CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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A call to strong faith witness within the family

HONG KONG (SE): The joy of being an effective and credible witness to the faith within the family was the focus of two programmes held by the diocese of Hong Kong to mark Mission Sunday on October 4 and October 18. The theme of the two-day programme was, We are one family.

The first event took place at the Hong Kong Baptist University Academic Community Hall in Kowloon Tong. Over 500 people, including guests, took part in the programme, which featured musical performances, some sharing on life experiences, a bit of input and prayer.

Yu Wong Siu-wai shared that she was moved to belief in God when her niece encouraged her husband by presenting him with a cross and bible before he had a major brain operation three years ago.

Yu said she thanked God by joining a baptismal class after her husband recovered from the operation. In addition, her niece later passed away, but her courage in facing her illness moved her husband to join a catechetical group. He was baptised last Easter.

Then, two weeks prior to his baptism, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, but her nine-year-old daughter, Yu wing-sze, commented that she did not believe that God would give them a cross that they could not bear.

Ma Wai-ting and 15 members of her family across three generations were also invited to share. She said she believes that the conversion of the whole family within a period of 10 years is a sign of God’s love.

Her father, Ma Ying-lun, who joined a catechetical course under her encouragement, said it had once been hard for him to control his temper when he faced difficulties, but faith helped him to learn to let go and lead a far happier life.

Father Joseph Chan Wing-chiu said in his message, “Family plays an important part in life and the most important element in a family is love.”

Father Chan added that there are many impurities in a family, but a family with faith can help people deal with such impurities to make their love more pure.

Father Chan said he believes that family problems can be overcome with understanding, self-sacrifice and forgiveness.

Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, the coordinator of the ad hoc committee that organised the programme, led a prayer, adding that people should feel blessed by their family.

However, the bishop said that although they may hurt one another with careless words, he believes people should learn how to admit their weaknesses and learn to allow love to overcome their pride, as well as cherish the time they spend with their families.

The second programme was held at the hall of the Caritas Institute of Higher Education in Tseung Kwan O.

Lau Kai-san, a father, shared during the event that he was baptised only after he had joined a preparation group three times. He said that he learned from the experience that it is the Holy Spirit who is in charge of the family.

He added that he is thankful to his wife, Lau Ma Ka-yi, who encouraged him in her own way during a downturn in his career and motivated him to establish a relationship with God.

She is a nurse and reminisced on the pressure she experienced during the SARS pandemic in 2003, which prompted her to seek answers in religion. She invited her husband to join the same catechetical group and the couple are now active members in apostolate groups in their parish.

Salesian Father Simon Lam Chung-wai encouraged people to put God into the family and reach out to their families from the heart. He pointed out that a husband cannot focus only on making money, while at the same time forgetting about caring for his wife and children.

“A family is not a place to keep money in, but to keep hearts. It is hard to build up a family if its hearts are not there. A family is also a place for God,” he said.

In conclusion, John Cardinal Tong Hon invited people to be strong witnesses to the faith within their families, as he blessed the gathering at the conclusion of an interesting and instructive afternoon.

 

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