(Note: For chronology of the Catholic Church of Hong Kong since 1841, see https://catholic.org.hk/chronology/)

2019-

3 January: Bishop Michael YEUNG Ming-cheung died of liver failure, aged 73.

5 January: Cardinal John TONG appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong.

2 February: Msgr Ante Jozic, head of the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong, appointed by Pope Francis as Nuncio to Ivory Coast. He was succeeded by his deputy Msgr. Javier Herrera-Corona.

4-5 March: Visit of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to Hong Kong.

4-7 April: Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of the Essen Diocese in Germany, together with a delegation, visited Hong Kong as twin diocese.

– 11-16 June: To mark the 40th Anniversary of The Colloquium of the Six Religious Leaders in Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, Apostolic Administrator, joined a delegation of the Colloquium on an official visit to the Vatican and met with Pope Francis and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

– 11 November: Riot police entered the car park of Holy Cross Church, Shaukiwan, and arrested 5 secondary school students suspected of having taken part in the violent demonstration at Sai Wan Ho that morning. A public statement was promptly issued by the parish and the diocese respectively.

– 24 November: – Cardinal John TONG issued his Advent Pastoral Letter announcing “Come, Lord Jesus!”(Rev. 22:12) as the pastoral theme for the Year 2020, and exhorting the faithful to face the current social unrest with firm faith and hope in the Lord Jesus, who will be coming back to us.

– 71.23% of the registered electors in Hong Kong (approximately 2.9 million people) took part in the District Council Elections, with the Pan-Democrats winning the seats of 17 out of 18 District Councils.

– 27 November: A seminar on “Entry of the police into church premises to make a search or arrest from the legal perspective” was organised for parish clergy and staff. Later, some “Guidelines in connection with the premises of Churches and Diocesan Offices” were promulgated by Cardinal John Tong.

June – December: After initial considerations in the first half of this year, the SAR government decided to amend the “Fugitive Ordinance” with an “Extradition Bill”. This provoked mass protests, which were to take place successively across the city until the end of the year. Peaceful protests gradually turned into widespread acts of violence, bloodshed and confrontations between the protesters and the police. Vandalism, the posting of slogans in public places and school campuses against the SAR government, the central government and police brutality, and the blocking of public transport, brought Hong Kong society to a standstill, with great damages to livelihood and the business sector. Students boycotted class in the schools, while strikes were staged in the business sector and in work-places .

– Many protesters were clad in black, with masks or full protective gear. Among them many were secondary or tertiary students. Some Catholic and Christian pastors, quite a lot of the Catholics and Christians, as well as social workers and healthcare workers took part in the protests, especially for the sake of caring for young protesters. Several Catholic and Christian churches offered their premises as “repose stations” (for praying, resting, medical care and offering legal advice) for the protesters.

– The Diocese urged parishes to pray for peace and reconciliation of Hong Kong people through regular prayer gatherings and at Mass. The Diocesan Curia met with different groups of the faithful,

including the representatives of young people and students.

Catholic and Christian leaders, as well as The Colloquium of the Six Religious Leaders in Hong Kong, made several appeals for peaceful, rational and dialogue channels to tackle the social unrest. In mid-November, one of the critical points of the turmoil, a group of protesters broke into the campuses § of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, followed by two weeks of violent  protests by another group at the campuses of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

– The government announced the withdrawal of the “Extradition Bill” on October 23, but still delayed in forming an “independent inquiry commission” to look into several violent conflicts between the protesters and the police. The public demanded that the government should address long-standing, deep-rooted social problems and re-embark on a political reform, with the dual universal suffrage as the goal.

– The 6-month long social turmoil tore Hong Kong society apart, with more than 6,000 persons arrested, of which about 2,400 being students, including about 940 students under the age of 18. There were blames from some Church members that the Diocese had not played its prophetic role actively by speaking out more strongly against police brutality and by showing greater solicitude for the student protesters. At least 12 protesters died, among them 3 students, and many people were wounded.

 

2018

– 1 February : Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel, Lamma Island North, Territories, incorporated into St. Peter’s Parish, Aberdeen, Hong Kong.

