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Cardinal Filoni visits Hong Kong

The prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, visited Taiwan in March and, as the pope’s special envoy, celebrated the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress there. He then visited Macau and Hong Kong from March 4 to 6, meeting with local clergy, and visiting seminaries and post-secondary colleges. 
In Hong Kong, Cardinal Filoni visited the Caritas Institute of Higher Education and consecrated the Institute’s Healthcare Staff Centre on the morning of March 5. He then met with the seminarians at the Holy Spirit Seminary in the afternoon. These institutions are at the forefront of the Church’s training of young people; the Caritas Institute mainly serves disadvantaged young people while the seminary is called the “heart of the diocese.”
The cardinal also shared the mission of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in supporting the development of missions. In evangelising, the Church is always reminded to respect the local culture and to commit to inculturation. 
This year is the centenary of Pope Benedict XV’s encyclical, Maximum Illud, which stresses that evangelisation should respond to local culture and train missionaries to integrate into local cultures, while the local Church must provide local clergy with proper formation.
Cardinal Filoni’s visit inevitably attracted the attention of the media and the faithful concerning the progress in identifying the new bishop of Hong Kong.
Cardinal Filoni, respecting the confidentiality of the process of choosing a bishop, said that the choice is not only about the candidate, but also the future of the local Church. He asked for prayers for the future of the Church in Hong Kong. 
It is natural that many are concerned about who is to be the next bishop and hope that developments within the Church will become clearer sooner rather than later.
Looking back, several former bishops accompanied the faithful in facing the tests and challenges of the times: the Sino-British talks on the future of Hong Kong in the early 1980s; the democratic movement in Beijing in 1989; the disputes between China and Britain on the arrangements of Hong Kong’s transition prior to the handover in the 1990s; and the Hong Kong people’s new understanding of and adaptation to the Chinese regime after the handover.
In recent years, the issues of rich-poor polarisation, housing, and the state policy of integrating Hong Kong within the Greater Bay Area have stirred up the feelings of many people who find it hard to adapt and are worried. How can Church pastors address these signs nd accompany the people? 
The Catholic Church has been in Hong Kong for more than 170 years. How to lead this faith community in remaining active and avoiding rigidity in response to the needs of society is an important task for the future bishop and the entire Church community.
Let us continue to pray for the pope in the selection of the next bishop of Hong Kong. Let us also pray for the Hong Kong diocese so that the Church continues to accompany the public in overcoming various challenges. SE