It has been a custom for the Faculty of Religious Studies (FRS) to commemorate the feast day of St. Francis Xavier as a thanksgiving day of the Faculty. It is also a Family Feast Day for the FRS, since St. Francis Xavier is considered the patron saint of the university students in Hong Kong, Macau and some provinces in China. This year, the FRS celebrated their thanksgiving Family Feast on the 1st of December instead of on the 3rd of December, because the feast of St. Francis Xavier happened on the first Sunday of Advent.
In previous years, the occasion begun with the Eucharistic celebration in the evening, then, followed by dinner and some indoor performances by the members of the Faculty. This year, the Family Feast was held in a different and well-organized way. Since the first week of November, all the members in the Faculty, including full time and visiting professors, and some benefactors of the Faculty, were grouped into families such as Matthean Family, Markan Family, Lukan Family and Johannine Family. Then, in the last week of November, before the day of the celebration, these families were asked to participate in some competitions such as singing, dancing, essay writing, spelling contest and Christmas postcard making. Singing and dancing were required to be done by groups in order that all the members of the different families would collaborate together and gain a sense of team spirit.
In the afternoon of the day of the celebration, the dean, Doctor Arnold Monera, together with the members of the Student Council of the Faculty, facilitated some light parlor games for all family members in Saint Joseph’s Seminary campus. All the family members cooperated enthusiastically in order to get high scores, because awards for overall scores of all competitions had been prepared beforehand. The parlor games were ended up with mini-football matches, played by female members of the Faculty. Every participant was happy and surprised when they saw that matches were fairly played and conducted in such a joyful and vigorous manner.
The Eucharistic celebration, presided by Fr. Javier González OP, began at 5:30 pm, at Saint Joseph’s Church. Fr. Peter Stilwell, rector of the university, some professor priests, all the members of the Faculty, some religious superiors and friends of the Faculty were present in the Mass. The holy Mass was accompanied by harmonious and beautiful songs interpreted by students of the Faculty. In his homily, Fr. Javier pointed out some important characteristics that St. Francis Xavier possessed, such as a zeal for mission and good attitudes to make known the Good News to all peoples in different walks of life.
A Family agape followed the Mass, and after that, a short indoor performance was opened for all the attendees in the auditorium of Saint Joseph’s seminary. Meanwhile, those who had won first and second prizes in singing and group dancing competitions, were asked to perform again in order to make alive a short entertainment. Afterward, those who won prizes in the contests received the awards by the dean of the Faculty. The Family Feast was concluded with a closing prayer by Fr. José Luis de Miguel OP and the singing of the Salve Regina by all those present.