Mgr Chow’s coat of arms includes the Tsing-Ma bridge and a ‘far-reaching’ giraffe
The new bishop, who will make his entry in Hong Kong on 4 December, has released his coat of arms and his motto. The latter show a willingness to overcome internal divisions and a Church that aims to widen its gaze towards a broader horizon.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The new bishop of Hong Kong, Mgr Stephen Chow Sau-yan, has made public the motto and the coat of arms that will accompany him in his episcopal ministry, which will begin with his ordination in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 4 December.
Hitherto head of the Chinese Jesuit province (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China), Mgr Chow was appointed on 17 May.
Since then, he has held only one press conference immediately after his appointment; thus, his coat of arms and the motto are the first indication of how he sees the tasks that await him.
The motto Ad maiorem Dei gloriam follows that of his congregation, the Society of Jesus, while the letters IHS at the top of the coat of arms correspond to the Society’s Christogram symbol.
However, what strikes the eye first and foremost is the presence of an image of Hong Kong in the coat’s lower part, namely Tsing-Ma bridge, the modern suspension bridge that connects Tsing Yi Island to the mainland.
The “Mission of our Church is to be a bridge for different parties to meet by moving over it,” reads the coat’s description.
The choice of the Tsing-Ma bridge is important because it connects two different parts of Hong Kong's territory, unlike the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, which runs links Hong Kong to Macau via mainland China.
Perhaps the symbols suggest the need to start afresh at a time when Hong Kong’s internal situation is one of deep divisions.
The central symbol suggests that unity can be achieved in diversity, its various intertwined forms and colours, but only by “respecting the uniqueness and independence of each” within “a greater whole”.
Lastly, the coat or arms is completed by the presence of two animals: a dove with an olive branch and, most unusual, a giraffe.
The first is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, while the second’s “big heart [. . .] symbolizes inclusiveness and generosity”, with a “long neck [that] allows it to have a vista with a wide horizon and a far-reaching vision.”