19-24 March: 300 young people (one from Hong Kong) worldwide attended a Pre-Synod meeting in Rome to voice their views.
23 June: With Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha, Bishop Michael Yeung made his first Ad Limina visit to Rome and had an audience with Pope Francis. The Holy Father encouraged the Diocese of Hong Kong to “continue your contribution to the life of the Church in China”.

– July: The government allocated a site in the vicinity of St. Joseph’s Church, Fanling, for the Diocese to build a Parish Centre. – 8-15 July: Youth Festival of the Diocese of Hong Kong. – 8-12 August: Pilgrimage of Trust and Reconciliation, organized by the Taize Community.

For 5 days young adults worldwide met in山fferent places ofNorth-EastAsia. In view of the growing aspirations and need for peace and reconciliation, the participants looked for paths of hope and renewed their commitment to make our world a better place for all. – 21-26 August: World Meeting of Families in Dublin, with the theme “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World” in response to the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (2016) of Pope Francis. Several Catholic couples from Hong Kong also took part.

– 22 September: After 50 years of prolonged dialogue and contact, the Holy See and the Chinese authorities reached a Provisional Agreement on the appointment of bishops in China. The Agreement was motivated not by political but pastoral considerations. It aimed at enabling the faithful in China, whether they belong to the official Church or the underground Church, to be shepherded by bishops who are in communion with the Holy See and at the same time recognized by the Chinese authorities. On this occasion Pope Francis absolved the excommunication incurred by eight Chinese bishops (one deceased) who had been consecrated without Papal mandate. – 26 September: Pope Francis sent a Message to Catholics of China and to the Universal Church, urging the whole Church to accompany brothers and sisters in China with prayer and fraternal friendship.

– 3-28 October: XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican, with the theme “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment”. At the invitation of Pope Francis, two bishops from China, Ll Yang Xiaoting and Guo Jincai, attended the Synod. – November: The government allocated a site within Area 1 at Tung Chung, Lantau Island, for the Diocese to build a new church.


2017

2015 - 13 December: Cardinal John Tong officiated at the “Holy Door” Opening Ceremony at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Tsing Yi, which was designated as one of the places of pilgrimage for the “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy”.

2016 - 1 January: “Door of Mercy” opening ceremony held at five locations designated as places of pilgrimage for “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy”: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, St. Teresa’s Church, Our Lady of Joy Chapel (Trappist Monastery), Holy Spirit Seminary Chapel, St. Joseph’s Chapel (Yim Tin Tsai Village).

23 January: Pope Francis appointed Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong Diocese, 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.

13 March: A public talk on The Influence of Homosexuality and the “Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance” on faith, the family and children, held at St. Jude’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 “compassionate approach” of Pope Francis in her contact with homosexuals.

8 April: Pope Francis announced the Post-Synodal Apostolate Exhortation, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia). A seminar introducing it was held at St. Paul’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.

10 April: 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).

4 September: Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta) canonized. An exhibition about her as “The Saint of Mercy” was held on 3 – 4 September at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Tseung Kwan O.

13 November: 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 “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” was held respectively at the seven churches/chapels designated as places of pilgrimage.

19 November: 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.

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 “Gospel of the Family” (29 September 2014). Reference was made to the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On care for our Common Home (24 May 2015) and the “Theology of the Body” 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 “genderless” institution. The Pastoral Letter reaffirmed the Church teaching of marriage as “a voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”, 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 Si’, 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 world’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 “gay” 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 “Umbrella Movement” (the “Occupy Central Protests”) 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.

- 1 December: the 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 services.

- 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 “ecological conversion” as advocated by the Encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Si’, the kick-off ceremony for the so-called “Angels by the Earth” 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 – 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).

- With more and more Western countries legalizing same-sex marriages, Catholics, Christians and Church organizations were facing a “reverse discrimination”, 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.

- 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 “Occupy Central” protests last year, for that post as a hint that HKU was under political pressure from the government.

2014 30 January: 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.

15 May: 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 “civil referendum” 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.

15 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), entitledIn 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 People’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 “a broad representativeness” and “genuinely democratic procedures”.

