01/25/2016, 12.31
MACAU

New Macau bishop: Faith and Chinese values live together for the well-being of society

by Victoria Ma

It is the wish expressed by the new bishop, Mgr. Stephen Lee Bun-sang during the ceremony of installation in his new diocese. The pastoral commitment "will start from the family and the education of young people, key to a harmonious society." Relations between China and the Vatican not purpose of his appointment, but "I will keep an eye on". The Church of Macau is and will be a help to the Catholics of China ".

Macau (AsiaNews) – Newly installed Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang of Macao has called local Catholics to unite and live out the Catholic faith and the Chinese values for the well-being of society.

The installation Mass took place on Jan. 23 at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady in Macau at the celebration of the 440th anniversary of the establishment of Macao diocese. The Cathedral was packed with more than 1,000 Catholics, including dozens from Hong Kong and mainland China.

Retired Bishop Jose Lai of Macao, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha of Hong Kong, three papal delegates from Hong Kong and Taipei, and more than 50 priests in Macao and Hong Kong concelebrated.

Raimundo Arrais do Rosário, Macau government's secretary for transport and public works, attended the installation. On Jan. 22, Chief Executive Fernardo Chui Sai-on received Bishops Lai and Lee at the government office, noting the respect of freedom of religion practiced in Macao according to the Basic Law, and his government expects a continued cooperation with the Catholic Church in education, social work and humanitarian works.

At the Mass, Bishop Lai described the new shepherd as “holy and learned” and “with wisdom”, and hoped Bishop Lee would adhere to the two missions of Macau diocese – to proclaim the Gospel and to be a bridge of the East-West cultural exchanges. These two missions have been carried by the missionaries and local Church in Macao for centuries, said the 70-year-old Bishop Lai, whose resigned on medical reasons.

Bishop Lee, 59, told the faithful at the end of Mass that as a newcomer to the diocese, he could not talk any plans now, but hoped the faithful would unite as his episcopal coat of arms reads: "ut omnes unum sint" - "that they all may be one" (John 17:21). He said he would visit all the parishes and to listen to views on how to promote evangelization and cultural exchanges in the diocese.

Bishop Lee spoke in Chinese, English and Portuguese, a language he began to learn.

Bishop Lee told reporters after the Mass that it was also important for Catholics and people in Macau to spread the Chinese values of “cultivating oneself, putting family in order, governing the state, and pacifying the world”, quoting the Chinese “Confucian Analects”. The families and marriages, education and young people’s formation are of his concerns, he added, and for the well-being of the society.

On China-Vatican relation, he told reporters that it is not the purpose of his appointment, but he “would concern this issue”. His appointment by Pope Francis was on the basis of the needs of the evangelization and services of the Church in Macau, he said.

Regarding China, he said, the systems of Macau and mainland are different, but he would strive to assist in the areas of formation and needs of the Church.

Asked if the local Church would speak out on social issues in accord with Catholic social teaching, Bishop Lee told reporters that he knew little about the diocese, but would consult local priests on such matters. The most important thing is to have love as the starting point. He hopes the local people have a heart of peace and live harmoniously together and for the well-being of the society.

Bishop Lee, who speaks Chinese, English and Spanish, said he did not worry about having an obstacle to communicate with the Portuguese-speaking Catholics in Macau. Earlier, he told “O Clarim”, a Church publication in Macao: “I don’t speak Portuguese, but I intend to learn. I speak Spanish, which is similar to Portuguese. I know that I will be helped. Portuguese is an official language of Macao. We will keep it as it is, whether in the Mass, our Church activities, or in the different organizations.”

Published online Jan. 23 in English, Portuguese and Chinese, the “O Clarim” report quoted Bishop Lee on Jan. 18, two days after the announcement that the appointment was “a surprise” to him. It was “less than two weeks back when the representative of the Holy See in Hong Kong informed him about the Pope’s desire,” he said.

A composer Aurelio Porfiri wrote a hymn in Latin dedicated to the new Bishop of Macao, titled “Oremus Pro Antistite Nostro Stephano” in January 2016. He directed a concert Macao in May 2015 commemorating Father Matteo Ricci.

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