Chinese mission welcomes friars
BY FR. FRANK JASPER, OFM
On Nov. 20 Fr. Bonaventure Huber was installed as pastor at Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston, Texas, marking a new chapter in the history of SJB Province. He and fellow friar Fr. Joe Hund were treated to a lively celebration dominated by three languages—Mandarin, Cantonese and English. The Chinese choir led the traditional singing. Monsignor Daniel Scheel received Bonaventure’s profession of faith and his pledge to serve his people as their shepherd.
Following the Mass the parishioners provided a dinner and entertainment by the pre-school, the grade school, the youth group and the seniors. A young girl played a traditional song on the zither and a boy played another stringed instrument that I had never seen before.
The Mass and reception let Bonaventure and Joe know what they would experience as they move into this new ministry. The congregation is really diverse with people from mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and Cleveland. After the reception I was talking with a girl and her brother, 4 and 5 years old. They switched effortlessly between Spanish, Mandarin and English. They were kind to me and spoke to me only in English.
Ascension Parish orients its activities to families. Young people are active in every part of the parish, with special emphasis on religious education and group activities.
The mission was established in 1991 and numbers 417 families. The whole parish plant showed the pride people take in their church and their dedication to their faith.
Bonaventure and Joe face challenges in setting up a new friary and adjusting to a new community. "I am so grateful to our Province of St. John the Baptist for being open to this multicultural ministry to our very diverse congregation," Bonaventure said. It is already very clear how much the people appreciate and value the Franciscans. Everyone wanted to talk with Bonaventure and Joe.
If any of you are traveling through Houston, take time to check out our newest parish and visit with Joe and Bonaventure.
More photos at our Flickr album
Website for Ascension Chinese Mission