Easter Letter 2013

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

By His life we are humbled... Through His death, we are saved...

In His spirit, we know everlasting light.

Happy Easter!  Selamat Hari Raya Paskah! 复活节快乐!
May the Risen Lord fill you with peace and love

            It’s Easter Thursday and holiday in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China because it’s ”清明节” (=Qingmingjie, sweeping the tomb festival) today. 
            Here are my experiences for the last several months.  I attended the Chinese New Year thanksgiving Mass on Feb 9 afternoon in Holy Family Chapel Shenzhen.  After having hot pot with several parishioners and Fr. Lu, we went to a very big floral market nearby to buy two big orchid bouquets.  The Chapel was full for the Chinese New Year Mass on Sunday morning but there was no special ritual during the Mass.  It’s so different with the Chinese New Year celebration in St. Therese’s Church Chicago as you can see from their pictures: https://plus.google.com/photos/106031455720498427794/albums/5847210229304422673.  For sure, several parishioners offered hospitality to have meal together besides gave the red envelopes.  My tutor, Ms. Sharon, stayed overnight on Monday and then we went back to Hong Kong together.    
            I attended English Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Theresa’s Church Hong Kong.  It falls on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year, so the faithful are dispensed from fast and abstinence on that day in accordance with Hong Kong diocese regulation.  However, we are obliged to choose for ourselves some other suitable forms of penance or perform some works of charity, in keeping with the penitential spirit of the season of Lent.  
            There were around 90 priests, brothers, sisters, seminarians, and lay people attended the three days vocation workshop led by Fr. Rochester C.A. Rosuello, National Vocation Coordinator in Philippines,  arranged by Catholic Hong Kong Diocesan Vocation Commission http://dvc.catholic.org.hk/voc.html.   
            Three clients and there volunteers, including myself, of Pathfinders attended the ambassador training of the financial literacy program organized by The Women’s Foundation http://www.thewomensfoundationhk.org/ for Pathfinders http://www.pathfinders.org.hk/public/ and Support Service Centre for Ethnic Minorities http://hkcscheer.net/social-welfare-services/services-for-ethnic-minorities-2/support-services-centres-for-ethnic-minorities.  The trainers from The Christian Action Training Center http://www.christian-action.org.hk/index.php/en/our-programs/in-hong-kong/training trained all of us for 13 sessions besides will accompany us during community training.   I will write more details later.
After renewing my two years Hong Kong visa, I applied for China visa and was granted one year tourist visa.  Thanks be to God! There were several activities in Hong Kong besides visiting inmates both in Lowu and Tailam: Maryknoll Sisters China Region Fun Day on January 6, 2013 to close our centennial celebration, talk “Praying with Psalm”, workshop “Bible”, MCS Secondary Section Mentorship Program, Maryknoll Family gathering, workshop “Pastoral Concern on Marriage”, Vincent’s birthday, farewell for Br. Sebastian, farewell for Srs. Helen and Susan, the opening ceremony of the art exhibit of Henry Wo, visited baby Ian, accompanied Fr. Lu, his mother and brother and also MCS Secondary Section PTA Annual Dinner.  While in Shenzhen, I also enjoyed the visit of Joanna, Jody, Junior, Yoyo and Monique.
            Several parishioners of Holy Family Chapel started to prepare the palm after the anticipated Palm Sunday Mass besides cover the statues and cross with purple clothes.  On Sunday morning, we gathered at the first floor holding the palm and then processed to the third floor after the blessing of the palms.  The palms were available in the Chapel for the parishioners who could not attend the Palm Sunday morning Mass.
            I was walking to the China immigration staff while looking for my passport.  I couldn’t find it in my bag!   There was no other option except reporting it to the special lane staff so I could walk back to Hong Kong border and then picked up my passport in my drawer.  Thanks God, Sr. Michelle was around so she gave ride to Kowloon Tong KCR station.          
            A very nice Triduum Mass booklet was available including readings in English.  There were twelve men for the washing of the feet ceremony. After the Holy Thursday Mass, there was an opportunity for everyone, who wants to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel, before moving it to the small room in the back of the Chapel.  There were several parishioners who stayed till the next morning.
            It’s a customs for the Catholics in mainland not to eat breakfast, eat as usual at noon and eat less in the evening on Good Friday, and for sure abstain from meat.   During the day, several parishioners prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  There was Station of the Cross liturgy led by Fr. Lu at 2.30 pm followed by Good Friday Liturgy led by Fr. Han and Fr. Lu.  Two parishioners and Fr. Lu sang the passion of Christ followed by homily and veneration of the Cross.  The collection (for the poor) box was placed near the veneration of the Cross.  It’s a moving liturgy.  I visited two parishioners’ house after the service.
            The religious articles store was moved to outside the Chapel both during Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday morning.  There were more ushers because so many parishioners in back room, inside outside the Chapel and stair.  The fire was lit indoor as it’s still raining.  The readings were read in front of the sanctuary, which was covered with curtain.  The Church lights were turned on as Fr. Lu sang the second intonation of “Alleluya” and the purple clothes was removed from the Cross and Statues.  There were seven adults and babies, who were baptized near the door of the Chapel.  Eight floral bouquets and 600 Easter eggs were brought for offering. After Mass, everyone got an Easter egg.
            The back room, inside outside Chapel and stair also full packed during Easter Sunday morning Mass.  After Mass, several parishioners, Fr. Lu and I had lunch together.  Only inside the Chapel was full during Easter Sunday evening Mass.
            Fr. Driyanto, Mr. Cipta and Mr. Arga came to Shenzhen on Easter Monday.  Fr. Driyanto was a seminarian when I was in college back in 1990’s.   We had lunch at one of the parishioners’ house with Fr. Lu and then went to Windows of the World.      
            On Easter Tuesday, I met Sr. Rita, RGS, who will work with the Indonesian Catholics Community in Hong Kong, and then went to Maryknoll Stanley for gathering to welcome Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Mgr. Joseph Chiang from Brooklyn Diocese, NY.
            It’s my first Easter in Holy Family Chapel Shenzhen, for sure I am grateful to be with the parishioners during this time and to help wherever needed.  I couldn’t hold my tears during both Holy Thursday and Good Friday liturgy, but felt peaceful and joyful during the Easter Masses.       

Hong Kong, April 4, 2013

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