Tai O celebrates 80 years of life in Faith
|Pilgrims and Parishioners during the 80th Anniversary Celebrations of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, Tai O|
What does the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help mean? Not many may know! Father Joseph Ng Chi Yeun SDB explained the tradition behind the icon to a gathering of pilgrims in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Tai O during its 80th Anniversary Celebrations on Saturday, 20 May 2017.
The image, painted on wood, originated around the thirteenth century. The icon depicts our Blessed Mother Mary, under the title “Mother of God,” holding the Child Jesus. The Archangels St. Michael (in the left corner) holds the spear, the wine-soaked sponge, and the crown of thorns, and St. Gabriel (in the right corner) holds the cross and the nails.
|Fr. Joseph Ng Chi Yuen SDB together with Fr. Ezakias and Fr. Jose during the Anniversary Pilgrimage Mass in Tai O|
The intent of the artist was to portray the Child Jesus contemplating the vision of His future Passion. The anguish He feels is shown by the loss of one of His sandals. Nevertheless, the icon also conveys the triumph of Christ over sin and death, symbolised by the golden background (a sign of the glory of the resurrection) and the manner in which the angels hold the instruments of the passion, i.e. the spear, the crown of thorns, the Cross and the nails
Father Ng Chi Yeun further explained that the Child Jesus in the icon, by grasping the hand of the Blessed Mother, seeks comfort from His mother, as He sees the instruments of His passion. The position of Mary’s hands– both holding the Child Jesus and presenting Him to us– convey the reality of our Lord’s incarnation, that He is true God who became also true man.
Today, this image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is housed in the Church of St. Alphonsus, in Vatican. In 1867, when the image was being carried in a solemn procession through the streets, a young child was cured, the first of many recorded miracles attributed to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
|Mr. Leuhng, former Principal of the Perpetual Help School|
On 11 June,1962, the new church building in Tai O was blessed and Fr. Nicola Ruggiero PIME was the rector of the Chapel. In 1965, Tai O Church and Cheung Chau Church were separately designated as independent Districts and on 1 July 1979 the Perpetual Help Chapel was erected as an independent parish. The priests residing in Tai O also took care of it's Mass Centre in Mui Wo. It was then put under the purview of Epiphany Parish of Mui Wo on 8 September 1980.
Other than the missionaries from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the Catholic Community in Lantau was also served by the priests from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), and the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Since 1 November 2015, Claretian Missionary priests undertake the pastoral care of the Catholic Community in Tai O. Holy Eucharist is celebrated in Cantonese in the Chapel at 10 am on every Saturday and there is also a weekly gathering for Bible Sharing on every Tuesday.
Over 50 pilgrims from different parishes in Hong Kong joined the parish community to celebrate and pray together on 20 May, Saturday to mark the landmark day.
Month of May this year has been of special significance with the universal Church celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima.
While many hundreds of pilgrims from Hong Kong made their pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal to celebrate the event with the Holy Father Pope Francis, over 40 pilgrims from Epiphany Parish in Mui Wo went on a pilgrimage to the Fatima Church in Macau.
After celebrating the Holy Eucharist in the Fatima Church, the pilgrims also visited four other Churches some of which are also recognised as Heritage buildings.
Fatima 100 and Marian Pilgrimage to Macau
|Pilgrims on knees, praying the Rosary |
in the Fatima School in Macau
|After the Eucharistic Celebration in the Fatima Church in Macau|
|Pilgrims in Fatima Church|
|In the Convent of the Trappist Nuns |
in the Church of Our Lady of Penha, Macau
|St. Joseph's Seminary Chapel, Macau|
Fr. Paco heads the Verbiest Institute
The Verbiest Foundation in Belgium was established in 1982 to develop a new relation of cooperation and exchange with China and with institutes in China. Through the Verbiest Institute KULeuven the foundation sponsors academic research on the Catholic Church in China, its history and its present situation. The foundation also sponsors the Chinese College in Leuven and the Verbiest Institute of Taipei which both organise programs for formation of Catholic priests, religious and faithful in the field of practical theology, catechesis, pastoral, social ethics and spirituality.
|The team of Verbiest Institute in Taiwan|
Jeroom Heyndrickx cicm organised these activities of exchange and dialogue during 35 years. He is now succeeded by Francisco Carin cmf, who has lived for 23 years in Taiwan and China, where he obtained a doctorate at the Normal University in Beijing. He is a member of the Claretian Missionaries, an international missionary congregation founded in Spain with over 3000 members. Speaking Chinese fluently, he has been teaching at the National Seminary in Beijing. Currently he also serves as the Superior Delegate of the Claretian Missions in East Asia.
Pope Francis with Father Francisco Carin
and the Chinese pilgrims at St. Peter's Square.
In early May 2017 Fr. Carin guided a group of 33 Chinese pilgrims to meet Pope Francis in Rome after they had followed a one month Ongoing Formation Course in pastoral studies in Leuven. Among them were 29 parish priests coming from 29 different dioceses in China, 1 religious sister and 2 faithful. Pope Francis welcomed the group on Wednesday, May 10 after the general audience.
During the minutes of cordial exchange the pope expressed his appreciation and admiration for the course of Pastoral Formation which the group is following in Verbiest Institute in Leuven (Belgium) and repeated once again his wish to personally visit China. In recent years more and more pilgrims from China visit Rome.
It is known that Pope Francis pays special attention to them whenever he sees a group of Chinese pilgrims in the audience. This is understood to reflect the wish of the pope to improve relations with China and to normalise life of Catholics in China.
Born in May...
Coincidence it may seem, but the month of May is indeed a time of thanksgiving for the missionaries in East Asia. Many of our brothers are May-borns! Check out the list... you might know some of them. We are grateful to Fr. Masakawa, CMF for the caricatures!
17 May : Jojo (Macau)
|Fr. Jojo in the eyes of the artist|
22 May : Daniel Daring! (Mainland)
23 May : Sid Ching (Mainland)
26 May : Liju (Taiwan)
28 May : Jijo (Macau)
31 May : Bobin (Taiwan)
Wish you all the heavens' choicest blessings, good health and lots of cheers! Happy Birthday dear brothers!
Three Claretian confreres, Fathers Jaison, Pelse and Thomas from the North East India paid a visit to our communities in Macau and Hong Kong during the third week of May.
|Frs. Jaison, Thomas and Pelse |
with Fr. Jojo (2 from left) in Hong Kong