Farewell to Hong Kong’s champion of Natural Family Planning and family life

Ramon an Irene Ruiz with Mother Teresa. Photo: supplied

HONG KONG (SE): One of the key founders and former chairperson of the Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council (HKCMAC), Dr. Ramon Chu Ruiz, passed away peacefully in London, the United Kingdom, in the early hours of February 17, at the age of 95 following a short illness.

In 1965, Ruiz, a renowned pulmonologist in Hong Kong, was invited, together with his wife, Dr. Irene Osmund Ruiz, to join with a few Catholic medical practitioners to set up five medical advisory centres in Hong Kong by the Jesuit Father Edward Collins. The couple were the pioneers in promoting Natural Family Planning and Family Life Education in Hong Kong.

They instructed parish couples as well as the general public the Natural Family Planning method, aligning with the teachings of Church on reproduction. They actively committed their time and effort to the incorporation of the HKCMAC, with the aim of nurturing successful marriages and responsible parenthood through advice, guidance and education.

Ruiz became chairperson of the executive committee of the HKCMAC in 1971. Under his leadership, the council grew strong and healthy. Many pioneer services such as Pre-marriage Education, Family Life Education, Marriage Counselling, Marriage Mediation, Sex Therapy, Parish Volunteers Training and others, were inaugurated because of his commitment to serve couples. 

Over the years, he was a great support to several presidents of the HKCMAC, including Bishop Lawrence Bianchi, Bishop Francis Hsu, Bishop Peter Lei, John Cardinal Wu Cheng-chung and Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun, in promoting joyful marriages and happy families in the parish as well as with the general public. 

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Ruiz devoted himself to promoting Natural Family Planning and in 1983, on behalf of Hong Kong, he organised a five-day conference of the International Federation for Family Life Promotion (IFFLP) in Hong Kong, bringing together of 500 experts and scholars from 73 countries. He also invited St. Teresa of Kolkata to be the guest speaker for the opening ceremony. The conference was a great success.

From 1996 to 2007, with the funding from the Misereor, of the German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation, and Missio, the Pontifical Mission Societies, Ruiz introduced the Sympto-Thermal Method to Guangzhou, China.

Together with a few volunteers, he set up two clinics there and trained volunteer instructors to serve the people there. He was glad to see Natural Family Planning included as a Family Planning Programme in China afterwards.

Ramon and Irene Ruiz were a fervent Catholic couple and shared their faith and Christian family values with all members of the HKCMAC, serving as a great example to all.

Ruiz formally retired in 2007, after 42 years of accomplished service at the HKCMAC. He was dedicated to serving God through promoting Christian values in marriage and family. His benevolence and concern for the marriages and families will always be remembered. He will be missed by his wife, Irene, and their children.

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The Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council expresses deep sorrow at his passing. 

May Ramon Ruiz, through the mercy of the Lord, enter into his Kingdom and rest in peace. May the love of the Lord bless and console his family members.     

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