CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Preparations for Youth Festival in full swing

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocese of Hong Kong is organising a series of activities for the Youth Festival in the second week of July as part of its activities for the Year of Youth. 
Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung announced the Youth Festival in his Good Shepherd Sunday pastoral letter in April (Sunday Examiner, April 22).
To support the youth-related activities of the diocese, the Chancery announced a second collection during the July 14 Anticipated Mass as well as all Sunday Masses on July 15 in parishes throughout the diocese. 
The Youth Festival this year celebrates the theme, Be Brave—which is derived from the theme of the 33rd World Youth Day in 2018: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God (Luke 1:30).
Cecile Lee Pui-si of the Diocesan Youth Commission said young people in Hong Kong need to be brave in dealing with the challenges and pressures that face them from various sources like studies, examinations, results, employment and family.
Lee said the key to bravery lies in the second part of the World Youth Day theme, as we should all remember that we have found favour with God. She quoted Pope Francis’ message for the event in which he said that only fear blocks from having faith. 
She believes young people can show more courage and deeper faith as long as they remember God’s blessings and their uniqueness in his eyes. Lee explained that the Youth Festival will elaborate on this through different activities. 
Charity services as well as a prayer meeting for secondary students awaiting their public examination results will be held during the week. During the weekend of July 14 to 15, a youth camp, with sharing sessions, visits to early missionary sites as well as artwork, dance and music workshops, has been scheduled at Pak Tam Chung Holiday Camp, Sai Kung. 
The festival will conclude with a Mass in Cantonese to be celebrated by Bishop Yeung at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education in Tiu Keng Leng, on July 15.
English-speaking members of the Diocesan English Youth Group are also welcome to join most of these activities. 
In an interview with the Kung Kao Po on May 10, Bishop Yeung encouraged parishes to organise prayer services for students before the examination results for the Diploma of Secondary Education are released on July 11. He said it is important for students as well as their parents to understand that examination results are only one element related to their development in the future, which depends on many other factors. 
The bishop believes that a prayer service is a good way to reach out to the young people who rarely come to church, and to help them know that the Church, in fact, cares about them.
The bishop also encouraged young people to make time in their busy summer holiday schedules to join Church activities or charity services, like visiting old people’s homes or helping parishes to organise free meals for the poor.
Bishop Yeung said that the Year of Youth is not just for young people, but also for the laity in general, as well as priests of the parish, to remind them to be young at heart in reaching out to young people outside of their parishes. 

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