HONG KONG (SE): People gathered for a prayer service, organised by Church youth groups, at the Marian grotto of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on November 13, to intercede for an awakening of conscience and for the forgiveness of Church organisations as well as individuals for doing not enough during the recent social unrest in Hong Kong caused by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Prayers were also offered for the disclosure of truth as well as the setting up of an independent inquiry committee.
At the sharing session, Lai Chi-lun, vice president of the parish council of Holy Cross parish, Shau Kei Wan, shared that the parish considered it important to let people know the truth after the riot police intruded into the parish and arrested people on November 11 (Sunday Examiner, November 24). He said this is why the parish priest, Father Peter Leung Tat-choy, immediately issued a clear statement, called a meeting to explain and look into the matter with parishioners on the same day, and asked the police about the whereabouts of those who were arrested the next day.
Three representatives from St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley, expressed their disappointment at their parish not being open to people seeking to rest. They hoped that the parish could show concern for the needy.
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, bowed inapology for parishes not open for people when they needed help. He explained that while Church people have different views on the issue, parish priests need to make decisions based on different circumstances.
He expressed his sadness over the difficulty parishes had in protecting those seeking some respite as well as the increasing leve ofl violence in society.
Bishop Ha urged young people to support their shepherds, who may have their shortcomings and can sometimes be in doubt about what to do. He hoped that the laity could journey with them and build up the Church together. He again appealed for the government to set up an independent commision of inquiry as soon as possible.
Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, parish priest of the Cathedral if the Immaculate Conception, said people may feel helpless and angry in the face of injustice. Some expressed their feelings rationally, but some chose stronger ways. He urged people, while expressing themselves, to face reality with strong faith and remember to protect and love all people.
Father Dominique Mukonda Kananga, chairperson of the Diocesan Youth Commission, encouraged people to listen to the voice of the young, who now felt disappointed and helpless. He invited those present to think about what Jesus would do if he were here.
He reminded young people not to be afraid even before pain and suffering and to remember their mission is to sanctify themselves and others, and then transform the world.
Father John Baptist Kwan Kit-tong, parish priest of St. Margaret’s Church, posted on his Facebook page on November 15 that he had reservations about what the young representatives said at the prayer service. However, he said he respected their freedom of speech and their right to express their feelings. He urged all sides to end the conflict so that people could fulfill their responsibility to vote in the District Council Elections on November 24.