By Edmond Lo
FLL had its annual retreat on Saturday, October 3, 2009. It was conducted at the Carmelite of the Infant Jesus at Zephyr and the retreat director was Father Andrew Leung, C.S.B. With around 40 people in attendance, the retreat was a wonderful opportunity for the FLL volunteers to gather together to share their experiences in volunteering for the FLL: their joys and sorrows, their excitements and disappointments. The convent was an excellent venue for hosting this kind of function - secluded enough to provide the focus needed for a retreat but not so far as to require unpleasant long-distance driving.
The talk offered by Father Andrew Leung was thought-provoking and very relevant to the daily issues that we had to deal with as FLL volunteers and as evangelists. He reminded the FLL volunteers of the importance of charity. Even as we strived to live in righteousness and to promote the same in our society, we must not turn our backs on even the sinners, least we should fall prey to the danger of self-righteousness - “I am holier than thou.” The talk brought to mind Pope Benedict XVI's teaching that the Church was essentially defined by her ministry of love: “[L]ove for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and need of every kind, is as essential to her as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel” (Deus Caritas Est, 22). It also reminded me of a similar exhortation of the late Pope John Paul II: “In this way God's mercy is contrasted with God's justice, and mercy is shown to be not only the more powerful but also the more profound of the two” (Dives in Misericordia, 4).
We then broke up into small groups to share our views. One of the observations made by our group was that the FLL was well-positioned to synthesize the fragmentation that sometimes existed among parish groups and parishes. The all-encompassing nature of the FLL ministry put it in a good position to break down any barriers that might exist among the volunteers and parishioners of the Chinese parishes across the country, enabling them to come together and work as one apostolate of which the endeavor was to spread the Gospel spirit.