CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Shelter for the homeless opens on Day of the Poor

HONG KONG (SE): The Sant’Egidio Community in Hong Kong observed the World Day of the Poor with the opening of the Home of Mercy, a shelter for the homeless and the former prison inmates in Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui, on November 18. 
The 1,000 square foot centre can accommodate eight residents. The inauguration, officiated by Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung of Hong Kong, marked the golden jubilee of the community in Rome.  
The Home of Mercy was started on November 18 last year to serve the homeless in the city and is now a temporary home for six people. Residents are normally allowed to live there for three months, but this can be extended up to three years depending on their circumstances. The monthly fee is $1,000.  
Addressing the gathering, Bishop Yeung recalled that decades ago a homeless person, who had just been released from prison, came to him for confession. He was shabby and dirty, and was seeking peace of mind from Jesus while looking back at his past. The suffering Christ was present in that person. 
He said that even after decades in the priesthood, he still remembers the incident 
The bishop hoped that the centre would be a place where the poor can experience the love of God and that there would be more people to care for the needy.
After the ceremony, vicar general, Father Peter Choy Wai-man, celebrated a Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the Community of Sant’Egidio at Our Lady of China Church, Tai Kok Tsui.
Samson, who used to live in a coffin cubicle before coming to the shelter, explained that with his unstable income, he could only afford the cubicle which only accommodated a bed. 
He stayed at the Home of Mercy for half a year. 
Samson said he had been quite lonely as his parents had both passed away and he had few friends to talk to. However, the Home of Mercy lets him feel the care and concern of others as he finds other people to share his life with. 
Chui Lai-yee, leader of the Sant’Egidio Community in Hong Kong, thanked all those present at the Mass and pointed out that its services are based on the teaching of the gospel. 
The community was established by Andrea Ricarrdi in Rome in 1968, with the objective of three ‘P’s: Prayer, service to the Poor, and working for Peace. Now it has over 60,000 members, spread over 73 countries and regions. The community in Hong Kong was set up in 1998.

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