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