About 80 people – including catechists, children and youth of catechetical age and their families – took part in a Christmas get-together organized for the first time by the Cathedral Parish Portuguese-language catechesis group on December 11. The initiative, whose main purpose was to prepare the younger generations for the birth of Jesus in a spirit of partaking and joy, took place at the seaside resort of Cheoc Van.
Two weeks before Christmas, children, parents and catechists gathered for an initiative in which faith and spirituality went hand-in-hand with games, ludic activities and the practice of sports such as volleyball and football.
“The highlight of this meeting was the celebration of the Eucharist, at 11 am, with the participation of catechists, children and youth that are part of the catechesis group and also their parents,” Father Daniel Ribeiro told O Clarim.
“After the Mass was over, there was a community lunch. All these initiatives took place at Ricci Villa, in Cheoc Van. This lunch was followed by a more playful moment. The kids played football, volleyball and other games and everyone who was present joined them. About 80 people took part in this moment,” the parish vicar of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady added.
The Coloane get-together also gave the participants an opportunity to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Daniel Ribeiro. The Dehonian missionary, who is responsible for the Portuguese-speaking pastoral care team at the Cathedral parish, says that the Christmas meeting was acclaimed and well received by the participants and should, therefore, set the pattern for similar events in the future.
“This meeting was undeniably important. It helped to strengthen the bond between children and catechists and to foster a sense of community among those who took part. It also demonstrated that evangelization can happen with the same stamina and commitment outside the weekly environment of Sunday School classes. The parents and all those who participated really liked it. Later, some of them told me that initiatives like this should be organized more frequently,” the Brazilian priest says.
“The catechesis coordinating team hopes, from now on, to organize, at least once a year, a similar initiative and it expects that, during the year, other moments outside the common environment of catechesis can be organized,” Father Ribeiro reveals.
The parish vicar of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady says that the Covid-19 pandemic, which over the last three years has kept Macau under a tight bundle of restrictions, has made it difficult to organize initiatives such as the one that took place on the weekend in Ricci Villa, Cheoc Van. The Dehonian missionary says that, with the paradigm shift in the way the pandemic is being approached by the local authorities, the Cathedral parish may come to promote new community-centred activities.
“These meetings did not happen as often as we would like them to happen due to Covid-19. In the past, we used to organize visits to orphanages, nursing homes and different places in Macau. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these visits have been suspended. But last weekend’s get-together was very positive and, probably, this is one of the initiatives that will take place again next year. As soon as the administrative measures to combat the pandemic improve, other meetings, outside the normal environment of Sunday School lessons, should also take place,” Father Ribeiro assures.