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Holy House of Mercy celebrates 450th anniversary

Thu, 16th May 2019

The Macau Holy House of Mercy (SCMM) hosted a commemorative reception at MGM in Nape on Wednesday to celebrate its 450th anniversary.

SCMM President António José de Freitas pointed out in a speech that this year is special as it marks the 70th  anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the PRC and the Portuguese Republic, adding that he was proud of the fact that the Macau Holy House of Mercy is commemorating its 450th anniversary in the same year.

José de Freitas underlined that the etymology of the Portuguese word “misericórdia” (“mercy” in English) comes from the combination of “miserere” (“have pity”) in Latin) and “cordis” (“heart” in Latin), which, according to José de Freitas, means having pity in one’s heart and helping people in need

According to José de Freitas, the objective of the Macau Holy House of Mercy is to “provide for the poor and those in need” – its founder’s aim, adding that the institution has supported anyone regardless of race and religion throughout the centuries, especially paupers, orphans and widows.

The Macau Holy House of Mercy was founded in 1569 by Dom Belchior Carneiro, Macao’s first bishop.

José de Freitas pointed out that as Macao is a key city in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the Holy House of Mercy is planning to help and support local people become a part of the GBA development, in cooperation with different societies and associations, adding that he was also backing the Macau Holy House of Mercy’s integration of its social services into the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, who attended the reception in his capacity as acting chief executive, noted in a speech that the Holy House of Mercy is Macao’s oldest social welfare and charity institution, pointing out that the institution has been providing a string of services that meet the needs of society and is also contributing a lot to the city’s harmonious development.

Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On was unable to attend due to his current official visit to Portugal.

Leong underlined that the Holy House of Mercy also plays the role of bringing Macao’s Portuguese residents together, especially the Macanese, thereby helping promote cultural exchanges and maintain Portuguese-Chinese friendship.

The Macanese are an ethnicity that originated in Macao in the 16th century, consisting of people of predominantly mixed Chinese and Portuguese as well as Malay, Japanese, Sinhalese and Indian ancestry. The Macanese account for about two percent of the population.

Leong said he hoped the Holy House of Mercy would continue its active role in philanthropy and help people in need, and would also continue keeping Macao’s Portuguese residents connected, especially the Macanese.

During the reception, the Holy House of Mercy displayed a video clip showing UN Secretary-General António Guterres congratulating the charitable organisation on its anniversary. An MC also read out congratulatory messages from Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.

The Holy House of Mercy also launched its 450th anniversary commemorative stamps during the event.

(Macau News)