Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Our Visitors

Chinese New Year is a time of family reunion and visiting friends and relatives. We were overwhelmed with lots of friends making their way to this outlying island to visit us. We couldn't thank enough Fr. Tom Peyton, MM and friends for coming over all the way from Ngau Tau Kok and some from Shenzhen! 
Fr. Tom Peyton, MM (second from left) and friends visited Mui Wo during the Chinese New Year 
During the years when the Claretians first arrived and spent their time studying Chinese language, Fr. Tom welcomed them in his parish. He was the mentor for the first Claretians in Hong Kong. He is 85 years old and serving in Christ the Worker Parish in Ngau Tau Kok.

"Discerning the will of God..."
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O is perhaps the farthest part of the diocese of Hong Kong. Geographically, Macau would be closer to Tai O than the Hong Kong Diocesan Centre. The Chapel is a part of now non-functional primary school building. Holy Eucharist is celebrated in the Chapel on every first Saturday of the month. 
Antonio and Angela with their three children in Tai O 
One Sunday afternoon in February while we were busy fixing some furniture in the school building, there came a family - Antonio, his wife Angela and their three children from Taiwan. Antonio is a merchant and Angela is a retired teacher and counsellor by profession. Once retired from their professional life, the couple faced the question "What next?" Being Catholics, they asked themselves "What does the Lord want us to do at this stage of life". So they decided to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith and thus enrolled themselves for four years of Theological studies. They are involved in marriage and family counselling and hope to serve the Catholic community. They are finishing their studies and says, "we are trying to discern God's will for us"!   
Returning to their Alma Mater
On the same day another group of people, all of them from the neighbourhood came in to the old school building and seemed more than joyous to move around and click pictures. They were students of this Catholic Primary school some 40 years ago and were so happy to return their alma mater. Although none of them profess Christian faith, they have only good memories of the past. Many of them left their contact details with us for whatever help the missionaries might need here! 

Lay Missionaries in China 
Meeting Tricia Bølle was nothing accidental! She is a Lay Missionary from the US, passionate about imparting the Gospel values among the youth and young adults in Asia. She speaks Mandarin and teaches in the Mainland. She has founded St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionary Society with the vision of  serving the Church in Asia in an effort to draw all people, particularly young adults, into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God.

We heard of her coming to Hong Kong with her friend.  Together with a group of youth from the Diocesan English Youth (DEY), we had planned for a dinner together. This was the first time I was meeting her. On that evening, I happened to reach the place much ahead of the scheduled time and thought of having a coffee and wait for the others to come. There in the coffee house, I come across two non-Chinese ladies and sensed that they might be the people we had fixed for the dinner, and yes they were! 
Irisa and Tricia (3rd & 4th from left) of St. Francis Xavier Lay Missionaries Society
with the DEY group
Tricia Bølle
On the next day, early in the morning Tricia fetched a ferry and came over to Mui Wo to attend the 7.30 Chinese mass! Then she met Fr. Alberto, someone who is equally passionate about the mission in China. To read more about her work and their Missionary society, take a look: http://www.laymissionary.org/home

DEY Core group gathering
The Diocesan English Youth (DEY) core group members gathered in Epiphany Church for the evaluation and planning of the group. DEY organises monthly adoration in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Wanchai. During the Lent, they also had a day of pilgrimage and Way of the Cross to the Trappist Monastery in Lantau Island, attracting a lot of catholic youth from various parishes in Hong Kong. 
DEY Core group members in front of Epiphany Chapel, Mui Wo
Fr. Siby Kadumthodu, a Claretian Missionary from the North East India paid a visit to Hong Kong. He was on his way back to India from the Philippines where he worked as an intern as part of his Post Graduate studies in Education. 
Fr. Siby Kadumthodu in Po Lin Buddhist Monastery in Lantau Island 

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