Br, Joche-Albert Ly

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11-Christmas Celebration
Christmas was near. Our religious wanted to attempt a daring stroke and face any consequence. In a group, they asked leave to attend a midnight Mass. Another Catholic and two Protestants joined them and applied for the same favour. They were now ten. The directors could not refuse to grant the request, for they had proclaimed and reaffirmed all-embracing freedom of beliefs. It was granted even with all cajoling words. But soon difficulties followed which the Brothers overcame with determination. The day before Christmas one of the chiefs took a fancy to take part in the celebration and declared himself a Catholic, although lukewarm, very slack, so much so that he had not been to church for many years. It was almost certain that he was a humbug and there was no doubt that he was a nosy-parker. The Marist believed it and the Protestants scented it. The latter, therefore, abandoned the plan.
The seven religious together with the Catholic Yang kept their commitment, and with them went the above-mentioned prying chief. The “midnight” Mass was celebrated though at three in the morning. Some other Christians also took part. The bold Marists had even more ideas: after going to confession, they pressed the good missionary to have High-Mass. Two of them assisted the priest and the other five sang with vigour and fervour; they added some carols to the ceremony. But it all became rather noisy, and the missionary feared the worst: intervention and detention by the Reds. The intrepid Marists reassured him; then they added one last carol to their Christmas program, about which the parish priest had not dreamt. The young stomachs, disgusted with the pittance they received in the soldier-like residence at the university, now claimed a well-deserved meal. This imposed upon the poor missionary a greater sacrifice which he could not decline to grant, and he ordered some people to get something in town to offer to his happy guests, who this time cooked so well that mouth and stomach kept begging… And nobody annoyed them for their adventure.

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