Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pilgrimages to Macau

The  Catholic Times introduces us to Sister Theresa, a Korean Sister who is a  pilgrimage guide stationed in Macau. Officially accredited  by the  Macau Touring Office, she is the first sister to have worked in that capacity. She not only is a tour guide in name, but in reality is a competent  guide both in Lourdes, Japan and Macau.

She was invited to come to the Diocese of Macau in 2007 to work in the pilgrimage center. She began instructing guides in 2009, and in 2010 starting working as a guide herself.

Macau's  relationship to the Korean Catholic Church goes back to the time when three of the first seminarians Kim Tae-gon, Choi Yang-eop and Choi Bang-je were sent  there to study for the priesthood. They walked for over six month, enduring many hardships, before arriving at the seminary and beginning their studies for the priesthood. There are many historical reminders of these first seminarians in Macau, but few Catholics, she laments, are familiar with the history.

For 450 years the history of the Church in Asia can find a connection to Macau.The Jesuits were in the forefront, sending missioners to different parts of Asia and bringing  Western culture to  Asia. It was from this base in Macau that missioners departed for, among other countries, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Without mentioning Macau, it is difficult to give a true picture of the Church's history in Asia.       
She finds it satisfying to be a pilgrimage guide for our Korean Catholics, and since Sister is familiar with our Catholic history the pilgrims find the time spent with Sister very worthwhile. She says that showing the Chinese around, however, is even more satisfying when she can  introduce them to Catholic history and the life of the religious.

She volunteers her services  every Saturday and Sunday to guide the pilgrims to the  the churches of St. Lawrence, St. Augustine and St. Joseph.  When she is showing around those who come from China, the religious habit is a point of curiosity and they  all start looking for their cameras.

The  diocese of Macau is a great deal older than Korean Catholicism and yet still needs foreign missioners. Sister is proud of the fact that the Korean Church is younger and  is blessed with zeal and many vocations. This is envied by the Church in Macau, and sister finds  joy in sharing  with them some of the passion of the Korean Church.  

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