Bishop Li Shan of Beijing begins Hong Kong visit

Card Chow received an image of Matteo Ricci as a gift. Bishop Li will stay for five days, like the new cardinal did in April in the Chinese capital. The meetings will include a visit to the seminary. The bishop of Hong Kong hopes to see a deeper understanding and closer human ties between the two dioceses.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing began his visit to Hong Kong this evening with the recitation of vespers in the chapel of the diocesan Curia.

Appointed last year president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the "official" body controlled by the Communist Party, the prelate is reciprocating the visit made to Beijing by Card Stephen Chow Sau-yan, last April, the first by a bishop of Hong Kong in the Chinese capital after almost thirty years.

In the morning the cardinal himself, together with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha, welcomed Bishop Li at the Diocesan Centre on Caine Road, Hong Kong. Li Shan's visit will last five days – exactly the same as Chow's visit to Beijing.

In the cardinal's office, an exchange of gifts took place to mark the historic visit. Bishop Li presented Cardinal Chow with a glass image of Venerable Matteo Ricci, while the cardinal presented the Bishop of Beijing with an image of Saints Peter and Paul carved on white marble.

During his visit to Hong Kong, Bishop Li will meet with various offices of the diocese, in order to boost exchanges and collaboration. Among the most important stops will be some educational establishments and the Holy Spirit seminary.

Some representatives of the Diocese of Beijing will also participate in the Third International Conference of Chinese Permanent Deacons, which is currently underway in Hong Kong. In addition to deacons from the former British colony, permanent deacons of Chinese origin travelled from the United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

In the Thanksgiving Mass upon becoming cardinal on 4 November, Bishop Chow expressed the hope that Bishop Li's five-day visit would lead to deeper understanding and closer human ties between the Churches of Hong Kong and Beijing.