CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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A shepherd who cared about his flock

HONG KONG (SE): Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung was remembered as a caring Church leader who showed concern for the elderly, young people, migrants, as well as the marginalised in society.
In his first meeting with the media as the bishop of Hong Kong on 2 August 2017 (Sunday Examiner, 13 August 2017), he announced four pastoral priorities for his term. First, he would support the least, the last and the lost in society and guide them to the right direction in life. 
The second was to support the broken families within or outside the Church and help them in their healing process. 
His third priority was to provide platforms for the elderly to gain respect and to promote their welfare with Hong Kong facing an aging population.
At the opening ceremony of the Caritas Bazaar last year, he urged the government to set up systematic and long term services for the elderly in front of the guest speaker secretary for food and health, Sophia Chan Siu-chee. (Sunday Examiner, 11 November 2018)
His pastoral priorities regarding young people showed that he really paid attention to their needs. He said the people of Hong Kong need to be concerned about them as they face lots of problems, such as the lack of prospects or even a proper place to live and need an outlet of their disappointments. He said the role of the Church is to promote communication and allow them to express themselves and hope that the government will listen with wisdom.
A few months after he took office, he declared in his message for Advent in 2017 that, 2018 would be the Year of Youth for the diocese of Hong Kong to complement the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People. 
He later officially declared in his pastoral letter for Advent 2018 that the Year of Youth would be extended to 2019 under the theme of Practice, Belief, Youth, showing his strong focus on the pastoral care of the young people.
The bishop looked joyful during the Mass at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Tiu Keng Leng, on 15 July 2018, which concluded the week-long Youth Festival event organised in response to the Year of Youth, as he saw the determination of young people who pledged to bravely walk out of their comfort zones, pay attention to the needs of the marginalised and live with love, forgiveness, understanding and the willingness to sacrifice.
The bishop was also concerned about the situation of migrants in Hong Kong. In his homilies during different Masses, he said all the people of Hong Kong are probably migrants as their ancestors may have been forced to move to the city for various reasons, so we should respect migrants and treat them as one of us. 
He emphasised this point during the homily of the last Migrants’ Day celebration at Christ the King Chapel in Causeway Bay on October 22, as well as his message broadcast at the end of the Christmas Vigil Mass at Chater Garden (Sunday Examiner, January 6).
It is a pity that he did not see the fulfillment of all his goals. In his first meeting with the media, he had already admitted that he had experienced health problems for years, but that they were under treatment and control. In addition, he said that although he had an 8.00am to 8.00pm workday and had no chance for a proper holiday in three years, he managed well. 
He said that, despite his health problems, he hoped he could do the work of a bishop until he could not. 
And he was true to his word, as proved by his strong determination to carry out his various duties until nearly his last breath.
May our beloved bishop rest in peace.

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