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 protest was 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 protest was intended to be peaceful, but scuffles and violence repeatedly erupted during the confrontations between the police and the protesters.  A similarly prolonged sit-in was staged at 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 protest, surrendered themselves to the police.  The long protest had left Hong Kong society battered, divided and torn apart, calling into question the feasibility of the principle of “One country, two systems” and pointing to the need to heed the aspirations of youth in policy-making.

29 September: Cardinal John Tong issued a Pastoral Letter on the Family, entitled Proclaiming and Living the “Gospel of the Family”, 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 the3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held in October.

2013 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 – 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 “civil disobedience” referred to the “Occupy Central Movement” 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 beDeepening 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 “matching fund” granted by the government). 1 December:  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 “acceptance” and “respect” 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.

2012 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 “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”.  The Catholic Education Office assisted them by organizing seminars on the educational principles behind the IMC, the IMCfunctions, 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 “Some expectations about the future SAR government envisioned by the Catholic Church in Hong Kong”, 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: 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 “Moral National Education (MNE)”.  The MNE, considered by many as a means of “brainwashing”, 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 “patriotism” into a narrow-minded “nationalism”.  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 “Religious and Moral Education”, 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 “Some Proposals for the new government of the Hong Kong SAR from the Catholic Church in Hong Kong”, 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 “New Evangelization”.

26 October ~ 1 November: Our Diocese hosted an “International Conference on Sharing the Experience of Lay Ministry”, 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 “Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance” 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 “civil unions” and “same-sex marriage”, as well as a “reverse discrimination” 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 “Year of the Laity” and Opening Ceremony for the “Year of Faith” were held at the Asia World Expo, Tung Chung.

2011 1 January: The “Year of the Laity”for our Diocese was inaugurated by Bishop John Tong at the Mass for the “World Day of Peace” held in the Cathedral.  The focus was on the vocation and mission of the lay people “to sanctify themselves, to sanctify others, and to transform the world”, with related programmes and activities to promote the formation of the laity and small Christian communities.  On 21 April it was announced that the “Year of the Laity” 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 “Caritas Institute of Higher Education” and would be qualified to run some bachelor’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 Queen’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 “global citizens” and ought to cherish “universal values” 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 “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004” on the grounds that its requirement that all aided schools in Hong Kong must form an “Incorporated Management Committee” (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 “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”.  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.

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.

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.

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. Teresa’s Church, Kowloon Tong, with Fr. Dominic Chan, VG, officiating.

2010 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.

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.

17 October: 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 andMission 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. 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.

3l December: 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.

2009 22 February: 50th anniversary of the Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity, with Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, present at its AGM, eucharistic celebration (Cathedral) and dinner; an evening variety show was held at Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Wanchai, on 28 February.

15 April: Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, as diocesan Bishop for having reached the retirement age prescribed by Canon 401 §1; on the same day the Coadjutor, Bishop John Tong, became the seventh diocesan Bishop of Hong Kong. After his retirement Cardinal Zen concentrated his attention on matters relating to the Church in China.

20 April: Fr. Michael Yeung, Fr. Dominic Chan and Fr. Pierre Lam, MEP, were appointed Vicars General. Sticking to the current orientation, policies and practices of the diocese, Bishop John Tong did not introduce any major changes.

30 April: Eucharistic concelebration on the commencement of Bishop John Tong as diocesan Bishop. It was held at the Cathedral and attended by more than two thousand members of the faithful.

24 May: The Holy See issued a Compendium of the Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Church in China (27 May 2007).Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, as member of the Pontifical Commission for China, published in November a Guide to the same Papal letter. On 10 November, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Secretary of State, addressed a letter to the priests in China, urging them to foster reconciliation and dialogue during the “Year for Priests”.

