CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Bishop Tong stresses importance of communion to visiting delegation of sisters from China

HONG KONG (SE): In an address to a delegation of religious sisters from mainland China visiting Hong Kong on September 8, Bishop John Tong Hon spoke of the importance of unity and communion in the universal Church, as well as the consolidation of religious life and a spirit of evangelisation.

In sharing his experience at the August celebrations of the World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, he cited excerpts from the letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholic people of China penned in 2007, saying that World Youth Day was pushing a similar theme of a one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

“I felt the universal spirit strongly,” the bishop said.

The Chinese-language newspaper, the Kung Kao Po, reported on September 25 that the 21-strong delegation of sisters from the mainland came to Hong Kong at the invitation of the Catholic Institute for Religion and Society on August 29.

Bishop Tong told the sisters that their exchange with people in Hong Kong could serve to strengthen their resolve to live a life of religious conviction and he urged them to always keep a good perspective and maintain a strong sense of ecclesiology.

The Kung Kao Po quoted Bishop Tong as saying, “During your stay in Hong Kong, you can learn to love the values of the universal Church more strongly. The current pope has always taught us to insist firmly on faith, to tell the truth and to make all important things clear.”

He continued, “As bishop of Hong Kong, I have had several opportunities to meet the pope. He dearly loves the Church in China and hopes that the Church in China may fulfill its relationship of union and communion with the universal Church. He has always given much attention to the formation of bishops, priests, seminarians, religious women and Chinese lay people.”

Recalling the importance of reading and meditating on Pope Benedict’s letter, Bishop Tong recalled that the pope recommends “fidelity to the evangelical counsels to the sisters” and, during a meeting with sisters, the pope “underlined the importance of the vocation of religious life, inviting sisters to bring the Lord into the secular world.”

Bishop Tong concluded by saying, “You also can bring the experience of this journey and share it with the people of the Church on the mainland.”

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