HONG KONG (SE): The new altar of St. Bonaventure Church, Tsz Wan Shan, was blessed on January 26 following the completion of renovation works in November 2018. Designer, Friar Pierangelo Pagani, expressed his hopes that the renovated chapel with its huge stained glass windows would become an ideal place for people to pray and remember the sacredness and mysteries of God.
The Mass was celebrated by Franciscan Father Paul Pang together with Father Michael Woo, the provincial superior of the China province, and a number of other priests.
In his homily, Father Pang said the blessing of the altar and the new look of the chapel was a reminder of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ and the importance of loving God in our heart, a place more important than the chapel or anywhere.
Father Woo then blessed the new altar and the relic of Blessed Gabriele Allegra was placed on it.
Priests from Catania, the hometown of Father Allegra in Sicily, Italy, came to join in celebrating the occasion and brought handmade silk stoles as gifts.
Friar Pagani who came from Milan, Italy, for the ceremony, explained that the bronze image of Christ, in the form of a seraphim soaring above the altar, depicts how he offered the stigmata to St. Francis. He hopes that the love of Christ for St. Francis will stir the fire in peoples’ hearts.
Father Stephen Chan Mun-hung, parish priest, then thanked the people involved in the renovation project and the donors.
Clemente Contestabile, the Italian consul general in Hong Kong, said the chapel renovation was a combination of art and faith, becoming a universal language understood by all.
Timis Teodor, a staff member from an arts workshop in Italy who came to Hong Kong to assemble the mosaic about St. Francis receiving the stigmata, told the Kung Kao Po that the mosaic was first finished in Italy then divided into slates of around 50 square centimetres in size for ease of shipping. He expressed satisfaction with the finished work.
Tam Yuet-long, president of parish council, said the artworks of the parish showed different facets of Franciscan spirituality, adding that the council plans to organise tours to see them.
The renovation of the chapel began seven years ago. The first stage involved the building of structural glass curtain walls. The second stage, beginning in 2014, covered the design of different facilities and artworks, such as the altar, the tabernacle, the reading platform, the stained glass windows showing the life of St. Francis and St. Bonaventure, the mosaic of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and other pieces.