CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Sense of belonging comes first, young catechumens say

HONG KONG (SE): Young catechumens who will be baptised during Easter this year, said what they need most from the Church community is a sense of belonging and a participation in the mission of witnessing to God’s love. 
“The key to evangelisation is to help people truly apply faith to their lives, and strengthen their motivation to gain more knowledge and encourage them within a community,” said Tam Wing-fung, a catechumen from St. Alfred’s parish, Shatin. 
He was participating in one of two talks on baptism organised by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission on January 28. He said his education in a Catholic school gave him a basic knowledge about God and religion.
Musing on the use of the social media and modern technology in the formation of catechumens, Tam admitted that making good use of these tools can help, but he believes that young people need a sense of belonging to a community, which cannot be developed through social media.
Statistics from the diocese show that over 3,000 adults receive the Sacraments of Initiation every year. In this Year of Youth, around one-third of the 1,800 catechumens who joined the talks were young people below 40 years old. 
Chow Man-king, a student from Tung Chung Secondary School, said at first he found it hard to accept the faith, but religious activities motivated him to find out more about Jesus Christ. 
Chow said he was thankful to his teacher for journeying with him last year when he was facing the dilemma of whether to start working or to continue studying. Under the teacher’s encouragement, he joined a catechumenate class.
Chan Pak-hong, from St. Jude’s parish, North Point, believes the Church can give young people moral guidance through discussions as young people may feel upset about frequent reports of murderers, abuses and other family tragedies happening in society.
Chung Yuk-fong, a catechist from St. John the Baptist Mass Centre, Kwun Tong, said community spirit and trust among people is important as a baptism class not only imparts knowledge, it also provides chances for them to share their lives. 
Father Aloysius Mak Ying-kin told the Kung Kao Po on January 29 that he feels that young people in a competitive society may neglect the development of their spiritual life because of academic pressures caused by frequent tests and examinations. 
To encourage the young, newly-baptised to join in parish activities, he plans to invite parishioners to spend more time journeying with young people in their spiritual life. 
He further explained that they should not only be encouraged to serve, but also be shown care and concern.

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