CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Caritas bazaars united to help

HONG KONG (SE): The opening of the annual Caritas bazaar season on November 4 saw three football pitches at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, as well as Tuen Mun Cultural Square, lined with stalls and alive with people working in unity to raise funds to help those in need.
 
The bazaars are also scheduled to take place at Fa Hui Park, Boundary Street, and Caritas Chan Chun Ha Field Studies Centre, Cheung Chau, on November 11, while the bazaar at Sha Tsui Road Playground, Tsuen Wan as well as the one at Yuen Wo Playground, Shatin, will take place one week later on November 18.
 
At the ribbon cutting ceremony in Causeway Bay, Bishop Michael Yeung Cheung-ming remarked that it was quite an achievement that Caritas has been organising the bazaars for the past 57 years. 
 
He expressed gratitude for the people who lent their support, as he knows organising the event, which started with a request for the donation of goods and solving storage problems, was by no means easy. He urged those who prepared the booths or participated in the event to have fun but not to forget the need to help the least, the last and the lost.
 
The bishop also spoke of the problem of Hong Kong’s ageing population which he believes needs to be addressed with foresight, broad vision as well as the cooperation of different sectors.
 
Hailing the 65th anniversary of Caritas, Bishop Yeung said he was grateful for the work of his predecessors as well as the support of various parties. The president of the Caritas Council encouraged its staff to continue working for a better future of Hong Kong with humility.
 
The bishop was joined by the secretary for food and health, Sophia Chan Siu-chee; chief executive of Caritas, Father Joseph Yim Tak-lung; Peter Leung Ming-hym, the deputy chief executive of ICBC (Asia); as well as other guests who attended the opening ceremony.
 
Chan said during the ceremony that the Caritas bazaars gave her fond memories of her time as a student at Catholic primary and secondary schools, as it was an exciting experience for a schoolgirl to sell tickets and play the booth games, and that the bazaars were a beautiful part in her school life. 
 
She said she was glad to see schools, parishes as well as organisations united that day to raise funds for Caritas, a well-established non-government organisation she appreciates due to its dedication to offering education, medical care and community service to the general public since 1953.
 
Chan thanked the bishop for his concern about the need for systematic and long-term services for the elderly. She said the pressure on medical services is indeed huge due to the ageing population and that the best way to relieve the stress on the system is to strengthen preventive measures for various health problems by setting up primary care centres in 18 districts to promote health awareness, which is the focus of the government at present.
 
A total of 48 organisations set up booths in the bazaar in Victoria Park.  
 
St. Margaret Mary’s parish, in Happy Valley, set up five booth games to impart Catholic messages to visitors as well as a number of booths to sell different donated goods. Shirley Tsang Siu-mei, a confirmation class catechist, who was responsible for the coordination of a booth game illustrating the 10 Commandments, told the Sunday Examiner that it took around five lessons for the children to come up with a design and deal with the preparations. 
 
She said that she allowed the children time to think about how to express their faith through the booth design on their own, even though they had no clue at the start, as the ability to express is the first important step of evangelisation.
 
Elaine Fok Yee-ling, a student at St. Francis’ Canossian College who sold games and lucky draw coupons for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Wan Chai, said it was fun to approach different people through the event. She admitted that it could sometimes be hard to sell the coupons as some people might politely turn them down, but she felt happy when she met people who purchased a number of the five-dollar tickets all at once. She said no matter what responses, she liked to sell the tickets to help people in need.
 
Bonny Chun Ka-yan walked around the football pitches with her daughter who is in primary one at the Catholic Mission School, Western District, as well as her four-year-old sister, to sell roses for a dollar each. She said that by taking part in the event, her daughters can come to understand that helping people does not only mean donating money, but also spending time and effort.
 
Raimondi College bagged the first prizes for its dragon flag design as well as its game design at the bazaar in Victoria Park, while Canossa College won for the best goods display.
 
In Tuen Mun, the dragon flag design award went to Caritas Li Ka Shing Care and Attention Home, while the prize for best goods display went to Caritas District Elderly Centre-Yuen Long. 
 
The opening ceremony in Tuen Mun was officiated by assistant chief executive of Caritas, Father Boey James, together with the dean of the Northwest New Territories Deanery Father Joseph Liu Ah-lun, assistant district officer, Billy Leung Tze-hong, as well as chairperson of the district council Leung Kin-man. 

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