CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Pedalling mission around Fanling

HONG KONG (SE): More than 20 parishioners from St. Joseph’s in Fanling got together to form a bicycle cavalcade for a special public event to mark Mission Sunday on October 30.

With flags flying from the back of the bicycles imprinted with the words, Missionary Church, Witness of Mercy, taken from the title of the message of Pope Francis for World Mission Sunday this year, the cavalcade pedalled its way through the streets of the village.

The cavalcade started its ride from St. Francis of Assisi College in Yan Shing Lane, the current centre for parish operations, ending up at Fanling Station.

It then worked its way through the nearby streets, making eight stops to distribute leaflets about the Catholic faith and the various activities people can join at the parish.

The colourful cavalcade completed its circle near the bus terminal in Luen Wo Hui.

The parish priest, Father Francesco Conte, described the activity as being a direct approach to people, adding that the bikes, which are an extremely well-known characteristic of the rural town, are a good way to attract the attention of passers-by, as well as a dynamic way of demonstrating the vigour of parish life.

He said that it is cost effective as well, as it is a far cheaper means of getting around than an open-top bus and also allows a much closer and broader contact with people in the streets.

Father Conte said he believes that the activity was creative, as it really hit the spot touching what people are interested in.

He credited the public interest for the enthusiastic manner in which the people from the parish got stuck into the day and the obviously relaxed manner in which they approached the public, calling it an effective outreach in spreading the word.

The parishioners on the bikes described this year’s Mission Sunday event as the most successful one they have had.

They shared that in the past they had to follow people and ask them to accept leaflets, but this year, it was the people who gathered around them, as the over 20 red flags flying from the bikes were like a magnet to the crowd.

Many people even approached them and asked them to tell them more about their faith and why the old Church building at the traditional St. Joseph’s compound, which is currently undergoing construction to increase its size, is no longer being used.

All Masses and parish activities were transferred to St. Francis of Assisi College in July while the reconstruction is underway.

The ever-growing and dynamic Filipino community from the parish added some attractive touches to the presentation of the group by carrying their leaflets inside homemade shoulder bags cobbled together in a collage of red, white and blue.

The nylon in the material makes the large bags extremely durable, but they also prompted fond memories among the Hong Kong people as in a past age, they were in common use when gifts and foodstuffs were lugged to their friends and relatives in China during home visits.

Some 5,000 leaflets were distributed by the energetic team on the  bikes around the streets of Fanling parish on the day.

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