CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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Missionary ordination in Yuen Long

HONG KONG (SE): Reverend Michael Zhang, from the Institute of the Incarnate Word, was ordained a priest at the parish of Ss. Peter and Paul in Yuen Long on May 20 by John Cardinal Tong Hon.
 
Father Alberto Barattero, the superior of the congregation’s province in the United States of the America (US), recommended the young deacon to Cardinal Tong for ordination.
 
The superiors in Asia and Ecuador, Father Miguel Soler and Father Jorge Montagna, joined the cardinal along with the local superior of the congregation, Father Gervais Baudry, at the ordination Mass.
 
After promising obedience to his superiors and taking the customary vows of priesthood, Cardinal Tong laid hands on Reverend Zhang and greeted him with a sign of peace.
 
Cardinal Tong encouraged the newly-ordained priest to live out his vocation with joy and love.
 
Father Zhang thanked God for giving him life through his parents and introducing him into the Catholic family through baptism.
 
He also expressed his joy at being accepted for the life of a missionary by the Institute of the Incarnate Word.
 
As a non-Catholic, the father of the newly ordained, Zhang Chengxiong, said he found it hard to accept his son’s vocation at first.
 
However, when he saw the obvious joy in him at his deaconate ordination in Washington last year his reservations were dissolved and he came to appreciate his ability to spread that joy around among others.
 
Michael Camiller, Father Zhang’s godfather, came from Australia to attend the ordination.
As his catechist of 20 years ago, he said that it has been a delight to know him and he really appreciates the experience of working with him.
 
Camiller was a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea back in the 1960s, which he said has given him a close up appreciation of the missionary life of a priest.
 
But he also knows the difficulties that must be faced and promised his godson he will always pray for him.
 
Father Zhang celebrated his first Mass in Yuen Long on May 21, returning to Washington one week later. In July, he will leave for Papua New Guinea for a two-month exposure experience.
 
Father Zhang was born in Hong Kong in 1977. After studying in Wan Yan College in Kowloon for some years, he migrated to Australia and later graduated from the famed Waverley College in Sydney, run by the Christian Brothers.
 
He was baptised in Sydney in 1993 and became active in a number of Catholic organisations. With a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of the New South Wales, he returned to Hong Kong in 2000 to take up a job.
 
Father Zhang explained that it took a further eight years to get registered at the Australian Institute of Architects, but after that, he again began to feel the call of his vocation.
 
In 2009, he joined the Institute of the Incarnate Word and was sent overseas for his studies and formation programme.
 
He took his permanent vows in the US in 2016.
 
The institute was founded in Argentina in 1984, quickly making a foundation in the US, where it prospered and set up its major seminary, before spreading its wings around the world.
 
Its first mission was in Tajikistan and five of its number took on the difficult challenge of working in a tiny minority Church that only had 245 members at the time.
 
Since then it has taken on obligations in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Taiwan, Italy and The Philippines.
 
It also provides supplementary formation staff to seminaries in the Holy Land, Papua New Guinea and the Ukraine. In Hong Kong, it staffs parishes in Yuen Long and Ping Shan.

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