CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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A visit to the cathedral in the Year of Mercy

It was already October 1 and once again some 240 members of the English-speaking Community from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Tai Po set off on their Annual Pilgrimage; but this year was different because we were extremely fortunate that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy and our first stop was the cathedral.

The proceedings began with a most interesting and illuminating presentation by Paul Chan describing the history of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, after which we divided into six groups to begin our journey through the stately church.

Initially, we all assembled in the compound in front of the portico to pray and to contemplate the statue of Jesus above the portico, then we knelt before the Holy Door, to make an act of contrition, before passing through it, and kissing or touching the cross affixed to the granite door frame, the second station. We made a sign of the cross and remembered that Jesus died for us on the cross.

We moved inside the cathedral to the next station, the baptismal font, which is over 100-years old, again making the sign of the cross, this time using the holy water.

We then proceeded to the fourth station in front of the high altar, contemplating the crucifix and reflecting that Jesus willingly sacrificed himself for us on the cross.

The left of the altar is the seat of the bishop, a sign of the mission handed down from the apostles.

We paused at the next station, the confessionals, before moving on to the sixth station, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where we knelt down and gave adoration to Jesus of the blessed sacrament.

We continued, past the granite column damaged during the war, where we recited the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, on to the seventh station, the Mission Chapel, the crypt housing the remains of former bishops, admiring the stained glass windows, meditating on God’s merciful plan and the cooperation of Mary, and repeating the Hail Mary and Hail, Holy Queen.

Some also sang the Salve Regina. We also bowed and asked for the intercession of the deceased bishops and priests of the Hong Kong diocese.

The eighth station is the Chinese Martyr’s Chapel where we reflected on the statues behind the altar, the Passion of Christ with Our Lady sharing his passion; surrounding the chapel are the stained glass windows of the Martyr Saints of China, on the right, and the Non-Martyr Saints of China, on the left.

We then proceeded on to the All Souls’ Chapel (the Altar of St. Joseph) where we remembered St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, the spouse of Mary, the head of the Holy Family, the patron saint of China and the patron saint of the dying.

We paused and meditated at the statue of St. Vincent de Paul, before returning to the 11th station, behind the high altar, where we reflected on the crucifix, the tree of life, the true vine, and the saints who bear good fruit.

We then again made our way to the baptismal font, making the sign of the cross with holy water before leaving the cathedral, reverently passing through the Holy Door once more, the 12th station, looking back inside and making a final bow to the crucifix inside the cathedral.

We left the cathedral shortly after 2.00pm and arrived at the next stop on our pilgrimage, St. Joseph’s Church in Kwun Tong, where we recited the Cenacle Rosary.

It was now nearing 4.00pm and unfortunately we had no time remaining, so we had to hurriedly depart in order to get home to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Tai Po, the final stop on our pilgrimage, for the Saturday Mass at 5.00pm.

The church only sits about 300 and with all those who usually attend the Saturday Mass plus the 240 pilgrims, it was full and made for a wonderful final hour of worship to bring a truly exhilarating and uplifting day to a close.

We have to express our appreciation to Paul Chan and to all the others at the cathedral who so willingly and enthusiastically gave up their spare time on a public holiday to guide us around; to Father Dino Doimo and the parishioners of St. Joseph’s for letting us use their church in Kwun Tong; to Father Paolo Ceruti for leading us on this year’s pilgrimage; to Sister Maria So for also joining us; and finally to our four bus drivers for taking us there and getting us back safely.

 

 

                           • Philip Owen
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Tai Po