CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 November 2017

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New bishop installed

HONG KONG (SE): “It would be a sad day for Hong Kong if it were true to say that people here cared only for economic growth. Hong Kong’s well-being calls for a wide range of values to be fostered, including education and appropriate action to strive for integral human development,” Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung said on August 5 at his installation as the eighth bishop of Hong Kong, since it was recognised as a diocese in 1946.
 
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was packed to welcome the new bishop on a hot summer afternoon, which came at the culmination of what had been a busy week for him.
 
As the coadjutor, he officially succeeded John Cardinal Tong Hon when his retirement was accepted by the Holy See on August 1. Then, a day later, he faced the media at his introductory press conference.
 
Bishop Yeung stressed that the cross stands at the centre of the Christian life, as “without the cross we are not disciples of the Lord,” and he resolved that as bishop, he would lead a diocese of compassion dedicated to accompanying the marginalised of society, whom he described as being the last, the least and the lost.
 
He also spoke of the need for healing and pinpointed the young and the old as two areas of outreach that would be highlighted in the pastoral outreach of the diocese.
 
Bishop Yeung was led into his cathedral by representatives of religious and laity, as well as around 100 priests and deacons, including two former bishops of the diocese, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun and John Cardinal John Tong Hon; in addition to his auxiliary, Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing; followed by the current ordinary of Macau, Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, with whom he had been ordained three years ago; and representatives of other Christian denominations.
 
The government of the special administrative region was represented by the chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor; accompanied by the financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po; and the secretary for food and health, Sophia Chan Siu-chee.
 
Cardinal Tong thanked the people of the diocese as he stepped down from the top job, before ushering his successor to the episcopal seat of the See of Hong Kong.
 
Bishop Yeung then accepted the commission he has received from the Vatican and representatives from the clergy, religious, laity and significantly the young people of the diocese pledged their fidelity to him during his time in the bishop’s seat of the See of Hong Kong.
 
The broad representation of young or youngish people prefigured his wide-ranging homily (full text see page 8), where he reiterated his pastoral priorities for his episcopate.
 
”Without discernment, one cannot really get to and help tackle the root causes of the frustrations, discontent, helplessness, distrust of authority and even anger experienced by many of our young people, or other problems which are often not of their own making,” the new bishop of the diocese said.
 
He then added, “Trust takes time, and sincerity on all sides, to build or rebuild.”
 
Bishop Yeung put great stress on being inclusive in the pastoral outreach of his diocese and embracing people of all ages in its life, giving particular stress to the young, whom he said must be included in all consultation and planning, as well as those in their sunset years whom he noted have much to give, but are often ignored.
 
Calling on his long experience as the chief executive of Caritas, he expressed the intention to be very much on about strengthening the outreach of the diocese to what he described as the most alienated groups in society.
 
But to the list of the physically poor he added the frustrated and those marginalised by age, both old and young, as well as those affected by what he called an emerging form of poverty known as relational poverty.
 
“Relationships are at the heart of everything. They include our relationships with God, with one another and with all of Nature. Indeed the Chinese term for ethics means the principles of relationships,” Bishop Yeung said.
 
In this context he spoke of broken family relationships, as well as the broken relationships caused by physical poverty and frustration with systems that leave people with no room to move forward or to have hope in the future.
 
On a personal level, he shared that his prayer as a bishop is for a listening ear, as all leadership is pinned on the ability to reflect the thoughts, aspirations and ambitions of the people.
 
“Lord, give me a listening heart” (1 Kings 3:9), he concluded.

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