|2010||ˇ@||This year the Diocese, regrettably, had to handle several cases involving the sexual misconduct of a deacon (convicted and served a brief prison term) and some priests. To address this issue, two seminars for the clergy were held on 23 April and 16 June, while Bishop John Tong wrote to the Major Superiors of Men Religious and Societies of Apostolic Life on 5 August, and to clergy on 10 August.|
|29 January - 2 February||Bishop Ludger Schepers, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Essen, visited Hong Kong at the invitation of Bishop John Tong. Essen has been a twin diocese of Hong Kong since 1958.|
|3 February||The appeal of the Diocese against the negative decision of the High Court for a Judicial Review of the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004 was dismissed by the Court of Appeal. On the same day, the Diocese issued a public statement expressing its disappointment in this connection, but pledged to continue co-operating with the Government in providing quality school education that would upheld traditional Catholic values and spirit.|
|March||Bishop John Tong, accompanied by Curia members, began his pastoral visitations to parishes since he became diocesan Bishop.|
- Mission Sunday celebration was held at the Hong Kong Stadium, attended by approximately 20,000 Catholics and with the main themes Vocation to the Priesthood and Mission of the Laity.
|13 December||Leave was granted to the Diocese for making an appeal to the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) for the Judicial Review of the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004. Bishop John Tong urged Catholic schools to postpone forming the Incorporated Management Committee as required by the Ordinance, pending the decision of the CFA.|
|December||The Directory for Catechesis (ad experimentum), compiled by the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, was presented to Bishop John Tong for promulgation.|
|ˇ@||In his TV Christmas Message to the citizens of Hong Kong, Bishop John Tong, reflecting the concern of many local Catholics and citizens, expressed his support for two mainland human rights advocates who were imprisoned, namely, Liao Xiaobo, who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, and Zhao Lianhai, who uncovered the truth about the tainted milk scandal. The Bishop also showed his solidarity with the clergy of the underground Church who were behind bars defending religious freedom, and with the clergy of the open Church who, in sorrowful protest, were forced to take part in the illegitimate episcopal ordination (20 November) of Bishop Joseph Guo Jincai and the Eighth Catholic Representatives Assembly held in China.|
|23 December||Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Savio Hon Tai-fai, a member of the China Province of Mary Help of Christians of the Salesians of Don Bosco, as Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, at the same time promoting him to Titular Archbishop of Sila. Fr. Hon had held various offices in his own Institute. He was Professor or Theology at the Holy Spirit Seminary College and Member of the International Theological Commission.|
- A prayer vigil was held at Chater Garden, Central, followed by an Infant Jesus procession to the Cathedral, where a Benediction was held, with sermon by Bishop John Tong and Te Deum.
|2011||1 January||The ˇ§Year of the Laityˇ¨ for our Diocese was inaugurated by Bishop John Tong at the Mass for the ˇ§World Day of Peaceˇ¨ held in the Cathedral. The focus was on the vocation and mission of the lay people ˇ§to sanctify themselves, to sanctify others, and to transform the worldˇ¨, with related programmes and activities to promote the formation of the laity and small Christian communities. On 21 April it was announced that the ˇ§Year of the Laityˇ¨ would be extended to 31 December 2012.|
|January||The Directory of Catechesis (ad experimentum) was promulgated for implementation for a trial period of five years. It was compiled by the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, basing on the General Directory for Catechesis promulgated by the Congregation for the Clergy in 1997. During the year 2011, a diocesan ad hoc committee had been reviewing the current situation of catechists and the catechetical programmes in parishes and Catholic schools.|
|May||Caritas Francis Hsu College was raised to the status of ˇ§Caritas Institute of Higher Educationˇ¨ and would be qualified to run some bachelorˇ¦s degree programmes in the coming school-year.|
|23 - 30 May||With a delegation, Bishop John Tong paid an official visit to the Essen Diocese (Germany) at the invitation of Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck. Essen and Hong Kong have been twin dioceses since 1958.|
|3 June||The Society of Jesus announced that it was bidding for a 16-hectare former military camp site at Queenˇ¦s Hill in Fanling, earmarked by the government for building a private university. The Jesuits hoped to be able to inaugurate there a liberal arts university, the first in Hong Kong, in 2014.|
|16 June||The Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong issued a consultation paper detailing a wider range of proposed regulations to monitor the activities of registered charitable bodies in Hong Kong, arguing that there was a need for greater transparency, accountability and supervision of these bodies. Various organizations, including religious organizations, had expressed worries that a more restrictive legal definition of a charitable body might be used to hamper the advocacy of human rights, social justice and religious freedom. In mid-September, the Diocese forwarded its concerns to the Commission.|
|30 August||The Catholic Education Office (CEO) forwarded a written response to the controversial consultation paper issued by the Education Bureau on 13 May regarding the introduction of a course on Moral and National Education in all schools in Hong Kong. The CEO highlighted the following: Preference should be given instead to Moral and Civic Education. A national sentiment should not be imposed on students. A genuine patriotism will enable students to love their own country and their own culture and tradition with a critical mind, bearing in mind that they are also ˇ§global citizensˇ¨ and ought to cherish ˇ§universal valuesˇ¨ as well.|
|22 September||Bishop John Tong decided that the new English version of the Roman Missal, promulgated a short while ago by the Holy See, would be implemented in our Diocese on the First Sunday of Advent in 2012, so as to allow for a wider and more thorough catechesis on the changes in the new Missal.|
|13 October||After a hearing on 3 October, the Court of Final Appeal dismissed the appeal of the Diocese for a judicial review of the ˇ§Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004ˇ¨ on the grounds that its requirement that all aided schools in Hong Kong must form an ˇ§Incorporated Management Committeeˇ¨ (IMC) is inconsistent with the Basic Law and would seriously hamper the vision and mission of Catholic schools. This landmark decision brought to a conclusion the dispute between the Diocese and the SAR government over the past decade. On the same day the Diocese issued a public statement expressing its disappointment at the negative decision, but pledged to continue its commitment to education in accordance with Catholic beliefs and principles. Subsequently the Diocese negotiated with the Education Bureau for some concessions which would be favourable to Catholic schools in implementing the IMC. The Diocese also drafted a standard IMC constitution for implementation by those Catholic schools sponsored by itself, and for the reference of Catholic schools sponsored by other Catholic sponsoring bodies (religious institutes, etc.).|
|19 October||Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, held a press conference at the Salesian House in Chai Wan and made a public statement that reiterated his objections to the ˇ§Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004ˇ¨. To express his grief at the negative court decision, he spent three days in prayer and fasting after the conference. Shortly after the court decision, there were media reports that the Cardinal had received donations of around HK$20,000,000 from Jimmy Lai, the boss of the Apple enterprises. Therefore, taking the opportunity of the press conference, the Cardinal clarified that he had used the donations for charitable and religious purposes only.|
|12 November||The relics of Blessed John Paul II were permanently installed in the Cathedral for public veneration, during a solemn Mass presided over by Bishop John Tong.|
|18 November||Of 44 Catholics applying to serve on SAR Election Committee, 10 were selected by drawing lots, officiated by a returning officer for the Religious Subsector. The Election Committee, enlarged to comprise 1200 members, would elect the SAR Chief Executive in March 2012. Starting from November, there was a keen competition between the two foremost contenders, Henry Tang Yin-yen and Leung Chun-ying.|
|3 December||After being brought to various parishes successively for veneration since January, the relics of Blessed Louis and Zelie Guerin Martin, parents of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, were installed permanently for public veneration in St. Teresaˇ¦s Church, Kowloon Tong, with Fr. Dominic Chan, VG, officiating.|
|2012||ˇ@||During this year, the Diocese continued its review of the qualifications of lay catechists and the catechetical programmes. Taking the opportunity of the 50th and 45th anniversary of the Diocesan Catechetical Centre and the Diocesan Catechetical Commission respectively, the Diocese also reviewed the roles and competence of these two bodies. Furthermore, the Diocese launched a systematic formation programme for the leaders of small communities of faith. On November 1, the Diocesan Commission for the Ongoing Formation of the Laity was formed. Catholic schools prepared themselves to replace the traditional School Management Committee by the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC) in September 2013, in compliance with the ˇ§Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004ˇ¨. The Catholic Education Office assisted them by organizing seminars on the educational principles behind the IMC, the IMC functions, and the vision and mission of Catholic schools.|
|6 January||Pope Benedict XVI announced the elevation of Bishop John Tong and 21 other Prelates worldwide to the Cardinalate. The installation ceremonies for the new cardinals took place at the Vatican on February 18-19, with a delegation from our Diocese attending. A solemn Mass to pray for Cardinal John Tong was held at the Cathedral on 3 March.|
|19 February||The Diocese issued a public statement entitled ˇ§Some expectations about the future SAR government envisioned by the Catholic Church in Hong Kongˇ¨, appealing for the implementation of universal suffrage in the election of the SAR Chief Executive and of the Legislature in 2017, as well as the improvement of current policies on housing, health care, education and retirement security.|
|24 - 30 March||March: Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck from Essen Diocese in Germany, together with a delegation, visited Hong Kong as a twin diocese.|
|21 June||In a circular letter sent to all Sponsoring Bodies, Supervisors and Principals of Catholic schools, Cardinal John Tong dealt with the recent highly controversial issue of ˇ§Moral & National Education (MNE)ˇ¨. The MNE, considered by many as a means of ˇ§brainwashingˇ¨, was to be implemented in local schools in accordance with a new government policy. The Cardinal emphasized that the MNE must help young people to avoid turning ˇ§patriotismˇ¨ into a narrow-minded ˇ§nationalismˇ¨. They must look at the culture, tradition and historical development of their own country with a balanced approach and a critical mind, cherishing their positive elements and making up for their inadequacies with the gospel spirit and universally accepted core values. In face of the strong opposition from the public, the SAR government on 8 September backed down from its previous stance by allowing Sponsoring Bodies to freely decide whether or not to introduce the MNE curriculum. The Diocese for its part decided to incorporate the national education material in the ˇ§Religious and Moral Educationˇ¨, which had always been taught in Catholic schools. An Ad Hoc Committee was formed to compile the national education reference material for use in Catholic schools.|
|23 September||The Diocese issued a public statement entitled ˇ§Some Proposals for the new government of the Hong Kong SAR from the Catholic Church in Hong Kongˇ¨, appealing for the government to promote the core values of marriage and the family, and to eliminate the widening gap between the rich and the poor.|
|27 September:||Fr. Gabriele Maria Allegra, OFM, who was founder of the Studium Biblicum OFM and had worked for many years in Hong Kong, was beatified in Acireale, Sicily. Under his direction, the translation (Catholic edition) of the Bible into Chinese was completed in 1968.|
|7 - 28 October||Cardinal John Tong attended the Synod of Bishops and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the Presidents. The Synod focused on the ˇ§New Evangelizationˇ¨.|
|26 October - 1 November||Our Diocese hosted an ˇ§International Conference on Sharing the Experience of Lay Ministryˇ¨, with about 100 participants from 10 overseas countries or regions. Later, during the month of November, lay representatives from Hong Kong reciprocated by visiting the lay communities in those countries or regions.|
|7 November||A motion for conducting public consultations on the expediency of enacting a ˇ§Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinanceˇ¨ was voted down by the Legislative Council. That motion was brought forward by gay groups and some Lawmakers on the ground that homosexuals suffered from discrimination and so were unable to fully exercise their civil rights. Some Christian and Catholic groups were worried that the enactment of the aforementioned Ordinance would be detrimental to the core values of marriage and the family, and would ultimately lead to the legalization of ˇ§civil unionsˇ¨ and ˇ§same-sex marriageˇ¨, as well as a ˇ§reverse discriminationˇ¨ affecting those who were against the gay culture and life style. In December, representatives of Christian, Catholic and Muslims met with the officials of the Bureau for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, expressing their concerns that the SAR Chief Executive might in his Policy Speech in coming January reconsider enacting the aforementioned Ordinance. As the gay culture was becoming more and more socially acceptable, the Diocese saw the urgent need to tackle this social trend from the pastoral and legal perspectives.|
|16 December||Closing Ceremony for the ˇ§Year of the Laityˇ¨ and Opening Ceremony for the ˇ§Year of Faithˇ¨ were held at the Asia World Expo, Tung Chung.|
|2013||ˇ@||During this year, a series of seminars was conducted by the Catholic Education Office to assist the first group of Catholic (subsidized) secondary and primary schools sponsored by the Diocese or religious institutes in setting up the Incorporated Management Committee, implemented in accordance with the provision of the Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004.|
|26 January||The relics of Blessed Gabriele Maria Allegra, OFM, were brought to Hong Kong and were installed permanently at the Cathedral for veneration by the faithful, during a Mass presided over by Cardinal John Tong.|
|12 ~ 13 March||Cardinal John Tong took part in a close-door Conclave held at the Vatican for the election of a new Pope to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who officially resigned on 28 February. On 13 March, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected Pope and adopted the name Francis.|
|15 ~ 18 May||Caritas-Hong Kong marked its 60th anniversary by hosting at Caritas Institute of Higher Education an international conference on Visioning the Future ˇV Partnership in Building a Relational Society. Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, give a keynote speech on Facing a New Era: Addressing relational poverty.|
|26 July||In two local newspapers, Ming Pao and the South China Morning Post, the Diocese made a statement (Chinese and English) entitled An Urgent Call for Earnest Dialogue and Responsible Action: Regarding universal suffrage and civil disobedience. The same statement also appeared in the 28 July issue of the diocesan weeklies. The so-called ˇ§civil disobedienceˇ¨ referred to the ˇ§Occupy Central Movementˇ¨ being planned by some people in Hong Kong.|
|15 September||With the support of the Diocese, a Centre for the promotion of basic ecclesial communities was established. It has the aim of carrying on a pastoral priority set by Cardinal John B. Wu in his Pastoral Exhortation, March into the Bright Decade, in 1989, by means of research, leadership training programmes, counselling and network in liaison with overseas Chinese Catholic communities. The Centre organised, for the first time in Hong Kong so far, a Certificate Course for leaders of basic ecclesial communities from January to July this year. The Diocese made available a handbook with guidelines for organising basic ecclesial communities in July. On 6 October, the Hong Kong Catholic Federation of Basic Christian Communities celebrated its 20th anniversary.|
|21 ~ 24 October||The Diocese hosted the 17th Asian Liturgy Forum, with around 180 participants from 16 Asian countries and regions, including China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. This event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II, and focused on the theme of Pastoral Liturgy and the Spirit of Vatican II.|
|17 ~ 21 November||A World Congress for Chinese Permanent Deacons was hosted by the Diocesan Commission for the Permanent Diaconate, with 12 participants from U.S.A., Canada, Belgium and Australia, and 13 participants from Hong Kong.|
|24 November||Cardinal John Tong officiated at the Closing Ceremony of the Year of Faith at the Hong Kong Stadium, and announced the diocesan pastoral priority for the year 2014 to be Deepening the understanding of our faith and revitalizing the spirit of Vatican II. The Cardinal explained that priority in detail in his Pastoral Letter for Advent.|
|1 December||The Diocese took up a special collection from parishes in support of an ongoing plan of Caritas-Hong Kong to establish a private Catholic university. For months Caritas-Hong Kong had been conducting a public fund-raising campaign in various ways (including a ˇ§matching fundˇ¨ granted by the government).|
|ˇ@||The Diocesan Committee for the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-sex Attraction was formally established after several years of operation on a trial basis. This was in response to the aggravating negative impact of the gay culture and lifestyle on our society, which had won more and more ˇ§acceptanceˇ¨ and ˇ§respectˇ¨ from the public at large. The Equal Opportunities Commission was expecting to launch a public consultation in the first quarter of the coming year, in regard to cases of discrimination against the sexual minority. The government for its part would in due course bring forward a proposal for enacting a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance.|
The diocese submitted information on the situation of family in Hong Kong to the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, in response to its request for relevant information from different Local Churches in preparation for the 3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod in coming October, which would focus on Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.
The Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family issued a statement calling on the public to take due account of the spiritual dimension of family life and to uphold three fundamental family rights, namely, the right to exercise its responsibility regarding the transmission of life, the right to educate children and the right to social protection. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, Christian groups organized a public parade in Tsim Sha Tsui on 18 May in support of traditional marriage and family values. On the same day a public function to promote formation programmes on family life in the next two years was organised by Caritas Family Service in Shatin.
|22 ~ 29 June||The Pan-democratic groups in Hong Kong conducted a ˇ§civil referendumˇ¨ on universal suffrage and the electoral reform models, with 788,000 citizens participating.|
|11 July||The diocese announced that in response to the request of Cardinal John Tong for retirement on turning 75 in July 2014, Pope Francis on 4 July decided to extend his term as diocesan Bishop for three more years, appointing, at the same time, Rev. Michael YEUNG Ming-cheung, VG, Rev. Stephen LEE Bun-sang (Opus Dei) and Rev. Joseph HA Chi-shing, OFM, as Auxiliary Bishops of Hong Kong. Ordination of the three bishops took place at the Cathedral on 30 August.|
In connection with the consultation of the SAR government on the electoral reform for implementing the election of the SAR Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017, Cardinal John Tong issued a Pastoral Letter (announced in the diocesan weeklies on 24 August), entitled In support of Earnest Dialogue and Responsible Action. The Letter was preceded by a press conference held by the diocese on 4 August.
|31 August||Following a five-month (4 December 2013 - 3 May 2014) public consultation on the electoral reform, the National Peopleˇ¦s Congress Standing Committee designed a framework for the SAR Chief Executive to be elected by universal suffrage in 2017. However, the highly restrictive framework was a far cry from the mainstream aspirations for ˇ§a broad representativenessˇ¨ and ˇ§genuinely democratic proceduresˇ¨.|
|28 September||As an act of civil disobedience, supporters of the Occupy Central Movement, including Catholics and Christians, staged a sit-in at Admiralty, in the vicinity of the SAR government headquarters, until 11 December. A lot of secondary and tertiary students, with some university professors, abstained from classes to take part in the protest. The protests were planned more than a year ago by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, Chan Kin-man, Associate Professor of Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Rev. Chu Yiu-ming, a Baptist minister, but the protest was anticipated and soon taken over by members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) and Scholarism. The protests were intended to be peaceful, but scuffles and violence repeatedly erupted during the confrontations between the police and the protesters. Similarly prolonged sit-ins were staged at Causeway Bay and Mongkok. A specially arranged negotiation between government officials and representatives of the HKFS failed to overcome the impasse. There were repeated appeals, including those from Catholic or Christian Church leaders, for restraint, a realistic approach and resuming of dialogue on the electoral reform. After the clearance by the police, a large number of the protesters, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, who initially took part in the protests, surrendered themselves to the police. The long protests had left Hong Kong society battered, divided and torn apart, calling into question the feasibility of the principle of ˇ§One country, two systemsˇ¨ and pointing to the need to heed the aspirations of youth in policy-making.|
Cardinal John Tong issued a Pastoral Letter on the Family, entitled Proclaiming and Living the ˇ§Gospel of the Familyˇ¨, related to the 3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in coming October, which would focus on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.
|5 ~ 19 October||Cardinal Tong attended the 3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod on the Family and Evangelization held in Rome.|
|10 October||The diocese and a huge number Catholics and Christians, through written submissions and through the media, conveyed their grave concerns to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) over the public consultation regarding the Discrimination Law Review. They challenged some key propositions of the EOC (in particular, allowing de facto relationships to enjoy same rights as traditional marriage) which, purporting to protect the rights of the sexual minority groups, would radically undermine the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society to the detriment of the public good.|
|30 November||Opening ceremony of the Year of Consecrated Life (29 November 2014 - 2 February 2016), as proclaimed by Pope Francis, was held at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay.|
|10, 11, 19 December||The diocese organized three briefing sessions on the 3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in October.|
|2015||February||On 9 December 2014, a Questionnaire with 46 questions was sent by the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to all Local Churches to collect background information for the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in October 2015, focusing on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World. In response to this, a Working Group set up by the Diocese designed a more simplified questionnaire corresponding to the Synodal Questions, together with explanatory notes, to collect the views and recommendations from clergy, religious and the laity, in particular from individuals and Catholic organizations actively engaged in marriage and family ministries.|
|20 May||The Diocesan Working Group for the Synodal Consultation Questionnaire published excerpts from the report of the Diocese of Hong Kong on the questionnaire consultation conducted over the past few months, basing on 181 responses (for details, see diocesan weeklies dated 3 May 2015).|
|30 May||With the approach of the date (18 June) for the Legislative Council to voting on the very controversial electoral reform package proposed by the government for the election of the Chief Executive, Cardinal John Tong issued a Pastoral Letter in which he recommended that the causes behind the polarized political stances be addressed, that the perceived deficiencies in the current electoral reform package be remedied, and that the faithful continue to pray for and support fresh efforts to find constitutionally sound and morally just solutions that will contribute to the well-being of Hong Kong.|
|18 June||The electoral reform package proposed by the SAR Government for the election of the Chief Executive was voted down by the Legislative Council, with 37 lawmakers taking part, 8 in favour and 28 against. Cardinal John Tong promptly made a public statement indicating that he was still hopeful about the democratization of the Hong Kong SAR and urging the real causes behind its polarized situation be addressed.|
|21 September||Cardinal John Tong issued a Pastoral Letter entitled Human Ecology and the Family: Strength Marriage; Not Redefine It!, as a follow-up to his Pastoral Letter entitled Proclaiming and Living the ˇ§Gospel of the Familyˇ¨ (29 September 2014). Reference was made to the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Siˇ¦: On care for our Common Home (24 May 2015) and the ˇ§Theology of the Bodyˇ¨ as expounded by the late Pope St. John Paul II. Mention was made of the USA Supreme Court ruling of 26 June 2015 that mandated the recognition of same-sex marriages in all the 50 States. The ruling was understood as tantamount to redefining marriage as a ˇ§genderlessˇ¨ institution. The Pastoral Letter reaffirmed the Church teaching of marriage as ˇ§a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all othersˇ¨, and the divine institutions of marriage and the family as the foundation of society.|
|28 September||An Interfaith Pilgrimage for Climate Action was organized by the Hong Kong Interfaith Climate Network. This event, similar to others taking place in different parts of the world, was aimed at urging political leaders and representatives of various bodies attending the 21st United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change, to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December, to reach a binding agreement on environmental protection. In Hong Kong, the Catholic Climate Movement, inspired by the Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Siˇ¦, was asking concerned people to sign a joint petition asking for (1) the reduction of carbon emissions so as to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, and (2) to aid the worldˇ¦s poorest in coping with climate change impacts.|
|5 November||Cardinal John Tong appealed to all parishes to make an announcement in connection with the upcoming 2015 District Board Ordinary Election and other future elections. He urged the faithful to take into due consideration the stance of each candidate and that of his/her political party he/she might belong to with regard to the core values of marriage and the family, as well as the proposal to enact a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO). There were strong reactions from the local ˇ§gayˇ¨ groups and their supporters.|
|22 November||The District Board Ordinary Election was held with a 47% turnout from an electorate of 3.69 million, with heavyweight candidates losing and being replaced by young blood. This might be a positive consequence of the ˇ§Umbrella Movementˇ¨ (the ˇ§Occupy Central Protestsˇ¨) last year, which raised the awareness of the young people about the public good and the need to play a more active rôle in voting. With the meddling of the Central Government in the affairs of the SAR more and more obvious, there was a stronger aspiration among young people for democracy.|
Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family
was reorganized. It took over the work of the Diocesan Committee
for the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-sex Attraction, which
was thereby dissolved. In line with the recommendations of the Synod of
Bishops which held its 14th Ordinary General Assembly in
October 2015, the reorganized Commission would reach out to married
couples and families with different backgrounds and provide different
~ Epiphany Parish was divided into two new parishes, namely Visitation Parish (comprising the northern portion of Lantau Island and Discovery Bay, with Tung Chung as base) and Epiphany Parish (comprising the southern portion of Lantau Island and Peng Chau, with Mui Wo as base).
|5 December||In response to the ˇ§ecological conversionˇ¨ as advocated by the Encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Siˇ¦, the kick-off ceremony for the so-called ˇ§Angels by the Earthˇ¨ Project was held at the Peak by our Diocese, with Bishop Joseph Ha, OFM, VG, and representatives of the Anglicans, Friends of the Earth and the SAR Government participating. They called for the faithful and citizens to make a change in their way of living under seven aspects in order to promote the ecological cause.|
|12 December||Diocesan Opening Ceremony for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (8 December 2015 ˇV 20 November 2016) proclaimed by Pope Francis, with the blessing of the Holy Door (Door of Mercy) at the Cathedral, with a concelebrated Mass presided over by Cardinal Tong (for information on various events, see Diocesan weeklies of 18 October 2015).|
Cardinal John Tong officiated at the ˇ§Holy Doorˇ¨ Opening Ceremony at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Tsing Yi, which was designated as one of the places of pilgrimage for the ˇ§Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercyˇ¨
|ˇ@||With more and more Western countries legalizing same-sex marriages, Catholics, Christians and Church organizations were facing a ˇ§reverse discriminationˇ¨, in the sense that they were facing more and more opposition in defending their faith and moral values in such sectors as public life, education and social services. Under the global influence, gay groups in Hong Kong, with the support of a misguided public opinion and of the Equal Opportunities Commission, were pushing for the enactment of a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance and the legalizing of same-sex marriages in Hong Kong.|
|ˇ@||During the second half of this year, a prolonged controversy arose as to whether or not the Hong Kong University Council should appoint Prof. Johannes Chan, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, as Pro-Vice-Chancellor. The media and the general public saw the rejection of Prof. Chan, who supported the ˇ§Occupy Centralˇ¨ protests last year, for that post as a hint that HKU was under political pressure from the government.|
ˇ§Door of Mercyˇ¨ opening ceremony held at five locations designated as places of pilgrimage for ˇ§Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercyˇ¨: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, St. Teresaˇ¦s Church, Our Lady of Joy Chapel (Trappist Monastery), Holy Spirit Seminary Chapel, St. Josephˇ¦s Chapel (Yim Tin Tsai Village).
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, to succeed Bishop José Lai Hung-seng, as Bishop of Macau.
|31 January ~ 2 February||
The Year of Consecrated Life concluded with a three-day celebration, including an evening variety show, an evening film show and a solemn Mass presided over by Cardinal John Tong at the Cathedral.
A public talk on The influence of Homosexuality and the ˇ§Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinanceˇ¨ on faith, the family and children, held at St. Judeˇ¦s Church, North Point, on 13 March 2016, was disrupted by Rainbow Action, a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights advocacy organization. On April 28, the Diocese declined the invitation of the Rainbow Action for an open dialogue on the proposed Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance and reiterated that she had always been following the ˇ§compassionate approachˇ¨ of Pope Francis in her contact with homosexuals.
Pope Francis announced the Post-Synodal Apostolate Exhortation, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia). A seminar introducing it was held at St. Paulˇ¦s Church, Yaumati, on April 22. Later during the year the diocese considered how to implement the teaching of that papal document on marriage and family life on a long-term basis.
In all parishes there was celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong (22 April 1841) and of the 70th Anniversary of its establishment as a diocese (11 April 1946).
Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta) canonized. An exhibition about her as ˇ§The Saint of Mercyˇ¨ was held on 3 - 4 September at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Tseung Kwan O.
Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, Auxiliary Bishop, was appointed by Pope Francis as Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong.
|6, 12 & 13 November||
The closing ceremony of the ˇ§Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercyˇ¨ was held respectively at the seven churches / chapels designated as places of pilgrimage.
Of 318 Catholics applying to serve on the SAR Election Committee, 10 were selected by drawing lots, officiated by a returning officer for the Religious Subsector. The Election Committee, comprising 1200 members, will elect the SAR Chief Executive on 26 March 2017.
|2017||26 March||Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, a Catholic, was elected by the Election Committee as the new SAR Chief Executive, obtaining 777 votes out of a total of 1194.|
|13 April||The revised edition of the Pastoral Handbook (the section on Marriage to be added later), containing the diocesan regulations and practices of the Diocese, came into effect, replacing the 1982 edition. Several related seminars were held for priests, parish secretaries and pastoral workers.|
|14 May||To mark the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima (Portugal), Cardinal John Tong presided at the Eucharistic celebration, Cheung Chau, and gave a related talk. There were quite a lot of other local celebrations during this year.|
|15 May||A related joint statement by Catholics was announced through a local newspaper on the occasion of the World Day for the Family.|
|28 May ~ 9 June||To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a 24-member ecumenical delegation from Hong Kong, comprising Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, the Church of Christ in China, Sung Tsun Church and the Salvation Army, visited several places closely linked with the Reformation, including Wittenberg, Augsburg, Trent and Rome. The delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on June 7.|
|31 May||The Diocese celebrated for the first time an annual Pro-life Day, with a message from Cardinal John tong calling for respect for human life at every stage and in every condition.|
|31 May ~ 4 June (Pentecost)||50,000 Catholics from 220 countries, among them around 50 from Hong Kong, together with 1000 priests and more than 50 Bishops or Cardinals, took part in workshops, symposiums and Eucharistic celebrations held in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Apart from attending a general audience on the first day and presiding at the concluding Mass on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis also presided at a Eucharistic liturgy at the Circus Massimus and gave an allocution, exhorting the participants to witness to the perennial Pentecost with an ecumenical outlook and solicitude for the well-being of human society.|
|June ~ 31 December||
On the basis of the decision of the Court of Final Appeal in the case
W v. Registrar of Marriages (2013) recognizing the right
of a transsexual to marry a person of the opposite sex, the SAR
government conducted a public consultation (Part 1) on Gender
Recognition, seeking the views of the public on legal gender
recognition. Among the issues discussed were the distinction between
gender and sex; the distinction between transsexualism and gender
identity disorder or gender dysphoria; whether a gender recognition
scheme should be established, and, if so, whether there should be
medical requirements (such as sex reassignment surgery), etc.
Along with some Christian concern groups, the Diocese opposed the establishment of any model of gender recognition scheme in Hong Kong. On the contrary, the majority of the public and the media, under the influence of similar legislation in other countries and in the name of human rights, cultural diversity and care for the sexual minority, were in favour of such legislation.
The Diocese organized two related seminars for the faithful and urged them to actively respond to the government. The Diocese also sent a representative to a Forum held by the Legislative Council on November 20, voicing out her concern.
|14 July||During a prayer meeting held at the Cathedral, the Diocese (represented by Cardinal John Tong) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hong Kong (represented by Bishop Cheung Chun-wa) jointly endorsed a common Chinese translation of From Conflict to Communion, an ecumenical document marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The original document was prepared by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity with the specific purpose of reflecting on various aspects of the Reformation and 50 years of official worldwide ecumenical dialogue.|
|30 July ~ 6 August||2000 Catholic youths, including 30 from Hong Kong, took part in the Asian Youth Day held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the main theme being Joyful Asian Youth! Living the gospel in multicultural Asia.|
|1 August||Following a disposition of Pope Francis, Cardinal John Tong, at the expiry of his extended three-year term, retired and was succeeded by Bishop Michael YEUNG Ming-cheung, Coadjutor.|
|15 October||In addition to the two currently appointed Vicars General, Bishop Joseph HA Chi-shing, OFM, and Rev. Dominic CHAN Chi-ming, Revv. Peter CHOY Wai-man and Benedict LAM Cho-ming were also appointed Vicars General.|
|19 November||In response to the appeal of Pope Francis, the Diocese and the Church worldwide celebrated the first ˇ§World Day of the Poorˇ¨, with a Message of the Pope focusing on ˇ§Love not in word but in deedˇ¨.|