Monday, August 31, 2009

Pax Sinica Article for August 31

My Article for The B.C. Catholic newspaper (August 31 issue)

 

懷念廖文神父Fr. Donald Neumann 何庭耀神父

在生命中, 深刻的印象能推動並改變心靈。

一九九八年夏天,我每天陪伴先母到溫哥華基督聖體堂Corpus Christi Parish參與彌撒。中旬,來了新任主任司鐸廖文神父Donald Neumann,他給了我非常深刻的印象,我當時已經向先母說他是一位模範神父。六年前,二零零三年九月六日,天主召回了廖神父的靈魂。

每當我想起廖文神父,總想起他給我的深刻印象 : 喜愛禮儀、熱愛牧民、鍾愛華人。

喜愛禮儀:

廖文神父極喜愛本篤會生活。聖本篤明言:「神工至上」。禮儀就是「神工」。禮儀在廖文神父的個人生活和堂區生活中,都佔有特殊的地位。甫接掌基督聖體堂,他就發起每天的彌撒前頌禱禮,在主日隆重地公唸晚課,更建了二十四小時明供聖體小堂。他在裝飾聖堂和禮儀祭衣方面,花了不小心思。他亦喜愛禮儀音樂,特別是「國瑞調(額我畧素調)」。看到廖神父在舉行彌撒聖祭時的莊重和專注,甚具啟發。

熱愛牧職:

本篤會有一格言:祈禱與工作Ora et Labora。廖文神父不但喜歡祈禱,也喜歡工作。弟茂德.杜罱Timothy Dolan總主教給教區神父的名言「別等待工作,卻要製造工作」非常切合廖文神父;他敢於開創和推動有利於每個人神修的主張。我記得他在一個新年日,建議信眾定出每月辦告解作為新年志向,把辦告解看作每月的身體檢查。有一年的七月二十六日聖安納St. Anne(耶穌的外祖母)瞻禮,廖神父向祖輩的教友們,鼓勵他們每日為孫兒們祈禱和做犧牲。他自己亦常作犧牲 —— 他把癌症的病苦及不便,當作犧牲奉獻給天主, 為求得司鐸聖召。廖文神父是一位好傳道者、一位好導師、好神師和領袖。他令我想起馬爾谷福音第七章三十七節:他所做的一切都好。

鍾愛華人:

廖文神父有顆傳教的心,對信眾不同的文化都予尊重。基督聖體堂的華人,俱感到這位主任司鐸慈父般的愛,他先把每月一次的中文主日彌撒增加至每月兩次,最後更向總主教申准得每主日下午,均有中文彌撒。他喜歡中國菜式和藝術品;在中國旅行時,更把自己的中文名字「廖文」雕刻了個人印章。他的感性和幽默,讓人感到親切。

杜罱總主教意識到,熱衷的神父在堂區是最愉快的。廖文神父的確是一位熱衷和愉快的本堂神父。他忌辰紀念日將至,讓我們為他靈魂安息而祈禱,也熱誠地參與禮儀,主動協助堂區工作,尊重各異的祖裔背景。

若對此專欄提供意見請電郵 fatheranthonyho@yahoo.ca. 如欲得更多資料請覽網頁www.fatheranthonyho.com

Father Neumann,

Pax Sinica

By Father Anthony Ho

In life, impressions leave indelible marks on a person. A good impression, consequently, can move one’s soul.

During the summer of 1998, I attended weekday Masses with my mother at Corpus Christi Parish in Vancouver.

In the middle of the summer, a new pastor arrived. He impressed me so much, that I started telling my mother he was a “model priest.” The priest was Father Donald Neumann.

Six years ago, on September 6, 2003, the Lord called Father Neumann home. As I remembered Father Neumann, three things impressed upon my mind: his love for the liturgy, his pastoral zeal, and his love for the Chinese people.

Love for the liturgy

Father Neumann had a great love for the Benedictine way of life. The rule of St. Benedict states: let nothing be preferred to the work of God. The liturgy is the “work of God.” Father Neumann gave a prominent place to the liturgy in both his personal life and his parish life.

Soon after his arrival at Corpus Christi, Father Neumann initiated a daily recitation of the Divine Office before Mass. He also initiated solemn Vespers on Sunday and began a perpetual adoration chapel.

Father Neumann put a lot of effort into the proper decoration of the church and liturgical vestments.

Father Neumann loved liturgical music, especially Georgian chant. It was very edifying to see him celebrating Mass with great reverence and devotion.

Pastoral zeal

Father Neumann had a great love for prayer and a great love for work. Thus, he embodied his beloved Benedictines by living their motto, ora et labora, which is Latin for pray and work.

He also personified Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s maxim “you don't wait for work, you initiate it.” Archbishop Dolan is the Archbishop of New York. Father Neumann was not afraid of taking initiatives and of challenging people to improve their spiritual life.

I remember on one New Year’s Day he proposed to his parishioners that they make a monthly confession as one of their New Year’s resolutions. He said, people should go to confession regularly, like going to the doctor for a check-up.

One year, on the feast of St. Anne (she was the grandmother of Jesus), he suggested for the coming week that grandparents pray and make sacrifices each day for each of their grandchildren.

Father Neumann made sacrifices. When he was sick with cancer, he offered up his sufferings and inconvenience to God for priestly vocations.

Father Neumann was a good preacher, teacher, confessor, and leader. He always reminds me of Mark 7:37, “he has done all things well.”

Love for the Chinese

Father Neumann had the heart of a missionary. He greatly respected the cultures of the people he served. The Chinese people at Corpus Christi felt the paternal love of Father Neumann.

When he first arrived at the parish, there was a Chinese Mass once a month. Under his stewardship, it was increased to twice a month, and eventually he applied to and approved by the Archbishop to have Chinese Mass on every Sunday.

Father Neumann loved Chinese food and Chinese arts; in his trip to China, he made a stamp for his Chinese name: 廖文. He was extremely down to earth and had a great sense of humor. This made him very approachable.

Archbishop Dolan also observed that a zealous priest is happiest in a parish and Father Neumann was certainly a very zealous and happy parish priest.

As his death anniversary is approaching on September 6, let us pray for the eternal repose of his soul. Let us also continue to celebrate the liturgy with great reverence, take pastoral initiatives, and respect the ethnic backgrounds of all people.

Suggestions and comments about this column may be sent to fatheranthonyho@yahoo.ca. For additional information: www.fatheranthonyho.com

Here is my other articles for Pax Sinica