CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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World Youth Day delegate thrilled to walk with the pope

HONG KONG (SE): During the last World Youth Day (WYD), held from January 22 to 27 in Panama, Constance Lau Wing-chi, a delegate from Hong Kong had the privilege of being one of the five youth representatives from different continents to welcome Pope Francis to the event.
The 19-year-old Lau, the youngest delegate from Hong Kong, was chosen to represent delegates from Asia. She said it was the biggest reward and a gift from God in her WYD journey. She took the chance to ask the pope to pray for Hong Kong and China.
Before heading to Panama, the Hong Kong delegation first went to Mexico City, Mexico, to join a retreat, pilgrimages and Days in the Diocese activities. It was during the retreat, that Lau, to her great excitement, was told she had been selected to welcome the pope. 
She told the Kung Kao Po in a February 4 interview that meeting the Pope Francis was one of the wishes she expressed to the coordinators of the delegation. 
She said she felt really grateful and was nervous about facing the crowd so she prayed for God’s guidance. Lau recalled that she received many well-wishes from the Hong Kong delegates, who later wrote down prayer intentions to be given to the pope.  
Lau said the situation of the Church in Hong Kong as well as in China are the concerns of all people. 
“While the persecution of the faithful in China is one thing we prayed for, we also prayed for the Hong Kong Church as it is still grieving the loss of Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung and we are not sure about the future,” she said.
Lau recalled that on January 24, she arrived at 10.00am at the Santa Maria la Antigua Field in Panama City, where the welcoming ceremony was held, to prepare herself and she had a chance to chat with the representatives from the four other continents who shared their lives and culture, as well as the feelings of being selected. “The most important thing to do on stage is to keep smiling,” they were told during the rehearsals!  
She recalled that it was Pope Francis who went backstage to shake hands and offer a rosary to each of them that afternoon. The pope then suggested that the six of them walk hand-in-hand to the site of the ceremony and then held her left hand. The five then watched performances, prayed with the pope on stage and paid floral tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
She remembers how Pope Francis invited the representatives to go backstage together by elevator to where they had a short gathering and took some selfies. Lau requested the pope to pray for Hong Kong and China and he took her hands and said, “I must come to China.” 
After meeting the pope, Lau and the other representatives continued to join other World Youth Day events with lingering excitement.

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