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Welcoming the Year of the Pig

Wishing you good luck and prosperity (Kung Hei Fat Choi)! This is how people greet each other on Chinese New Year, the most important cultural festival for the people of China. This year, the nation of 1.4 billion people begins celebrations on February 5 which will see the largest human migration in the world. According to government figures, over 385 million people were on the move to celebrate the Spring Festival last year. 
Chinese New Year marks the celebration of family reunions and honouring the ancestors. It begins on the eve of the New Year with offerings of food and incense at an altar for the ancestors, followed by a family reunion dinner. The New Year begins with the exchange of good wishes and with married people handing out red packets (lai see) with money in them to the younger ones as a symbol of prosperity. 
The new year calls for new hopes, targets and resolutions. We have tried to reach out to our readers to find out their bucket-list of hopes and aspirations for the Year of the Pig. And there are some interesting items on the list! Some desire that the coming year really be one of the Pig! In Chinese culture, pigs are symbols of wealth and their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune! 
For many pious Catholics in Hong Kong, the bucket-list included some good wishes for the Church in China. The passing year witnessed some major developments in the life of the Church, whether for good or bad is yet to be seen. The signing of provisional agreement between China and Vatican was one of them, but the continued persecution of Christians is alarming. 
According to the annual Open Doors World Watch List, released on January 16, “the situation facing the faith in China is the worst since the Cultural Revolution.” Open Doors calculates the total number of Christians in China at around 97,200,000 and around 87 per cent of them face some sort of persecution. 
An interesting item in the bucket-list for the Year of the Pig was about the continuation of the initiative that began with the provisional agreement between the Holy See and the government of China. Some have suggested that it would be appropriate that the Holy See recognises the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China soon and that it appoints new bishops for many of the vacant sees of the dioceses in the Mainland. 
Someone moved a step further to wish the next consistory of Pope Francis would include the name of a Chinese bishop or two for the red hat!
Someone added this note to the bucket-list: “That we may have a bishop for Hong Kong with the determination of Cardinal Zen, tenderness of Cardinal Tong and clarity of Bishop Yeung.”
Dreams and desires have no boundaries. We dream for the stars so that we may reach at least the moon! As the Year of the Dog gives way to the Year of the Pig, we wish good health, happiness and an abundance of blessings to all our readers. jose