10/02/2022, 12.26
ECCLESIA IN ASIA
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Hong Kong remembers Cardinal Wu on 20th anniversary of his death

His remains transferred to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He was the pastor of the Synod of the local Church and the Bridge to Mainland China .

 

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - This week the diocese is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, which took place on September 23, 2002.

Cardinal Wu was the fifth bishop of Hong Kong who led the diocese for 27 years, from 1975 until his death. On 28 September to mark the commemoration, the remains of the cardinal, who had been buried in St Michael's Cemetery in Hong Kong, were transferred to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in the presence of a large number of clergy. The current bishop, Stephen Chow, presided over a Mass in the cathedral in his memory, on 4 October at 3pm.

Coinciding with these events, this week's issue of the Sunday Examiner, the weekly newspaper of the diocese of Hong Kong, devotes ample space to remembering the magisterium and pastoral work of Cardinal Wu, through two articles written by Fr. Sergio Ticozzi, PIME missionary.

"The choice of Fr. John Baptist Wu Cheng-Chung as bishop of Hong Kong in 1975," Fr. Ticozzi recalls, "sparked some negative reactions at the local level, since he came from Taiwan and was considered an 'outsider'; some of the clergy wanted a local as bishop. Taking over the leadership of the diocese without the full support of the clergy was a strong challenge for the bishop. This, together with some negative experiences, as well as the difficult challenges of Hong Kong's political situation and, later, health concerns burdened his heart throughout his tenure. However, Bishop Wu was able to face all challenges in a positive and serene manner, keeping a low profile and avoiding the limelight, as he was a humble man who lived a simple life. Indeed, under his leadership, the diocese underwent significant changes and reforms'.

Fr. Ticozzi particularly remembers his open listening style: his 1989 pastoral letter 'On the path to the decade of light: on the pastoral commitment of the diocese of Hong Kong' was the result of a consultation that gathered 12,000 responses from Catholics.

In 1990, he initiated a reorganisation plan for the diocese with the Council of Priests and a mixed group of religious and laity. He was also responsible for the diocesan synod that Hong Kong celebrated between 2000 and 2001 with the aim of assessing the pastoral needs and future prospects of evangelisation in the diocese at the beginning of the third millennium.

But Cardinal Wu was above all the man who fully realised the vocation of the Church of Hong Kong to be a bridge with Mainland China.  Fr Ticozzi  recalls how he was born on March 26, 1925 in Ng-Wa [Wuhua] County, in the diocese of Kaying [now Meizhou], Guangdong.

He had studied in the local minor seminary until 1946, when he entered the South China Regional Seminary in Hong Kong. He had always maintained a special emotional bond with his native place, even though he had not been able to maintain direct contact until he became the bishop of Hong Kong in 1975'.

In 1985 he received an invitation from the Beijing authorities to visit his homeland: it was the first of three historic trips to the People's Republic of China that he made in 1985, 1986 and 1994. And already at the beginning of the 1980s in Hong Kong he had set up the Holy Spirit Centre to support the Church in China. 

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