CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Not just love, but big love is Caritas

Fr. Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, Director, Caritas Education, reads the nameplate on the door of Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung quarters in the Catholic Diocese Centre. For Father Joseph Yim Tak-lung, who worked with Bishop Yeung at Caritas-Hong Kong, this explains the person of the late bishop. 
From being the director of Caritas, he went on to become the vicar general, auxiliary bishop and finally the bishop of Hong Kong, yet “he simply remained ‘Father Michael’ and his heart remained in Caritas,” recalls Father Yim. 
Bishop Yeung began his stint at Caritas-Hong Kong in 1990 as the director of Education Services and later worked as the deputy chief executive and went on to head the organisation until he became the bishop in 2014. During his 25 years at Caritas-Hong Kong he gave a clear direction for the organisation.  Thanks to his leadership and guidance, it stands tall as the biggest diocesan institute, with over 5,500 staff and annual transactions of over $14 billion. 
“When I joined Caritas, I knew nothing about social work. But the bishop taught me a lot. In fact we knew each other since 1972, from the seminary. He treated me as a real brother, he was my soul-mate,” says Father Yim who feels the pain of loss. 
Father Yim remembers Bishop Yeung as “a visionary and had the ability to plan ahead for the future.  It was his managerial skills that led Caritas through the period of global recession in 2008 to 2009 and ,turned Caritas-Hong Kong into a ‘brother of the world.’ Whenever natural calamities struck, be it in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, China or elsewhere in Asia, Caritas-Hong Kong was able to extend substantial support.” 
One of his major contributions to Caritas was his concern for the young people. He insisted that in order to communicate with the young people, one must first listen to them. He understood the need for ‘accompanying’ the youth. “Do not go behind, because you cannot follow them; do not go ahead, because they won’t listen to you.” 
In the Year of the Youth, Bishop Yeung asked Caritas to focus its attention on the youth. He was convinced that organising big events shouldn’t be the target of the Year of the Youth. 
He likened the big events to fireworks. They are spectacular and beautiful to look at, but they happen only once and gone in a flash. The bishop urged Caritas to provide sustainable programmes for the youth. 
Thus, with his guidance, Caritas formulated the project called “matching service” and introduced it in two districts of Hong Kong. The project seeks to match a young person with a needy elderly, aiming to encourage young people to ‘adopt’ the elderly, especially those who live alone.  This is becoming a popular project with numerous youngsters coming forward. 
Father James Boey Tien-leung, who now assists Father Yim, considers Bishop Yeung as his benefactor. He brought him in to Caritas and inspired him to be concerned for the needs of the people around. 
He recalls that even when the bishop was fully aware of his ill health, in his last Christmas message, urged us to care for the needy and the poor. 
Father Boey feels that this is the spirit of Caritas and Bishop Yeung would want us to inherit this spirit. Taking a cue from Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the bishop would say that what we need in Caritas is not just love, but bok-ngoi (博愛)—big love.

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