CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

Print Version    Email to Friend
Devotional liturgies enrich the spirit of the Church

HONG KONG (SE): The enriching role that devotional non-sacramental liturgies, which can also be led by lay people, can play in Church life was highlighted during a talk organised by the Diocesan Liturgical Commission on spirituality during Lent and Easter at the Catholic Diocese Centre on March 9.

A mixed denominational group of around 200 that took part in the session heard Father Thomas Law Kwok-fai, the chairperson of the commission, emphasise that the Holy Spirit does not only live in the Church hierarchy, but also among the laity, as the Spirit is quite at home in the lives of the people.

He spoke of the Lenten liturgical practices like the way of the cross, saying that they have the capacity to make people more aware of the mercy of Jesus Christ.

However, Father Law emphasised that such liturgies should supplement, not replace normal, scripted, sacramental Church liturgical life.

Father Law pointed out that such liturgies can be conducted with a certain degree of freedom, so they can have a widely varied expression in different parts of the world.

He gave the example of the procession of the Corpse of Christ to mark the suffering of Christ for humankind which is held in Macau, noting that it used to be held in Hong Kong as well.

Father Law said that in China there are 15 stations in the way of the cross, with the final station being about resurrection.

He pointed out that many liturgical books were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, but the prayer of the stations or way of the cross was passed on verbally, as people could remember it easily and did not need a book.

Father Law also spoke about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is celebrated during the Salubong (Encounter) in The Philippines. 

People pray overnight before a big celebration depicting the meeting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with her son, Jesus Christ, after his resurrection.

He then shared that the Orthodox Church has the tradition of praying for the deceased on Holy Saturday, as the departed are believed to resurrect on Easter Sunday like Jesus Christ did.

Father Law also believes that these informal types of liturgies can contribute to spiritual growth, giving the example of the Marian devotions, which he said can help people to know about her position in the history of salvation and the statue of Mary serves as a reminder for the suffering people of God’s mercy and acceptance.

Mok Tsz-ho, an altar server from St. Mary’s in Hung Hom, said the way of the cross is conducted by members of different ministry groups in his parish and provides an opportunity for a varied type of formation, which shows the Church’s concern for marginalised people.

More from this section