28 June: Closing ceremony of the Year of St. Paul at the Cathedral.

1 July: St. Ignatius Pastoral Zone, Yaumati, Kowloon, incorporated into St. Teresa’s Parish, Kowloon Tong.

1 July: To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the Cure d#8217;Ars, “Patron Saint of All Priests”, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a “Year for Priests” (19/6/2009-19/6/2010). With a Pastoral Letter inspired by the “Year for Priests”, Bishop John Tong designated a “Year of Priestly Vocations” (1/7/2009-31/12/2010) for the diocese, with a view to (1) promoting priestly spirituality, ongoing formation and ministry, and (2) fostering priestly vocations, in particular vocations to be diocesan priests.

30 July: In a TV interview, Bishop John Tong lent support to a Government plan for drug-testing which was supposed to be carried out promptly in schools. However, he emphasized that the problems of drug addiction could only be resolved radically by encouraging young people to love and care for others, and inculcating them with a healthy outlook on life. Bishop Tong’s view led to a wide debate among teachers, social workers, parents and students in the following months. The Government came to realize that a plan, to be effective, must cover all aspects and be backed up by adequate resources. 17~18 November: The diocese appealed against a negative decision of the Court of First Instance on 23 November 2006, in a judicial review of the “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”.

18 November: The SAR Government issued the “Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2012” and began a 3-month public consultation. As a consequence of much dissatisfaction of the general public with the progress of democratization of the SAR, the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party in mid-December opted for a “Legco resignation-for-referendum plan”, as a drastic means to press the government to speed up the process of democratization. A decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on 29 December 2007 allowed for universal suffrage for the election of the SAR Chief Executive in 2017 and of the Legco in 2020 at the earliest.

2008 1 January: St. Vincent’s Parish, Hang Hau, Kowloon, incorporated into St. Andrew’s Parish, Tseung Kwan O, Kowloon. During this year ––

  1. The diocese considered various proposed amendments to the pastoral directives in thePastoral Handbook (1982 ed.), in particular during the Study Camp for Clergy (2-4 Jan.).
  2. An Ad Hoc Committee, convened by Fr. Dominic Chan, VG, reviewed the two-year basic training programmes for lay catechists, as provided by the Diocesan Catechetical Centre, with the aim of improving the quality of lay catechists and their ongoing formation.
  3. The diocese, through negotiations with the Education Bureau, tried as far as possible to obtain concessions for the setting up of the “Incorporated Management Committee (IMC)” as prescribed by the “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”. At the same time, the diocese prepared itself through legal consultations for the eventuality of having to settle the dispute by a judicial review of the said Ordinance. The SAR government required all schools, including Catholic schools, to form the IMC by 2012 at the latest.
  4. The diocese joined other Christian concern groups by taking part in the public consultations of the government on amending the “Domestic Violence Ordinance” and the “Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance”. Through the formation programmes and publications of the Catholic Education Office, the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family, the Hong Kong Catholic Marriage Advisory Council, Caritas Family Service and other Catholic organizations, the diocese made efforts to promote sex education, the virtue of chastity and family life.

30 January: Bishop John Tong was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong. A concelebrated Mass to invoke God’s blessings on Bishop Tong was held at the Cathedral on 10 February.

21 March (Good Friday): The prayers and meditations for the Way of the Cross, led by Benedict XVI at the Colosseum, Rome, were composed by Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, at the request of Pope.

10-11 April: The Pontifical Foreign Missions Institute celebrated its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong. So far a total of 207 PIME missionaries had preached or were still preaching the Gospel in Hong Kong.

12 May: Sichuan, China, was struck by a devastating earthquake. The diocese prayed in a special way for the victims and, for their emergency relief and the rehabilitation of the earthquake zones, launched a fundraising campaign lasting until the end of May in the following year.

May: General Council of the Columban Mission Society moved its headquarters from Dublin, Ireland, to Hong Kong.

After Chinese authorities expressed concern over security, the diocese had to cancel a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine at Sheshan, Shanghai. A group of around 500 pilgrims from Hong Kong were supposed to be at the Shrine on 24 May, Memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, designated as a worldwide day of prayer for the Church in China by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 letter to the Church in China. Yet a diocesewide novena to Our Lady, Help of Christians, was organized to offer special prayers for the Church in China.

27 June: Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, with Bishop John Tong, made his first Ad Limina visit to Rome and had an audience with Benedict XVI. The Holy Father encouraged the Diocese of Hong Kong to “continue your contribution to the life of the Church in China”.

