Tainan, Taiwan, 11 February -- Today, 11 February 2020, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, World Day of Prayer for the Sick, the St. Joseph the Worker Salesian Community of Tainan Salesian Technical School (CIN) experienced a wonderfully cozy celebration of a Diamond Jubilee of Priestly Ordination (1960-2020). The celebration was cozy because limited, by will of the feted one and because of the Coronavirus emergency, to members of the local Salesian community and to former Salesian formandi of his living in Taiwan. That is why 10 Salesians (9 Priests and 1 Brother) gathered in the community chapel at 10:30 hours to join Diamond Jubilarian 89-year old Fr. John Baptist Zen Shing Yeh in offering the Thanksgiving Mass for the 60th Anniversary of his Priestly Ordination. The Eucharistic celebration was followed by a family agape totally based on Shanghainese food, since Fr. John Zen hails from Shanghai.
Fr. John Baptist Zen, a student of the Turin Crocetta Studentate of Theology, was ordained together with other 45 companions and 3 Hungarian refugees in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin on 11 February 1960. Now of those 49 newly-ordained there are still 15 alive. Today they have been linked together by a beautiful email sent to all surviving Diamond Jubilarians by one of them, Fr. Neno Centioni SDB.
In the homily of the Mass, Fr. John Baptist Zen used two prayers to express his thanksgiving to God. The first was the prayer that Venerable Fr. Giuseppe Quadrio, professor of the newly ordained, wrote on the day of his own Priestly Ordination. The second prayer was the prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes, whose Memoria recurs today. During the Prayer of the Faithful, only two intentions were offered: one for the blessed Diamond Jubilarians, the other for those who, unfortunately, after been ordained priests forever, had to abandon the exercise of priestly ministry.
The two Quadrio and Lourdes prayers recited by Fr. John Zen are worth quoting in English translation. Here they are:
PRAYER OF FR. GIUSEPPE QUADRIO ON THE DAY OF HIS PRIESTLY ORDINATION
“Jesus, my God and my All.
I am all Yours and only Yours.
Give me love, your love for the Father, for the Church, for the souls.
Give me the grace to completely forget myself, my things, my interests,
and to live only for You and wholly for You, for Your love, for the souls.
See to it that I do not place any obstacle to the triumph of Your love in me
and to the perfect fulfilment of Your will.
O my Father!
O Supreme and Eternal High Priest!
O Holy Spirit!
O Mother of His and my priesthood!
My God and my All!”
PRAYER THROUGH AND TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES ON THE DAY OF HER MEMORIA
“Lord, make me see.
Lord, make me hear.
Lord, make me walk.
May Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
O Mary, Mother of the Savior, pray for us.
O Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, pray for us.
O Mary, Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
O Mary Help of Christians, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.”
In CIN Province, Fr. John Baptist Zen is not the only one celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Ordination today. In CIN we are happy to have three other confreres who were ordained in 1960. Two, having studied theology in Messina, were ordained on 8 August 1960 during the International Eucharistic Congress held in Munich, Germany. The third is Fr. Tsang Yong Ken ordained on 22 August 1960. In CIN we are also happily waiting next year, God willing, for the Diamond Jubilee of Ordination of Card. Joseph Zen Ze Kiun SDB who today celebrates the 59th Anniversary of his priesthood. Finally, we have also two younger confreres who today celebrate their priestly “Nozze d’oro sacerdotali” (this is how Golden Priestly Jubilee is expressed in the language of Don Bosco: “Golden Jubilee of Priestly Wedding”). They are the octuagenarians Fr. Francis Hung in Macao and Fr. Anthony Tcheong Chi Shing in Hong Kong. Ad multos annos! Evviva!
All those who know Fr. John Baptist Zen and these other dear confreres (and also those who do not know them) can join us in the thanksgiving because, thank God, “they still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green” (Ps 92:14 RSV).