CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Calls for unity and hope at Philippine Independence Day celebrations

HONG KONG (SE): Filipinos in Hong Kong were reminded to be united as well as to have hope as the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence was celebrated two days early in Chater Road, Central, on June 10.
An interfaith prayer service kicked off the day’s events, with leaders of the Filipino Catholic, Protestant and Muslim communities offering prayers for good governance, peace and unity.
Divine Word Father Jay Flandez, chaplain to Filipinos, prayed for the country’s leaders and that they would govern with Christian values.
At the end of the service, Good Shepherd Sister Corazon Demetillo, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos, thanked God for granting the Philippines national heroes who were willing to fight for the freedom of the country and sacrifice their lives. She prayed for wisdom for government leaders in making decisions and willingness to listen to the people, including migrant workers over the world.
A Mass, attended by around 500 people, including consular officials, was concelebrated by Father Flandez and Missionary Oblate Father Jun Jacobe.
During the Mass, Father Flandez said that the national heroes who fought for freedom are forever remembered because the values they held on to are eternal. He reminded those present to fight for what is right and that material pursuits can only bring them temporary pleasure. 
He also encouraged overseas workers to have hope amid the trials in Hong Kong and in their home country, as hope is the work of the Holy Spirit. 
The choir service was performed by the St. Jude Filipino Community.
Over 30 Filipino organisations joined in a parade after a performance by the Hong Kong Police Band. 
Led by people holding the national flag up high and men in dressed tribal costumes playing gongs, participants carrying banners walked along Chater Road dressed in colourful national garb.
The Visayas Mindanao Music and Dance Ensemble Hong Kong brought a marching beat to the parade with drums and xylophone. 
The Philippine consul general to Hong Kong, Antonio Morales, said after the parade that Filipinos should remember that there are a lot of things about their own country for them to be proud of. One is that the Philippines, decolonised in 1898, was the first country in Asia to declare independence and it served as an inspiration for other freedom-loving countries that followed. 
As for the Filipinos in Hong Kong, he urged them to be proud of what they share in the city, as they have, in their own little ways, made it a better place through their contribution. He also reminded them to be united despite their differences in backgrounds.
Jomelyn Margarso, an overseas worker who has been in Hong Kong for 16 years, told the Sunday Examiner that she felt happy to attend the Independence Day celebrations like her countrymen in the Philippines even though she is overseas. 
She expressed gratitude to the Hong Kong government for allowing them to use Chater Road every Sunday for their leisure as well as other major events, like the Independence Day.

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