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Hong Kong hosts international lay ministry conference

 

HONG KONG (SE): Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming says that he has high expectations for the upcoming Conference on Sharing the Experience of Lay Ministry scheduled to be held in Hong Kong as a culminating event for the Year of the Laity from October 27 to November 1 (see insert).

Delegates at the conference are coming from across the Chinese-speaking world, including the Chinese diaspora in Australia, the United States of America and Canada, Europe and Africa.

As president of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Year of the Laity, Father Chan told the Sunday Examiner on October 16 that the ministry of lay people is vital in the Church today. 

“They are sent to bear witness to God in society by making use of the gifts they have received from God in ministries like prison visitation and other pastoral services in schools and hospitals,” he said.

He added that the delegates from Hong Kong have already prepared presentations about various aspects of the lay ministries that will be presented at the conference.

Four training sessions were held between May and October to prepare people for the week-long event.

“Love starts with understanding. If we understand more, we will love our faith more,” Father Chan said, explaining that most of those who attended the training sessions are leaders in local parishes and aged between 40 and 45.

“We have certain expectations of them as well. We hope that they will learn more about themselves, the Church and the Chinese Catholics from around the world at the conference,” he commented.

Father Chan said that he is expecting around 170 people to attend the conference which will be held in Cheung Chau, with around 100 people coming from overseas.

As a follow up activity in November, 10 groups from Hong Kong will pay return visits to the overseas delegations to get an insight into their involvement in Church.

He drew a connection between the Year of Faith and the Year of the Laity, saying that because the former starts on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which placed great emphasis on the role of the laity in the Church, the timing of the two celebratory years is significant.

He pointed to the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity as a basic text for the lay apostolate and noted that it is one of the major resources for the Year of the Laity.

He added that during the Year of Faith, 16 seminars will be organised to reflect on different issues of faith.

 

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