CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Youth parish groups gather to discuss DOCAT

HONG KONG (SE): In response to the Year of Youth, a seminar on DOCAT, the summary of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church for young people, was held at St. Francis parish, Sham Shui Po on February 23, to help parishes formulate directions in youth pastoral care.
 
The seminar, attended by around 180 people from different parishes dealing with the pastoral care of young people, was organised by a parish social concern group formed by a number of Catholic organisations including the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission, the Commission for Labour Affairs and the Diocesan Commission for Marriage and the Family. 
 
Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing explained that the focus of DOCAT is to encourage young people to actively live out the social doctrine of the Church.
 
The bishop said it is the responsibility of the Church to help those in need in building God’s kingdom on earth. 
 
He  referenced Pope St. Paul VI’s 1965 encyclical, Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), which says that the Church “realises that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.” 
 
Bishop Ha explained that as God journeys with us, the Church must journey with other people. In other words, the clergy should speak up on social issues and unjust government policies.
 
He said the Church has doctrines related to family, society and the world, which were formed on the principles of human dignity, the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity.
 
He also mentioned social issues in Hong Kong such as housing, student suicides and the lack of standard working hours. He said people should look at the reasons behind the suffering and see if it is unjust policies which give people a sense of failure instead of blaming a certain group of people for supposedly not working hard enough for a better life.
 
There were workshops explaining different chapters of the book. Peter Ho Man-hong, assistant executive secretary of the Diocesan Commission for Marriage and the Family, explained the doctrines about families, while the labour commission talked about human work and economic life in another workshop in which a cleaning worker was invited to share his life. The Justice and Peace Commission led a discussion about power and morality as well as the importance of safeguarding creation and the environment. 
 
Participants were later invited to share their views in groups. 
 
Chan Man-tong, a member of the youth pastoral group of St. John the Baptist parish, Kwun Tong, said she and three other group members attended different workshops on that day so that they can have more information to share during the youth pastoral activities this year. 
 
Ho Lai-yu, secretary of the group, said the youth activities in the parish focus on spirituality and the DOCAT inspired him to include social teaching in youth activities in the coming year so that young people have a chance to serve others with love, following the example of Jesus Christ.
 
Subtitled, What to do, the DOCAT, released during World Youth Day 2016, in Poland, follows on from the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), which was released during World Youth Day 2011 in Spain. 
 
DOCAT covers 328 questions and answers contained in 12 chapters about love, the Church’s social mission, the human person, principles of the Church’s social teaching, family, work, economic life, political community, the international community, the environment, peace and love in action.
 
Paul Wong Yi-tin, chairperson of the parish council of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, Tai Po, observed that young people come to church with different needs as some like to deepen their spirituality through prayer meetings, while others prefer more interactive events. 
 
He said traditional ways of youth pastoral care may not be suitable for some young people now and that the parish is still exploring various directions. 
 
Last year, it launched a cooperative project with schools to encourage more young people to participate, but the turnout was not good. 
 
He said another challenge is that young people hope new technology can be introduced to Church services. For example, some have suggested offerings be allowed via digital payment, which may not be acceptable to traditional parishioners.

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