By Joseph Then
SERIAN — A big congregation turned up for the Chinese New Year Thanksgiving Mass at St Theresa’s Church held on 24 January (CNY eve) at 8.30pm. Many of them were back home for the celebrations.
The Mass was celebrated by Rector Fr Leonard Yap who is also the Spiritual Director of the Parish Pastoral Council Chinese Committee, with Fr Raj, Fr Pratap and Fr Robert Jissem as concelebrants.
Parish Pastoral Council Chairman Dennis Sung, Treasurer Simon Yong together with Lucy Voon, Teresa Yong, Simon Sung, Marianne Lai, John Jong and Bong Sze Mei represented the congregation for the offering of bread, wine, ground nuts, oranges, pomelo, cake and collections. Chairperson of the Community, Lucy Chai gave the meaning of each offering item to the congregation.
In his homily, Fr Leonard Yap advised the congregation not to play with their hand phones during the Chinese New Year (CNY) get together functions in order to give respect to the host and those around. Similarly, they should also not play with their hand phones during Mass in order to respect the presence of God.
As the new Chinese calendar year is the year of the “rat”, Fr Leonard Yap also mentioned the good and bad significances of rat to human life.
As in the previous years after the Mass, Fr Leonard blessed the mandarin oranges brought by the congregation. The Chairman and Treasurer of the Parish Pastoral Council presented Love Appreciations to the Priests and religious Sisters to thank them for spiritual guidance; Fr. Raj gave away Love Appreciations to the servers to thank them for doing well for the work assigned; Fr Pratap to the elders to thank them for their love and care and Fr Robert Jissem to the children with wishes for good health and that they do well in their studies.
The youths of the Chinese Community performed a cultural dance to entertain the congregation at the end of the Mass. Chairperson of the Community, Miss Lucy Chai thanked everybody for the assistance and co-operation rendered so that works could be done smoothly. She also introduced those persons who had spent their time and effort to decorate the church for the celebration. They received a loud applause.
After the two Masses on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year (26 January), the wardens, on behalf of the Chinese Community helped to distribute 1,000 mandarin oranges to the congregation at the end of each Mass.