CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Every life is sacred

HONG KONG (SE): Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, presided over the Pro-Life Day Eucharistic celebration on May 31, at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Caine Road. 
Organised for the second time by the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, this year over 500 people came together to pray for and pledge to promote life. 
In his homily, Bishop Ha remarked that every life is sacred and he encouraged those present to pray for the unborn, the marginalised and the elderly who are ignored in society. He encouraged them to uphold the dignity of life and commissioned Church organisations to promote the pro-life message.
Bishop Ha noted that Pro-Life Day is observed all over the world because the dignity of life is under threat, an example being the recent referendum in Ireland in which over 70 per cent of voters supported removing the Eighth Amendment to the country’s Constitution which protects the rights of both the pregnant woman and the unborn child (Sunday Examiner, June 3). 
The bishop also condemned the culture of waste, which encourages people to throw away things with low value and reiterated that human life is different, as every life is blessed by God. People prayed for aborted babies, the impoverished, those living under violence and people died by euthanasia.
An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron of the unborn, was venerated and prayers were offered for pro-life workers as well as those facing related problems. 
At the conclusion of the Mass, the bishop blessed pregnant women and also commissioned 20 communities, including Church organisations, lay groups, Catholic medical practitioners’ groups and Catholic hospitals, to carry on with their mission to protect life. 
Connie Chan Lai-sheung, project officer of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, said she appreciated the celebration of Pro-Life Day as it has strengthened the determination of co-workers to protect life.
She said the people of Hong Kong are beginning to show concern about how to deal with the remains of miscarried fetuses—a sign that they are more aware that life begins at the time of conception. She said a seminar related to this aspect is already scheduled and is being organised by the commission.
Irene Mak Ka-yee, a member of the Diocesan Commission for Pastoral Services to the Disabled, said the right of the unborn is sometimes sacrificed if they are discovered to have abnormalities. She hoped that more support can be offered to the caregivers of disabled people and that the biases against them can be removed.
Many pro-life groups set up booths outside the cathedral to introduce their work.

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