CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 2019

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Lofty and less philosophical incentives for baptism

HONG KONG (UCAN): Around 3,200 adults were baptised in Hong Kong parishes on Easter Night, March 26, a few hundred less than in the previous two years.

Middle-aged Paul Lo said, “I think the seed of faith was sown in my mind a long time ago when I studied in a Salesian primary school.”

Besides being influenced by his wife, who comes from a Catholic family of several generations, Lo said personal difficulties in recent years prompted him to search for meaning in his life.

Other reasons given for joining the Church came from young people, who said that they feel confused and lost. Among those in their sunset years, many reflected that in facing death, they are looking for comfort.

However, catechists in the diocese say many more are joining the Church for less philosophical reasons, like getting their children into a Catholic school.

Primary school enrollment in Hong Kong is done on a point system and five points are allocated if the applicant’s religion is the same as that of the school sponsoring body.

One catechist estimated that 75 per cent of the catechumens she has worked with over past years got baptised for this reason. 

The diocese is aware of the problem and has guidelines on baptism requirements for both adults and children.

“Many parents do not know that a catechumen course takes 18 months,” the catechist said.

“Some insist the parish priest baptise them along with their children after studying for a few months. In some cases, they simply disappear if we do not allow them,” she added.

 

“Some still worship other religions after they get baptised, arguing that they could get more blessing from more deities,” she explained.

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