By: Joseph Ng
Salesian Cooperator – St. Bridget Chinese Catholic Church
On August 1, 2020, St. Bridget Chinese Catholic Church celebrated Pastor Fr. John Lam’s 80th birthday. The festivities started with a Thanksgiving Mass at 9:30AM, followed by a Drive-By Birthday Greeting at 10:30AM, and culminated with a Virtual Celebration at 3:00PM.
The Thanksgiving Mass was con-celebrated by Fr. Mel Trinidad (Provincial, Salesians of Don Bosco USA West), Fr. Ted Montemayor (Director for the Salesian Community of St. John Bosco H.S. – Bellflower), Fr. Jim Nieblas (Director for the Salesian Community – Los Angeles), and Fr. Francis Ng (former student of Fr. John Lam). Approximately 60 parishioners equipped with face masks attended the outdoor Mass with socially distanced seating arranged in the patio and on the basketball court, while many more parishioners attended this celebration Mass through live streaming.
At the Drive-By Birthday Greeting event, parishioners who were not able to attend the Thanksgiving Mass drove by the Church and extended their well wishes to Fr. John Lam. Some of the parishioners decorated their cars for the drive-by. Fr. Lam gave each vehicle a Thank You card and an individually wrapped Chinese birthday bun.
The Virtual Celebration was a major multi-media production! A studio, with cameras, lights, computers, networking equipment and a decorated backdrop, was set up in a large meeting room. Along with Fr. Lam, Amy Ho and Richard Sun served as co-MCs of the Virtual Celebration. Over 88 connections, more than a hundred of Fr. Lam’s friends and family from around the world joined the celebration. A few of the highlights included: Fr. Joseph Ng, the Provincial of the China Province, joined in from Hong Kong; Fr. Francis Ng shared a video of memories from when he was a student of Fr. Lam; Fr. Lam’s relatives from Oregon and Missouri shared stories and music; Fr. Montemayor, parishioners and friends from Northern and Southern California also virtually joined the celebration. Dr. Rachel Law, the Chair of this joyful celebration, gave a heartwarming speech congratulating Fr. Lam on his 80th birthday, reminiscing his 50 years of faithful service to God and His people, and also thanking all of his friends, near and far, who filled the day with so much love and gratitude. Dr. Law also expressed the hopes and dreams of St. Bridget Church serving the Chinese Community in the Greater Los Angeles areas when the Mary Help of Christians Center is completed. Archbishop Savio Hon, SDB, also sent his well wishes to Fr. Lam. The Virtual Celebration program highlighted Fr. Lam’s life and history through fun videos and games. We all had a good time that we won’t soon forget!
Fr. John Lam is grateful for the support and love of his friends and family throughout the years. In lieu of gifts, he has requested that donations be made to the development fund of the Mary Help of Christian Community Center. In honor of Fr. Lam’s birthday, an incredible amount of $183,688 has been donated! Alleluia! With this new funding, we are able to make significant progress towards the ground-breaking for the Mary Help of Christians Center.