Friday, August 04, 2017

Welcome to China Bulletin Blog - July-August 2017

Bishop Michael succeeds Cardinal Tong in HK 

Coadjutor bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung will become the new head of the Catholic diocese in Hong Kong after Pope Francis approved the retirement of Cardinal John Tong Hon a day after he turned 78. Bishop Yeung Ming-cheung, 72, has been auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong since Aug. 30, 2014 and was appointed coadjutor bishop on 13 November 2016. 

Bishop Yeung was born in Shanghai on December 1, 1945 into a Catholic family and arrived in Hong Kong when he was four years old. He worked in an import-export firm before entering the Hong Kong Seminary at age 26. He was ordained a priest on 10 June 1978. He completed studies in communications (Syracuse, USA) and in philosophy and education (Harvard, USA). Since August 2003 he has been Head of Caritas Hong Kong and Vicar General since 2009.


New CEO Carrie Lam meets bishops 

Carrie Lam, a practicing Catholic, was sworn in as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong on July 1. In early August, Coadjutor Bishop Michael Yeung, former chief executive of Caritas Hong Kong, will be installed to succeed Cardinal John Tong as Bishop of Hong Kong. The relations between the church and the government will likely grow closer.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam met Cardinal John Tong (second right), Bishop Michael Yeung (left) and Vicar General, Father Dominic Chan (right)
Since the colonial period, the development of church-state relations in Hong Kong has been close. Having served in the government for 36 years, Lam represented the colonial, laissez-faire mindset.

The former chief executive, CY Leung, an alleged Communist Party member, was a political bruiser. The church was therefore more willing to side with Lam, then chief secretary. This was especially true for the "Caritas clique," as demonstrated during the opening ceremony of the Caritas Bazaar two years ago, when Cardinal Tong lauded Lam.


Summer camp for kids in Wulai, Taiwan

At the end of December 2016 the Claretian Missionaries took on the pastoral animation of the Parish-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Wulai, Taiwan.  The parish has a mass centre in a 20 km. away village: Fu-shan. Some 20 Catholic families live in Fu-shan. 
This summer, the parish youth organised a summer camp for kids. 27 children took part (from third grade elementary to first grade middle school), five of them did not belong to the Parish.
It was three days and two nights in which the parish youth group became actively involved with the logistic support of several parents. The challenge now is to strengthen the youth group, provide it with a clear identity and mission. 


At the School for the Heart of Mary 

Participants of the Claretian Formators' Course in Spain 
Three of our priests from East Asia Delegation have attended a tthree-moths long course for the Claretian formators, organised in different parts of Spain during during the months of April to June. Fr. Bobin from Taiwan, Fr. John and Fr. Nagazaki have visited places and sanctuaries related to the life and mission of St. Anthony Mary Claret and the Claretian martyrs of Barbastro. For a sharing of the experiences by Fr. Bobin, click the link here:


"The Magician"

Magician Jojo during his "performance" in St. Benedict Church 
The title "Magician" in our circles would immediately refer to Fr. Jojo and he is so popular among the children of various parishes in Macau and Hong Kong and the magician-priest. Recently, he was in St. Benedict Church, Shatin in Hong Kong, entertaining a group of children from the Sunday School during their summer camp. 


Returning to the roots - Huangshan 

The chapel in Hunagshan, where a statue of St. Antony Mary Claret and the relic of the Martyrs of Barbastro are placed
On numerous occasions, we have talked about the Pioneering Claretian Presence in China in the 1930's  in a remote region in the Province of Hefei, called Huangshan or Wongsaan. Eversince Fr. Mario, an Italian Missionary to Taiwan retraced the remnants of the Catholic community in Huangshan in the late 90s, the missionaries have made several visits to the region, supporting the faithful. 
Fr. Jijo made a trip to the region in the recent past and brings a lot of good news. The community thrives and the faithful are upbeat, except that they have no priests to administer them the sacraments. Jijo visited two of the old catholics who were baptised by the Missionaries in the 1940s. He wanted to administer them Communion, but they said they were not prepared to receive! On the next day he received the Blessed Sacrament! What a powerful witnessing of faith! 
If you wish to read more on Huangshan mission, please click the link to one of our previous issues of the blog: 


Bishops ask Christians not to lose hope over Hong Kong's future

On the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China two Catholic bishops urged Christians not to lose hope and look for God's will, despite some aspects of the city's status and society deteriorating.
The Pro-democracy march on 1 July 2017 in Hong Kong 
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-sing of Hong Kong told a prayer gathering on July 1 that many issues like the development of democracy, wealth disparity, housing affordability and labor rights had not improved despite people's efforts over many years.
An Inter-denominational Prayer gathering in
Methodist Church, Hong Kong 
"It has been 20 years since the handover. The 'one country, two systems' and talk of a 'high degree of autonomy' are empty words. I feel tired too," the bishop said.

"Nowadays Hong Kong diffuses hopelessness, worry and resentment. How can we walk further? We have to pray to God that we won't give up even though we cannot see immediate results," he said.

More than 300 Christians joined the prayer gathering organized by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students (HKFCS) and four other Christian organizations.

Since 2003 the prayer gathering has been held in Hong Kong's Victoria Park before an annual pro-democracy rally. This year it was forced to make way for a pro-Beijing group celebrating the handover and moved indoors to a Methodist Church.

Hugo Lam, president of HKFCS, observed that the situation in the city has gotten worse over the past 20 years.

"Especially on democratic elections, we hope there will be universal suffrage. Also the police force and the rule of law, which Hong Kong people used to be proud of, have decayed," the 24-year-old Catholic told 

But he insisted on joining the prayer gathering and rally since he believed these actions show a Christian has hope in God.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, led Catholic priests and Christian pastors and gave a blessing to the participants before the gathering ended.

While asking God to grant the people of Hong Kong passion, courage, wisdom and humility, he said, "Let us put hope in God. He can make the impossible possible."

The cardinal, 85, also participated in the subsequent rally along with an estimated 60,000 people. It was much lower than last year's rally attended by 110,000 people.  


Hong Kong divided over its future, 20 years after UK handover