CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 April 2019

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Unsung hero feted at golden jublilee

HONG KONG (SE): Father Giosuè Bonzi, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priesthood at Mother of Good Counsel parish, San Po Kong, on May 7.

Father Bonzi, who founded the Fu Hong Society, dedicated to the service of mentally-disadvantaged people, also received 2016 THE ONE International Humanitarian Award from Rotary Club District 3450 on May 5. Chan cheuk-ming, a restaurateur who gives free meals to the needy, as well as Malcolm Begbie, founder of the Crossroads Foundation, were also recipients of the award

The Mass, celebrated by John Cardinal Tong Hon, the bishop of Hong Kong, was attended by over 400 people, including members of Fu Hong Society, friends and clients, who gathered to show their gratitude to Father Bonzi for journeying with them over the years.

At the start of Mass, mentally-disadvantaged catechumens, community members and their parents processed into the chapel playing shaking tambourines, while during the offertory, a book commemorating the golden anniversary of Father Bonzi and Chinese calligraphy artwork honouring the good shepherd were presented at the altar.

In his homily, Cardinal Tong observed that Father Bonzi, the society’s spiritual director, served the mentally-disadvantaged with the love of a parent. Quoting the gospel of Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,” he added that the Italian priest showed his love for Jesus Christ by serving the needy and that his is a blessed and wonderful ministry.

In his message, Father Bonzi expressed his happiness at seeing many people rendering different kinds of service to the needy. However, he observed that the efforts still fall short of demand and that he hoped more people would make contributions.

He said that he will never forget the summer camps organised by the Fu Hong Society and its volunteers, but stressed that he cannot maintain the present services alone, which serves to remind him of the need to motivate more people to respect and accept the needy.

During a sharing session afterward, the president of Fu Hong Society, Ip Yan-ming, a physician, thanked Father Bonzi for setting up the society which is a heaven for the mentally-disadvantaged. She said the priest treated the members with love. She said she was especially touched by the members of the Casa Famiglia who showed concern about one another at dinner time. 

Casa Familglia are small residences set up by the society in flats where adults with intellectual disabilities live with housemothers and elder brothers. Members gather at night after work or receiving training in during the day.

Tse Kwok-ping, who lost his parents at a young age, was invited by Father Bonzi to live in Casa Famiglia with mentally-advantaged residents. He thanked the priest for giving him the love of a family. 

Tse said that now that he is married, his experiences in Casa Famiglia “help me in communicate with my family.”

Lau Mui-kwai, who has an autistic son, shared that at the instigation of Father Bonzi, she set up a group for the parents of mentally-disadvantaged people in Macau 25 years ago when related services were lacking, “as he said we had to make efforts to build a home for the mentally-disadvantaged people.”

Father Thomas Law Kwok-fai, who was an altar server at St. Jude’s parish, North Point, in 1970s, said his vocation was deeply influencd Father Bonzi, who was the parish priest at the time. He told the Kung Kao Po that Father Bonzi loved young people and was really friendly.

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