29 June: The “Year of St. Paul” (28/6/2008 – 29/6/2009), which marked the bimillennium of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles, was inaugurated in our diocese with a Mass presided over by Bishop John Tong at the Cathedral.

15-20July: The 23rd World Youth Day was held at Sydney, Australia, with about 500 Hong Kong participants among 400,000 young people from 170 countries. 8 August: Bishop John Tong and Bishop Jose Lai of Macau were invited by the Central Government to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. 20 September: The diocesan weekly in Chinese, Kung Kao Po, celebrated its 80th anniversary.

1 October: The Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP) celebrated the 350th anniversary of its foundation and of its missionary service in Asia.

12 October: More than 7000 Catholics took part in the Mission Sunday celebration at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground, Chaiwan, the main theme being “In the Footsteps of St. Paul”. There was a sharing session by some religious institutes and societies of Apostolic Life on their charisms and apostolates and a “Passing on the Faith Relay” to highlight the mission of Christians to preach the Gospel. The diocese held three other similar sharing sessions in October.

5-26 October: Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, and Ms. Agnes Lam, President of the Hong Kong Catholic Biblical Association, attended the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the main theme being“The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”.

November: 2nd Report (15/9/2005 – 14/9/2008) of the Post-Diocesan Synod Monitoring Committee, reviewing the implementation of the Synodal priorities by parishes.

27-30 November: 14th Congress of Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, on“Human Dignity in Modern Medicine”, was held in Hong Kong, hosted by the Guild of St. Luke, Ss. Cosmas and Damian, Hong Kong. It was attended by around 120 medical practitioners from more than ten Asian countries, and by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care.

4-8 December: Official visit of Archbishop Robert Sarah, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to Hong Kong, at the invitation of Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB.

6-7 December: Celebrations of the 120th anniversary of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, following a year-long preparation.

14 December: Bishop John Tong participated at a ceremony that marked the 30th anniversary of the “Joint Conference of Leaders of Six Religions”, which had been promoting local interreligious dialogues between Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam and the Christian and Catholic faiths.

24 December: Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, confirmed that the Pope had accepted his retirement as Bishop of Hong Kong, to be effective in the first half of 2009. It was his aspiration that he would then be able to concentrate on issues relating to the Church in China.

2007 With a view to promoting family life as recommended by the Diocesan Synod (2000-2001), the years 2007-2008 were designated as “Year of the family”. March: 1st Report (Sept. 2003 – Sept. 2005) of the Post-Diocesan Synod Monitoring Committee, reviewing the implementation of the Synodal priorities by diocesan commissions and offices.

19 March: Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, who turned 75 last January, was notified by Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that Pope Benedict XVI had decided not to accept his repeated requests for retirement. Until it be arranged otherwise, he was asked to carry on as the Bishop of Hong Kong and, in that capacity, to participate as far as possible in the concerns for the Church in China in collaboration with the Holy See. Subsequently, at the request of Cardinal Zen, the Holy See undertook consultations regarding the candidates for a Coadjutor.

27 May (Pentecost): Pope Benedict XVI issued a Letter to the Church in China, focusing on Church-State relations, Church communion, the appointment of bishops and some pastoral matters. The Holy Father also suggested that in the future, 24 May, the Memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, be for Catholics worldwide a day of prayer for the Church in China. A Chinese version was made available to the faithful by Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, who also gave several public talks to clarify the Pope’s Letter.

July: In order to promote the religious formation of students in Catholic schools, the diocese endorsed a plan for a team of full-time, paid staff to be assigned to the office of the Diocesan Youth Commission, in support of lay pastoral workers in Catholic Schools.

September - October: Evangelization rallies and other activities were held in individual deaneries to celebrate the annual Mission Sunday.

October: To enable the government to assess the merits of “school-based management” according to the model of “School Executive Committee” (recommended by the Education Commission Report No.7 in 1997), Cardinal Joseph Zen entrusted The Hong Kong Institute for Education with Conducting a survey. The survey would target those Catholic schools which had set up such a “Committee”, and several of them would be selected for in-depth studies.

