Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CATHOLIC MACAU: Easter Week Pilgrimage 2008

Macau, the former Portuguese colony which has been returned to China in 1999 and which is now a special economic zone like Hong Kong, is well-known for its gambling casinos (of Stanley Ho fame), car races, big buildings covered with bright neon lights and local chinese food (thus the Filipino adage "lutong Makaw" meaning something that has already been pre-arranged). Tourists who go there are surprised to find out that some of the most significant and historical landmarks are Catholic Churches which have been established by the Portuguese colonizers for the years they managed Macanese affairs (altough it is a pity that they were not as zealous as the Spaniards in the Philippines in converting the majority of Macanese to the Catholic Faith). Some Filipinos who have been there are disappointed to have missed these beautiful churches since they only knew about these edifices after they have returned from Macau. Macanese tourism is of course promoting these churches through brochures.

Yesterday, the Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima, Fr. Zerrudo after our Tridentine Mass in honor of the Lady was pondering about the religious activites concerning the feast since most Macanese Catholics are devoted to Our Lady under this title since her apparitions happened in their former mother country. It is always the day when Macanese Catholics publicly manifest their Catholic Faith and devotions by having a grand procession with a statue of the Lady of Fatima in the vicinity of the Leal Senado where the noted Igreja do Sao Domingo is located. Of course Macanese Catholics have also displayed the same religious fervor during the lenten procession of their version of the "Nazareno" known as Nosso Senhor do Passo (Our Lord of the Passion).

The Congregacion del Stmo. Nombre del Nino Jesus (of which I am a member)has decided to go on a pilgrimage during Easter Week as a thanksgiving to Our Lord, to Macau, with venues pre-arranged and selected by co-member Director Mel Chionglo and yours truly, with our travel agents. The "Congregacion" annually goes on a pilgrimage to various churches outside Manila, if not outside the country. Recent pilgrimages both local and abroad include Cebu, Bohol, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Ilocos, La Union, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bicol, Pangasinan (just before the Holy Week), Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, France and The Vatican City. Much earlier trips include Russia, Egypt and other European countries. We pray that a pending invitation by the Philippine Consul to Guatemala, Mrs. Mely Ablaza, will materialize God-willing, as an opportunity to visit pilgrim sites in Central and South America.

This is the first of the Macanese threads depicting noted Churches.

St Francis Xavier Catholic Church
St. Francis Xavier Church is a small chapel built in 1928 following the baroque style of Macau's major Catholic Churches. Portuguese color schemes of cream and white serves as background for classical oval windows and a small bell tower.

No comments: