Year Date Events
1990   During this year Cardinal John B. Wu undertook the task of reorganizing the diocese in consultation with the Council of Priests and a group of clergy, religious and lay people.
8 September Epiphany Parish canonically erected to incorporate the whole territory of the existing Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (Lantau Island) and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish (Peng Chau).
7 October Cardinal John B. Wu issued a pastoral letter exhorting the faithful to take an active part in the direct elections to the District Boards, the Urban / Regional Council and the Legislative Council in 1991; pertinent diocesan guidelines were published on 12 October.
2 December St. James Church, Yau Tong, blessed.
28 December Opening Ceremony of the yearlong Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, with a 3-day Exhibition of the Catholic Church for the first time, at City Hall. The main theme of the Celebration was Hand in Hand Towards the Future.
1991   During this year Cardinal John B. Wu continued reorganizing the diocese through consultations at various levels.
1 January * Newly rebuilt Mother of Christ Church, Sheung Shui, blessed.
* Canonical erection of Mary Help of Christians Quasi-Parish, Ma Tau Wei (parish since 14 November 1993).
July Cardinal John B. Wu appealed to the faithful to actively offer relief to the flood victims in the eastern provinces of China through prayer and material aid. During August representatives of the diocese and social workers of Caritas-Hong Kong paid visits to the flooded areas in Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei and Guizhou, while relief efforts continued up to the following year.
18 August An Open Forum on Elections 1991, jointly organized by the Council of Priests, the Justice and Peace Commission, the Central Council of Catholic Laity and the Catholic Institute for Religion and Society, was held in the nine constituencies of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories in order to encourage the faithful to take an active part in the direct elections to the Legislative Council on 15 September. Church organizations also made a similar appeal to the faithful and ordinary citizens through publications, questionnaires and advertisements in newspapers.
1 September A pastoral letter was issued by Cardinal John B. Wu, exhorting the faithful to give full support to the direct elections to the Legislative Council - the first time in the history of Hong Kong - on 15 September.
20 October Solemn closing ceremony of the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Stadium, So Kon Po, after months of activities, including Hong Kong Laity Conference, China, Taiwan, Macau & Hong Kong Laity Conference, social witness activities and offering of spiritual bouquets.
1992 19 May The first Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers was established at San Po Kong.
June At Pentecost (7 June) Cardinal John B. Wu announced his plan for the reorganization of the diocese. The plan was presented to (i) priests, brothers and sisters at a briefing service on 10 June and (ii) to the Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity on 11 June.
29 November Canonical erection of St. Andrews Quasi-Parish, Tseung Kwan O (parish since 14 November 1993).
8 December In line with the plan for reorganization of the diocese, Cardinal John B. Wu abrogated the canonical arrangement of dividing the diocese into the three Vicariates of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories, and the related offices of Episcopal Vicars. Instead, deaneries were re-established. Two new Vicars General, Rev. John Tong Hon (湯漢神父) and Rev. Dominic Chan Chi-ming (陳志明神父), were appointed. Rev. Gabriel Lam Cheuk-wai and Rev. John B. Tsang Hing-mun (曾慶文神父) were respectively assigned to two newly established offices, namely, Episcopal Vicar for Religious and Episcopal Vicar for Social Services.
1993   With the approval of the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See, a Higher Institute of Religious Sciences was opened at the Holy Spirit Seminary College, being sponsored by the Theology Faculty of the Pontifical Urban University. Its courses henceforth replace the Evening Theology Degree Course at the Seminary College, granting the degree of Bachelor of Religious Sciences.
  In order to further implement the recommendations of Cardinal John B. Wus Pastoral Exhortation March into the Bright Decade (14 May 1989) and the Plan for the Reorganization of the Diocese (7 June 1992), the following steps were taken-
15 April Diocese divided into nine deaneries. Council of Priests reorganized with all the deans included as ex officio members.
1 September Diocesan Pastoral Council reorganized.
5 - 6 October The first annual review and planning camp of the diocese held at Holy Spirit Seminary. Main themes being (i) promotion of small communities of faith (basic ecclesial communities) over the past three years and future orientation, and (ii) Mission of a Catholic in the Family (pastoral emphasis of the diocese for 1993-94). Participants being the members of the Council of Priests, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Committee for Promoting the Cardinals Pastoral Exhortation and the Diocesan Committee for the Formation of the Laity.
1994   With the consent of the Pontifical Urban University, the Holy Spirit Seminary College started a two-year programme for the Licentiate in Sacred Theology.
March Mid-term evaluation (for the period 1989-94) of the ten-year pastoral plan outlined in Cardinal John B. Wus Pastoral Exhortation: March into the Bright Decade began. Eight major areas under review were: education, social services, social communications, relations between the Diocese and China and the Church in China, ongoing formation of the clergy and religious, formation of the laity, promotion of small faith communities and pastoral care of various ethnic groups. Those consulted included Church leaders at various levels and lay people in general. Evaluation to be concluded in March 1995.
10 June Diocesan guidelines for Parish Councils / Parish Pastoral Councils promulgated by Cardinal John B. Wu in the light of the new Code of Canon Law. Every parish mandated to establish its council and to draw up its constitution in accordance with the diocesan guidelines.
10 - 17 November At the invitation of the Religious Affairs Bureau under the State Council, Cardinal John B. Wu led a seven-member delegation on a visit to Beijing, Wuhan and Xian in order to promote friendship and dialogue with the Chinese Government and to facilitate future cooperation through a better understanding of the actual situation of China.
1995 10 - 15 January 370 Catholic youths from Hong Kong, together with Cardinal John B. Wu, took part in the 11th World Youth Day presided by Pope John Paul II in Manila.
10 March Pastoral guidelines for the 1997 transition promulgated by Cardinal John B. Wu.
4 June (Pentecost) Cardinal John B. Wu issued an Interim Report (with Proposals) on the evaluation of the ten-year pastoral plan outlined in his Pastoral Exhortation March into the Bright Decade. For the coming five years the thrust of the Diocese would be: Proclaim the Gospel of the Lord, spread the Kingdom of God.
13 August New Star of the Sea Church, Chaiwan, blessed.
17 September Last elections to the Legislative Council before the 1997 transition. Through election forums, seminars, etc, and related publications, the faithful were encouraged to take an active part.
1 October St. Jeromes Parish, Tin Shui Wai, erected.
22 October Evangelisation rally at Victoria Park, Causeway Bay.
24 November Bishop Lei International House, Robinson Road, inaugurated.
4 December Evangelisation drama entitled Joy to the World performed at Hong Kong Coliseum, Hunghom. It was later broadcasted on TV.
1996 1 January Assumption of Our Lady Parish, Rennies Mill, New Territories, suppressed and incorporated into St. Andrews Parish, Tseung Kwan O.
12 April Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the elevation of the Vicariate Apostolic of Hong Kong to Diocese. Climax of the celebrations was the Mission Sunday Celebration held at the Hong Kong Stadium on 20 October, with The Word Among Us as main theme.
May - June The Diocese held a series of consultations at various levels on whether, accepting what had been laid down in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Church members in their personal capacity should sit on the Selection Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), whose responsibility was to select the first Chief Executive designate of the SAR and to elect members of the Provisional Legislature.
2 August Basing on the majority opinion of the consultations, the Diocese decided that Church members (laity or clergy) could sit on the Selection Committee and take part in the selection of the first Chief Executive designate, but they were expected to abstain from electing the Provisional Legislature, whose legal foundations were questionable.
5 October New St. Francis Church, Ma On Shan, blessed.
20 October Fr. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun (陳日君神父), and Fr. John Tong Hon, VG, appointed respectively as Coadjutor Bishop and Auxiliary Bishop (Episcopal ordination on 9 December).
2 November Fr. Luke Tsui Kam-yiu (徐錦堯神父), diocesan priest, and Miss Teresa Yiu Sau-hing (姚秀卿), President of the Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity, appointed as members of the Selection Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Mid-December Promulgation of Diocesan Guidelines for Pre-Marriage Formation.
1997   Starting from this year (Year of Christ), Diocese began to prepare for the Jubilee Year AD 2000 with a 3-year main theme: Reconciliation with God the Father through Christ in the Spirit.
January The Vicars General, Bishop Joseph Zen, Bishop John Tong and Fr. Dominic Chan, together with some members of the Diocesan Curia, were delegated by Cardinal John B. Wu to pay regular visits to parishes in compliance with the requirements of Canon Law.
12 January Enthronement of His Eminence Nikitas Lulias as the first Metropolitan of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia.
6 March The Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See upgraded the Holy Spirit Seminary College as an Aggregate of the Theology Faculty of the Pontifical Urban University.
11 May Last Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Wanchai, before its demolition and reconstruction.
21 - 22 May At the invitation of the Religious Affairs Bureaux of the State Council of China, Bishop Joseph Zen, Bishop John Tong and Fr. Dominic Chan, V.G., had an open and friendly dialogue with Government officials in Beijing on issues relating to the 1997 transition, in particular issues regarding the future of religion in Hong Kong.
1 July In accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong (19 December 1984), Hong Kong ceased to be a British Crown Colony and was reunited with China. A solemn Mass to pray for the people of Hong Kong was celebrated in the Cathedral, presided over by Cardinal John B. Wu.
5 July Ordination of Peter Lo Woo-lui (盧和鐳執事) and Karl Tsang Fan-hing (曾繁興執事) as the first permanent deacons of the Diocese.
30 July In a statement issued in response to the Consultation Document on the Delineation of the Electorate for the New Constituencies and the Election Committee for the First Legislative Council Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (July 1997), the Bishops Office expressed reservations about representatives of the religious sector being asked to sit on the said Election Committee.
1 August Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee for Services to New Arrivals from China formed.
23 - 24 August 250 Catholic youths from Hong Kong, together with Bishop John Tong, took part in the 12th World Youth Day presided by Pope John Paul II in Paris.
3 October Legislative Council Ordinance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was enacted by the Provisional Legislative Council, according to which the six religious bodies making up the Joint Conference of the Six Local Religious Leaders (namely, the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association, Hong Kong Christian Council, The Hong Kong Taoist Association, The Confucian Academy and The Hong Kong Buddhist Association) were allocated 40 seats on the 800-member Election Committee for the Legislative Council. Being allocated 7 seats by subsequent arrangement of the Joint Conference, the Diocese decided on a passive cooperation approach in the Legislative Council elections to be held in May 1998.
1 December Two evening primary schools were opened by the Diocese at St. Francis of Assisis English Primary School (Shek Kip Mei) and St. Josephs Anglo-Chinese Primary School (Kwun Tong) to offer flexible programmes to the children of new arrivals from Mainland China, with the aim of integrating them later into mainstream schools or training courses.
  With the gradual implementation of the policy of mother-tongue education in Hong Kong, the Education Department permitted only 100 secondary schools to continue to teach in English. Other secondary schools were required to shift to Chinese as the medium of instruction. Some of these schools, including 10 Catholic schools, later made an appeal in a bid to overturn the shift.
1998   Under the impact of the monetary crisis of Asia, Hong Kong, like other Asian regions, suffered a critical economic recession, with a local unemployment rate of 5.3%, the highest point reached since 1973. The faithful were very concerned about this situation.
  During this year (Year of the Holy Spirit), the Diocese continued to prepare herself for celebrating the Jubilee Year AD 2000.
  In face of the aggravating shortage of priests, the Diocese considered merging some parishes and suppressing some Mass centres.
9 February In line with a passive participation in the first Legislative Council Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Diocese announced the Method for filling the seven seats assigned to the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong in the Religious Subsector under the Election Committee for the first Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The faithful who wished to stand for election could apply to one of the following three categories: Parishes and Deaneries; Lay Associations: Diocesan Commissions and Bureaux.
13 March Out of ten Catholic secondary schools which were required by the Education Department to shift from English to Chinese as the medium of instruction on 1 December 1997, seven won an appeal allowing them to teach in English in the coming school-year. The Diocese reconfirmed her educational policies of promoting (i) the mother tongue as medium of instruction; (ii) quality bilingualism (Chinese and English); (iii) trilingualism (Cantonese, Putonghua and spoken English).
18 March Four lay persons and a priest (Fr. Luke Tsui Kam-yiu) from deaneries, as well as two members of lay associations, were elected to fill the seven seats assigned to the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong in the Religious Subsector under the Election Committee for the first Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
April Two lay persons, namely Joseph Ng Yat-wah (吳日華), President of the Hong Kong Catholic Institutions Staff Association, and Joseph Hui Tak-fai (許德輝), an accountant and member of the Election Committee who for years had taken part in Church activities and social services, stood for election to the Legislative Council, respectively through the Labour Functional Constituency and through the Election Committee as an independent candidate without party affiliation.
19 April - 14 May Bishop Joseph Zen and Bishop John Tong attended the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia, convoked by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. Bishop Matthias Duan Yinming (段蔭明主教) of Wanxian, is sichuan Province, and his Coadjutor Bishop Xu Zhixuan (徐之玄助理主教), who were also invited, were not granted permission to attend by the Chinese Government.
15 September Cardinal John B. Wu issued his Message on Ecology.
25 October Inauguration of the Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and installation of Rt. Rev. Peter Kwong Kong-kit (鄺廣傑大主教) as its first Archbishop and Primate.
31 October Taking into consideration the then changed situation, Cardinal John B. Wu dissolved the Pastoral Office and Pastoral Commission for Overseas Chinese Catholic.
1999 6 June Cardinal John B. Wu issued a pastoral letter (dated 31 May) supporting the right of abode of Mainland-born children of Hong Kong citizens. He criticised the SAR Government for seeking the long term prosperity of Hong Kong by requesting the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress to re-interpret the Basic Law with a view to overriding the SAR Court of Final Appeals 29 January ruling recognising the aforementioned right of abode. Such a re-interpretation would engender a certain resistance on the part of Hong Kong residents to Mainland people, … shake the foundation of the Hong Kong family, raise doubts about the Central Governments promise of one country, two systems with a high degree of autonomy, undermine the confidence of the international community towards Hong Kong ...’. In a statement issued by the Secretary for Security on 17 June, the Government denied the Cardinal's criticisms.
20 June Blessed Martyrs of China Parish, Shatin, New Territories, suppressed and incorporated into two neighboring parishes, namely, St. Alfreds and St. Benedicts.
4 July St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Tsing Yi, blessed.
6 July Request for the proposed visit of Pope John Paul II to the Hong Kong SAR to conclude the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia was rejected by the Chinese Government as being inappropriate on the ground that the Vatican maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
August The Diocese agreed to passive compliance in the coming Legislative Council elections: It would only verify the Catholic identity of the candidates for the Election Committee (EC), while the Constitutional Affairs Bureau would draw lots to choose six or seven of them to sit on the Election Committee.
25 - 29 August 5th East Asian Regional Laity Meeting sponsored by the Office of Laity of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences and hosted by the Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity, focusing on Formation of Laity towards a Renewed Church.
1 September Christ the King Parish, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, suppressed and incorporated into St. Lawrences Parish, Lei Cheng Uk Estate.
1 October Diocesan Synod convoked by Cardinal John B. Wu and was to be held next year to meet the needs of pastoral care and evangelization in the Third Millennium.
22 - 24 October Bishops Joseph Zen and John Tong attended the closing session of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia (held April-May 1998 at the Vatican), officiated by John Paul II in New Delhi.
24 December Opening ceremony of the Jubilee Year 2000 at the Cathedral in the form of an evening prayer presided by Cardinal John B. Wu, with distribution of the Perpetual Light of Bethlehem to parish representatives. Opening of the Holy Door ceremony, officiated by John Paul II at the Vatican, was telecast live on Cable TV.