Hong Kong Church and society gather for the funeral of its bishop (Photo)
by Paul Wang

Cardinals John Tong, Joseph Zen, auxiliary bishop Joseph Ha, priests from China, Muslim representatives, Buddhists, Taoists present at the Funeral Mass in the Cathedral. The head of the executive, Carrie Lam, also took part. The representative of the Holy See read the telegram from Pope Francis. Msgr. Ma Daqin, bishop of Shangahi under house arrest, recalled Msgr. Yeung in his blog.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of people filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception this morning to bid a final farewell to the late Msgr. Michael Yeung Ming-cheung who died on 3 January last.

The bishop's funeral, presided over by Card. John Tong Hon, apostolic administrator of the diocese, became a moment of unity for Hong Kong’s Christian community and wider society. Civil personalities in attendance included the head of the executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor; the general secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the finance secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and others. Also present were representatives of the different religions and confessions present in the territory: Buddhist and Taoist monks, Muslims, Protestants, Orthodox.

At the Mass, which began at 10 this morning, many priests participated and above all, next to Card. Tong was Card. Joseph Zen and the auxiliary bishop Msgr. Joseph Ha. In recent days among the Catholics themselves a controversy broke out on the reasons why the Vatican had chosen Card. Tong instead of Msgr. Ha as the temporary leadership of the diocese, fearing that the Holy See is increasingly obedient to China. Both Card. Zen and Mons. Ha had the task of defending the Vatican’s decision.

At the funeral, Msgr. Ante Jozic, of the Holy See's study mission - a kind of unofficial nunciature for China - read the message of condolences from Pope Francis sent a few days ago.

Some priests from mainland China also concelebrated at the Mass. And Msgr. Taddeo Ma Daqin, bishop of Shanghai, who has been under house arrest for almost seven years, recalled the deceased bishop, who was originally from Shanghai, on his blog.

In his homily, Msgr. Ha recalled the bishop's motto ("Arise, let us go") and stressed that he has always lived by responding urgently to the needs of society, working for reconciliation of conflicts. Msgr. Ha - who had Msgr. Yeung as a teacher in the seminary - also recalled that he had chosen the situation of young people as his first priority in his pastoral commitment.

Msgr. Yeung’s niece in her eulogy spoke of her uncle as an extremely diligent and humble person. " I once told him to rest more as he was already a powerful leader with a team that could help with his work. But he said in response that power entailed duties, and that those capable might not be powerful while the powerful might not be capable," she said.

The funeral ceremony was streamed live online and many Catholics followed it in their parishes. Yesterday evening, Card. Zen presided over a wake in the cathedral, a few hours after the coffin was brought into the church which was left open for the faithful to pay their respects.

Bishop Yeung will be buried in the Catholic cemetery of St Michael in Happy Valley.