CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Faith and Light community remembers Jean Vanier

HONG KONG (SE): Over 60 members of the Faith and Light Community of Hong Kong celebrated a Mass at St. Bonaventure Church, Tsz Wan Shan, on June 9, the Pentecost Sunday, in memory of its founder, Jean Vanier who passed away on May 7 (Sunday Examiner, May 12). 
 
Father Giosue Bonzi, who celebrated the liturgy, expressed his appreciation of Vanier, who served the weakest and the disadvantaged people and lived a fruitful life driven by the Holy Spirit.
 
A humanitarian, philosopher and theologian, Vanier was the founder of two international communities for people with intellectual disabilities: L’Arche in 1968 and Faith and Light in 1971. He received the Templeton Prize in 2015 for his promotion of solidarity among people with and without disabilities. 
 
Vanier died at the age of 90 and his funeral, in the simplicity he wanted, was held on May 16 in Trosly Breuil, France. Only people who had received an invitation from L’Arche were able to attend the ceremony, which as held in private with just his community and his family present. It was, however, broadcast live by KTO, a French Catholic television channel.
 
After the Mass, Gracy Tong Ka-lai, a representative of the Faith and Light Community, shared her experiences in France. She said she was thankful for the chance to go to Trosly Breuil, the place where L’Arche was founded, and learn more about Vanier’s life.
 
As the mother of an intellectually-challenged child, Tong thanked Vanier for dedicating his life to people with disabilities. She said that because of his work, they have become more recognised by the Church and have more opportunities to join mainstream activities. 
 
Tong said the Faith and Light Community in Hong Kong chose to remember of life of Jean Vanier on Pentecost Sunday so that they could pray for more empowering from the Holy Spirit for sharing the gift of faith in the Church and in the world.
 
Today, Faith and Light has 1,450 communities in 81 countries on five continents. The group is heading towards its 50th anniversary in 2021, which will be celebrated with international pilgrimages organised by different communities.
 
St. Mary’s Church, Hung Hom; St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley; and Star of the Sea Church, Chaiwan; have Faith and Light communities. 

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