CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Farewell to the refugee who became a priest

HONG KONG (SE): Oblate Father Peter King passed away on June 22. He was born in Shanghai in 1924, the Year of the Rat. According to the traditional Chinese zodiac, those born in that year are often described as social, quick-witted, always on the go and hard-working. In many ways, this is an apt description of his life and ministry over the past 61 years. 
As a young child, he and his family fled the fury of the Japanese invasion of China. It was in those dark days of pain for him and his family that his desire to serve as a priest was born. 
He landed in the mission of the Columban Fathers where he engaged in various tasks and slowly developed a desire to become a priest. They helped him attend St. Ignatius College for his studies. Father Peter often recalled, “If it had not been for the war, I would not have gone to school or wanted to be a priest. From every bad thing something good can come.” 
The respite at the end of World War II was quickly overshadowed by the ravages of the civil war between the nationalists and communists, and the eventual communist victory in 1949. Peter, together with many other seminarians, fled the country to seek refuge in the Philippines. 
There, in a refugee camp for displaced Chinese seminarians, he pursued his seminary studies. Finally on 19 March 1958, he was ordained a priest in Santa Cruz Church in Manila. His early ministry was in the southern Philippines, serving as a teacher at the Chinese High School at Jolo, Sulu, then as director of the Chinese High School at Kalibo, Aklan. 
He came to know the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and felt called to become one of them. After a year of novitiate, he made his first vows at Kennedy Ranch, Sarita, Texas, the United States of America. in December 1962. Returning to the Philippines, he served in various parishes and taught at Notre Dame University in Cotabato, Mindanao. 
He eventually became very involved in the Mission Apostolate to Overseas Chinese and was outstanding in his work at Queen of Peace Church, Cotabato. 
In 1994, he joined the Oblate China Delegation in Hong Kong and was based at Notre Dame Parish, where he was chaplain and spiritual adviser to multiple groups of migrant domestic helpers.
May he rest in peace.

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