CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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End of Year of Consecrated Life marked

HONG KONG (SE): Although becoming fewer in number, the presence of religious from various congregations and secular institutes of consecrated life are a precious part of the life of the Church, John Cardinal Tong Hon told a Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to mark the end of the Year of Consecrated Life on February 2.

Celebrated on the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Franciscan Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing and the former bishop of Hong Kong, Salesian Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, joined priests and religious at the Mass.

Likening the presence of religious in the diocese to a candle burning itself down to illumine the world, Cardinal Tong prayed for those who follow Christ as consecrated persons. 

He asked that they may enkindle the same zeal in their own hearts in order to lead more people to the Lord.

“May the true light shine upon you; and may you commit yourselves again to pass on this true light to others,” Cardinal Tong prayed.

An icon of the Presentation in the Temple was carried in procession to the altar by members of the locally founded Precious Blood Sisters, as all present held candles symbolising the light of Christ illuminating the darkness of the world.

The sisters then enthroned the icon before the altar and the cardinal stood silently before it in prayer, as the smoke of the incense symbolically carried his prayer up to heaven.

The icon was the centrepiece of the celebration in Hong Kong during the 15 months of the Year of Consecrated Life. It was passed from congregation to congregation to serve as a centrepiece for prayer for vocations at gatherings and to encourage people to respond to the call of the holy Spirit in their lives.

“It helped to broaden our horizons,” Cardinal Tong said. He added that it is fitting that the Jubilee of Mercy is following the Year of Consecrated Life and cited the gospel story of the call of St. Matthew, which says that Jesus gazed at him with mercy.

“The consecrated life is intertwined with mercy,” Cardinal Tong reflected, as in their ministry, those whom God has chosen to live this life express the mercy of God in their everyday ministries.

“To all of you gathered here tonight, thank you for your dedication,” he said, “and thank you for your support of the diocese over the many years you have served.”

Cardinal Tong added, “I look forward to continuing our consecration to the Lord, especially during the jubilee of Mercy, as vocation means being touched by the merciful Lord.”

The religious and priests then renewed their consecration to the service of God, promising to follow the obedient, poor and chaste Jesus Christ, until Christ the Lord, the light of the people, shines in the Church and illuminates the world.

“Today, with joy, we reconfirm our pledge of obedience to the gospel, to the voice of the Church, to our rule of life,” they promised.

Cardinal Tong called on all present to receive God’s commission in the name of Jesus Christ, the Church and their congregation.

“I send you to be the living witness of God. May you work for the coming of God’s kingdom. May you bring the joy of Jesus Christ to the world and spread the good news to the poor and those who are searching for the truth,” he said.

Bishop Ha, who chaired the organisational committee for the Year of Consecrated Life, thanked people for the enthusiasm they showed for the year and their hard work in organising and taking part in the various activities that took place during the year, which he described as being successful, while asking people to continue to pray and promote vocation to the religious life in the diocese.

 

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