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Vocation Sunday in a time of transition

Today is celebrated as Vocation Sunday in the worldwide Church.

Speaking at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, the day that the diocese celebrates the collegiality of its priests with the bishop, as well as Christ’s gift of the Eucharist to the Church, the bishop of Hong Kong dwelt on the urgent need for more people to put their names down to provide this vital service for the community.

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Keeping World Youth Day in focus

The euphoria of last year’s World Youth Day in Madrid was still building when the announcement came that the next gathering would be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one year ahead of schedule.

The other part of the message was to start making plans to be there.

World Youth Day has developed a time-proven path of extensive preparation done in the home diocese, participation and then follow-up programmes to put the experience into a context of local life.

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A gift without strings

A volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society recalled a late night call where the single mother greeted him with a beer can in one hand and cigarette in the other.

After refusing him entry, the mother looked through the food parcel and then complained, “You forgot the nappies for the baby.”

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The devil and the deep blue sea

The arrival of the chief executive-in-waiting of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, was greeted with demonstrations in various parts of the city, prayers for universal suffrage in churches and general skepticism among the public at large.

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A cardinal’s prophetic voice

The periodic rumble about domestic worker litter in the city reared its ugly head again in late February with complaints about the crowded public parks, facilities, nooks and crannies.

On March 4, the Sunday Morning Post went to bat for the migrant workers, editorialising that they have as much right to public facilities as anyone else. It suggested that instead of complaining, it would be more constructive to look to planning the provision of adequate space and conveniences.

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Closed-circle elections not democratic

March 25 is the fifth Sunday of Lent. In the gospel reading of the Mass, Jesus Christ speaks of himself as a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. He rose from the dead three days after being crucified, opening the way to salvation to all people. This text is a timely reminder of the virtues of faith, hope and charity.

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Baptism is beginning of the long haul

At a Mass on March 3 welcoming John Cardinal Tong Hon back from Rome as a cardinal, the bishop of Hong Kong outlined his four pastoral concerns: evangelisation, promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, care for non-Chinese Catholics living in the local diocese and the Church in China.

He put evangelisation as the top of his priority list and highlighted it as something that all pastors and parishioners should commit themselves to.

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Change begins with self

The widespread publicity in Hong Kong given to alleged imprudence and corruption by those at the top of the political heap, as well as accusations of irregularities in business conduct, has been the talk of the town in recent weeks.

According to a seven-part behavioural study done by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Toronto in Canada, high-flyers are prone to flunking morality tests when it comes to protecting their interests or seeking financial gain.

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A wakeup call from 
the Indian bishops

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India renewed its dedication to sensitising and conscientising the faithful of the Church to the rampant human rights abuses, which the bishops say are characteristic of Indian society, in the closing statement of its two-yearly plenary assembly on February 8.

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The few are not out in the cold

A peep at the handful of people who turned up to prayer meetings and other functions organised during the recently completed Week of Prayer for Christian Unity could indicate that the ecumenical movement in Hong Kong is going nowhere fast.