CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Trappists mark 90 years in China

HONG KONG (SE): The Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of Joy Abbey, on Lantau, marked its 90th anniversary of establishment on April 22 with a Mass concelebrated by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, together with more than 10 Trappists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Macau and Australia.
Bishop Yeung thanked the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance—the Trappists—for leading the monastic, contemplative life and bearing witness to the world. He said their dedication to prayer, fraternity and hard work in their cloistered lives showed different values to the modern world, which is what people most need now. 
“The Trappists show that the one on whom we should really rely is God. Only by relying on God can we find peace of mind,” he said.
Noting that it was Good Shepherd Sunday, the bishop urged those present to think about their relationship with Jesus Our Shepherd as well as others in the flock.
During the prayers of the faithful, the Trappists expressed gratitude to their predecessors who established the monastery 90 years ago and to those who contributed to its relocation to Hong Kong in 1950s.
The abbey was first set up in Zhengding, Hebei province in China, in 1928, after Asia’s first Trappist monastery, Our Lady of Consolation Abbey, was founded in Yangjiaping, northwest of Beijing, in 1883. 
With the rise to power of the communists in China in 1949 and the ensuing religious persecutions in 1950s, the Trappists decided to move the monastery in Hebei to Hong Kong and in 1951, the Hong Kong government provided the 53 hectares of land on Tai Shui Hang, Lantau Island, where the monastery now stands.
The monastery adopted its official name, Our Lady of Joy Abbey, in 2000. At present, it is the home to nine priests and five seminarians.
Trappist monks from the Asia-Pacific region had also gathered in Hong Kong for a conference about their ministries.
Father Dom Paul Kao, the abbot of the monastery, explained that the conference aimed to share the experiences of different monasteries in the region and look into ways the Trappists can help the local Churches and their pastoral ministries. He said he is glad that the monasteries can help to enrich the spiritual life of the lay people in different countries.

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