Bishop of Hong Kong: Advent, 2018 dedicated to young people

Mgr Yeung thanks youth for their response to the Church’s call. Their frank demands include a Church that is more outreaching and open to dialogue. He cites Pope Francis who urged people to “trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Mgr Michael Yeung, bishop of Hong Kong, released the traditional letter from the diocese on the occasion of Advent.

In it he addresses young people and their hopes, thanking them “for your initiative and your enthusiastic, courageous and creative response to the call of the Church”.

His commitment to the new generation is expressed in the Year of Youth, which the Catholic Church in Hong Kong has declared in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on Youth, scheduled for October 2018.

The year dedicated to young people officially began with the first Sunday of Advent and will end with the Solemnity of Christ the King next year.

In his pastoral letter, the prelate defines Advent as a time "for looking forward, for sharing”, to live with "expectant hope and reverence".

For this reason, “it is also right and fitting that I should, once again, stress the importance of continuing, with renewed faith and love my engagement and dialogue with our young people. You, the young people, are our hope.”

“[F]rom the bottom of my heart,” the bishop thanks all the young people he met since the start of his episcopal mandate, "especially but not only the leaders".

Many young people attended the prelate’s ceremony of investiture on 5 August. Many young Catholics are engaged in society and took part in the Occupy Central movement.

“I humbly pray that the Lord will give me ‘a listening heart’ (1 Kings 3:9). You have given me much to listen to and food for thought,” he writes.

Indeed, the young people of Hong Kong have addressed several frank demands to the bishop. They want the Church to be more outreaching and transparent, and ask for greater active participation and platforms for dialogue.

“Let me say here at once that personally I agree with you,” Mgr Yeung says in his letter. “I shall, with God’s help and yours, in consultation and with the cooperation of the clergy, the laity and others concerned, make every effort to achieve what you have suggested.”

“We are often told there is opportunity in danger and danger in opportunity. But there is a greater danger in not making use of opportunities or in refusing to take up the challenges that face us, from which we cannot excuse or recluse ourselves.”.

The prelate noted that Pope Francis gave encouragement to young people during the vigil prayer at the World Youth Day in Poland, on 31 July 2016.

“Jesus is the Lord of risk, of the eternal ‘more’. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease,” the prelate writes citing the pontiff and his exhortation.

“Following Jesus’ demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths, to blaze trails that open up new horizons capable of spreading joy, the joy that is born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy”.