CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 June 2019

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Sharing faith, culture and history

During this year’s Book Fair, the local diocese will host a display zone under the theme The 175th Anniversary of the Evangelisation of Hong Kong—170th Anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.

The display is aimed at promoting a greater understanding of the Church over the last century or so and providing some material for people to reflect on. It will also be a presentation to the wider society of what the presence of the Church has meant in Hong Kong society.

The display will include photographs reproduced from the precious collection in the Diocesan Archives and put up various publications and audio-visual material for sale that gives witness to the years that the Church and the city of Hong Kong have lived and grown together, especially in difficult times.

Hong Kong was declared an apostolic prefecture on 22 April 1841 and a diocese on 11 April 1946. The clergy, including missionaries who came from distant places, together with the Catholic people have painstakingly cultivated this garden of the gospel.

Father Theodor Joset, the first prefect apostolic, together with missionaries from various places launched several social service ventures among the poorest people in the then-British colony.

Some went into mainland China and sought to spread the word to the coastal towns and villages. As time went by, the Church and the Hong Kong people experienced the war, the influx of refugees from mainland China and Vietnam, watched the issues concerning Hong Kong’s future in the pre-1997 period unfold and met the new challenges after its return to China.

The Vatican made Hong Kong and some areas of China full-blown dioceses in 1946. Acting as a bridge between the universal Church and the Church in China, Hong Kong has had three of its bishops raised to the rank of cardinal so they can act of special consulters on Hong Kong and China to the Vatican.

Now in its 27th run, the Book Fair was launched by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in 1990. The diocese hosted a booth under the name of The Catholic Centre in the second one. Several years later, it applied for three booths under the name of the Diocesan Social Communications Apostolate.

Through collaboration with several organisations, the number of booths increased to become the Catholic Zone. This year, 18 booths will operate under its banner.

Vatican II encouraged positive participation in Church and social affairs. Many people in Hong Kong, who have studied theology, philosophy and the bible, have played an active role in the structured outreach of the Church.

Many have been active in Catholic media of one kind or another and this year students from the seminary college will be at the Catholic Zone introducing books to visitors.

On the path of faith, we must face the reality of modern life in prayer, seeking the light of God and discerning the signs of the times, then respond with courage to our vocation and continue the traditional mission shouldered by the Church throughout history. SE