CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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It is a life worth celebrating

HONG KONG (SE): The end of the Year of Consecrated Life was celebrated in music, dance and drama, as well as some hilarity at the Caritas Community Hall in Kowloon on the evening of January 31, as some 650 religious and people living the consecrated life gathered to be entertained by the brave souls among them who dared to walk into the spotlights on stage.

An evening that was billed as entertainment rather than a talent quest, saw imagination trump ability, as the gathering was treated to a succession songs, skits, dances and music, which even the most hardened critic had to admit had flare and was certainly a fitting expression of the joy of lives spent in the service of others.

In an evening where imaginative choreography and the sheer desire to have fun proved they are the basic ingredients of entertainment; recorded versions of congregational songs drowned out the live voices on the stage; a simple narrative, interjected with a lilted chorus of repeated phrases on the life of St. Francis of Assisi was a big hit; a beautiful Chinese dance from a group of sisters had the audience enthralled, a skit featuring a melody of conversation drew laughter and some brave souls won friends by allowing substance to be drowned in style.

But as no show is complete without a bit of help from your friends, the evening received a touch of real class from Venise Kwok Wai-suen and her friends from the Bonfire Music Circle, who opened the show with two of their own compositions and closed it off with a lusty rendition of I will follow you, but with a linguistic twist from Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing to become I will follow him.

The sheer joy of being together culminated with young and old alike finding the child hidden within their inner selves to join the frenzy of a conga line as the Bonfire Music Circle sang the celebration around the spacious hall.

For any Doubting Thomas, the lesson of the evening could have been that among the religious in Hong Kong there is a wide span of talent that can be produced when the occasion demands.

But even in the darkest and most difficult times, religious congregations have always held tight to the conviction that the show must go on and, despite the huge hurdles they have faced, their creativity and imagination in ministry has seen them punch above their weight, ensuring that the show has indeed always gone on.


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