Christmas Letter 2013

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
                   First of all, I want to wish all of you:

           Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
 May your world be filled with warmth and good cheer this Holy season, and throughout 2014!

How was your Christmas and New Year celebration? 
As for me, I spent Christmas in Shenzhen, my second Christmas in Shenzhen.   I still go regularly to Holy Family Church Shenzhen on Saturdays till Tuesdays except if there are community activities or workshops in Hong Kong.  My activities in Shenzhen are attending the Mandarin Masses; being with the parishioners either in chapel, in their homes or outing including attending the feast day of the other Churches; praying with whoever needed; helping the Sunday School, the religious articles store, and Summer School http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2013/08/sharing-summer-school-2013.html; bringing books/booklets/prayer cards; besides enjoyed the visit of Sr. Maureen, Sr. Shirley, Ms. Jody, Mr. Koeswanto and family, Mr. Richard Widjaja and friends.


As Sr. Agnes wanted to visit a leprocy center, so I accompanied her with a parishioner of Holy Family Church to a leprocy center in Kaiping.  Sr. Agnes and I left 6 o’clock from my place, took a bus from Luo Hu bus station to Kaiping then to Nan Lian Lu Kou.  Sr. Lin, whom I met in a leprocy center in Shunde, asked one of the residences to pick us up and we arrived at the leprocy center around 12.00 pm.  We chat for a while, had lunch at Sr. Lin’s place, and then continue our conversation with the residences.  We gave a small gift to each residence, total around 41 persons, mostly elderly man.  It took seven hours to go back to my place.  For sure, the residences were grateful for our visit.  Our parishioner was also grateful for this visit as it’s her first time to visit sick people and first time to visit a leprocy center accompanied by two sisters!  I invited several parishioners to go but they couldn’t make it. 
       I organized a talk on Theology of the Body for the parishioners on Nov 21.  There were more than 30 parishioners attended the talk and they wish to have another talks in the future.  It’s the first talk in our church.
       Our former Sunday School teacher is back to lead our Sunday School so it is more organized.  The children and volunteers wear white pants, more volunteers including the parents take turn to help.  I help to give away the top uniform, set up the back room of the church to be the classroom and clean it up, and take picture of the children with their parents and then put it on the paper frame, which I got from Diocesan Commission for Marriage and Family Hong Kong.   We will distribute it on Holy Family feast day celebration on Dec 29, 2013.
            An Advent wreath, with two purple candles, one pink candle and one white candle, was placed in the altar as we began the Advent season.      
          Fr. Lu, several parishioners and I attended Mass for the feast of Immaculate Conception at the Immaculate Conception Church, followed by dinner.  Twelve sisters from several dioceses in mainland who are working in Shenzhen including myself for the first time sat together in a table so we started to exchange contact numbers.
            On the second Saturday and third Sunday of Advent, several parishioners decorated the church after the Mass.  Several of them went directly from work without having supper and stayed till around 1.30 a.m., so they had supper at church almost midnight.  I helped to decorate both the front and back stairs and also the wall near back stairs. 
            Fr. Lu, several parishioners and I visited a leprocy center in Huidong on Dec 21, 2013.  Twenty one of us went for two and a half hours in four cars.  There are 11 elderly men and women, seven of them are Catholics.  We helped to decorate the chapel including setting up the manger; give winter clothes, rice, cooking oil, shawl, and red envelopes; organized Mass and also praise and worship.  All of us didn’t have lunch and several of us didn’t have breakfast too.  It’s the first time for most of the parishioners, as for me, it's the 6th leprocy center I visited and my 8th visit to a leprocy center.  For sure, the residences are so grateful for our visit and wish for our next visit in their new place.  Then, we went to the beach nearby.    Here is the link of the pictures: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EbuWrFm4ZM2HC 
       There so many people wanted to attend both the 7.30 p.m. Mass and 11.00 p.m. Mass on Dec 24 so the ushers should work hard to make sure that the Mass would be as solemn as possible including holding hand to avoid the people to go to the church whenever it’s full packed.  The front and back of church and also the stair to the fourth floor were full packed.  Several of them are neither Catholics nor attend Mass regularly. The children attended the evening Mass and sang“让爱转出去 (=Let love spread away)with sign language http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzQwMTIxOTU2.html and “Jingle Bells” in Chinese.  I was responsible to take the pictures of the children so I sat with the children at the front rows during the evening Mass.  The choir sang beautifully and there were nice Mass booklets for Masses on Dec 24, 25 and Holy Family Feast Day.  The church was also full packed for our first praise and worship, led by Fr. Lu and several young adults, in between the evening and vigil Masses.  After being blessed at the first floor, the statue of Baby Jesus was brought in procession to the altar (at the third floor) and then was placed in the manger in front of the church.  The bookstore was moved to the first floor to have bigger space.   I sat outside front church for the vigil Mass after stopping during procession to help bringing the religious articles up to the church.  The Santa Claus threw candies after the Mass.           
       The church, inside, outside and back room, was full packed on Christmas Day Mass even though it’s not public holiday.  I was moved during homily.  Forty non-Catholic men and women sang three Christmas songs after closing prayer. I helped at the religious article store in front of the Church before and after the Mass.  A parishioner invited Fr. Lu, several guests from Shijiazhuang, and me for lunch.   The inside church was full during Christmas Day evening Mass, even though it’s not the first Mass for most of them this Christmas season.    
            Here is the link of the pictures during Christmas celebration: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EbuWrFm4ZM2Hg
            While in Hong Kong, I am still visiting the inmates in both Lowu Correctional Institution and Tailam Center for Women besides being the only leader of Financial Literacy Program at Pathfinders and helping the Putonghua workshops at Stanley House.  I also had several activities e.g. attending the deaconate ordination of SVD, two of them are Indonesians; Asian Liturgy Forum http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2013/11/article-asian-liturgy-forum-2013.html; Maryknoll Sisters Asia East World Section followed by annual Maryknoll Family barbeque hosted by Maryknoll Society, Hong Kong diocese jubilee celebration and Christmas carol at Stanley House.  It's a holy coincidence to meet Fr. John Eybel, MM at Maryknoll House.
            And, last but not the least, I want to thank you for all your support, love, hospitality, gifts and especially your prayers during this year.  It’s been a year of lot of “God with us” experiences especially how God prepares my ministries both in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
                                                             
