Mr. Peter Yu,
Principal of Aberdeen Technical School
After much wrangling of the brain, I finally decide to share with you all how I experience the might and mercy of our heavenly Father. I hope you too will reflect on the experience of each and every participating party to which you belong and get to know the mercy and care of the Lord in the up’s and down’s of our life. Let us thank and praise the Lord!
Three weeks before the event, all daily forecasts were disappointing. It was worrying to hear the forecasts getting from bad to worse. As the day drew nearer April 24, all forecasts predicted that the worst day would fall on April 24 with the worst hours at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On the preceding Wednesday and Thursday, the Hong Kong Observatory advised organizers of outdoor activities to pay special attention. At that time, we could not but ask what we should do. Isn’t our Father merciful?
You might remember that at that time, the weather was perfectly fine. We really have no idea what to decide. In the end, we chose to believe the three online weather predictions and fine-tuned our backup plan to ensure the smooth running of the event.
Here, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for taking over all the final decisions without consulting you but only Fr. Carlos Cheung, SDB. That is because weather is unpredictable and you have honoured me with the title of Overall- Person-in-Charge of the event.
April 22, 11 a.m. It was already raining cats and dogs. Three weather reports were on the table. I deliberated with Fr. Carlos. The safest way was to launch the backup plan. But Fr. Carlos was hesitant because the backup plan might not be able to entertain over a thousand people at the same time. So, the two of us decided to put in adverse weather measures in the original plan.
11:30 a.m. All teaching staff of the school attended an implementation meeting and the decision was announced. Nobody dared to believe what they heard. These two days, the janitors kept asking whether the event would still be held at the football pitch.
On those few days, a doubt kept torturing my mind: We always prayed for a good weather on April 24. However, is a good weather the best arrangement? If our heavenly Father is merciful and treats us like His children; and Jesus guarantees that we ask and will be given and he instructs us to allow children to come to him, why then the more we prayed, the worse the weather: downpours and thunderstorms?
So, allow me to dispel your doubts because nobody knows the whole process better than I do.
- Our prayers have been heard.
I wonder whether you know it or not, whenever we started preparatory works, the weather turned good. In the original plan, we decided to set up the stage, the stalls and the backdrops on Friday. But the rain was too heavy on Friday. We just couldn’t work. Saturday was supposed to be rainy as well. But it turned out to be fine the whole Saturday for us to finish the set up. On Sunday, the sun shone briefly when the Cardinal arrived. A chunk of thick dark cloud was hanging over our heads, preparing to pour down when the Cardinal delivered his homily. So, I told Fr. Carlos to brief the MC’s to get ready: When it started raining again, instruct the spectators to retreat inside the stalls on both sides orderly; escort the Cardinal and the Bishop to the stall next to the stage to continue the homily. As it turned out, the heaven restrained the raining well after the homily.
- God has actually made the best arrangement, given us the best weather!
Superficially, we were organizing an event to make the Father’s mercy known. But actually, it was the Father who took the event in His hand, guided its course to manifest His mercy. Thank the Lord. Praise the Lord. We are dumbfounded before Him! Do you still remember our discussion in which we were wondering how we could gather more than a thousand people together to experience the Father’s mercy and at the same time to be merciful like the Father …? As it turned out, the number of participants had not diminished even after successive downpours. We heard no grumbling. At 2:30 p.m., the worst moment, I looked back from outside the pitch. I saw everybody gather inside the stalls, still happily interacting. What a scene! I saw all spiritual and corporal works of mercy dancing before my eyes. We intended to initiate the adverse weather measures. All the rooms, the examination room and classrooms, were ready for all participants to withdraw and stay safely inside. Seeing the scene and that the pitch was not flooded (usually, under such a weather, the pitch would be flooded ankle high), we finally decided to call off the measures. Everybody stayed and continued their stall games and listening to the beautiful music of AMGD. A few minutes later, those who could not enter the football pitch but congested outside the Music Room managed to obtain their ice cream cones. But before they finished eating, the downpour minimized. The heaven seemed to tell us not to fear, just believe.
- With this weather arrangement, God gives each one of us a special experience.
If the weather were fine, our event would not have been different from any other carnivals. We would not have experienced anything extraordinary and our ATS students would not have been particularly impressive (To be candid, I myself would not have been able to see the other sides of my students). I am not doing personal promotion. I was genuinely shocked by the performance of my staff and students. Wherever needs arose, they would immediately extend a helping hand. Despite the heavy rain, some students insisted on wearing the school tie, school shirt, trousers and leather shoes up to the last moment. All my heart goes to them. Of course, helpers of all stalls did likewise, keeping their stall right up to the very end. Had the weather been fine, even our students would not have known this stamina and nobility within them. The interactions with our teenagers today are unique, inerasable from our life and affecting our life. The Father’s mercy is manifested here in this uniquely edifying and caring experience for all the thousand plus participants.
The following is a sample sharing of what I told the helpers in my school this morning:
- Let us embrace a lovely day with the gospel reading today, “Little children, a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Whether it is fine or rainy is not relevant anymore because we are determined, we are well prepared to bring joy and happiness to all small friends and big friends, to let them experience the kindness of God and the warmth of fellow men.
- “We must all experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.”
“The first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
- Please tell every helper, “Let us be full of mercy like the Father; of gratitude and joy to welcome and serve everybody who comes to our school.”
Thank you once more for giving me a good opportunity to experience the Father’s mercy with teenagers. Frankly, this event is very successful and has touched and moved me several times. Its success is not due to our capability. The whole event belongs to God. Thank the Lord. Praise the Lord. Take a moment to reflect on your experience, to discover continuously the Father’s mercy at every turn of your life.
There was a tiny hiccup. I told my teachers my intention not to carry a walkie-talkie and to entrust everything into their hands. However, for some unknown reasons, I forgot to bring the keys of the school to work on that day. I could not enter my own office. At last, I had to resort to using a walkie-talkie to experience the Father’s mercy together with all of you.