21 October: The Correctional Services Department held a Rehabilitation Fair at its Staff Training Institute, Stanley, to introduce the local NGOs at the service of serving and rehabilitated offenders. The “Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Lay Prison Evangelical Organization” was the co-organizer and Bishop John Tong was one of the guests of honour.

3 – 13 November: At the invitation of the diocese, Cardinal Jozef Tomko visited Hong Kong to conduct the annual retreat for clergy. He also gave a talk to lay people on Eucharistic veneration and met with men and women religious.

12 November: Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, met with Michael Suen Ming-yeung, Secretary for Education, to exchange views on the possibility of granting more discretionary power to the diocese in respect of setting up the “Incorporated Management Committee” in Catholic schools, as prescribed by the “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”. The government would try to consider such a possibility. On the other hand, the judicial review of the above Ordinance, as requested by the diocese, was scheduled for 13 March 2008.

12 December: Following a controversial public consultation in the summer, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen submitted a report on the political reform of the SAR to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. He indicated that more than half the Hong Kong people opted for universal suffrage (for elections of the Chief Executive and the Legco) by 2012 but that delaying its introduction until 2017 was more likely to secure the required two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council. The 2017 option would also appear to be more in line with the Basic Law’s principle of developing Hong Kong’s political system in a “gradual and orderly manner” (cf. Arts. 45, 68).

29 December: The National People’s Congress Standing Committee ruled out universal suffrage for the Hong Kong SAR in 2012, but gave green light to universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017 and of the Legislative Council thereafter (2020 at the earliest).

2006 22 February: Together with fourteen prelates worldwide, Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, was created Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. A diocesan delegation attended the installation ceremonies for the new Cardinals at the Vatican on 24-25 March.

4 May: After the illicit ordination of Fr. Joseph Ma Yinglin as Bishop of Kunming (30 April) and of Fr. Liu Xinhong as Bishop of Wuhu (3 May), arranged by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and without papal mandate, both the Holy See and Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB, condemned such violation of the rights of the Church.

7 May: St. Joseph’s Chapel, Yim Tin Tsai Village, Sai Kung, received a Culture heritage conservation “Award of Merit” under the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards scheme.

30 July – 5 August: Asian Youth Day IV was hosted by our diocese, the main theme being “Youth: The Hope of Asian Families”. It was held at YMCA Wu Kai Sha Youth Village and participated approximately by 250 local youths, 30 youths from mainland China and 500 delegates from 24 other countries, mainly Asian.

31 August: To streamline diocesan structures and to make the best use of diocesan resources, the Diocesan Commission for Laity Formation and the corresponding Diocesan Office were dissolved. Parishes and deaneries were expected to play a more active role in the formation of lay people in the future.

8 November: Of the nineteen Catholics applying to serve on the Election Committee for the election of the SAR Chief Executive in 2007, seven were chosen by drawing lots by a returning officer for the Religious Subsector.

14 November: The “Centre for Religious and Spirituality Education” under The Hong Kong Institution of Education was established with donations from Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong (3 million dollars), the Anglicans, Taoists and Buddhists.

19 November: St. Andrew’s Church, Tseung Kwan O, blessed.

23 November: Following a judicial review of the “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004”, the Court of First Instance dismissed the claim of the diocese that the Ordinance infringed the Basic Law. The Court ruled that the protection of religious freedom did not entitle Church organizations to veto public education policies. In order to implement a school-based management policy, the amended Ordinance requires every subsidized school to set up, by 2010 at the latest, an incorporated management committee (IMC), 40% of its members being elected representatives of parents, teachers and alumni, and 60% being appointed by the sponsoring body. After the judicial review, the diocese publicly pledged to continue its commitment to education, but also made an appeal directly to the Court of Final Appeal. December: The diocese decided to establish a Finance Commission and to appoint a Financial Administrator as from January 2007, in accordance with cann. 492-494 of the Code of Canon Law.

4 December: China illicitly ordained Fr. Wang Renlei as Coadjutor Bishop of Xuzhou, without papal mandate. Both the Holy See and Cardinal Joseph Zen issued strong statements of condemnation.

