From mid-December to mid-January, Father José Ángel Hernández had his hands full. Chaplain at the Conde de São Januário public hospital, the Mexican priest divided his time between Macau’s two largest health facilities. His mission? To offer spiritual comfort to those that were readying themselves to embark on their last journey. Despite being surrounded with people that were sick, he managed to evade catching COVID-19.
It’s not a one-of-a-kind initiative, but it’s always a good example of a commendable cooperation. The Claretian community of Macau and a Buddhist meditation centre based in Saint Lawrence parish joined forces and organized a food distribution drive in December. The action benefited around 100 non-resident workers that were temporarily laid off by their employers.
Our faith shows us the pathway to hope. It teaches us patience and perseverance in trials and temptations to despair. It is the one thing that pulled many people through the most recent pandemic and, perhaps, renewed their relationship with God, making it even stronger.
Originally to be held on the 19th of June, the day on which Macau health authorities identified more than a dozen local COVID-19 infections, the First Holy Communion ceremony of the children that attend the Portuguese-language catechesis in the Cathedral parish will finally take place on September 25th.
Parishioners were joyful to be able to commune with each other and the Lord in person once again. Even the measures to prevent another outbreak were not enough to put a damper on the happiness of being in church.
Covid-19, much like any other catastrophe, must be seen as an opportunity to grow closer to God. As Catholics, we must fully believe and accept this, continuing and enhancing our prayer life against all odds.
A grand total of twelve facilities managed by Caritas are being operated on a strict “closed circuit” preventive management regime. The measure, which affects 1,700 workers and patients, aims to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19 among vulnerable groups. The transition to the closed-loop management plan required sacrifices, both financial and human. Caritas secretary-general Paul Pun claims, nevertheless, that the confinement of nursing homes is a necessary evil.
The aggravation of the epidemic scenario in Macau forced the Cathedral parish to postpone the feast of the First Holy Communion. Covid-19 hindered the Corpus Christi celebrations, but did not prevent them from happening. The ceremony was broadcasted live on the Internet. The procession that should have connected Saint Joseph’s School and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady was, nevertheless, cancelled.
Three children received the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the Church of Our Lady of Carmel in Taipa on Sunday, June 12th. The ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, however, put a damper on the ceremony at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady for 15 other children as restrictions were imposed. Masses and other public religious celebrations were suspended in all local churches.
Caritas Macau was one of eight associations and organizations recruited by the government to help with the vaccination drive aimed at senior citizens. To boost vaccination rates, the Macau Foundation grants a 250 pataca voucher to residents over 65 who have already received two shots of the Covid-19 jab. The Secretary General of Caritas claims that money is not, however, the reason why an increasing number of elderly are choosing to get vaccinated.