As Fr. Lu of Holy Family Chapel Luo Hu-Shenzhen accompanied me to go to bus stop after our first meeting last August 30, he said “Start here”, and then pointed out a sign on the wall. I thought it’s one of the signs from God about my outreach in mainland. I never heard about Holy Family Chapel till my visit to Jiangmen and how God prepared the ways to start from here.
Following all of the signs and with the support of my sisters during our last Sep 2 meeting, I went to Holy Family Chapel on Sep 8. Shenzhen is a special economic zone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen and also a special zone in church territory as it’s not belongs to any diocese in mainland. There are two churches and several chapels in Shenzhen managed by ten priests from different places e.g. Beijing, Shandong, and Handan.
Fr. Lu, from Handan Diocese, and several children welcome me in the chapel and then accompanied me to check in at the inn next door. Then Fr. Lu teaches the children to sing for the Sunday morning Mass. Twelve children learned to sing 那双不看见的手(=Invisible Hands) from the video of a children choir, who lost their parents during the flood in 1998 in Taiwan, http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTAyNjIxNg==.html while Fr. Lu played the guitar. They also practiced to sing 天父的花园(Father’s Flower Garden http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDI0OTkzNzUy.html) and then introduced themselves in English as requested by Fr. Lu. He also asked me to give a comment about them. I said in Mandarin that I am happy to know and to be with them, who like to sing and they are cute.
A parishioner, Fr. Lu and I then had supper before having Mandarin anticipated Sunday Mass at 8.00 pm. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Lu and Fr. Zhang, who initiated this chapel when he was assigned at St. Anthony Church-Shenzhen and moved back to Beijing several months ago.
The Mandarin Sunday morning Mass is at 9.00 am and celebrated by Fr. Lu and a priest from Gansu. The children brought the offertory: candles, two floral bouquets, bread and wine and then sang 那双不看见的手after Communion. Before the Mass, one of the readers will read part of catechism. It’s full packed with several additional chairs outside the chapel. After Mass, I had a talk with a young woman and then had lunch with two parishioners, the priest and deacon from Gansu, and Fr. Lu. I had a chance to go around the area in the afternoon and then attended Mandarin Sunday evening Mass at 8.00 pm. It was celebrated by Fr. Zhang, Fr. Lu and the priest from Gansu. After Mass, I had a talk with another woman including sharing my vocation story and then prayed together with her and another three women one by one. I informed them that I would make sign a cross, silent for a while, praying in English, inviting them to say a prayer, then, I will continue to pray in English, and then say Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be in Mandarin. I couldn’t pray Hail Mary and Glory Be in Mandarin as fast as they are so I just listened to their prayer. We finished almost 11.00 pm.
The Sunday Masses, at least 1.30 hour including several prayers before and after the Mass in Chaozhou dialect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaozhou, are well prepared by several groups e.g. Reader, Altar Server, Choir, Power Point, and Usher. The women readers wear green blouse and black skirt while the men readers are in black with green tie because it’s Ordinary Time. Several parishioners, adult and kids, help in 2-3 Masses e.g. a young guy is in choir for Saturday and Sunday evening Mass and lector for Sunday morning Mass. There is the order of the Mass in a simplified Chinese characters power point. A lay woman takes care of the children.
The daily Mandarin Masses are at 7.45 am with prayer before and after the Mass in Chaozhou dialect and several songs well prepared in power point including the order of the Mass in traditional Chinese characters. After Mass, Fr. Lu and I had breakfast with two parishioners and then went back to chapel. I checked out from the inn before leaving with Fr. Lu and a parishioner to do a home visit. We had a homemade lunch together with another three parishioners.
I went back to Hong Kong around 3.30 pm with promise to go back the next Saturday. I am so grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality of Fr. Lu and the parishioners. As one of the parishioners said “修女，感谢天主你能来这里“(Sister, Thanks be to God that you can come here), I also want to say “Thanks be to God that I can start my outreach to mainland from Holy Family Chapel“ which is Mandarin speaking community and close to my Hong Kong community.
Hong Kong， September 14, 2012
Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible