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New bishop wants to promote Chinese values

MACAU (SE): Formerly an auxiliary in Hong Kong, Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang was installed as the 30th or 31st or 32nd bishop of Macau, depending how you count them, on January 23, at a Mass that had already been arranged to mark the 440th anniversary of the foundation of the diocese.

The outgoing Bishop José Lai Hung-seng, who is stepping down for health reasons, greeted the new bishop at the entrance of the Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin Mary and welcomed him to the diocese.

The two then walked to the altar and prayed silently on front of the blessed sacrament, before Bishop Lai made a public greeting and welcome. He said that although Macau is small, it received a mission from God in 1576 and has spread the good news of the gospel among the people of the Far East as the first diocese of eastern Asia.

The chancellor of the diocese, Father Manuel Machado, read the official appointment letter from the Holy See in Chinese and Portuguese, before displaying it to the people and the college of consultants of the diocese.

Bishop Lai then handed over the diocese officially by showing Bishop Lee to the official episcopal chair in the cathedral and presenting him with the crosier, two symbols of his new office.

The priests, religious, laity and young people of Macau then promised their allegiance and respect to the new bishop, praying that under his leadership they will work for the establishment of the reign of God in a spirit of unity.

Bishop Lee asked for constant prayer that he may be a loyal shepherd to the people and faithfully carry out his duties.

“We are a living Church that will bring the message of God to others everywhere,” he said, adding that the beautiful churches of Macau have no value if there is no care for the deprived people of the city, and love and peace are not spread in a world where people have become increasingly indifferent to the plight of others.

The Hong Kong diocese was represented at the installation ceremony by Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing and Bishop Lee invited him to join him in blessing the people.

Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, the secretary for transport and public works in Macau, attended the installation and the chief executive of the special administrative region, Fernardo Chui Sai-on, received the incoming and outgoing bishops at his office.

He told the two bishops that the government respects the freedom of religion as prescribed by the Basic Law, and expects continued cooperation from the Church in its education, social and humanitarian work.

Fifty-nine-year-old Bishop Lee spoke in English, Cantonese and Portuguese, which he has begun to learn. AsiaNews reported that he told the media he believes it is important to promote the Chinese values of cultivating self, putting family in order, governing the state and pacifying the world.

Aurelio Porfiri, the director of a special concert staged in May last year in honour of the great Jesuit missionary to China, Father Matteo Ricci, composed a hymn of welcome to the new bishop, Oremus Pro Antistite Stephano (Let us pray for Bishop Stephen).


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