23 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/10/2012 11:18
VATICAN-HONG KONG- CHINA
Card Tong: evangelizing is a challenge and an opportunity, and many convert, in China too
The cardinal, bishop of Hong Kong, is one of the three presidents of the Synod, chosen by Benedict XVI. In his introduction to the working session, the stressed the commitment to Evangelization in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. Every year there are thousands of adult baptisms. The value of witness of the laity.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Synod on the New Evangelization has just started, but already the difficult situation of secularization, lack of certainties and the spiritual quest is being seen not only a challenge, but a good opportunity for Christian witness. This was underlined by Card. John Tong, Bishop of Hong Kong, introducing the work of the Synod in the first session, held on 8 October. The Cardinal is one of the three presidents of the assembly, chosen by Benedict XVI. He recalled the missionary task of the Church in Hong Kong, which receives every year about three thousand candidates for baptism, with similar numbers in Macau and China, thanks to the help and the testimony of many lay people.

Here is the full text of Card. Tong's intervention:

Dear Holy Father, On behalf of the Synod Fathers and participants, I would like to extend our heartfelt greetings and deep gratitude to you for inviting us to this Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. 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. Fifty years ago, the Second Vatican Council encouraged us to launch out into the deep (Lk 5:4). Today, in a similar way, we must take the Early Church community (Acts 2:42-47) as our model of evangelization. The members of that community possessed three qualities which can be expressed in three Greek words: didache, koinonia and diakonia. Didache means doctrine, which is not just a theory, but rather a personal taking on of the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus Christ. Koinonia means communion on different levels: fundamentally with God; and then with all the members of the Church; and further with the people of the whole world, particularly with the poor. Diakonia means service of which Jesus instructs us not to be served but to serve and even to the total gift of self, leading to the cross. (cf. Mt 20:28)

These three qualities have been manifested in Hong Kong, Macao and Mainland China. 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 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. Macao, our neighboring diocese, has made similar efforts and has seen an increase in the number of baptisms in recent years. 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. Among the characteristics of didache, koinonia and diakonia as exemplified in the Early Church and reflected in the testimonies given above, didache seems to me the most important, because God works through us as His witnesses. Nowadays, facing a materialistic culture in the world, and the problem of many fallen-away Catholics in the Church, we must be zealous witnesses of our faith. We must also pay attention to the youth, as the Holy Father frequently reminds us: "Let the young people be evangelizers of the youth". God's salvific plan is amazing. I am sure that, with faith, hope and love, we will succeed in our mission of evangelization. Dear Holy Father, the Synod Fathers and participants, thank you for your kind attention. Looking forward to hearing your testimonies.

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/17/2012 VATICAN - CHINA-HONG KONG
Bishop John Tong, a new cardinal for Hong Kong and China
by Bernardo Cervellera
01/06/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
Cardinal-designate John Tong: a confirmation of HK’s role as "bridge" between Beijing & Vatican
by Annie Lam
03/07/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
Card Tong: Pray for China-Vatican dialogue and for our role as a bridge-church
by Annie Lam*
03/11/2009 HONG KONG - CHINA
Cardinal Zen to leave helm of Hong Kong diocese after Easter
12/29/2008 HONG KONG – VATICAN – CHINA
Cardinal Zen to retire next year to work on the Church in China

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.