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Hong Kong cardinal discusses evangelization amid challenges

October 09, 2012

In a brief address to the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong discussed evangelization initiatives in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The Holy Father is the president of the Synod of Bishops, and three presidents-delegate can take his place in presiding over the assembly; Cardinal Tong Hon served as president-delegate on October 8.

“‘The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith’ is really an urgent topic, because many people in the world still do not know our Lord Jesus Christ, and many of the baptized have given up the practice of their faith,” he began.

“In Hong Kong, before the return of the sovereignty of the city to China in 1997, many families faced crises caused by fear of living under the Communist regime,” the prelate recounted, adding:

The term “crisis” in the Chinese language is made up of two characters “danger” and “opportunity.” Thus, facing the crisis of insecurity, even non-practicing Catholics returned to the Church for spiritual support. And many faithful attended catechesis, Bible and theology courses to deepen their own faith and to be evangelizers. Today our diocese has more than a thousand well-trained volunteer catechists. This year more than three thousand adults received baptism at the Easter Vigil …

In northern China, a parish priest in the countryside shared with me his experience of evangelization. After much prayer, he decided to divide the parishioners into two groups with different missions. He gave the newly baptized the mission to bring their non-Catholic friends and relatives to learn the catechesis, and to the long-time Catholics the mission of teaching the catechism to the catechumens. During the teaching, this priest prayed fervently in the church. Eventually, the parish witnessed more than a thousand baptisms a year.


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