CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Faith without deeds is dead

The first encyclical to bear the name of Pope Francis, The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei), was published on July 5. It is a continuation of Pope Benedict’s first two encyclicals, God is Love and In Hope We are Saved.

The Light of Faith serves as a completion of a reflection on the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. It is truly a gift to round out the Year of Faith.

It draws a strong connection between faith and action, or the common good, as it serves as a powerful witness of hope in society.

Pope Benedict XVI urged people to go back into the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find insight into the interaction between faith and the secular.

In Hong Kong, a wide variety of activities were planned to promote the yearlong celebration, highlighting that faith without deeds is dead.

The document penned by Pope Benedict to launch the year, The Door of Faith, describes its purpose as to “radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us,” and to become apostles and missionaries of the New Evangelisation.

We are being challenged to care about our society. The diocese has long supported and promoted pastoral care through its parish structure and some parishes are active in organising poverty relief programmes and other activities.

However, their limitation is that they are operated on an individual parish level and single pronged attacks are not going to bring an end to poverty in either the area or the city.

Nevertheless, some parish groups do focus on addressing long-term poverty.

They run soup kitchens, organise monthly dinners and promote social interaction. But others go a lot further. There are plans to launch a Franciscan canteen and ask for student volunteers to visit people living in sub-divided flats to promote understanding of their plight.

The Central Kowloon Deanery has been working with the Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs and Caritas-Hong Kong to launch a long-term programme of walking the walk with those who do not have access to an adequate share of the economic pie in the city.

One of its aims is to raise awareness in parishes around the city and make people more aware of the depth of poverty that many at the bottom end of the socio-economic heap in this city live in, as well as challenge more of them to come up with their own responses to social problems.

John Cardinal Tong Hon celebrated a commissioning Mass for World Youth Day delegates on July 7.

He emphasised the importance of sharing our faith and urged those taking part both in the celebration in Brazil and the at home Youth Day in Hong Kong to be bold in proclaiming and living what they believe.

Today, the gap between rich and poor is widening as never before. We have to go to the people in order to understand their plight and to serve those in need with empathy and in a concrete manner.

The gospels describe Jesus as speaking with authority, because when he spoke, the poorest of the poor knew that he understood their plight and what they were up against.

 

This is evangelisation. SE