Among the different public religious festivals that we can see in Macao, the Catholic Church is responsible for some of the oldest and more related to the Macanese identity. The two major events, although we still have others with historical relevance, are the processions of Senhor Bom Jesus dos Passos and the one of Nossa Senhora the Fátima. The first one is done nowadays on the First Sunday of Lenten time of the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, and the second happens on the 13th of May, the anniversary of the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary the three shepherds in Cova da Iria, in Portugal, in 1917. The celebration of the first one hundred years of the apparitions and its impact in Macao is the background for the different contributions of this issue of Orientis Aura.

 Three of our contributions look into the Virgin Mary. Chin Hei (Andrew) Leong proposes to look into the Old Testament backgrounds of the Magnificat and into the different collective and individual perspectives that might give to a contemporary understanding of the text, particularly affirming the option for the poor as the very identity of Christianity. Judette Gallares does the exercise of re-reading the New Testament references on the Virgin Mary, and her motherhood and discipleship can be perceived and meaningful in the contemporary contexts. These two contributions, although written by two Catholic authors, are in tune with the different ecumenical agreements between the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations regarding the understanding of Mary in the Scriptures and in the life of the Church, as it is analysed on the third contribution referred. 

The fourth text of this issue it is not directly related to the cult of the Virgin Mary. Edmond Eh proposes to look into the Chinese religious syncretism in Macao, mainly based on the analysis of some public Buddhist and Daoist public festivals. Although there isn’t an explicit relationship, it can open the field to look into the visible and public religiosity in Macao, in its diverse expressions and belief codes as a promising research field.

João Eleutério (Chief Editor)

Published: 2019-01-22


  • João Eleutério
  • Andrew Leong


    The Marian prayer in the Lukan Infancy Narrative, the Magnificat, remains always a source of exegetical investigation, theological reflection, as well as spiritual meditation. Its strong Old Testament background has long been recognized by scholars. For nearly every sentence of the prayer, parallels from various parts of OT can be identified. However, it is exactly this diversity of possible references that prevents a consensus among scholars as to the major source that may serve as the hermeneutical key to the Magnificat. In an attempt to deal with the issue, this paper reviews and re-evaluates the textual relationships between the OT passages that have been suggested as parallels and the Marian prayer. These are the Song of Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10), sentences from the Psalms, the prophetic corpus, the Pentateuch, the Sapiential Literature, and 1 Chronicles 16. The study suggests that all the texts reviewed may well have contributed to the formation of the Magnificat. Especially the notion of ταπείνωσις and the theme of the “change of fortune,” central to the Marian prayer, are present in these passages. This study shows that the different traditions that form OT contribute to the formulation of the Magnificat in their own way, and thus are indispensable for its interpretation

  • Judette Gallares, rc


    The article offers a re-reading of biblical accounts on Mary in the Gospels and in Acts with consideration of the theological perspectives of the gospel writers’ way of presenting Mary’s role as mother of Jesus and disciple. Biblical scholarship has established a strong case that the evangelists are drawing the readers' attention away from Mary's blood relationship with Jesus and more towards her bonds of discipleship and faith. This signals a reinterpretation of the symbol of Mary’s motherhood for our time and for particular cultures so that women and men may find in it a meaning that they can re-appropriate for themselves.

  • Edmond Eh


    In this paper, I address the phenomenon of syncretism with respect to Chinese religions. An analysis of the syncretism that takes place between the three major Chinese religious traditions is first done in its personal and social dimensions. The social structure of Chinese religion is then used as a framework to understand how Buddhism and Daoism were made compatible with Confucianism. All this will serve as a background for the case study of Macau, where Chinese religious syncretism is very much alive. Three popular religious festivals are celebrated annually and simultaneously on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, namely, zuilongjie (醉龍節) Feast of the Drunken Dragon, tangongdan (譚公誕) Tam Kung Festival and fodanjie (佛誕節) Feast of the Buddha.

  • João Marques Eleutério


    In the Catholic world, the year 2017 is marked by the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Mary in Fátima, Portugal. Although the field of the devotional and popular Marian piety might be a field of misunderstandings and fuel to feed prejudice on how different Christians relate with each other, namely on the understanding of Mary, it should be taken as a pastoral opportunity and an ecumenical challenge. This paper looks into the different Roman Catholic documents that since the Vatican II presents Mary’s role in the history of salvation and her place in the church and how they denote an ecumenical dimension and concern. Following it proposes to analyze the declarations on Mary of the North-American Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission, the French Dombes Group and the Anglo-Roman Catholic International Commission. These ecumenical consensuses express a reception from Vatican II’s contribution on Mary, and manifesting a more positive tone regarding the popular Marian piety and devotions; they challenge all the Christians from the pastoral and ecumenical point of view.