CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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International event to mark culmination of Year of Laity

HONG KONG (SE): An international lay ministry exchange seminar will be held from October 27 to November 1 at the Caritas Oi Fai Camp in Cheung Chau, as a major function to culminate the various activities that have taken place in the diocese during the extended Year of the Laity.

“All parishes and faith communities in Hong Kong are being encouraged to make a positive response,” a vicar general of the diocese, Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, told the Sunday Examiner.

He added that the aim of the seminar is to help build a vision of the role and involvement of the laity in the universal Church.

Around 200 people from Chinese communities and parishes from Hong Kong, as well as Macau, Taiwan, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and Africa are being invited to take part in the exchange.

Father Chan said John Cardinal Tong Hon has already sent an invitation to Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, to speak at the event.

The vicar general said that all parishes are being invited to nominate two representatives, who have actively joined and promoted parish activities in the fields of liturgy, bible study or social services, by March 30.

They will be asked to attend five monthly formation activities during May and September, and then act as part of the reception team for of overseas delegates during the seminar itself.

“This is a valuable chance for us to get to know people from Chinese communities and parishes overseas, to share experiences and to reflect together. It can help us to bear witness to Christ in our ministry,” Father Chan said.

On October 27, an opening ceremony will be held at the Caritas Community Hall in Central, during which Cardinal Tong will explain the theme of the camp.

The opening ceremony will be followed by a commissioning Mass to be held in the cathedral on the same afternoon.

The whole event will be streamed live online. Overseas participants will then be invited to visit a variety of parishes in the diocese to look into the lived experiences of parishioners in Hong Kong, especially in the ministries of lector and liturgy, as well as social services.

They will be guests of host families in the parishes on Saturday night and throughout Sunday.

The second part of the seminar will be an exchange camp, beginning on October 29, which will feature talks, prayer and sharing sessions focussed on how we can share Christ’s ministry as priest, prophet and king in different places throughout the world.

Specific predominantly lay ministries in Hong Kong diocese, such as hospice care, prison visitation and hospital pastoral care, will also be presented.

In November, the Hong Kong representatives will take part in a faith sharing experience in other countries, lasting for about five days.

An application for smartphones will be launched in which details on the seminar will be posted towards the end of April.

Experience of the seminar, together with other activities that have been held during the Year of the Laity, will be reviewed at a grand finale to be held at the AsiaWorld Expo site at Chep Lap Kok on December 16.

Over 10,000 people are expected to attend. Father Chan believes the round-up presentation should be the focus of all parishes on that day and other large-scale parish activities should be rescheduled.

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