CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Prioritising marriage and family life

HONG KONG (SE): The diocese of Hong Kong is putting marriage and family high on its pastoral priority list for this year and has scheduled a series of formation activities that are set to be launched by the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family.

In his Advent message for last Christmas published on November 20, John Cardinal Tong Hon declared that the pastoral priority for the diocese this year will be Care for marriage, family and life: Study and live out The Joy of Love.

In his message, the bishop of Hong Kong expressed his appreciation for the number of pastoral groups that have been formed with a focus on family and family life in parishes around the diocese in recently years, singling out the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, as well as the pre-marital and post-wedding day formation ministries which have been operating for some years.

A deacon, Reverend William Li Fook-sung, the chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, told the Kung Kao Po on November 22 that the commission will offer related support and training to parish leaders, which, he hopes, will circulate valuable messages and information about family life.

The commission will also promote salient points from The Joy of Love in parishes and launch an e-book version of the pope’s letter, as well as a summary.

Workshops will be run to guide people in how to read the letter effectively.

In addition, Reverend Li said that more counselling rooms as well as a hotline will be set up. This will be backed up with training courses for parochial pastoral groups, Eucharistic ministers and parish bereavement teams, which often come into contact with the sick and families in difficulties.

He said that he believes that the wider the net of people capable of ministering effectively in the area of the family apostolate the healthier the Church outreach will become.

Reverend Li said that for a marriage to develop, it needs continuous formation, but in different ways at varying stages. He added that the Church is concerned about family life, which is built on marriage, and the core of a good marriage is faith.

He said that while paying a lot of attention to pre-marital and married life formation, the Church also needs to strengthen its caring and development programmes for newly-weds, as well as senior couples, in addition to developing its ministry to widows and widowers, women who have miscarried and other pro-life concerns.

Liza Yuen Lai-yee, a leader in the Pastoral Committee for Marriage and the Family at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, said that the priorities set by the diocese can motivate parishes to serve families more effectively.

She explained that the cathedral parish currently encourages parents of Sunday school children to enrich their spiritual growth through taking part in special events and bible reading.

Family bible reading is promoted by the Sunday school and the bible sharing group. The parish also shows its concern for parents through home visits and morning tea gatherings of a Sunday.

During last year, the parish organised talks in cooperation with the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, as well as the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, to strengthen spiritual formation in marriage and family life.

She added that announcing this apostolate as a pastoral priority for the diocese this year, will prompt the parish to conduct more activities with the related organisations in the future.

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