CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 July 2019

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To the least the last and the lost…

HONG KONG (SE):  Caritas-Hong Kong hosted a spring reception at the Caritas Community Hall on the afternoon of February 19 for people who give significant structural support to the huge network of specialised services and educational facilities for those with special needs that it runs.

In gratitude to those who contribute to cherishing the last, the lost and the least in society, a traditional welcome was given by students from the Caritas Chai Wan Marden Secondary School as the Lunar Year of the Monkey heralded the hope of the new life of spring, with a traditional Lion Dance.

The president of Caritas, John Cardinal Tong Hon, together with honoured guests dotted the eye of the lions to awaken their spirits, as in Chinese folklore the lion is seen as a friend that protects people from dangerous spirits and wards off harmful influences.

Dotting the eye brings the lion, a noble animal of divine origin, to life and symbolically gives it birth into this world.

Each lion unrolled a scroll from its mouth wishing all at the gathering a river of joy during the coming year, marked with success, good health and happiness.

The dance was followed by an entertaining recital by five students on the traditional Chinese Guzheng, a stringed instrument with over 2,500 years of history. Although originally it had 16 strings, modern ones usually boast 21, with moveable bridges as their most distinguishing feature.

It is regarded as the grandparent of the Japanese Koto, the Korean Gayageum and the Vietnamese Dan Tranh, as well as other Asian instruments of the zither family.

Cardinal Tong, together with the chief executive of Caritas, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, and Father Joseph Yim Tak-lung, proposed a toast to the mission of Caritas for the coming year.

Bishop Yeung said that although Hong Kong has not been the happiest of places over the past few years, personal happiness is actually a perception of feeling, but he added that he believes that a generous and giving person can always be happy.

He said that Hong Kong is a city with many social problems and during the recent cold snap the plight of street sleepers had been highlighted in the local media.

But he pointed out that those who have the generosity to reach out to them already experience a happiness by being involved in doing something meaningful, as well as raising the spirits of those who receive.

Bishop Yeung noted that this is the Year of the Fire Monkey, which is characterised by the heat of passion, and with elections coming up in several countries this year, including Hong Kong, people will experience a lot of political heat.

“But today is February 19, so on this day it is winter and there is moisture in the air,” he said, praying that everyone will be blessed by the moist air and asking that it may envelope them like the dewfall, which caresses everyone without impinging on their comfort.

“So show concern,” he said, “and avoid being cold and distant. Try to understand. Raise your voice for justice, but practice charity first.”

 

He concluded by saying that the Fire Monkey is not distressed by the cold or the heat, as it is quick witted, shrewd and alert to all challenges, and we must be too.

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