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Setting sail for Holy Spirit seminary

On Sunday, October 23, at around 1.00pm, a lone ship pulled away from the quarry side in front of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Tai Po. Its cargo contained a motley crew of Sunday School and Youth Group students, teachers and parents, along with other notable personages of esteemed repute, including Sister Maria So Yin-ha and Father Paulo Ceruti, as well as numerous helpers of the generous sort.

We were a merry crew embarking on the annual Autumn Sunday School pilgrimage. This time our course was set for Holy Spirit Seminary in Wong Chuk Hang in the Aberdeen area of Hong Kong.

We narrowly evaded the shoals of Ocean Park, which would have cost us dearly in an exodus of some of our leaders had we not. Father Ceruti had to be physically restrained as our ship sailed within smelling distance of cotton candy and the screams emanating from the Ocean Park rides.

But, and surely this was due to the rosary said and songs sung along the way, we passed through the temptation and docked at our final destination where we disembarked from the ship, only to face the next temptation: having to walk the exceedingly steep drive up to the seminary without a word of complaint.

I’m sorry to say we were not at our best at this moment, a few mutinous complaints being heard. But eventually we ascended the mount and entered the lofty regions of Holy Spirit Seminary College of Philosophy and Theology.

After a warm welcome by some of the staff, we had a short but leisurely time for rations, while taking in the rarefied atmosphere of the spiritual attitude there, as well as the beauty and antiquity of the campus.

Rations finished, we were divided up into several groups and taken on tour: the Door of Mercy leading into the chapel, a small but ancient statue of Jesus, an intimate grotto with Our Lady, an intricate round labyrinth (or maze) to negotiate on walkways of egg-sized stones in order, hopefully, to arrive at the central goal: the cross.

Some thought they saw Sister Maria So, who had become quite befuddled, step over one of the lane markers, but we are sure that the observer was wrong, or that Sister So had simply not seen the marker.

After this, a metal sculpture of Jesus carrying the burden of the cross, then on to an abstract sculpture of metal hands painted black reaching upwards towards the cross arising out of their midst, with its top wrapped in thorns and God’s all-seeing eye of love at the crux.

Through a stone archway was the seminary’s cornerstone, with scars of two bullet holes from World War II and with the inscription, HAS REX COELESTIUM AEDES IMPLE BENIGNO LUMINE (Fill with your kindly light these your shrines, Heavenly King).

Then, finally, back through the Door of Mercy and into the chapel where Jason Lee Kwok-tung, a seminarian, drew our admiration to its indigenous beauty and history.

All too soon it was time to go and, without further mishap (it is believed Father Ceruti made it all the way back, but some thought they saw him jumping ship and scuttling off in his sandals toward the entrance of Ocean Park).

We docked at our home port of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish around 5.00pm. A day of warm fellowship and uplifting contemplation in him. Our heartfelt thanks to all who made it possible.



• Scott Turner
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Tai Po