Easter Message from the Bishop for the year 2021
This is the joy that fills our hearts and lives
"Jesus is risen!” “Alleluia! Alleluia!” Since the beginning of the early Church, we have continued to let the glad tidings of salvation and the shouts of joy resound from mouth to ear and heart to heart. Christ lives eternally, He is our hope, the most beautiful manifestation of youthful vitality in the world. All that He touches is made young, new and full of life. No matter how far you have travelled, the Risen Lord is at your side, calling you and waiting for you to start afresh.
The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has led us to reflect on the precious value of life, highlighting the central role of the family as the domestic church and showing the importance of building community links between families. The Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life has designated 19 March 2021 to 22 June 2022 as the "Joy of Love" Year of the Family. Through the Year of the Family, Pope Francis hopes to connect with all Church communities around the world through activities in the spiritual, pastoral and cultural spheres, and to urge everyone to be a witness to the love of the family.
Looking back at the Holy Father's apostolic exhortation The Joy of Love, written five years ago, first we see the Holy See's emphasis on family spirituality, the pastoral work of marriage preparation, the emotional education of young people, the life of sanctity of couples and families in their daily lives, etc., now promoted by the Year of the Family, is to help people "experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that ‘fills hearts and lives’" (1). This inspiring Gospel message can then “become a light in the darkness of the world” (2). Secondly, to proclaim the sacrament of marriage as a gift. Thirdly, to make families active members of the family apostolate. Fourthly, to help young people to become more aware of the true meaning of love and to realise that they are a gift themselves, thus strengthening their own initiative for self-commitment. Lastly, to broaden the horizons and scope of family ministry.
Therefore, in the Year of the Family, the Diocese of Macau, through its diocesan agencies, parishes, schools, and various ecclesial movements and family associations, is implementing some concrete proposals in spiritual, pastoral and cultural activities, with the aim of reaching out to the different families of Macau. This is a great blessing and an urgent invitation to become more aware that "the family should be at the centre of the Church's concerns and that the Church can learn a lot from the family" (3).
Among other things, I would like to encourage you to take part in the highlight of the Diocesan Family Week at the end of this year: the Family Gathering In Praise of God's Grace. The event will be held as a festivity, with the aim of encouraging different members of the family to appreciate the meaning of family care, especially the participation of young people. Details of the date and content will be announced separately.
Finally, in his Apostolic Letter With a Father’s Heart, the Holy Father commemorates the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's dedication of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church and designates the period from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021 as a special "Year of St Joseph". Let us beseech St. Joseph, the Parent of the Holy Family, “Ite Ad Joseph”, "Go to Joseph" (4), and rely on the prayers of this perfect model for the blessing of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. In this universe waiting to put on the light and life of Christ, He is the true spring of vitality. (5)
+Bishop Stephen Lee
Catholic Diocese of Macau
(3) Interview with Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, Vatican News, 5 January 2021
(4) Gen. 41:55