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Catholics welcome the Year of the Rat

By Mary Brazell, 7 February 2020
Lion dancers at the 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations at St Monica's Parish, North Parramatta. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

 

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

The Chinese Catholic chaplaincy of the Diocese of Parramatta have welcomed in the Year of the Rat with Mass and festivities marking the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Zodiac cycle on Sunday 2 February.

Mass was celebrated by Fr Ephraim Lam, parish priest of St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta and chaplain to the Chinese community, that had readings, prayers and songs in both English and Cantonese.

VIEW: Images from the Lunar New Year celebrations here or below.

Fr Ephraim Lam celebrates Mass during the 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations at St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

During the Mass, the congregation commemorated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and prayed for those in consecrated life on the World Day for Consecrated Life, as three Sisters of St Paul de Chatres renewed their vows.

Despite the hot weather, Fr Ephraim gifted red envelopes to Mass attendees as the community gathered outside the church for a traditional lion dance performance by the parish youth group.

In the evening, celebrations continued at a formal banquet hosted at the Phoenix Chinese Restaurant in Parramatta.

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, was among the special guests at the dinner, which included Fr Fernando Montano, former Chinese chaplain and current parish priest of St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill, Fr Giovani Presiga Gaviria, parish priest of Sacred Heart Parish Luddenham-Warragamba, Fr William Chow, assistant priest at Our Lady of the Rosary in Fairfield and the former and current school principals of St Monica’s Primary Louise O’Donnell and Lisa Howell.

Members of the Chinese chaplaincy during the 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations at the Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, Parramatta. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

In his welcoming comments, Bishop Vincent said that the Lunar New Year celebrations “shows the vibrancy of the Diocese and of the Chinese community.”

“With God’s grace, we can overcome all things.

“I wish you all a prosperous new year, one that will strengthen the bonds of faith, hope and love with our God and our loved ones.”

The lion dancers returned for another performance, as guests enjoyed plenty of food and entertainment throughout the night.

A lion dancer dances with Bishop Vincent Long during the 2020 Lunar New Year celebrations at the Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, Parramatta. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.

Fr Ephraim told Catholic Outlook, “The 2020 Lunar New Year celebration (the Year of the Rat), was overshadowed by the new coronavirus infections, the extreme heat on the day, and the renovation of the parish hall was not finished, thus there were many last minute changes.

“However, the members of the Chinese Chaplaincy tried their best to accommodate and we had the celebrations done. We are grateful.

“Hopefully in the coming year, alongside our brothers and sisters in the diocese, we continue to live according to the Lord’s will,” he said.

VIEW: Images from the Lunar New Year celebrations here or below.

2020 Lunar New Year Celebrationsq

 

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