The public of Hong Kong, in general, might take the Easter celebrations as just another long weekend, an ideal time for a restful vacation. For us Catholics, this is the most joyful event in the year.
This year, we are delighted to witness 3,500 adult catechumens receive the Sacrament of Christian Initiation. They will formally join our Christian family in the liturgy of the Holy Saturday Vigil on April 7.
On behalf of the Diocese, may I extend our heartfelt welcome to all our new brothers and sisters. Our gratitude goes to their catechists—priests, deacons, sisters and laypeople—who have offered their time and energy in teaching them the catechism.
The catechists not only carry out the mission of evangelisation of the Church, but also strengthen their own faith. They deserve our appreciation and applause. May God reward them abundantly.
On three consecutive Sundays during this Lenten season, I had the privilege of anointing the candidates for baptism with the oil of catechumens, making the sign of the cross on their foreheads, on Hong Kong Island, in Kowloon and the New Territories.
I recall a middle-aged man who was baptised three years ago. Having chosen for himself the baptismal name of Augustine, he shared that he was touched by the words of St. Augustine: “Oh, too late have I loved thee… too late have I loved thee” (Confessions 10:27).
Also, after Baptism, he took up a course on catechetics at the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, becoming one of the volunteer catechists in his parish.
He plans to pursue more studies at the Holy Spirit Seminary College to deepen his faith. From this example, we can see that the Holy Spirit comes upon each and every believer and helps us to grow in our faith, as well as transform ourselves and others.
In the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2, Verses 42-47, we see three characteristics of the Early Church, namely: (1) They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles; (2) They frequently gathered for the breaking of bread and they prayed together; (3) They served others, especially those who were in need.
Dear brothers and sisters: Let us learn from the Early Church. Even after our Baptism, we have to read the Scriptures daily and unceasingly participate in community gatherings, especially in the Eucharist, and serve others.
This way, we will give witness to the Gospel.
May I wish you a Happy Easter! Let us sing Alleluia to the Risen Lord!
Bishop of Hong Kong + Cardinal John Tong Hon 25 March 2012—Feast of the Annunciation