(Above) Derby Lau Wai Meng, director of the Macau Post and Telecommunications Services, launches the commemorative stamps. Photo courtesy: Macau Post
The Macau Post released on Sunday a new set of commemorative stamps celebrating the quadricentennial of the Our Lady of Penha Chapel. Designed by Vai Chi Hang, the new philatelic issue consists of a set of two stamps with a face value of 2.5 and 4 patacas, a souvenir sheet and a first-day cover.
In addition to these three philatelic products, the Macau Post and Telecommunications Bureau also offered collectors the optimum opportunity to acquire – either at Macau’s General Post Office or at the Communications Museum – a philatelic portfolio comprising the stamps and other philatelic products.
Both venues opened their doors from 9 am to 2 pm with the single purpose of imprinting the newly-launched postal issue with a first-day commemorative rubber stamp.
The Macau Post and Telecommunications Bureau endorsed the suggestion that was made by the Macau Catholic Culture Association. The proposal to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Penha chapel was first advanced by the association, which also wrote the brief historical description that accompanies the new philatelic issue.
“Usually, the Post and Telecommunications Bureau formulates an annual stamp issue plan. We select some of the themes ourselves, but we also send letters to different government departments, to local designers, to associations of different sorts and religious organizations to ask them if they have any suggestions that can be added to this plan,” Derby Lau Wai Meng , director of the Macau Post and Telecommunications Services, explains.
“In this particular case, regarding the 400th anniversary of the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, the Macau Catholic Culture Association sent us a suggestion. The suggestion was accepted by the government. The philatelic products that were launched on Sunday are the final result of that process I was telling you about,” she adds.
Located on top of Macau’s southernmost hill, the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha was built by friars of the Order of Saint Augustine in 1622. The small hermitage was rebuilt in 1837, complete with its distinctive bell tower, which can be seen from almost anywhere in coastal Macau. In 1935, the chapel was almost completely rebuilt, and in 1999, in the months leading up to Macau’s return to Chinese sovereignty, the chapel underwent renovation works once again.
The philatelic issue that was launched on Sunday adopted a modern and simple illustration style, with soft, discreet colors. Vai Chi Hang’s aim was to reproduce the aura of tranquility, sanctity and solemnity that the chapel has inspired over the last four centuries.
The philatelic set is the second of its kind – with a religious nature and Catholic inspiration – that was launched by the Macau Post in the last few months. In August, the Post and Telecommunications Bureau launched a series of philatelic products connected to the feast of Saint John and the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Macau. Initially scheduled for June, the issuance of the new postage stamps was postponed due to the largest outbreak of COVID-19 to affect Macau since the worldwide pandemic was declared two years ago.