Christmas Letter 2016

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 2017!

How was your Christmas celebration? 
As for me, I spent Christmas in Shenzhen as you can read below.  
We distributed plastic folders for the Advent Charity Campaign on the first Sunday of Advent. An Advent wreath, with two purple candles, one pink candle and one white candle, were placed in the altar as we began the Advent season.
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 12.00 – 2.00 a.m., so they had supper at church.
Sr. Anastasia Lott, our General Secretary, is visiting China region these days so both of us left for Shenzhen on December 24, 2016 morning.  We had lunch at Mr. Liu’s house and supper Mrs. Hu’s house with Fr. Lu, Fr. Li and her friends.  
     Several volunteers set up the inspection machine, which was given by the government last year, on our Church’s door on December 24 p.m.


  Several volunteers were in charge to receive donation because the monthly collection is not enough to cover the monthly rental fee. 
There were around 800 people for the 7.00 p.m. Mass and around 500 people for 11.00 p.m. Mass besides 40 policemen.  Several of them are neither Catholics nor attend Mass regularly. The children performed after the first Mass followed by the visit of Santa Claus. There were nice Mass booklets for Masses on Dec 24, 25 and Holy Family Feast Day.  After the first Mass, there was a procession of the Infant Jesus statue from first floor to the manger followed by prayer time in front of the manger for the parishioners.  Ms. Deng led the Taize prayer before the second Mass.  The bookstore was moved to the first floor to have bigger space.  The Bible Group prepared Christmas gift: a box with candy and two Scripture passages inside for all parishioners.    
      There were around 500 people during Christmas Day Mass.  Mrs. Zeng and her son Mr. Zhao invited us for lunch and then drove us to Luo Hu train station to meet Sr. Pham, who will bring Sr. Anastasia Lott to her ministry site in Guangzhou. 
Mrs. Xiang invited Fr. Lu, Fr. Li, two parishioners and I for breakfast on December 26.  I went to Luo Hu train station to pick up Sr. Anastasia Lott, who went back from Guangzhou alone, in the afternoon and then we visited Mrs. Guo in the hospital, who would have surgery for her broken ankle on December 28.  We had dinner at Mr. Zhao’s house for his granddaughter’s birthday.
 There are three bikes in the Church so Fr. Lu, Sr. Anastasia Lott and I brought it down the road.  It’s too high for me so I just bike around to the compound.  We had pizza for lunch at Mrs. Liu’s restaurant and then Ms. Deng drove us to Mrs. Huang’s house in the farm area.  We went back to Hong Kong after stopping for a while in the Church.
     Here is the link of the pictures during Christmas celebration in Shenzhen: https://www.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EbuWrFm4ZM2f3&emid=shareprintviewer&linkid=link.
     Besides visiting families either at their homes or hospitals, I still organize youth gatherings and couples gathering with the help of several volunteers at Holy Family Church.
I still continue my cyber ministry through group chatting and blog.  Total members of the group chat, who receive the information, are more than 16,000 persons (of around 40 group chats) and living in several cities.  The pageviews of my blog reached more than 139,000. 
While in Hong Kong, I am still visiting the inmates in both Lowu Correctional Institution and Tailam Center for Women.  I joined the tour to Lowu Correctional Institution, which was organized by Prisoners’ Friends’ Association and attended the certificate presentation to the inmates at Shek Pik Prison.  Several volunteers and I received the “Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award” from Hong Kong Correctional Services Department during the NGO Forum 2016.   
     Here were my several activities after returning from USA: preparing for final vows ceremony (several videos of the ceremony are available in youtube: Final Vows Ceremony of Sr. Anastasia, MM); Colloquium on Interreligious Dialogue in Cambodia, which was organized by Maryknoll Society; trip to Qianzhou-Fuzhou-Fuqing and Jiangmen; Farewell of Maryknoll Stanley House, Memorial Mass and Thanksgiving Dinner of Maryknoll Family China besides enjoying the visit of Maryknoll Srs. Joanna, Teresa, Imelda and Fr. Tim; Sr. Sue and her sister; Mrs. Rosemary; Ms. Sandra and for sure my family: mom, Liesa and Ling Ling.
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 another year with a lot of “God with us” experiences.
                                                                    
Hong Kong, December 28, 2016
With love and prayer,

         
Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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







Sharing: 2016 NGO Forum



Mr. Jack, Ms. Anna and I attended NGO Forum 2016 cum Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award Presentation Ceremony on behalf of Prisoners’ Friends’ Association (http://www.pfa.org.hk/) on November 22, 2016 at Li Dak Sum Yik Yio Chin Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong.  The theme was “Join Hands to Reduce Crime.”
At present, more than 80 NGOs work closely with the Correctional Services Department (CSD) to play an important role in rehabilitation work. Our diverse services include religious activities, group counselling, participation in major festival events, interest classes and cultural activities.
There were welcoming speech from Professor Alex of City University of Hong Kong (http://www.cityu.edu.hk/); opening speech from Mr. Yau, the Commissioner of Correctional Services; speech by Dr. Ho, the Chairman of Merchants Support for Rehabilitated Offenders Committee Limited; keynote speech “From Punishment to Rehabilitation and Community Engagement” by Professor John of Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington-New Zealand;  cutting cake to celebrate the 10 years’ Cooperation between CSD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Correctional_Services) and CityU; discussion and sharing on “Join Hands to Reduce Crime” by Ms. Yeung of TWGHs Even Centre, Mr. Kong of Caritas Community Support Project on Inviting Men Against Sexual Offence, Mr. Chan of HKFYG Youth Crime Prevention Centre, and Mr. Daniel of Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Lay Prison Evangelical Organization, which have 16 small groups;  Presentation of Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award and Social Networking Lunch.  All of us also received cookies, made by the inmates, as a gift.
Several volunteers and I received the Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award. Each NGO can nominate three volunteers to get the Award by submitting the form, which should be filled by nominating NGO and the person to be nominated.
 My prison ministry started by visiting Putonghua speaking inmates in Lo Wu Correctional Institution on January 9, 2012 and then on July 2012, I started to visit Tai Lam Institution Centre for Women.  I visit Indonesian, Putonghua and English speaking women inmates.  I usually ask questions and listened to their sad stories and offer to pray together.  Several of them didn’t want to talk a lot, several of them wanted to talk a lot, even wanted to meet again.  One or two of them could share their stories with smile, several of them were in tears most of our time together.  Several of them couldn’t sleep well, most of them could eat well.  After a while, they have a chance to work either in the kitchen, laundry, etc and get a sum of money to buy their basic needs.
As a PFA member, we visit inmates who don’t get a visit for least three months.  The social welfare officer calls the inmates to meet us, one on one, in a room.  I usually meet an inmate for once and rarely meet them for the second times.   
I do know I only can do simple things in our short encounter: being presence, listening to their stories, answering their questions, and praying with them, sometimes I couldn’t hold my tears as they were in tears.          
             
Hong Kong, 22 December 2016


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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




Sharing: Dec 2016 Youth Gathering of Holy Family Church

Several volunteers and I organized the 14th youth gathering on December 17, 2016 by visiting a leprosy center in Qingzhou - Huidong.  There were almost 20 youth and adult going including the volunteers.    
We left after daily Mass by bus.  It’s not the first visit for several of us but it’s the first time by bus.  It took around 2 hours. We stopped at the market to buy vegetables and fruits and then had lunch together.    Mr. Liu gave short introduction about leprosy after lunch. 
There are 10 people in the compound, several are Catholics.  Several of us helped to set up the manger, several of us helped to plant the vegetables, several of us talked with them besides delivering rice, cooking oil, egg, vegetables and fruits. 
After finishing the manger, we had anticipated Sunday Mass and then praise and worship.  One of the women said she was grateful and moved with the generosity of these youth.   One of the youth could hold her tears after talking with one of the residence who is blind.

Hong Kong, December 21, 2016


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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



Sharing: 2016 Trip to Shangrao

Fr. Lu, Mr. Huang and I went to Shangrao-Raoping on Dec 12, 2016 evening.  It took around 5 hours by car from Shenzhen.   
The next morning we attended the funeral mass of Mr. Xu, the uncle of one of our parishioners.  There are around 1,000 people in this village, only their families are Catholics.  Their great grandfather worked in Vietnam and became Catholics.  It’s 5 generation Catholics now.  There is no Church in this town.  When the pastor comes, 1-2 twice a year, he celebrates Mass at one of the parishioners’ house.  The pastor, young Chinese priest, take care 18 Churches and stations. Pastor Wang speaks Chaozhou language while the parishioners in this town speak Kejia language so he says Mass in Putonghua.
The funeral Mass was celebrated in the house.  There were no pews, everyone was standing. Several parishioners from nearby town came and stood outside the house.
Here are several funeral traditions in this area: the daughter walks and cries from the street to the house in the early morning of the funeral day; the eldest son of the deceased carries the picture of the deceased followed by all sons and grandsons in front of the coffin for the procession; somebody hold a black umbrella for the eldest son and the picture of the deceased; daughter in-laws, daughters and granddaughters walk behind the coffin; the eldest son of the deceased wears sack cloth head cover and vest, son and grandson wear sack cloth head cover, daughter in-laws wear blue head cover and skirt, granddaughters wear white, and daughters of the deceased wear yellow; several volunteers help to carry several white banners and three colorful banners in front of the procession; all the volunteers wear black cloth with white cross sign on their hand. 
There were white towel and mineral water available for everyone on the procession.  They walked a few meters from the house and then the coffin was brought to the crematorium.  All are invited for lunch at the auditorium of the village ancestor hall.  Several women prepared the lunch.  It’s around 12 tables that day.    
Fr. Lu and I joined the lunch while Mr. Huang went to the crematorium with the group as they need a driver to bring the ashes from crematorium to their town.  The family of the deceased and somebody who has dead in the family less than 3 years are not allowed to drive for funeral. 
Fr. Lu blessed the ashes and then the eldest son brought the ashes to the cemetery, somebody hold a black umbrella for him.  All the families, including three colorful banners, walked in front of the ashes. 
We went back to Shenzhen that afternoon.  It was an unplanned trip for me.  Fr. Lu asked me to go less than an hour before we left so I didn’t bring anything for an overnight stay. I wore my pink top with fuschia jacket while the local lector wear pink jacket.

Hong Kong, December 20, 2016



Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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

Sharing: Dec 2016 Couple Gathering at Holy Family Church


I organized couple gathering at Holy Family Church on Dec 11, 2016 after Mass.   There were five couples attended it. 
Fr. Lu opened the gathering by leading us to sing 全然向你 (=Entirely Turn to You, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA-vgf8O4Cc). 
I asked the participants to sit in paired with their spouse and did meditation of love.  Unfortunately, there was practice for the children in the Church so it’s noisy even in the meeting room.  I gave presentation on “Self Assertiveness” http://www.skillsconverged.com/FreeTrainingMaterials/tabid/258/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/835/categoryId/106/Formulate-Your-Sentences-Using-Effective-Assertiveness-Skills.aspx, which was part of the Financial Training Material that I helped several years ago, and then we had lunch together. 


Hong Kong, December 14, 2016

         

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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

Sharing: Nov 2016 Youth Gathering at Holy Family Church

Several volunteers and I organized the 13th youth gathering on November, 27, 2016.  The theme was “迎圣诞佳音“(=Welcoming Christmas) and was attended by more than 40 youth from different Churches in Shenzhen including the volunteers.    
The registration was begun around 11:00 a.m. right after our Sunday Mass. Ms. Lin prepared the PPT of the flow of the gathering.  Fr. Lu delivered his welcoming speech and led our opening prayer by singing a song.  
Mr. Liu was the MC for the day and Ms. Chen led the ice breaking game during the meal by asking them to introduce themselves at one of our meeting room.  We still have balance from our pilgrimages fund so we could provide free lunch for this gathering and made a donation for the renovation of the Church. 
After lunch, Ms. Deng led the praise and worship and then shared about the Childhood of Jesus from the Bible.
Mr. Wu led the small group sharing.  Each group was asked to think about their small group name: “Joy”, “Peace”, “Love”, “Faith” and “Hope” and performed it.  Both the “Joy” groups performed Annunciation and Nativity, “Peace” group wrote a story and performed it, “Love” group sang a song, “Faith” group sang an action song and “Hope” group performed the story of Noah.
Fr. Zhang delivered the summary from the Power point presentation that I prepared and then gave a blessing.  We gave away the book “人生in God’s Line” and the package of booklet about faith, bookmarks and holy card “Our Lady of Maryknoll.”  These books were given away during my final profession of religious vows and brought by the parishioners to Shenzhen.  The book is a Chinese translation of  “Getting a Life: How to Find Your True Vocation” published by Orbis Books and was donated by the publisher in Hong Kong (https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Life-Find-Your-Vocation/dp/1570754985).   It was also given away to Maryknoll Convent School Secondary Section, Hong Kong Diocese Youth Commission, Youth Group of St. Teresa's Church Hong Kong, etc. 

Hong Kong, December 9, 2016


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.




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

Sharing: 2016 Shenzhen Catholic Churches Choir Performance


Holy Family Church was the host of the third annual Shenzhen Catholic Churches Choir Performance on Nov 26, 2016.  

It was planned to be held on Oct 22, 2016 so I suggested give away bookmarks to the participants to be given away as part of World Mission Sunday activities.  Unfortunately, there would be typhoon on Oct 22 so it was postponed to Nov 26, 2016.
Several volunteers and I prepared a package of booklet about faith, bookmarks and holy card “Our Lady of Maryknoll” so we gave it away to our parishioners on Mission Sunday Oct 23, 2016 after the Mass.  One of the readers read part of Pope Francis’s letter for the 2016 World Mission Sunday and then showed pictures of our 2015 Mission Sunday activities.
There were twelve choirs including choir of Priests and Sisters at the end.  Several Churches had two choirs including our Holy Family Church.  Fr. Lu led the praise and worship after our Church choir performance.  All choirs received two gifts: one from our Church and one from CCPA Shenzhen.  Several parishioners asked me, why did I don’t join the choir of the Priests and Sisters.   Our Parish Council leader asked me to sit in the front pews (with the Sisters) but I decided to sit at the back with several volunteers.  We gave away the small package as we did during World Mission Sunday.  Thank God we moved to bigger place so we could accommodate all the participants.

Hong Kong, 8 December 2016

         

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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

Sharing: 2016 Trip to Jiangmen


      Sr. Agnes, Ms. Wu and I left for Jiangmen by boat on Nov 15.  We stayed with Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters at the Cathedral compound http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Diocese_of_Jiangmen.  The compound consists of two floors ex seminary, three floors Bishop’s house (the windows are on renovation), four floors convent, the Cathedral, and one guard room.
 Sr. Agnes, Sr. Huang, Ms. Wu and I visited the leprocy center in Cangshan, around 2 hours by car.   We attended the Cantonese Mass and had lunch with all the volunteers.  When I visited in 2012, around 60 out of 80 residents are Catholics.  There are around 70 residents now.  We went back to Hong Kong the next day.
    I got information about Holy Family Church from Bishop Liang during my first trip to Jiangmen 4 years ago. 
Hong Kong November 23th, 2016


Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

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

Sharing: 2016 Maryknoll Colloquium on Inter-Religious Dialogue

Two sisters and I went to Siem Reap on November 8th, 2016 to attend Maryknoll Colloquium on Inter-Religious Dialogue.  The Colloquium was held in Metta Karuna Reflection Centre (http://www.jrscambodia.org/Reflection_Centre/reflectioncentre.html).

