CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Young people in the Lord’s service

HONG KONG (SE): World Youth Day 2019 in Panama City, Panama, got underway with the theme I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). A total of 29 Hong Kong delegates were commissioned at St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Tsing Yi, on January 6 and departed on January 12 .
The around half a million participants anticipated for the January 22 to 27 event is only a fraction of the 3.5 million people who attended 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, or even the three million who went to Saõ Paolo, Brazil, in 2013. However, numbers are not important, as those who participate represent Catholic youth communities from all over the world.
The Hong Kong delegation stopped in Mexico City, Mexico, for a week-long retreat and pilgrimage. They arrived in Panama City on January 18 to a warm welcome from Bishop Guillermo Francisco Escobar Galicia of the Diocese of Teotihuacan. 
The bishop said he was happy to see delegates from Hong Kong and expressed his hope that the young people joining the World Youth Day and meeting Pope Francis would find love and strength to help people in their own countries.
The Diocesan Youth Commission organised parallel activities in Hong Kong which began with the screening of a film on January 19 about the patron saint of the World Youth Day, St. José Sánchez del Río, who was martyred at the age of 14 in Mexico, and was canonised on October 16 last year.  
Activities from January 24 to 27, include a Taizé prayer meeting, a spiritual-arts workshop, a sharing session for young people of different nationalities and will culminated with a concert. A World Youth Day Mass is scheduled to be celebrated at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Caine Road, at 8.00pm on January 26.
The events in Hong Kong have been organised in collaboration with the Diocesan Audio Visual Centre, the Diocesan English Youth, the Oblate Youth Hong Kong and other groups.
World Youth Day is an opportunity to open the eyes and the heart to experience the richness of Christianity from the perspective of young people. Participants get to know the lives and spiritual experiences of their peers in cultural setups that are different from those of their country of origin. 
In an interview with the Kung Kao Po on December 21, Father Dominique Mukonda, chairperson of the Diocesan Youth Commission, who went to Panama with the Hong Kong delegation, expressed his hope that the city’s delegates will deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and strengthen their faith. 
“Young people can live out their faith and share it with others, which is one of the directions of the Diocesan Year of the Youth under the theme, Practice, Belief and Youth” he said. 
Father Mukonda said that while the delegates had prepared some souvenirs from Hong Kong, the best gift for people of other countries would be the love of Jesus Christ and the spirit of Hong Kong shown by the delegates themselves. 
To live out the theme of World Youth Day, Father Mukonda encouraged young people to care for the underprivileged in society and follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who humbly did the will of God. He believes a joyful life can only be achieved when one relies on God. 
The Hong Kong delegation returns on January 30. 

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