Hong Kong, December 26, 2013
With love and prayer,

         

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Article: Suster Anastasia Lindawati ke Tiongkok

http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2013/12/article-suster-linda-ke-tiongkok.html

Article: Attending Mission Sending at Maryknoll


http://jinnykusumotherosarymaker.blogspot.hk/2010/05/attend-mission-sending-at-mary-knoll.html

Article: Welcome to New Lay Missioners and Sisters!

http://knollnews.blogspot.hk/2009/09/welcome-to-new-lay-missioners-and.html

Article: Asian Liturgy Forum 2013
















http://asianliturgyforum.blogspot.hk/2013/10/asian-liturgy-forum-alf-delegations.html

Article: Bringing Good News

http://maryknollsociety.org/index.php/component/content/article/9-magazines/554-bringing-good-news

Article: Maryknoll Holds Joint Mission Sending 2009

http://www.maryknollsisters.org/catholic-mission/index.php/resources/news/524-MaryknollHoldsJointMission-Sending

Article: Maryknoll Sisters Make First Vows



http://www.maryknollsisters.org/catholic-mission/index.php/resources/news/516-MaryknollSistersMakeFirstVows

Article: First Profession of Vows 2009

http://www.maryknollsisters.org/catholic-mission/index.php/resources/news/518-AnastasiaLindawatiMakesFirstVows

