CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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In remembrance of Bishop Michael Yeung

During Bishop Michael Yeung’s last hours, some clergy and I visited him and prayed for him. Although he wore a breathing mask, he struggled to do the sign of Cross and responded “Amen.” 
 
The sudden departure of Bishop Yeung was lamentable. Many have commended on his ministry, including his contributions in education, health care, social services and the preservation of family values. These were inevitably his main ministries. But fewer people noticed his contributions outside Hong Kong. 
 
He was a member of Pontifical Council Cor Unum and he was actively engaged in the development of Caritas International and other Church services, and cared for brothers and sisters outside Hong Kong. He actively led local Church activities such as the Jubilee of Mercy, the Year of the Family and the Year of Youth, promoted by Pope Francis. 
 
Bishop Yeung also showed concern for the brothers and sisters in mainland China, as shown in his homily at the last Midnight Mass at Christmas.
 
For me, I greatly appreciate Bishop Yeung’s deep spiritual foundation that motivated him in his ministry. I had the privilege of serving as his teacher in his young days at the Holy Spirit Seminary in 1970s. After his priestly ordination, we served together in the Diocese of Hong Kong for 40 years. I felt deeply about the depth of the spirituality of Bishop Yeung.
 
As the gospel of John 13:3-6, reads: “Fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples ‘ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.” 
 
Bishop Yeung campaigned for the poor and the voiceless. He demonstrated his commitment as a Servant Leader of Christ.
 
Bishop Yeung did his best in dedicating his life to Christ. He did not care too much about the finiteness of his life, but gave himself to the Kingdom of Heaven. This echoes the child in the Miracle of Five Loaves and Two Fish in chapter 6 of the gospel of John. All that child has is a very limited number of five loaves and two small fish, but he was willing to give them to Christ and let him do with it what he willed. The result is amazing in the Lord’s hands.
 
I worked with Bishop Yeung for 40 years. I am even more grateful to Pope Francis for appointing him as my successor. 
 
Bishop Yeung, in the face of different duties, always maintained a joyous and peaceful mood, as St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, “See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
 
Finally, Bishop Yeung, contributed greatly to the Church and to society, but attributed all his achievements to the glory of God. As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” 
 
Bishop Yeung, through his wonderful and spirit-filled life, lived out a model of the vitality and abundance of Christians abiding with the Lord. 
 
We thank the Lord for having him, hoping that more young people will follow the dedication of Bishop Yeung and participate in this beautiful ministry of the Lord’s Salvation. 
 
 
+ John Cardinal Tong
4 January 2019

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