CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Showing joy in the consecrated life

HONG KONG (SE): Over 300 people took part in a Eucharistic procession, organised by the Diocesan Vocation Commission, along the Shing Mun River in Shatin, to pray for vocations to the religious and consecrated life on May 4.
The programme under the theme, Rejoice in Consecrated Life, inspired by the 2018 apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad, began with a number of cultural performances by priests and nuns at St. Benedict’s Church, Shatin. 
In his opening message, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing said that this year the priests and sisters wanted to show their joy in the consecrated life through their singing and dancing performances as it was a more vivid way of expressing the power of joy in the hearts of consecrated people.
The bishop said the programme was not intended to call everyone to the consecrated life, but to urge people to think about their own direction in life and to enrich it with determination and joy from God. He said the Eucharistic procession was meant to remind people that God journeys with them.
Missionaries from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Guadalupe Missioners, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate (PIME sisters) as well as the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres then illustrated the ministries of their congregations around the world through song and dance. 
After a performance of an upbeat Mexican hat dance, Guadalupe Missioner Father Fructuoso Lopez Martin told the Sunday Examiner that the joyful expressions of the missionaries of his congregation not only come from the happy culture of South America, but also from the joy of fulfilling God’s mission.
Two seminarians, Reverend Moises Rosales and Reverend Miguel Ramirez, joined him to sing a song, Sonria (Smile), with humourous lyrics describing the challenges that face priests, such as fatigue, complaints from parishioners, inadequate donations and even the infatuation of lay women, bringing laughter to the parish hall.
However, the song ended with a message that priests receive more strength if they perform their duties with a smile of joy, which will help to make their homilies more interesting and bring empathy to their ministries.
The performances were followed by the Eucharistic procession which wended its way from St. Benedict’s Church along the Shing Mun River to St. Alfred’s Church in Tai Wai. Participants included Bishop Ha and other consecrated people, along with altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, members of a prayer campaign for vocations, students from Catholic schools as well as other lay people.
Janice Chow Suk-kuen, who brought her two young daughters along to the procession, said she wanted them to know more about the consecrated life, as they often came in contact with priests and sisters in churches.
The programme ended with a Mass at St. Alfred’s Church concelebrated by Bishop Ha, Father Slawomir Kalisz, the parish priest, and other priests who had joined in the procession. 
In his homily, the bishop called on the over 400 who attended to remember how John the disciple, while fishing on boat, recognised Jesus after his resurrection as he said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (John 21:7). He encouraged people to be aware of God’s calling in daily life. 

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