Interview with Salesian Brother Paul Li before Christmas 2020
Salesian Missionary House Hong Kong, 23 December 2020 -- Salesian Brother Paul Li is 85 years old and made his first religious profession 64 years ago, spent some 30 years of his enthusiastic apostolic life as teacher in different Salesian schools. At present he is the local Economer of the Salesian Missionary House in Hong Kong. Br Paul is well known also for his very artistic and creative portico festive decorations admired by many Salesian Family members and Salesian house visitors. Given the new Christmas Crib 2020 we asked him to share this experience.
How did you start this festive decoration passion?
When I was a student, my school had the Christmas Crib competition and sometimes I even won first prize. After I joined the Congregation as a Salesian Brother, I invited my students to assist me in the Crib preparation. In my view, making a Christmas Crib is a way to educate and accompany young people. After we finished an entire Christmas Crib with the students we all felt joyful and satisfied.
When did you start making Christmas Cribs?
And how did the team work on the Crib 2020 unfold?
And what about the Christmas Crib material?
Then, for the face masks, some people might think it's a waste. But these face masks were obtained at the beginning of the epidemic, and these masks are extremely thin and low quality, and cannot be used now for virus protection. Now it is just a matter of making the best use of them by hanging them from the ceiling as a decoration.
How did you finalize the theme and concept for this year's Crib?
And what is the spiritual motivation behind your Crib 2020?
For the Crib's main idea I was inspired by the Gospel reading: “…some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” (Lk 5:18-19)
Can you describe the whole Crib composition?
There are 70 light slots, each one has six masks on it. That's over 400 low quality masks in total used on the ceiling. As for the small light bulbs, there are 40 small bulbs on each wooden frame, that's some 3,000 small bulbs. Over 2,000 small bulbs are welded one by one. It's a lot of work.
In fact, when I thought of the initial design, I didn't think of the small garden next to the Crib, because green is the most beautiful color. Inside the small garden, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle, it's the ‘Pietà’, Our Lady of Sorrows.
In the front, you can see a stone plaque with three letters “R.I.P.” at the middle. Almost two million people have died already worldwide from this pandemic. At present, the United States has the highest number of Covid19 deaths, therefore, the American flag is placed there. It is a symbol of the fact that the largest number of people have died of the disease in the USA.
And what is your prayer in front of this 2020 Crib?
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