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Catholic presence at annual book fair

HONG KONG (SE): Over 10 Catholic organisations, including the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, Catholic Messengers of Green Consciousness, the Central Council of Catholic Laity, the Media Centre of Daughters of St. Paul, the Christian Life Community and the Catholic Centre, joined the annual Hong Kong Book Fair, held from July 17 to 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wanchai this year, to promote the reading of books for spiritual formation.
 
The blessing ceremony was officiated by John Cardinal Tong Hon, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, at the Catholic exhibition area on the fifth floor at 10.00am on July 17. 
 
He expressed thanks to God for giving humankind the ability to speak and write so that they can hear the Word of God. He was also grateful to God for giving people the chance to obtain spiritual food through the press, which is especially important for young people.
 
Cardinal Tong express hopes that there would be more Christian authors to serve as channels of God’s wisdom, courage and love to his people. The cardinal then sprinkled holy water over the exhibition booths.
 
Small forums were also organised in a corner of the exhibition area. Topics for discussion included environmental protection, family, values of life, youth pastoral work and others.
 
One of the topics was a recommendation of the Chinese version of the book, Love and Responsibility, recently published by the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family. The book, explaining Church teachings on marriage from a philosophical standpoint, was written by Karol Wojtyła before he became Pope John Paul II and was originally published in Polish in 1960, and in English in 1981. It was introduced by Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing at a session on July 19.
 
The annual book fair is an occasion for teachers and pastoral workers to look for new books which can bring inspiration to their work. 
 
Wendy On Suet-ying, a kindergarten principal, told the Sunday Examiner that she and her teachers came to the Catholic booths every year to look for prayer books for small children as well as spiritual guidebooks to be used in the morning spiritual study sessions for teachers, to bring encouragement to them in their work. Apart from that, she also looks for books promoting positive attitudes on life as well as books that can help children explore the world.
 
Amy Chau, a legionnaire at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, said she came to look for new books which can strengthen the formation of parishioners of different ages. 
 
She said she would order in bulk and resell them at parish book sales. She observed that books recently favoured by young people were comics about the gospel and saints.
 
May Leung said she still likes to read comic books depicting the stories of Jesus even though she is now in her 60s because there is wisdom in the simple presentation of these books and they are good for relaxation.
 
Siu Yuen-man, a Catholic teacher, told the Kung Kao Po that there are many books on ethics published by Catholic organisations but young people have not shown a strong interest in reading such materials recently and they prefer books with fewer words or simple novels. 
 
She advised formation workers, while leading sharing sessions about life or ethics, to bring out the messages in such books and encourage young people to look for answers or study themselves. 
 
She said a good guidebook is the DOCAT, the youth catechism about the social doctrine of the Catholic Church published in 2016. She said her parish considered including it in youth catechism as well as formation classes for those who have received the sacrament of confirmation.
 
The Catholic booths also paid tribute to late Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung who passed away in January this year, by giving away leaflets about his life. 
 
A book of the late bishop’s regular columns published in Kung Kao Po and the Caritas newsletter, was also a recommended item in the exhibition area. 
 
It was compiled by an editorial team from the Holy Cross parish, Shau Kei Wan, and published by the Kung Kao Po.

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