CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Bauhinia Star award for selfless priest

HONG KONG (SE): Among the 282 people named in the Hong Kong government’s 2018 Honours List on July 1, was Father Giosuè Bonzi, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) along with 39 others, for outstanding service over a long period of time. 
 
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor, presented the honours and awards during a ceremony at Government House on October 27.
 
Father Bonzi, who celebrated his golden jubilee on 7 May 2016 (Sunday Examiner, 22 May 2016), was instrumental in founding the Fu Hong Society, which is dedicated to the service of mentally disadvantaged people. 
 
Determined to continue to work begun by his confrère, Father Enea Tapella, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1977, he worked together with a group of professionals and volunteers, to set up The Society of Homes for the Handicapped to develop the potential of persons with disabilities, enable them to achieve maximum independence and become fully integrated into the community. 
 
In 1978, the society was incorporated under the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance and subsidised by the Hong Kong government to help in expanding its services, which included a rehabilitation centre in Aberdeen, as well as halfway houses providing support for people with psychiatric disabilities in integrating into the community. 
 
In 2001, the society was renamed The Fu Hong Society. The Chinese, Fu Hong, means to help in becoming physically and mentally healthy.
 
“The first task was to help people with disabilities and their families in the difficulties of daily life. By the time we grew up creating homes, support structures for the mentally disabled, and carrying out activities for the reintegration of the handicapped.” Father Bonzi told AsiaNews in September 2016.
 
He thanked God “for the privilege of accompanying and being accompanied by friends with disabilities, who educate me and make me feel that he is truly always with us, every day, if we recognise him wherever he chose to be found, in the little ones of the kingdom.”
 
Today, the Fu Hong Society has 50 service units, serving over 3,300 persons with disabilities and has set up the Casa Famiglia which allows persons with intellectual disabilities to enjoy family life. It also established the Hin Dip Centre, the first development and support centre for adults with autism, as well as the Best Buddies Hong Kong Movement, part of the international effort, which originated in the United States, to promote one-to-one friendship between persons with and without intellectual disabilities. 
 
Father Bonzi is also a recipient of the 2016 THE ONE Hong Kong Humanitarian Annual Award given by the Rotary International District 3450.

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