CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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To be a priest is the greatest gift

HONG KONG (SE): “The biggest grace anyone can aspire for in this world is to be a priest of Christ!” This was the first response of the Divine Word Missionary Father Peter Hoang Van Hien to the Sunday Examiner after he was ordained a priest on January 14 by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, the bishop of Hong Kong, during a concelebrated Mass attended by large number of faithful, many of them friends and well-wishers of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay.
The Hong Kong and Macau district of the SVD China Province is blessed with two new priests this year. According to Father Joseph Tan, there are over 20 Divine Word missionaries working in Hong Kong and Macau and a few more are expected in the near future. 
Father Hoang, who hails from Vietnam, and his companion, Father Toto Kornelius Bardata from Indonesia, finished their initial Cantonese language courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong before entering University of St. Joseph in Macau for philosophy and theology studies. Father Bardata was ordained a priest on January 13 in his hometown of Ruteng, Flores in Indonesia. 
Father John Chang Jihliang, the provincial superior of the China Province, reminded the gathering to support the new priest in his ministry with their continued prayers. 
The newly-ordained Father Hoang, in his message for the young people on why the youth of today should follow the vocation to the priesthood or the religious life, said, “God’s call is open to everyone. We also have the freedom to choose the way we want to move on, but once God chooses me, nothing else should prevent me from responding to his selection.”
“My vocation is God’s blessing and gift to me,” he said.
The Vietnamese, Indonesian and Filipino communities presented a number of cultural events during the celebratory gathering held at St. Paul’s Convent School immediately after the Mass.   
Father Hoang will celebrate his Solemn First Mass on Sunday, January 21, at Resurrection Church, Kwun Tong, where he served as a deacon for the past six months. He will appointed parish priest of St. Joseph’s parish, Kowloon Bay.
Father Bardata will join the SVD community in Macau after he returns on March 7 and receive his assignment at that time.

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