CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 April 2018

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Do not close doors on migrants and refugees

HONG KONG (SE): Marking the World Day of Peace on January 1, on the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, urged people not to be self-centered and not to close the doors on migrants and refugees. 
 
He appealed to the Catholic community to accept and care for refugees and migrants and promote harmony, as harmony is an important element in the growth of society.
 
The Mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception was concelebrated by the bishop of Hong Kong together with Salesian Father Carlos Cheung Sam-yui, a member of the Justice and Peace Commission, and other priests of the diocese.
 
Bill Lay Yan-piau, Caritas social worker, spoke about the situation of refugees in Hong Kong. 
 
He said that because Hong Kong is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, those in Hong Kong are not accorded the right of abode or the right to work. They can only apply to live in other countries and have to get by on limited allowances while waiting for approval.
 
He expressed his hope that Christians will respond to Pope Francis’ New Year appeal to embrace migrants and refugees, and treat them with love and tangible support as they have been forced to leave their homes and flee from civil wars, religious prosecution, political suppression or ethnic cleansing. 
 
In his message for the World Day of Peace, the pope called them “men and women in search of peace.” 
 
He said, “In a spirit of compassion let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.” 
 
In offering peace to asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking, the pope put forward a strategy combining four actions: “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.”
 
In his homily, Bishop Yeung reminded the congregation that most Hong Kong people are children of migrants who left their homes driven by the desire for greener pastures.
 
The bishop recalled the contributions of the early migrants who transformed Hong Kong into a city of vitality. 
 
He believes that migrants can make this place prosperous and pointed out that, in fact, Hong Kong people and migrants rely on each other—the best example being the contributions of foreign domestic workers.
 
Prayers were offered for world peace, migrants and refugees as well as for Hong Kong. Later, the Justice and Peace Commission distributed leaflets outside the Cathedral sharing the message of the World Day of Peace and discriminations faced by migrants.

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