CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Four vicars general now on job

HONG KONG (SE): The diocese of Hong Kong has added two more names to its leadership and administration team, with Father Peter Choy Wai-man and Father Benedict Lam Cho-ming being added to the list of vicars general.
They will join Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing and veteran vicar general, Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, in taking up various responsibilities for different areas of operation.
The bishop of Hong Kong, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, said in announcing the appointments on October 15 that he hopes the revamped team will help to rejuvenate the leadership of the diocese and keep plans for various projects and movements developing.
Bishop Yeung added that when he became an auxiliary bishop in 2014 he did so together with two others, Bishop Ha and Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, who has since been transferred to Macau.
He explained that having three auxiliaries took the pressure off life at the top a bit as they were able to share many jobs around with the bishop at the time, John Cardinal Tong Hon.
However, with the depletion of the team even his short experience as the bishop tells him that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with all the demands that are made upon his office, as his schedule includes attending many functions and then there are the unexpected visitors and dignitaries who request meetings.
He said that this forces him to put general administration in the back seat, which in the long run is counter-productive.
He also pointed out that the two additions to his team have expertise in areas that are rather specialised, as Father Choy has been involved on many levels in the seminary, as has Father Lam, who is also an experienced parish priest and chaplain to the Commission for Pastoral Services and to the Pastoral Association for Disabled and the Pastoral Association for the Deaf.
However, he stressed that it is also important to spread the responsibility for leadership around, as he will not be bishop forever and others need the opportunity to develop skills in leadership.
Although he added that there is no quick fix to the challenge of leadership, he believes that this is a good way to begin that allows people with a flare to shine.
Fifty-eight-year-old Father Choy was born in Hong Kong in 1959. He went to the Holy Spirit Seminary in 1979 and was ordained priest in 1986.
He has done post-graduate studies and holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Father Choy has been the president of and a lecturer at the seminary college and has dedicated himself to the field of theological and spiritual formation of the laity and lay ministries.
He has been the president of Yuan Dao Study Society, which promotes Catholic research, and is on the board of the Institute of Sino-Christian Studies, as well as being a member of the executive committee of the Centre for Catholic Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He said that he regards his new appointment as a challenge for a person who has long focussed on theological formation, as he has been trying to bring about development in Church life through teaching, so the new appointment is a new era in life.
Sixty-two-year-old Father Lam was born in Hong Kong in 1955, entering Holy Spirit Seminary in 1976 and has a degree in theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. Since his ordination in 1983, he also has a long experience in parish work.
Father Lam has been the spiritual director at the Holy Spirit Seminary and completed a master’s degree in spirituality in Rome.
He is a former president of the Diocesan Vocations Commission and did a stint as rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary.
His vast experience with people that live with various physical impairments has given him an expertise in an area of highly specialised ministry.
Father Lam said he is nervous about his appointment, but is known as a friendly and people oriented chap, so expected to be a great asset to the leadership team.
Bishop Ha was born in Hong Kong in 1959. Since joining the Franciscans in 1984, he has completed degrees in philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and a master’s degree in spirituality from the Pontifical University Antonianum.
Bishop Ha was ordained a priest in 1990 and is a former president of the Franciscan Foundation in Hong Kong, as well as having a long pastoral experience in parishes. 
The veteran vicar general, Father Chan, was born in Hong Kong in 1952. He went to the Holy Spirit Seminary in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1979.
He has degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Urban University and a master’s degree in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
He has worked in a number of parishes and became the episcopal vicar of Kowloon in 1985 and a vicar general in 1992,
A good administrator, he has been the organising force behind many a project around the diocese.

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