Sunday 14 June 2009

Feast of Corpus Christi

Normally on a Sunday I would "say a dry-mass" at this priest-less mission in Sqi, a tiny cluster of dwellings of the Atayal people. But today being the Feast of Corpus Christi, it is the patron feast for the mission in Fuxing, and the parishioner from Sqi would go. So I was going to have a Sunday off. But our Provincial Minister is in Assisi for the General Chapter at this very moment, and he was supposed to show up at graduation of one of our high school too. Since he is no St Anthony so bilocation is out of the question. The Vicar Provincial asked if I would be interested. I was not interested at all. But at the end I changed my mind and decided to go because no one else could show up on his behalf. As part of the communiyt that runs Franciscan schools, I think I should share some of the responsibilities.
The graduation ceremony was very - homely? More like a Christmas Talent Gala with awards and prize giving in between, rather than graduation ceremony with entertainment in between.
Out of pure naivety, I actually prepared an A4 full page speech. I was told to be expected to say something. I remember when I was a teacher at SJSS, how graduation ceremony was done so I prepared my speech - till midnight.
I left the friary to go to the venue (not at the school) early in the morning. After getting off from the Highway, it has taken me 20 minutes to drive around the block to find the venue. I thought I would arrive in good time to be prepared. Well, at the end, as the representative of the Chairman of the School Management Board, I gave some prizes. I gave a very short version of my talk -since there was no podium and really by that time, I realized it was not appropriate for me to be preachy. The Vicar General of the Archdiocese came - on behalf of the Archbishop. He gave a little sharing and that was enough preaching for the day.
My reflection: why on earth would a Catholic School schedule graduation on Sunday morning?
I had to go to mass last night so I could go to this Speech Day this morning. I wonder if the Catholic principal or the teachers would do the same.
Some of the guests wore suit and tie. But not the teachers. The teacher who led singing the national anthem was wearing a polo and black slacks. Yes, smart casual but inappropriate according to my books.
When I was asked if I might leave early, I said surely. But it took me another 10 minutes to find my way back to the interchange.
On coming back, I had to take Raphael to the HSR station. I was tired and hungry and after more driving, I quickly devoured the dumplings for lunch and took a nap. At 3, I took Lorenzo and Francis Mary to a retreat house where they would be doing a week long guided retreat.
I dropped in to see our friars in Taishan - got my habit mended by an aspirant who was gifted in using the sewing machine.
After vespers, at dinner, I was introduced to Debbie Wang, an American who has this great heart wanting to do evangelization work for the Chinese in the Diaspora. Wow - a lay woman missionary! She even wanted to start a school to train other missionaries to do the same thing!
So after supper, I had a long talk with her and was just amazed by her zeal. God surely has a way to save His people. Debbie could speak wonderful Mandarin and her ministry is called Queen of China Ministries.
When I came back, there were so many cars that I couldn't get back to the exit lane and I missed my exit. So an extra 10 minutes on the highway. No wonder I am tired today....

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