CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Experiencing joy by spreading it 
is theme of diocesan youth day

HONG KONG (SE): The Diocesan Youth Commission organised a two-day gathering for young people at Mother of Good Counsel in San Po Kong from August 18 to 19.

The 110 young people aged between 15 and 35 who took part in the interactive programme said that they found sharing their joy with others a fulfilling experience.

The English-speaking communities were also represented by participants from the LifeTeen programme at Rosary parish, Tsimshatsui, and the youth group of St. Joseph’s parish, Central.

Activities varied from visiting migrant workers in the streets and people in their sunset years living alone, to scratching around a few second-hand shops in order to get to know more about how others live.

They said that this helped them to become more aware of their own identities as Catholic people and their ability to bring joy into the lives of others.

They also explored their own spiritual dimension, shared with others and took part in some street theatre on a pedestrian zone in the streets of Mongkok.

At a sharing session on August 18, they were invited to talk about the joy they feel in their hearts.

Chan Chung-yan, a secondary four student who was baptised last year, said faith had taught her gratitude for all kinds of things, which she found especially important growing up in a single parent family.

“As a catechumen, I learned to feel God’s love and always have joy in my heart,” she shared.

She added, “I am glad for the support I received from many people during that time and now I can be a companion to other catechumens.” 

Sin Wing-san said that the most joyful moment for her is when she can feel the harmony among the members of her family. She explained that her parents used to have a poor relationship and her mother lived in Thailand.

However, as her father suffered a stroke last year, her mother came back to take care of him. “I was saddened by my father’s loss of health at that time. But the problem gave me a complete family back to help me face the difficult time. I feel joy in this,” she told the group.

A Franciscan seminarian, Angelo Pang Yi-wai, said finds joy in attending Mass every morning and receiving the Eucharist. 

He added that he also feels a sense of joy cleaning up the garden at the seminary, as he finds being outdoors helps him to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

During an evening prayer gathering, Father Joseph Chan Wing-chiu encouraged people to cherish the joy in their hearts. “Rain or shine, if we can face it with joy and hope, we will have peace,” he told the group.

Fung Yuen-yan, a member of the preparation committee, explained that the programme was intended to help young people look at joy from different angles. She said, “For those living under the poverty line or experiencing the plight of ethnic minorities, it is hard to smile. But through the visitation experiences, young people found they could feel joy through spreading it and being a blessing to other people.”

The joy experienced on the first day of the programme was expressed in the various artworks created that were displayed on the streets in Mongkok on the following day.

Leung Hap-hang, from Sacred Heart in Saikung, said that while visiting the second-hand market in Shum Shui Po on the first day of the programme, he came into contact with people who really have a tough life, without the basic necessities he takes for granted.

He said he would make more donations to the needy in so far as he could.

Wong Ho-kiu, a pastoral officer from the Youth Commission, said the theme of experiencing and spreading joy as a young Catholic was set in response to the theme of the upcoming World Youth Day to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next year, Always be joyful in the Lord!

“Everybody wants to find joy, but most people are only after material gratification,” she said, adding that young Catholics can find joy through visiting the needy and deepening their understanding of God.

“For example, they can get to know how the people they are talking to find joy in their lives. They can also see God’s love in the process,” she concluded.

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