November is a special time of the year for each one of us, a time to remember our loved ones who have gone before us. The beautiful autumnal colours of the trees and the gentle shedding of multi coloured leaves reminds me of a poem I once read,
How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground,
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colours gleaming in the sun.
(Ellen Brady “Leaves”.)
Remembering and commemorating the absence of our dear departed family members and friends is a pretty widespread custom in most cultures and among people of all faiths and none. It was in this spirit that the Chinese Community in the Dublin Area recently organised a special Commemorative Event at St Columban’s College in Dalgan to remember all the deceased Columban Fathers who were missioned in China since the foundation of the Maynooth Mission to China.
It was very impressive to see so many young families and children in attendance.
We started with Mass in the College Chapel. The Mass was celebrated in mandarin by our Chinese chaplain, Fr Anthony, assisted by Fr Joseph who is studying philosophy in Maynooth. Joseph Chen, SVD seminarian, also studying in Maynooth was in attendance. We had our Chinese organist and choir present too.
After Mass we processed to the cemetery, where we prayed for the departed souls, sang hymns and finished up with the recitation of the rosary.
We were blessed to have lovely weather for the whole day, and Dalgan looked its best. The many trees, gently shedding their leaves along the way was inspiring and a good reminder of the beauty of Gods creation and of many rich autumnal colours.
After this we all returned to the College for a delicious Chinese meal. Chinese food was very important for this special occasion and table fellowship is a very central part of Chinese culture. They had all brought plenty of food, plus two rice cookers so we could enjoy freshly cooked rice.
The children really enjoyed themselves and appreciated having so much space to play.
An event like this is important for people who are far away from their homeland and through the social aspect many friendships are forged anew or deepened,
We were all deeply grateful to the Columban Fathers who were so welcoming and facilitated us in every way possible.