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Sawston retreat has Cantonese dimension

A young priest from Hong Kong of Sino-Filipino origin, Fr Vince To, IVE (Institute of the Incarnate Word) came to Our Lady of Lourdes, Sawston, as a guest of Canon John Minh to run a three-day retreat. Pauline Leung reports.

I wasn’t brought up in a Catholic family and have never gone to study in a Catholic school. I was baptised only a few years before my husband and I came to settle in the UK with three young children in 1997 when Hong Kong was handed over to China by the UK Government under the 1984 Joint Declaration.

I must admit I know very little about catechism, and when the opportunity to join a retreat in my own mother tongue, Cantonese, here in England arose, I was very excited.

Fr Vince is fluent in English, Cantonese, Tagalog and Italian, and he mingled and immersed himself with ease amongst the Cantonese community in East Anglia.

During the retreat from April 4 – 6, I had the opportunity of getting to know the principles of St Ignatius of Loyola spiritual exercises and meeting new Cantonese-speaking fellow Catholics. I got to understand the importance of carrying out daily examination of our consciences, in respect of the Ten Commandments, Seven Deadly Sins and the Precepts of the Church. It was important to appreciate the graces we receive from going to confession, regularly.

I feel spiritually renewed but of course there are still many areas in my life that I need to keep working on. I came away with a renewed desire to live the best Christian life that I can.

I look forward to attending another Cantonese retreat in OLOL when the opportunity arises. With the number of Cantonese-speaking Catholics in the area increasing significantly I hope such an event may present itself regularly.

The three days went by like a flash, and the event culminated in a sung Cantonese vigil Mass of the Divine Mercy Sunday.  The Victimae Pascahli Laudes was beautifully sung in Cantonese and we all marvelled at the Lord’s Mercy of dying for our sins and rising in glory.

Pictured above are retreat participants with Fr Vince To, IVE.