CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 11 November 2017

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Twinning of young people

HONG KONG (SE): Around 25 young people from Hong Kong’s twin diocese in Germany paid a visit to Hong Kong between August 17 and 21 to promote the friendship that has existed between Hong Kong and Essen since the early 1950s.
 
The group visited the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on August 18 and met for a discussion with Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung.
 
As guests of the young people of Hong Kong, some of whom have been to Essen, they visited the Holy Spirit Seminary in Aberdeen and joined a Mass celebrated by the rector, Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing.
 
Bishop Yeung talked about his educational principles and the preparations for next year’s synod which is to run under the theme of the young people of the world.
 
The bishop said he does not believe that education means arriving at model answers or solutions, but is a way of helping people to understand the truth and find some understanding of what is going on around them so that they are able to form their own views on various issues.
 
As the coming synod will focus on faith and the discernment of vocation, he emphasised that this process takes a lot of prayer. 
 
In this context, he shared about his vocation in a question-answer session and encouraged young people not to back away from challenges.
 
The group from Essen presented the bishop with a steel cross as a symbol of the once sprawling industrial complex, famous for its steel and coal production, which made up the German diocese.
 
Juha Lahrmann, the coordinator of the trip, said the group expects to continue with the cooperation that has been developed over many years between the two dioceses and bring the experiences of the Hong Kong Church back to share with their compatriots in Germany.
 
Lahrmann said that the Church in Germany has been dedicated to reforming itself recently and working to give the laity a greater role in the ministry and management of the Church. 
 
It is also striving to give them leadership roles so as not to rely so heavily on the leadership of the bishops.
 
Manuel Hermandez explained that this was his second visit to Hong Kong since 2013. He said he is delighted that he was able to made friends during the first visit and they were able to join each other at Asian Youth Day in Korea in 2014.
 
He also praised the ongoing programmes that have been run by the two dioceses which have given him a greater insight into the importance of being able to relate to and appreciate the value of different cultures.
 
Father Paul Kam Po-wai, the chairperson of the Diocesan Youth Commission, said activities had been arranged to give the visitors an insight into Hong Kong life and the spirit of Catholic education.
 
The group from Essen was invited to talk with students at Catholic schools and at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education, where they were also briefed on the situation of the Church in China.
 
During the weekend of August 19 and 20 the young visitors spent a night as guests of host families around the city to at least give them a glimpse of local family life.
 
They then visited Macau on August 21 before returning to Hong Kong just in time to hunker down as Typhoon Hato struck on August 23. 
 
The next day as the weather cleared, they visited the Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill.
The group closed its visit with a Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Tsing Yi, before flying back to Essen on August 25.

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