Card Zen: Tiananmen memorial Mass for those who sacrificed themselves for freedom
by Victoria Lee

Seven churches held memorial services for the victims of 4 June 1989. Their sacrifice was for a just cause and a peaceful society. For Bishop Ha, “The greatest difficulty in life is the challenge of faith” when the truth is trampled. Despite a ban, people defied police and lit candles outside a cordoned-off Victoria Park.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Card Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, led a memorial Mass this evening (local time) in St Andrew's Church for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“We refuse to be pessimistic,” said Card Zen in his homily, “and we will not be disappointed. In the remembrance of the dead – those killed 32 years ago, our prayer is also for the Lord to lead the rulers to walk on the path of justice and peace.”

The prelate stressed that the Mass was dedicated to those brothers and sisters who, 32 years ago, sacrificed their lives in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and nearby streets “for our democracy, [and] our freedom.”

The cardinal noted that “What they were asking for was a clean government (anti-corruption) and what they wanted was a truly strong country, but unfortunately they had to leave the world with the imprint of rioters.”

Yet, “Their sacrifice is for us,” he noted, “and we embrace their hopes of failure: a just and peaceful society, a regime respected by the people, and a strong country respected by the world.”

“Some people say: The martyrs are in heaven; they have been commemorated for 32 years, that's enough! No, we love the patriotic martyrs, we love our country too much, our hope does not fade,” he explained.

For the Bishop Emeritus, it would be scary not to listen to people's voices even after all these years. The tragedy of 4 June might “gradually go far from us, but [it] seems to reappear before our eyes.”

Hong Kong Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha presided over a memorial Mass at St Francis Church in Kowloon.

In his homily he said that when Jesus' disciples wavered, they asked him for comfort. Jesus responded by telling them to trust God and trust Him. He pointed out that “The greatest difficulty in life is the challenge of faith” when the truth is trampled.

Other memorial Masses were held for the victims of Tiananmen in five other churches with Catholics and others showing that they remembered and cared for the events of 4 June 1989 in China, and for those in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement who have suffered.

This year, like a year ago, the authorities banned the Tiananmen memorial vigil, which has been held each year in Victoria Park, ostensibly on health ground to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, many Hong Kongers marked the occasion by placing lit candles in front of their windows. Others lit candles in various parts of the city. Hundreds defied the ban and met at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Although they were quickly turned away by police, some managed to lit candles outside the park.