CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Ecumenical prayer to kick off the legal year

HONG KONG (SE): Over 100 members of the legal fraternity in Hong Kong assembled for an ecumenical prayer gathering at St. Joseph’s Church in Central, on January 8, to observe the opening of the legal year, led by John Cardinal Tong Hon and Archbishop Paul Kwong from the Anglican Communion. 
Organised by the St. Thomas More Society, which was formed in Hong Kong by some Catholic lawyers and a Protestant group, the prayer service was held on the same day that judicial officers gathered at City Hall to mark the beginning of the legal year. 
Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, the chief justice, and Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, the chief judge, proclaimed the readings from the scriptures, while barrister, Martin Lee Chu-ming, led the responsorial psalm. The Good Hope School Choir sang for the prayer service. 
Cardinal Tong reminded the legal fraternity to commit themselves for the rule of law, justice, and the protection of the innocent, while Archbishop Kwong led the prayer for forgiveness of sins.
Father Miguel Diez of Opus Dei, exhorted legal practitioners to uphold justice with humility and courage, saying, “We believe that justice comes from God so believers should humbly perform the plan of God.” 
Reminding them of their social responsibility, Father Diez said, “A high position entails a special duty to be humble. Power means service. Service is the only power.” 
He encouraged them to serve with “courage based, not on one’s personal qualities, but on God’s power.”
Anthony Ismail, chairperson of the St. Thomas More Society, told the Kung Kao Po that the group has been organising the ceremony since the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. 
Veteran barrister, Denis Chang Khen-lee, a founding member of the Article 45 Concern Group, told the Kung Kao Po that even though certain court rulings may go against the wishes of the public, the rule of of law should be respected. 
He added, “Achieving real harmony relies on the upholding of justice.” 
David Fong Shiu-man, a member of the Hong Kong Bar Association expressed his hope that legal practitioners can show the love of God in their pursuit of justice. He hopes people will learn to be more understanding and that those with different backgrounds would get along with one another. 
At the City Hall ceremony, chief justice Ma said, “The judiciary in Hong Kong serves the community as best as it possibly can. Its judges and staff are totally committed to this. We are grateful for the support this institution clearly has from the community. It is in everyone’s interest that the rule of law remains strong, respected and visible.”

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