CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Two ordained as permanent deacons

HONG KONG (SE): John Lam Chi-man and Simon Tam Wing-keung were ordained to the permanent diaconate by John Cardinal Tong Hon on January 16 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The cardinal urged the newly-ordained to bear witness to the mercy of God in the carrying out of their ministries.

The former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, together with Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung and Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing concelebrated at the ordination Mass, as well as Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, who has since been transferred to Macau, and several priests.

Cardinal Tong said that coming in the Jubilee of Mercy, the ordinations have a special meaning, as the mercy of God is shown through words and actions, and the permanent deacons will be witnesses to this mercy through their service to the marginalised groups in society.

During the rite of ordination, Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, the chairperson of the Diocesan Commission for the Permanent Diaconate, recommended the two to Cardinal Tong as permanent deacons. Their wives then expressed their support for the ministries of their husbands.

Cardinal Tong explained that the permanent diaconate was restored by Vatican II 50 years ago, and one of the responsibilities of a permanent deacon is to deal with charitable ministries.

He reminded Tam and Lam to remember what Pope Francis said in his letter proclaiming the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and give witness to the mercy of God by serving the needs of those who are deprived of a share of the economic goods of society.

The newly-ordained deacons and their wives thanked the clergy and those who attended the ceremony at the end of the Mass. Reverend Tam said, “God chose me not because I lack nothing, as it is only since God chose me that I lack nothing.”

Reverend Lam thanked his fellow permanent deacons and his spiritual director for their support, saying that the ordination reminded him of the challenge to sacrifice for love.

Tsang Cho-mei, the wife of Reverend Lam, said she shared something of her husband’s vocation a few years ago when they studied together at the Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy.

She recalled that her husband applied to be a permanent deacon early in the first year after they joined the programme and that she feels that God has asked them to respond to the call together.

“A deacon is a servant. I am willing to walk with him to become the servant of the servant,” she reflected.

Lam Jik-lok, Lam’s youngest daughter, said she could feel her parents’ love for God while they were studying together at the Holy Spirit Seminary College. She recalled that her father often led night prayer after he responded to the call to the permanent diaconate and prayed online with her elder sister who was studying in Australia.

Siu Chung-ling, the wife of Reverend Tam, said she understands that Church ministry can be integrated with her family life after her husband becomes a permanent deacon, and she is happy to accept the changes.

Reverend Tam’s daughter, Tam Yan-wun, said her father often shared his homilies with the family while he was doing his pastoral training. She said the dedication of her father in his ministry has been a good example for her.

Reverend Lam is assigned to assist in the pastoral ministry at Annunciation parish, Tsuen Wan, while Reverend Tam is to assist at the Cathedral parish in Caine Road.


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