Diocesan Schools held a Joint Mass for the New Academic Year
In this reunion after two years,
the Reverend Bishop expects students to set life goals and resist adversity
On the morning of 16 September 2022, a joint Mass was celebrated by the nine Diocesan Schools in the Cathedral for the opening of a new academic year. Presided by the Reverend Bishop Stephen Lee and the School Chaplins that include Fr. Cyril Jerome Law, Jr., Fr. Michael Zhang, Fr. Leonardo Espena Dollentas, Fr. Chen Xin Wang, and Fr. Lawrence The Reh, the Mass was attended by the Diocesan School Principals, most of their Supervisors and members of the School Management Committees, Director and Deputy Director of the Diocesan Catholic Education Commission (C.D.E.C), along with representing teachers and students from the nine schools.
At the beginning of the Mass, the Reverend Bishop revealed that the purpose of the Mass was to bring teachers and students together to pray to God for His blessing in the new school year, and to realise the love of Jesus Christ through dedicating in studies and acquisition of knowledge at school as children of God.
The Bishop then referred to the Gospel of the day that pointed out how Jesus had traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, that similarly our Church as a whole and in all locales are doing the same good works through promoting education and schooling services so as to carry out the mission given to us by Jesus himself. The Bishop continued to point out that everyone's "presence" has a higher meaning that they are not just being physically present at the mass but being equally present in the Catholic Education, whether they are School Management Committee members, Principals, Teachers, or Students.
Quoting from the letters of St. Paul, the Reverend Bishop mentioned that the goal of life and the destiny of faith is the resurrection after death; and that the destiny of education is to guide everyone to learn about Jesus Christ and His teaching, to learn about His sacrifice and resurrection that represent eternal happiness and hope: "Let teachers and students know that every journey on earth is a trip or a pilgrimage for them to learn how to live a meaningful life throughout the whole journey, towards an eternality full of meaning. This is Catholic education."
The pursuit of knowledge is a journey full of challenges and adversities ahead in any period of time. The Reverend Bishop raised the example of St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian on this day of the veneration of these two Saints, exhorting the students to follow their fortitude and courage in resisting adversity, and to establish self-discipline and moderation so they can still try their best in doing things they are not fond of: "Virtues are not innate but learnt, it is a very important part of Catholic education that we gradually develop our virtues through training."
The Bishop also encourages students to set for themselves short, medium and long term objectives, so as to discover their own strengths in their daily lives while working towards their goals. He added that "In Catholic Schools, especially under the guidance of Principals and teachers, we open your minds with a variety of knowledge so that you can build up your own self-discipline, so that internally you can set various goals, and having such goals in mind you will then be able to distinguish between good and evil; while externally you can exhibit virtues you learn on the way. All these are different dimensions of Catholic education, to follow the example of Jesus Christ, so that in any adversity you can face the challenges well and be good children of God."
The Commissioning of Catholic teachers and students took place after the Mass, with representatives of the schools receiving candles and copies of the Holy Bible from the Bishop and praying to God to give them strength in facing all challenges ahead as they spread the Gospel by word and deed, and to lead them to truely become the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.
The joint school opening mass was cancelled last year due to the epidemic, and it is held this year with the number of Diocesan Schools increased from 7 to 9, under the joining of English and Chinese Sections of Colégio de Santa Rosa de Lima (S.R.L.).
Dr. Samuel Kio, President of the Associação Unida das Escolas Católicas da Diocese de Macau (A.U.E.C.D.M.) and Principal of Colégio Diocesano de São José Sexta Escola (C.D.S.J.6), delivered as speech at the end of the Mass. He welcomed the two newly joined schools to the Diocesan School family so that all 9 schools under the Catholic Diocese of Macau can continue to grow and flourish. He also urged all teachers and students to pray together for the covid-19 situation to end, to make way for more interschool events and collaborations.