Article: An East Asian pilgrimage to the past and the future

http://www.mklsisters.org/blog/2011/09/21/1259/

Sharing: 2013 Summer School at Holy Family Church



            The parishes in mainland usually organize summer school for the children.  It’s also the time for First Communion’s preparation.  There were more than 60 children age 7 – 16 at Holy Family Church Luo Hu-Shenzhen attended the summer school on August 1-14, 2013 except on Sundays.  The Church was converted to classroom by pulling the curtain in front of the altar.  The classes begin at 9.30 am (the students should arrive at 9.20 am for presentation) and end at 4.30 pm with lunch break at 12.00-1.30 pm and short break after each class.  Besides Fr. Lu, there were two sisters from Handan diocese, several parishioners as teachers and volunteers and myself helping the summer school.  The children ate lunch box in front of the Church and back room, then slept at the Church or watch movie at the back room or learn Chinese martial art at the learning center next door.
       The children were divided into two classes: junior class for 1st and 2nd grade (around 15 students) and senior class for 3rd grade above (around 50 students).  They learned about catechism, the stories in the Bible, singing, dancing, etc.  I taught “oral English” for the junior students for 4 sessions @30 minutes and “Prayer” for senior students for 5 sessions @45 minutes.  I taught basic introduction for both classes e.g. My name is Joseph/Mary/Peter/Paul, I am a Catholic, I want to be a priest/sister/teacher/doctor, This is Holy Family Church, Thanks be to God, Let us pray, Praise the Lord-Alleluya, The Lord be with you-And also with your spirit, The Sign of the Cross (several children learned it from the Sunday school), Glory to the Father and for the senior students, I also taught Our Father besides watching short movie about a blind boy who felt on the ground and asked help from her mother but she didn’t help in order to let the boy to get up by himself and experiences more things as a way to show them that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayer because He wants to give better things and a demonstration on putting sand and several candles in a box as a way to show the important of put first things (e.g. prayer, studying) first.  I am sure not all the children like to learn English, but several children from both classes after 3-4 sessions were asking when will be the next session.  I am sure they are the one who like to learn English.  They learn English in the school but they don’t have big opportunity to practice.  One the last session of both classes, I asked several of them to say either the sign of the cross, Glory to the Father or Our Father, either alone or followed me.  I gave several holy stickers as a reward so they wanted more chances, unfortunately the session should be ended.  One of the parishioners helped me with the translation, repeated it in Mandarin or kept the children quiet.   Saying “Praise the Lord” and waiting their “Alleluya” response usually helped to make them quiet for a while.
       It’s not easy to keep all the children to be quiet and neat.  Several children were asked to stand in front if they kept noisy.  Several children cried for several reasons.  The Church and back room should be cleaned up every day after the classes. 
       There were an oral exam and sacrament of reconciliation for the children who would receive the First Communion.  The written exam for both classes was held on August 14 a.m.  Several students got full mark on my exam.  The children mass was held on August 14, 2013 3.00 pm which also opened for all parishioners and especially for the families.  Srs. Guo, Zhang and I distributed all the certificates (the best students who got mark 90 above, the students with fastest improvement, the student with good manners, etc) and toys to all the children.
       The Church (including the stair to fourth floor and back room) was full for Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.   Around 30 children who would receive First Communion sat in front row, followed by the rest of the students.     I sat with the junior students to keep them quiet.  Before the blessing, several junior students performed an action song “天主是爱(=God is Love, http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/8Shx3AZg-5k/)” and several senior students performed an action song “主恩典(God’s grace, http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjc3MTgxODA4.html)”.  After lunch with several parishioners, Fr. Lu, Srs. Guo, Zhang and I went around Donghu Garden nearby.  There was an evening Mass at 8.00 pm.
       In the evening, I usually visited the parishioners either alone or with two sisters and Fr. Lu including staying overnight with the two sisters at one of the parishioners’ home without any preparation.  Several parishioners are generously offering to stay in their home since my first week end in Shenzhen.  As one of my relatives from Fujian was visiting her brothers in Shenzhen, I stayed overnight with them too.  I also had chances to pray with the parishioners whenever needed and share my vocation journey with one of the teachers.
         One of the movies was “The Prince of Egypt” and I was moved during the song “(There can be miracle) When we believe” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gur8ccqrQ9c).  It’s a miracle too that I could help the summer school especially as we, the three sisters, usually would be called together.  I also was moved each time I saw the senior children’s performance as I do experience how big God’s grace in my life.    
       One of the volunteers prepared a very nice thank you folder for every sister, here is the link of the pictures: https://www.facebook.com/anastasia.lindawati/media_set?set=a.10151550802706556.1073741829.658706555&type=1.   I am also very grateful for this opportunity to help wherever needed including cleaning up and serving the meal, especially to Fr. Lu who wants the English class so I should be in front of the class.  For sure, my English is not good enough to be an English teacher and being a teacher is not my preference, but I just tried to do what I believe God asks me to do amidst my limitation both in English and Mandarin.   
        
                    


Hong Kong, August 28, 2013


With love and prayer,


       


Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.


Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

Sharing: China WYD 2013 returns to Stanley

http://stanleymaryknoll.typepad.com/chinahands/2013/08/mainland-world-youth-day-group-returns-to-stanley.html

Sharing: Home Visit 2013



As my family would gather together for the third anniversary of my beloved father’s death so I went home on Jul 2 together with two of my relatives from Quanzhou-China and their five friends.  For my relatives, it’s their first time to visit Indonesia so my uncle and I accompanied them to visit our relatives.    
We brought food, flower, paper money, joss sticks and candles to cemetery on Jul 3 morning and also prepared it on the altar at home. We had a meal together in the afternoon with family, relatives and friends for almost 30 adults and kids.
I had a chance to meet my relatives and friends in Surabaya, Sidoarjo, and Tulungagung including having a dinner with several of my primary school friends for the first time after our graduation in 1983.
I also had a chance to share my vocation journey during the St. Aloysius Gonzaga –Mojoagung Charismatic Prayer Group 2nd Anniversary as requested by several parishioners. 
After spending two nights with my younger sister’s family in Madiun including attending their house’s blessing, I visited “Telaga Sarangan”-Madiun with my family.
I went to Graha Samadhi Vincentius, a beautiful retreat house in Prigen-Pasuruan on Jul 8-15 for my annual retreat.  The retreat house is belongs to Vincentian Fathers and the Vincentian sisters take turn to help it, KYM sisters (http://kymindo.blogspot.hk/) is in turn for this time.   I attended Eucharist and said the morning prayer together with the priests, sisters and parishioners, while said the evening prayer with the sisters. I had meals, three times rice meals, alone except for the first and last meals at the convent together with the priests and sisters. 

Fr. H. Hario Subianto, CM, retreat master, gave reflection based on the theme “The Quality of Service of Religious Persons” with several topics: Who I am including the essence of human life according to 1 Tes 5: 23, Jesus called us including several reflective questions about the reasons of being afraid to come to Him, I am called to serve including spirituality of ministry according to Lk 1: 26-38, A Good Minister according Phil 2:1-11, The Purpose of Ministry: Salvation including the foundation of ministry which is according to Jn 13: 13-15.  During my retreat, there were three group retreats and I joined one of them: the week end meditation retreat “Ancilla Domini” led by Fr. Hario.  The meditation “Ancilla Domini” was started by Fr. Hario and consists of preparation, the Word of God and Sharing, Meditation, Relaxation, Sharing, and Prayer.  Holy coincidencely, I met one of my School of Personal Evangelisation classmates.
Fr. Hario also asked me to reflect on the meaning of my name “Anastasia” which is “resurrection” and what God wants me to do relating to the meaning of my name.  What came to my mind is to think outside the box, thinking about “resurrection” is thinking outside the box of “death”.  I do realize how God asked me to think outside the box since I started my discernment to religious life seven years ago.  I couldn’t hold my tears when I saw from my window the altar servers played in pairs: one person’s hand was tied on a bamboo pole and should lead the other person whose eyes were covered to walk together with the rest of the group.  I just imagined myself as the person with covered eyes when I started my discernment to religious life and God led me to walk my vocation journey and He always hold me so that I never look back.  So many times, I asked to walk according to my desire and God still granted it so what else that can make me not to believe in Him?  My wish is that God always gives me the grace to live according God’s will and die in the state of grace.
It’s really a blessing to be home at this time, to experience again God’s presence in my life through my family, relatives and friends, and especially the annual retreat. I also had chances to listen to others’ concerns and also pray with them either at homes, restaurant and airport just before I went back to Hong Kong on Jul 22 morning.
Thank you very much for your warm welcome, generosity and hospitality during my home visit this year.  May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

Hong Kong, July 26, 2013


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible