Rome, Sunday, May 1, 2011
Message of General Superior on the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Macau.
The Comboni Missionaries in Asia, with their special guests, Father Enrique Sanchez and Bro. Daniel Giusti, took part in the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of their arrival in China at the Parish of Saint Joseph the Worker in Macau. The celebration took place in the context of the Parish feast and the bishop of Macau, Don Joseph Lai presided over the solemn Eucharist in Cantonese, accompanied by some members of the diocesan clergy and together with Father General, the Parish Priest, Fr. Manuel Machado, and all the confreres.
Among the joyful congregation that filled the church to capacity, were also bro. Daniele and bro. Fabio Patt, the only Comboni brother in Asia. In the course of the Mass, four adolescents received First Holy Communion and ten faithful were anointed by the bishop with the sacrament of Confirmation. The bishop thanked the Comboni missionaries for their active presence in the Chinese scenario that is still in such dire need of the Gospel message.
The choir sang in Chinese and English, leading the active participation of the assembly, made up of mostly young people, with a conspicuous presence of Filipinos and other nationalities working in Macau. At the end of the mass, Father General spoke thanking the diocese for the hospitality and the people for their cooperation. Everybody lingered for the informal but cordial reception that followed. The program was enlivened by the songs and dances of the Filipino choir members, a video show on the life of Comboni and a fraternal agape to which all were invited.
The lively celebration expressed the closeness of the people of Macau to the Comboni Missionaries and their appreciation for the missionary spirit that they embody. At the same time, it highlighted the validity of the reason and the urgency of the presence of the Comboni missionaries in Asia. In the simple, young, and lively congregation, one could breathe the sense of a new beginning: like the Christians of the origin, they are a tiny, powerless minority in the gambling empire of casinos and hotels of Macau, but they represent the hope of the future.
Message of General Superior on the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the presence of the Comboni Missionaries in Macau:
“Praise the Lord, all you nations, acclaim Him all you peoples. Great is His love for us. His faithfulness is everlasting. Alleluia!” (Ps 117)
Most Rev. Bishop D. Jose Lai, dear Fathers, my Brothers and Sisters:
It is with immense joy that we are here, to celebrate the feast of the patron saint of this Christian community – St. Joseph the Worker – and, at the same time, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the Comboni Missionaries in China, particularly here in Macau.
Our 20-year presence in Macau seems short when we think of the long history, the culture, the traditions and the richness that mark the people who and the church which welcomed and accompanied us in our mission with much care.
Nonetheless, this is a significant moment for us who, as missionaries, came, 20 years ago, to this continent where we knew the majority of humanity lives and where Christ was almost unknown – the same Christ, whom we would like to become witness of, in your midst.
Through these years, a new page has been written in the history of the mission of the Comboni Missionaries. Our presence in Macau, therefore, is, first of all, a continuous invitation for us to give thanks to the Lord for all the help He has given and is still giving us and to further journey with you with joy and enthusiasm.
The experience of the past years has brought us to discover a new way of living our missionary vocation and has taught us that what is important is not so much what we can accomplish with our own strength, but what the Lord can do when we allow Him to work through our weakness and frailty.
As time passed, we realized that it is only possible for us to arrive to this day, thanks to the support, trust and close collaboration of many of you, the local Church in Macau: the bishop, priests, religious and lay people who have been partners and supporters of our mission.
The last 20 years have been rich in blessings and it is our wish that it may continue to be so in the years to come. We pray that we may carry on, with humility of heart, the mission entrusted to us and share with others the richness of the Gospel.
Today, more than ever, we also realize that a missionary presence, like this, is necessary not only for you who live in Macau, but also for all of us, who see this presence as a strong reminder of the urgency to spread the Gospel all over the world, especially to the people who are waiting for the Good News to be proclaimed to them.
With the words of the Psalm, we wish to continue proclaiming to all the nations that God’s love is great and that His fidelity is everlasting. God has neither limits nor borders. God knows no time, and invites us all to go farther and enter deeper into the experience of His love.
We wish that our small missionary presence here, as Comboni missionaries, may continue to be like a bit of yeast which ferments the dough -- the Christian community – to help its members grow and be witnesses of the beauty of having a Christian life.
We humbly ask the Lord to pour His blessings on each one of you, on the missionaries who work in this land, and on the local Church for her to grow day after day.
To all of you, my profound gratitude, and may the Good Lord fill you and your families with His abundant blessings!
P. Enrique Sanchez G., MCCJ
Some photos of the visit to Macau attached.