Christmas Letter 2014



Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
              First of all, I want to wish all of you:
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
May your days be filled with peace and joy during Christmas season
and throughout 2015!

How was your Christmas celebration? 
I am still volunteering at Holy Family Church Shenzhen on Saturdays till Tuesdays except if there are community activities or workshops in Hong Kong so I spent Christmas in Shenzhen.  Besides regular activities, I also organize youth gatherings, couples gathering and altar server gathering with the help of several volunteers at Holy Family Church.
       An Advent wreath, with two purple candles, one pink candle and two white candles, 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.  There was reserved seat during Mass and reserved dinner table for the sisters.
       Starting third Sunday of Advent, several parishioners decorated the church in the evening.  Several of them went directly from work without having supper and stayed till around 1.30 a.m., so they had supper at church.  One of the parishioners and I decorate both the front and back stairs.  I sent Christmas gift from Fr. Lu to one of the families who are on financial difficulties. 
       There were so many people wanted to attend the 7.30 p.m. Mass on Dec 24 so the ushers should work hard to make sure that the Mass would be as solemn as possible.  The front and back of church and also the stair to the fourth floor were full packed.  There was a TV at the first floor to show lively the Mass.  Several of them are neither Catholics nor attend Mass regularly. The choir sang beautifully and there were nice Mass booklets for Masses on Dec 24, 25 and Holy Family Feast Day.  After evening Mass, there was a procession of statue Baby Jesus from first floor to the altar and then it was placed in the manger in front of the church.  The church was also full packed for the performance show, in between the evening and vigil Masses.  The children, Bible Study Group, Praise and Worship Group, Choir and one of the laywoman sang several songs.  The bookstore was moved to the first floor to have bigger space.   The Santa Claus threw candies after performance show.  I was responsible to give away the bread to the children before the Mass, sat with the children at the last row to keep them as quiet as possible and gave away their Christmas gifts.   The church, inside and outside, was full for the vigil Mass.  I sat at the back church with several persons for the vigil Mass.     
       The church, inside and outside, was full packed on Christmas Day Mass even though it’s not public holiday.  Forty mostly non-Catholic men and women sang three Christmas songs after closing prayer. A parishioner invited Fr. Lu, several volunteers, 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 at this Christmas season.    Once in awhile, the parishioners will go to the manger to pray. 
       Here is the link of the pictures during Christmas celebration in Shenzhen : http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=a11b4020629da0676cdd16a80fdf8c46&sid=0EbuWrFm4ZM2NZ
            I start a new cyber ministry through group chatting.  I ask three of the youth to send Youth Catechism, Canon Law, letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Chinese in 2007 and the explanation of that letter by Cardinal Zen to our Shenzhen Catholic Youth group chat, one number each day and then I forward it to eleven group chats.  Total members who receive this information are more than 1,200 persons (of 12 group chats) and living in several cities.  I realize that only small number of them may have time and interest read it but at least they know there are these materials.  A person asked what is the different of catechism and canon law and then just realized that she has a book of canon law in her book shelf.  Two persons asked me to join their group chat and become one of the resource persons.   I assume both of them didn’t know my state of life because they knew me from a group chat.  Several persons are grateful for this cyber ministry and ask to forward it to their friends.  One of the priests called me “网络导师“ (=cyber teacher).  One of the group chat member start to forward catechism to his group chat, one number each day.  Now, I join 21 group chats with membership range from more than 10 members up to more than 400 members and different age range.  I form three group chats: youth group volunteers, priests, and sisters. For sure, I didn’t read all their conversation and also only forward the information to eleven group chat because of there is membership duplication and the nature of the group chat.   I still continue to share my life and ministry to my blog and the pageviews reached more than 74,000. 
       While in Hong Kong, I am still visiting the inmates in both Lowu Correctional Institution and Tailam Center for Women and helping the Putonghua workshops at Maryknoll Society House besides being one of the financial team members of our region.  The Financial Literacy Program at Pathfinders ended last April.
       Here were my several activities after Easter while I was not in Shenzhen: Colloquium on Confucius organized by Maryknoll Society including trip to Qufu-China, trip to Shenyang, Jilin and Fushun to visit several communities and attend the farewell of Fr. John Vessey, Maryknoll Convent School Speech Day, National Election of Indonesia, Study Day on Aggiornamento in the Church and Vatican Council II, Feedback from our General Assembly delegates, Golden Jubilee of Sr. Joanna Chan, Annual General Meeting of Prisoners’ Friends’ Association, International Conference on Ignatian Spirituality, Memorial Mass for our China Region deceased sisters, Maryknoll Society Thanksgiving Day,  Briefing Session on the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, besides enjoying the visit of Mrs. Selly and her family, Mr. Achun and his family, Mrs. Sharon, Mrs. Eliza, Mrs. Im, Mrs. Grace Kelly and her family, Sr. Joanna, Ms. Vivien Ng, Fr. Elmer and Mrs. Alice and also went home for vacation and retreat.

       And, last but not 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.
                                                             
Hong Kong, December 26, 2014
With love and prayer,

         

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