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March 2023
Issue No. 313

Archbishop’s First Visit to Macau since His Installation


The previous three years with its travel restrictions meant many were unable to visit their friends and family across the short stretch of water between Hong Kong and Macau. Despite this, Archbishop Andrew Chan, who is simultaneously the Primate of Hong Kong and the Bishop of the Missionary Area of Macau, has long planned to visit Macau and the congregation there. As travel restrictions were gradually lifted, the Archbishop’s visit became a 10-day stay. Below are the highlights of his trip.


25 years of picking up stars

The Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Coordination Office celebrated its 25th anniversary on 18th February with a service and a dinner. The theme of the day was ‘25 years of picking up stars; walking together towards the future’. During his sermon, the Archbishop recalled how ‘picking up stars’ originated in a tale: An old man was walking along a beach. The tide had washed starfish up on the shore, and the old man picked them up one by one, and returned them to the sea. Some passers-by asked him, ‘There are millions of starfishes in the sea. What difference does it make with you picking up just a few?’ And the old man replied, ‘Ah, but for those who got picked up, therein lies the difference.’ In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus mentioned that the only standard we will be judged by is ‘Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40) Our Lord Jesus builds his Kingdom of Heaven by caring for the least amongst us, and we could say that he, too, is ‘picking up the stars’. Our mission today, then, is to continue the mission Christ has given us. For as long as we are doing our best in not leaving anyone behind in our families and communities, God will surely grant Macau, our nation, and our world a better tomorrow. 

We all bear the image of Christ

The afternoon of 18th February saw a Joint Confirmation Service with the three Chinese congregations in Macau. 42 confirmants from St Mark’s, St Stephen’s, and St Paul’s gathered at St Mark’s for this special occasion. The Archbishop asked, ‘Did you know that we all bear the image of Christ? Do we have the confidence in saying that when we are seen by others, they see the image of Christ?’ The Archbishop continued by saying such an image is different from a mere appearance, as the image of Christ is shown via one’s life instead of facial features. As Jesus held five identities – God, Man, father, teacher, and friend – he likewise helps us in our disciple life via different forms. 

At the same time, within each believer’s heart, there stands a statue of Jesus. When we listen to Jesus, our thoughts, words, and deeds are affixed to Christ; we perceive this world as Christ, and we love this world as Christ. In doing so, this statue of Jesus manifests before others through our actions. Being willing to follow Christ and his commands, being willing to see his glory on the mountaintop and bear his cross down the hill, we gain the confidence to say that ‘whenever people see us, they see Christ.’


Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return

On the night of 22nd February, the three Chinese congregations gathered at St Stephen’s for their Ash Wednesday service. The Archbishop shared how the concept of returning to dust meaning death is also present in traditional Chinese culture, but it carries with it a negative and disconcerting connotation. As such, many would rather not think about it, as if that will prevent death from happening. His Grace then quoted a story from the Old Master Q comics: Old Master Q was bothered by his ageing looks, and so he bought a few posters of handsome young men and hung them in front of his mirror. Every time he went to see his reflection, he would see the image of these handsome men instead.

The Archbishop reminded the congregation that one of their pieces of homework for Lent is to ‘Tear down the poster, face the mirror, realise the situation, and prepare yourselves’. It is only when we accept the fact of our limitations and shortcomings that we can attain the humble heart necessary in approaching God – the God who breathed life into us. The fact that we all shall return to dust is a reminder that we should reflect on our choices and lead our lives proactively. It is with this active reflection that we could renew our hearts and minds and prepare our body and soul for Holy Week and Easter. The Archbishop was particularly impressed that the English congregation of Morrison Chapel proactively reached out to understand his sermon. 


Over his stay, the Archbishop also visited the Chief Executive of Macau Ho Lat Seng on the 20th February, attended the ‘Talk with the Archbishop’ youth event on the evening of 24th, the opening ceremony for ‘the Journey over a Thousand Miles’, an exhibition of religious heritage jointly organised by six religions on the 25th, and dedicated the side chapel of St Paul’s on the 26th. The Archbishop also visited the Roman Catholics and the Macau Liaison Office, and met with the lawyers in Macau for the further preparation of establishing the Macau Missionary Diocese.


<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 313. Please click here>


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