Fr. Sebastian Painadath, SJ gave presentation on Religion and Spirituality, Hinduism including reading part of Bhagavad Gita and led the meditation and Mass.  Two years ago Br. John Beeching, MM gave me the eye-opening notes of Fr. Sebastian on “Polarities on Spirituality” so I was looking forward for this colloquium.  One of his books is Spiritual Co-Pilgrims: Towards a Christian Spirituality in Dialogue with Asian Religions and here is the link: http://www.amazon.in/We-are-Co-pilgrims-Towards-Religious/dp/8172148976
We had a chance to see the Siem Reap’s Incredible Phare Circus.  The story on that evening was the true story of their founders during the Khmer Rouge (http://pharecircus.org/symbolism-sokha/).  We had a dinner and enjoyed Traditional Khmer Dancing Show (http://www.koulenrestaurant.com/) besides visiting three temples:  Ta Phrom, Angkor Thom, and Angkor Wat (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat).  We also celebrated the foundation day of Metta Karuna Reflection Center and the Water Festival (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUjt0rhyMM#t=558, http://www.tourismcambodia.com/tripplanner/events-in-cambodia/water-and-moon-festival.htm).
We visited St. John’ Catholic Church in Siem Reap on our way to the pier.  We visited St. Michael’s Catholic Church in the Floating Village on their boat.  The children, mostly Buddhist, a couple who are the catechists and several volunteers were waiting in the Church.  The children sang, ate porridge for lunch and received a gift from a Singaporean sister before went home.  We had Khmer language Sunday Mass celebrated by Fr. Kevin Conroy, MM after lunch.  We went around the Floating Village before going back to the pier.          
Fr. Sebastian asked me to put a red dot on the forehead of everyone (=bindi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)) as a blessing before attending the closing Mass with Indian culture.  At first, I was asked to do simple dance during the Mass but I was replaced by somebody else.  It's a privilege to be asked to bless everyone and for sure, it was more meaningful for me especially as Fr. Sebastian mentioned that he asked me because I just had my final profession of vows, a kind of celebration of my final vows.   
It’s a fruitful colloquium as it gives me better understanding about Hinduism, religion and spirituality besides the opportunity to exchange stories with the rest of the group: Maryknoll Society, Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Philippine Catholic Lay Mission and Maryknoll Sisters.   Thank you very much! 
          Here is the link of the pictures: https://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=c502495541de767f&sid=0EbuWrFm4ZM2ei        
Hong Kong, November 23th, 2016

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.




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

Sharing: 2016 Trip to Fujian

I visited my cousins in Quanzhou the last week of October 2016 by fast speed train from Shenzhen.  It’s around four and a half hour.  Five years ago, I went by bus and it took around 12-13 hours. We also visited Fr. Lin at Quanzhou Catholic Church (https://www.flickr.com/photos/asianfiercetiger/14769491648), several temples nearby and Mount Ming Yuan.
A young man picked me up at Fuqing train station.  I was wondering how come Fr. Chen changed so much.  Later on, I just realized that I was communicating with a former youth of Holy Family Church Shenzhen named Chen instead of Fr. Chen.  They have same first and middle names!  We visited his elder brother, who used to live in Shenzhen too, and then the three of us visited the Cathedral in Fuzhou (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Dominic's_Cathedral,_Fuzhou). Finally, I could contact Fr. Chen and he said he was out of town.  It’s a holy coincidence that I met the two lay men Chen especially the younger Chen.  I also met two youth of Fuzhou and then stayed overnight at a home-Church in Fuqing.
The younger Chen accompanied me to visit a Church with Door of Mercy and attended Mass at another Church nearby.  After lunch at the Church, we visited the Memorial Hall and tomb of Rosa Lin (Yu Chen), a Song Xia lay missioner.  We met briefly with another Fr. Chen, whom I met in Hong Kong.  The elder Chen recognized his voice on the telephone as his pastor, a small world!        
          

Hong Kong, November 19th, 2016



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



Article: A Winding path to Maryknoll





P.S. I was baptized at the Chapel of Saint Joseph Catholic Senior High School (SMAK Kolese Santo Yusup) Malang in 1989.  My home parish is St. Joseph Mojokerto.  

Links of Final Vows Ceremony and Celebrations









Here are the links of :
2.    the song  My Soul Sings Praise to You, O Lord: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2016/10/song-my-soul-sings-praise-to-you-o-lord.html
3.    the thank you note: http://anastasialindawatimm.blogspot.hk/2016/10/thank-you-note-final-vows-ceremony.html
4.    the pictures:
5.    the videos of the ceremony and celebration at St. Teresas Church:
6. the videos of the Mass and celebration at Christ the King Chapel:
h.   https://www.facebook.com/temanartho/videos/a.184484415293809.1073741830.100011967558375/184491171959800/?type=2&theater