Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O has a small Catholic community in the peripheries of Hong Kong. A 45 minutes bus drive either from Tung Chung or from Mui Wo in Lantau Island would take one to the Chapel in this fishing village. The chapel belongs to the Epiphany Parish, Mui Wo and has a weekly mass at 10 am on Saturdays.
Although few in numbers and in their old age, Catholics in Tai O did something extraordinary in this Christmas for the people living in the vicinity and for hundreds of visitors who come from far and near. They recreated the nativity scene, utilizing the entire premises of the chapel.
A huge Christmas crib was set up at the entrance with life-size statues at the manger, giving a photo op even for the passers by. Hundreds of flowerpots decorated the premises, giving the chapel a face-lift and festive ambience. A large collection of religious articles such as holy medals, rosaries, statues of saints, t-shirts with religious themes and spiritual books are on display for grab. The small chapel in the first floor hosts the main crib, complete with angel flying down on the manger!
A curious addition to the elaborate decorations this year was a display of enlarged images of Christmas postal stamps from around the world. Numerous counties in the past have issued postal stamps with the nativity theme. Explaining the display, Claretian Father Jojo Ancheril said that one of their priests had a large collection of Christmas stamps and the idea was to display how the nations around the world celebrated Christmas in the history. Hundreds of tourists, especially those from around the world who visit Tai O every day during the Christmas holidays found it amusing to see these rare stamps on display, he added.
The Community organised two Christmas gatherings during the season, one for the people of the locality – especially the elderly of Tai O and the second one for the alumni of Wing Cho primary school which was closed down in 2003 after serving the community for over six decades.
Other than the weekly Mass on every Saturdays, the Chapel organises overnight Eucharistic adorations on the first Fridays of every month. Although the Catholic presence in the region is very nominal, various prayer groups and religious organisations frequent to the chapel for a day of seminars and recollections.