CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Getting in touch with the past

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocesan Archives held an exhibition at its office in Caritas House from April 21 to 22 portraying an overview of the development of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong during the 128 years from 1841 to 1969.
The exhibition presented information from the year the Church was established as a prefecture apostolic to when Bishop Lorenzo Bianchi, the last expatriate bishop of the diocese, stepped down to make way for a local priest to take his place.
Featuring photographs, data, maps and documents, the exhibition gave glimpses of the history of the Church in Hong Kong from the aspects of the formation of seminarians, parish development, education and social charitable services.
Archival copies of documents relating to the early prefects apostolic and vicars apostolic, as well as bishops were on display. They included a message of congratulations from the people of the diocese to Bishop Valtorta Enrico when he celebrated his silver jubilee of priesthood in 1932.
A copy of the original document of appointment for Bishop Lorenzo Bianchi, as well as some of the passports the bishops held while they were living in Hong Kong formed a pocket of unusual interest.
The display boards portrayed a brief overview of the change that has taken place in the life and work of local convents and religious institutes, while at the same time showing the charitable services like nurseries, orphanages and retirement homes they had set up in the past.
One of the highlights was the noodle factory, an imaginative project founded by Maryknoll Father Edward Krumpelmann as part of a project in Kwun Tong to provide both food and work in 1958. It was complicated machinery that he had designed himself.
Part of the display showed some of the history of the mobile medical clinics run by the Catholic Social Welfare Conference, a charitable organisation established in 1953 which later grew into Caritas Hong Kong; as well as the social, educational, medical and regional reception services offered by Caritas in late 1950s.
Chan Siu-wing, a parishioner from St. Margaret’s in Happy Valley, thanked the Church for the contribution it has made to society in the fields of medical, educational and social welfare services during the difficult times of Hong Kong.
He said the fact that many people were inspired by the dedication of the Church to embrace the faith is a reminder to him to live out his faith both in prayer and concrete outreach to his neighbour.
Leung Hong-lai, who is now studying theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy, said the exhibition helped her to appreciate the history of the Hong Kong Church and the relationship between the local and the universal Church.
Over the last four years, the archive office has held a number of exhibitions about the deceased bishops who came after the last expatriate stepped down.
They include Bishop Francis Hsu Chen-ping, Bishop Peter Lei Wang-kei and John Baptist Cardinal Wu Cheng-chung.

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