CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
Diocese gears up for the Year of Faith

HONG KONG (SE): Making known our Catholic identity among people with whom we associate and work was placed high on the agenda for the Year of Faith by Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming at a briefing attended by around 200 people at the Diocese Centre by the Ad Hoc Committee for the Year of Faith on November 11.

Hong Kong diocese will celebrate its official opening of the year on December 16 and Father Chan spoke of the upcoming year, which was declared by Pope Benedict XVI on November 16 last year to run until November 24 next year, as being a time of renewal.

He outlined some of the recommendations that the ad hoc committee has put forward to help people respond to the pope’s call during the Year of Faith at the briefing.

In addition to declaring Catholic identity, he mentioned expressing faith through the Creed in order to strengthen personal awareness of faith prior to taking part in the Eucharist and receiving the sacraments, as well as familiarising ourselves with the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to develop knowledge of the faith and the life of the Church.

He then added four specific suggestions regarding activities that can help with finding our way through difficulties that the living out of the faith can present.

Father Chan then pointed out the diocese has been promoting the Year of Faith at a local level in parish communities organisations since September last year and will continue to do so for another 12 months.

Related seminars have been held and the Diocesan Youth Commission will systematically introduce the Youth Catechism, which was designed by Pope Benedict specifically for young people.

He also encouraged parishes to organise study sessions on the pope’s apostolic letter, Door of Faith (Porta Fidei) and recommended small Christian communities to study the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from Vatican II.

Some input was given on the spirituality of lay people that has developed in the Church in the wake of Vatican II, contrasting how the understanding of their proper role has developed in comparison with its understanding prior to the council.

The briefing also looked at how people have responded to the call of the council and examined how they feel about the manner in which it has developed.

Father Chan pointed out that in pre-council days, the Church tended to isolate itself from the society, simply encouraging people to live a moral and ethical life.

However, he stressed that the council brought an overnight change in that people were suddenly being encouraged to live a biblical-centred faith. He added that another significant change in emphasis came in the fundamental link that the council created between spirituality and the liturgy.

He added that sanctification at a parish or community level also received a new focus, adding that one of the ways in which this has developed is in the rite of catechesis and the emphasis placed on preparing for baptism in a group, as part of a small community, rather than privately as an individual.

“This has given parish life a new emphasis,” he commented.

However, he added that one of the specific agendas of the Year of Faith is to stress that there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of the Church’s social outreach.

He said that in this context, the diocese has encouraged all parishes to set up social concern groups, but lamented that although over 30 parishes responded to the call, only 16 of the groups have survived.

Yuen Lai-hung, a parishioner at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception and member of the parish tour guides group, said she would put the message of the Year of Faith into her work around the Church.

However, Yu Jaam-sam, a teacher of religious studies at Tin Shui Wai Catholic Primary School, pointed to some of the difficulties that exist in concrete life situations.

She admitted that she finds the whole process a big challenge, because the bulk of the people she interacts with in her work each day are not Christian.

She pointed out that her profession is especially impacted upon by the Year of Faith. “The Year of Faith reminds Catholic teachers to try their best to evangelise because this is our responsibility,” she reflected.

More from this section