The universality of the Catholic Church has become very evident in Ireland. During the past ten years many of the young Chinese, resident here, have encountered God through many different ways which led them to join our Chinese Catechumenate class. Each Eastertide we usually have between twenty to thirty catechumens being baptised as well as quite a few children and babies. This is a great witness to mission and evangelization in Ireland. We are blessed too to have Fr Anthony, a young energetic Chinese priest-chaplain.
Last mid July was truly a very special time for the Chinese Catholic community in Dublin as well as for all of us involved in the Chinese Mission in Ireland.
Sr Lucia and I were happy to represent the Columban Chinese Mission both here and in China.
Joseph, a young Chinese seminarian from the Divine Word Missionary Congregation was ordained a Deacon in Portlaoise parish Church. He had studied in Maynooth and for the past year had done his pastoral placement in Portlaoise parish, so he requested to have his Diaconate Ceremony there.
Bishop Denis Nulty performed the ceremony. There were twenty three SVD priests present plus several Diocesan priests including Mgr Hugh Connolly, President of Maynooth. All concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Nulty.
Despite the Church being very big it was full with parishioners and a big contingent from the Chinese Catholic community in Dublin. We also had our Chinese Choir ably conducted by Gabrielle who is studying here and Sr Marion (Loreto Sister) who played the organ.
The whole ceremony was beamed into China through the parish webcam, so Josephs parents and family in China could follow the whole event.
Bishop Nulty addressed Josephs parents too and thanked them for giving their son to the Church. Later in his homily he reminded the congregation that this was a very symbolic occasion for the Church and Mission. Almost one hundred years ago Bishop Galvin and Fr John Blowick, Columban Missionaries, set out to start their mission in China. Today, Joseph, a young Chinese seminarian is being ordained here in Portlaoise—-a reminder to us of the universality of the Church and the current Chinese mission here in Ireland.
At the end of Mass, Joseph spoke and thanked everyone who accompanied him on his priestly path so far. He also thanked his parents and family and asked them not to worry about him, eventhough he is far away as God has walked closely with him on his journey so far and he is full of confidence that He will continue to do so as he responds to His call to be a Divine Word Missionary.
Joseph is already assigned to mission in Argentina after priestly ordination next year, and he requested our prayers.
He was delighted to have so much Chinese support for this special occasion. A lot knew him through him coming to the regular Chinese Mass in Dublin. We had a full coach load of 50 leaving Westland Row Church ( the base of the Chinese Catholic Community in Dublin) plus several cars as well. So we had seventy Chinese present including some children.
Bishop Nulty was impressed to see such a big group of Chinese joining the ceremony.
When I met him afterwards I was able to share with him that many of them were new Catholics, baptised here in Ireland. He was already aware of this and really appreciates this gift to the Irish Church and the whole mission of Evangelization here.
So the whole event was a very special occasion for the Irish Church as well as for China while also a great witness to Mission in todays world. Let us continue to pray for the Chinese of the Diaspora, who have truly touched so many lives here.
It was really a very memorable day for all of us. We are united with Joseph in thanking God for His many graces and blessings, the gift of a missionary vocation,
and specially for the presence of so many committed Chinese in our midst.
We were very grateful too to our chaplain Fr Anthony, who put a lot of effort into the whole organisation of the day, and he was pleased that everything went off so well.
The Chinese mission in Ireland is very alive and active bringing the Joy of the Gospel to many people here.
By: Sister Mary Greaney
Sister Mary was missioned in London and Hong Kong for many years. She is now missioned here in Ireland.