Marco Carvalho

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” as Alexander Pope says, and the Diocesan Youth Commission still hopes to promote its month-long program of activities aimed at the younger generations, despite the exponential increase in the number of Covid-19 infections registered in Macau since the middle of June.

The aspiration was expressed by Tammy Chio Chu Cheng last week. The deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission told O Clarim that the organization does not rule out the possibility of cancelling the summer camp, but for the moment, the only decision that was taken was to postpone the commencement of the activities to August. The organization of the event, Tammy Chio said, will be increasingly unlikely if the number of Covid-19 infections keeps growing. “Summer activities will be postponed. We still hope to be able to organize them in August. However, given the current situation, this seems increasingly unlikely. We are discussing all sort of possibilities with the children and with our volunteers. We intend to announce our final decision as soon as possible,” Tammy Chio informed us.

Last year, the summer activities program promoted by the Catholic Diocese of Macau took place between July 24th and August 14th, in the Church of Saint Joseph the Worker, in Hac Sa Wan neighborhood.

Located 500 meters from the Border Gate, the church was expected to host the initiative once again two weeks from now, Father Carlos Malásquez Quispe told O Clarim recently. The Peruvian priest described the activities program as one of the main midsummer pastoral ventures organized by the Catholic Diocese of Macau.

The program, which attracts as many as one hundred children every year, starts preparations in early July. The worst Covid-19 outbreak that Macau has endured since the beginning of the pandemic two and a half years ago, might cause the Diocesan Youth Commission to change tracks. The organization does not exclude the possibility of resorting to alternative solutions in case the initiative is cancelled. “Our plans were to organize training workshops for our young volunteers earlier this month, but they had to be cancelled,” Tammy Chio told us. She continued, saying, “We are analyzing the possibility to eventually organize a few virtual meetings aimed at the younger generations. Obviously, we wish we didn’t have to cancel the activities, but we use the facilities of Saint Joseph the Worker Church. If churches remain closed, there is not much we can do.”

The same uncertainty that surrounds the organization of the Catholic Diocese of Macau’s summer activities program also casts a shadow over the participation of Macau in the World Youth Day in August next year. The event is still more than a year away, but the decision to send a delegation to Lisbon remains shrouded in doubt. Tammy Chio said, “As far as the World Youth Day are concerned, there’s no big difference. Let´s say that anyone from Macau decides to go to Lisbon. If they do, they will have to quarantine after attending the event. It is something that still needs to be thoroughly discussed.”