CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A reunion to celebrate with a silver jubilarian

HONG KONG (SE): The English-speaking communities of Holy Family parish, Choi Hung, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of their former parish priest, Father James Areechira of the Society of the Divine Word, at the basketball court of the parish on July 22.
The Divine Word missionary who is on study leave in Australia for three years returned to Hong Kong for a brief vacation and also to celebrate his silver anniversary of priestly ordination in the city where he served for over two decades.
A Mass was concelebrated by Father Areechira and Father Arjay Venus at 4.00pm during which Father Areechira shared a short video of a thanksgiving Mass attended by his mother and relatives on June 30 in St. Mary Church, Kallara, Kerala, where he was ordained on 26 April 1993. 
After the Mass all groups enjoyed a dinner party in which they displayed their singing and dancing talents. Before each performance, coordinators from the different groups gave their well wishes to Father Areechira. 
In February 2017, Father Areechira left Hong Kong for Melbourne, Australia, for a three-year study leave (Sunday Examiner, 12 March 2017). He is pursuing a master’s degree in counselling and spirituality. 
In Australia, apart from being busy with his studies, he serves the English-speaking community and if needed, helps with the Chinese and Indian communities at St. Timothy parish in Melbourne. He will graduate at the end of 2019. 
Father Areechira spent over 20 years in Hong Kong serving in different ministries. Beginning in 1994, he worked in St. Edward’s Church, Lam Tin, for over three years as assistant parish priest. Then for more than six years, he celebrated Sunday Mass at St. Benedict Church, Shatin. 
In 2003, he became the parish priest of St. Edward’s parish. Around three years later, in September 2006, he was assigned as parish priest of the Holy Family parish, Choi Hung, where he served for over 10 years. 
From 1996 to 2003, he was the rector of the House of Studies for the Overseas Training Programme of the Divine Word Missionaries in Hong Kong.
Father Areechira was also the supervisor of St. Edward’s Catholic Primary School, Lam Tin, as well as Choi Hung Estate Catholic Secondary School.
He was a prison chaplain and a contributor to the Sunday Examiner with his column, Priest Behind Bars, in which he shared his experiences in the prison chaplaincy.

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