Some members of our Houses of Formation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in Lipa had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong during the semester break. This cultural trip has the aim of knowing more about the Chinese culture and make a visit to one of the missions of our Institute.
Among the many things that are worthy to be highlighted, we can point out simply two:
Visit to the island of Yim Tin Tsai. In this island, Saint Joseph Freinademetz, an Italian missionary, lived and founded a Christian Community. His life is entirely missionary: after being ordained as a priest, he decided to go to the missions by joining the Society of the Divine Word. Soon he was sent to the far-off China and stayed in Hong Kong for two years, learning the language and doing some works of apostolate, similar to what he did in this island we visited, found at the east of Hong Kong, in the district of Sia Kung. Saint Joseph converted all its inhabitants and built a church. Moreover, right there he lived for some time. We could see the ruins of his house and of the old church. We also had the grace to celebrate Mass in the present chapel of the island which replacd the original.
Saint Joseph Freinademetz continued his mission in the mainland where he died. His life was a great work of inculturation, because he not only learned the language but he also submerged himself in the Chinese culture. One of his biographies says: “His whole life was marked by an effort to become a Chinese among the Chinese, so much so that he wrote to his family: I love China and the Chinese. I want to die among them and be laid to rest among them” . Indeed, he once said: “I do not consider missionary life as a sacrifice I offer to God, but as the greatest grace that God could ever have lavished upon me” .
It was a big grace indeed this opportunity of visiting the same places where so great saint lived in. To him, who is the patron of our Novitiate House, we entrust ourselves and ask for more vocations.
Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Yuen Long. We had the enormous privilege of visiting the parish where our Institute works in Yueng Long (northeast of Hong Kong Island).
The Institute arrived there in 2002 and since that time it has been collecting abundant fruits. Currently, Fr. Gervais Baudry, Juan Beroch and Carlos Almontes are working there.
It is necessary to be there in order to have an idea of what they are doing there.
There we met the altar servers ‒always present in large number‒, with members of the third order, with friends and acquaintances of the Parish.
What is more impressing is the dignified celebration of the Mass. The Mass should be the heart of the Parish: and such it is in our mission there. On Sundays there are five Masses, in the natvive Cantonese and English. One each Mass the Church is fully crowded and the liturgy vividly lived. It is beautiful to see the great number of altar servers so well organized, the different choirs and groups of lectors, ministers and collectors. When finishing one Mass, a great number of people leave the church so that another multitude may enter to it and take their positions and respective offices: there is even a group of porters! It is amazing to see how responsibly the liturgy is carried out.
As well, the parish takes care of many needy people by giving spiritual and material assistance to several unemployed and more needy persons. In fact, the parish has a small “refuge” for women who undergo these kinds of problems, where they receive food and a place to stay. The parish is for them like an oasis because in the midst of this wordl where there is no place for those who suffer, they find in the Parish a family and a house where they will always be welcomed. They find in truth, the “Neighbor Christ”.
We thank the opportunity of this trip and the privilege of being witnesses of the missionary work that our priest do in Hong Kong.
We also share our photos taken in Macau: