CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Migrants are a blessing for Hong Kong

HONG KONG (SE): “I only want to live an ordinary life,” may well be a basic wish of many a migrant worker who has left home to labour in the domestic sector of Hong Kong, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung told a gathering at a Mass for Migrants celebrated at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay, on July 1.

The auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong went on to say that an ordinary life is really not so ordinary, as it also involves the willingness to sacrifice in the service of others.

Speaking to the predominately Filipino and Indonesian congregation, Bishop Yeung said that the preparedness to sacrifice is a basic dynamic in the creation of a peaceful and healthy society, and asked people to imagine what kind of society we would have if people were not prepared to sacrifice for others.

He cited the recent fire in Ngau Tau Kok saying that without the willingness to sacrifice comfort, time and energy on the part of the firefighters, it would have been a much worse disaster than it was.

“Where would we be without the willingness to sacrifice for others?” he asked, saying that it is also important to acknowledge the sacrifices of others that allow us to live peacefully.

He pointed out that Hong Kong is a city of migrants or the descendants of migrants, but the spirit of welcome of the stranger today does not have the vitality or spontaneity of yesteryear.

But he said that the migrant workers who come to the city should be welcomed with open arms, as their contribution to the home lives of many families is what allows them to live with a far greater freedom and degree of peace than they could without them.

“We need each other,” Bishop Yeung said, adding that the contribution made to life in the city by migrant workers should always be recognised and gratitude expressed for it.

The bishop pointed out that we must always have gratitude for the gifts we have received, but reminded people that with every gift comes a responsibility.

“I am a bishop,” he said. “Being a bishop is a gift, but with the gift comes responsibilities, as it is a gift from God and that is not something to be put away and simply kept for yourself. It demands a response.”

Bishop Yeung added that we are all blessed by God unconditionally, as God blesses out of love, but we too need to bless out of love and have gratitude for the sacrifices others make for us, as well as being willing to sacrifice for them.

The Mass for Migrants is an annual event on the diocesan calendar and brings the Catholic Indonesian community, which meets regularly at Christ the King, along with Filipinos from the dozens of groups scattered throughout Hong Kong together.

Bishop Yeung encouraged the gathering to pray for their compatriot workers, their families and especially their employers, asking that they may have open hearts and understand that the assistance that migrant workers give to their families contributes to the peace of their lives.

He said that especially at this time when outsiders are not particularly welcome in Hong Kong, we should pray that people will lose their self-centredness and welcome migrants as being a significant contribution to the peace of their homes.

The Mass was celebrated under the patronage of the young Filipino St. Pedro Calungsod, who died a martyr’s death in Guam as a lay missionary and has been adopted as a special protector of migrant workers.

In a Migrants Prayer, the gathering acknowledged that “some of us are blessed with concerned employers, (while) others are still struggling to get their employers’ trust and respect.”

The gathering then asked that both employees and employers may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

The Mass was characterised by a rich variety of music, from the universal to Indonesian and Filipino expressions.

It was concelebrated by priests in the diocese who work among the vast migrant communities and followed by a reception offering delightful Indonesian and Filipino delicacies.

The rich pool of local musical and dancing talent was the highlight of an entertaining programme emceed by Reverend Arjay Venus and Kornelius Supranoto Bardata, both from the Mission Society of the Divine Word.

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