2005 10 March: Mr. Tung Chee-hwa resigned as Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR and Mr. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief Secretary, took over as Acting Chief Executive. Election of the new Chief Executive was scheduled for 10 July.

2 April: Pope John Paul II passed away at 9:37 pm. Three million Catholics and others flocked to the Vatican to pay homage to him. In Hong Kong, two Masses at the Cathedral to commemorate him, on 4 April (evening) and on 7 April (morning), were attended respectively by more than six thousand Catholics. There was wide media coverage locally and abroad on the late Holy Father as a staunch promoter of justice, world peace and the solidarity of the human family.

25 April: Solemn Mass at the Cathedral to pray for the new Pope, Benedict XVI, as he began his pontificate (24 April).

8 May: Closing ceremony of the “Year of the Evangelization” at Hong Kong Coliseum, with “New Culture of Evangelization” as main theme.

16 June: Mr. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, supported by 710 members of the 796-member Election Committee, won the election campaign for the post of Chief Executive.

24 June: Mr. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen sworn in as new SAR Chief Executive.

15 – 19 August: The diocese hosted the first East Asian Meeting on Women, sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences.

16 – 18 August: Holy Spirit Seminary College hosted the 3rd International Philarchisophia Symposium, attended by scholars from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.

3 November: “The Centre for Catholic Studies” established in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a donation of 7 million dollars from the diocese.

5 – 6 November: Following a series of seminars, eucharistic devotions and retreats, the “Year of the Eucharist” was concluded at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay.

7 – 12 November: The Annual retreat of the Catholic clergy of Hong Kong was held at Jinzi Retreat House, Shanghai.

27 – 30 November: More than 300 delegates from 18 Asian countries attended the 9th Asian Regional Conference of CICIAMS (International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants) at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, with “ Healthy Family: Our Mission as Carers” as main theme. It was hosted by the Hong Kong Catholic Nurses’ Guild and attended by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.

4 December: An estimated 250,000 citizens took part in a rally to protest against the “Package to Proposals for the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2008”, brought forward by The Fifth Report of the Constitutional Development Task Force under the SAR Government. Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, was one of the most outspoken critics of this constitutional reform bill, which did not lay down a precise road map or timetable for introducing universal suffrage, as stipulated by the Basic Law (Art. 45), in the light of the actual situation of Hong Kong and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.

6 December: The diocese submitted an application to the High Court for a judicial review of the constitutionality of the “Education (Amendment) Ordinance 2004” in relation to the Basic Law of Hong Kong (Arts. 136, 137, 141).

13 – 18 December: The SAR Government hosted the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. A few thousand protesters against “globalization” arrived from various countries. Ultimately some of them resorted to violence. Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, and human rights advocates condemned the ill-treatment and arrest of about 900 peaceful protesters by the police.

21 December: The constitutional reform package of the SAR Government was voted down with 34 Legislators in favour, 24 against and one abstention.

2004 1 July: Following a prayer gathering at Victoria Park attended also by Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, many Catholics joined thousands of other citizens in a peaceful anti-government march. The main issue was for more democracy, particularly for the SAR Chief Executive and the Legislative Council to be elected by universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The march witnessed to a deepened social awareness and a craving for democracy on the part of the public, who was motivated not just by economic wellbeing.

20 September: The diocese issued some regulations regarding hygiene of church premises, the Eucharist and other sacraments.

23 – 24 October: To celebrate Mission Sunday, an evangelization rally and Eucharistic concelebration were held at the Hong Kong Coliseum, Hunghom. This occasion also marked the opening of the Year of the Eucharist (Oct. 2004 – Oct. 2005), proclaimed by Pope John Paul II for the universal Church with the main theme of “The Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church”. The diocese planned for a series of activities to achieve two main goals set by the Holy Father, namely, the revival of Sunday Mass as the original feast day of the Church, and an increase in Eucharistic worship outside Mass.

1 – 4 November: Liturgists and members of the Liturgy Commissions of Asian countries and regions (including Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong) attended the “Asian Liturgy Forum” in Taipei to study the Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum” (with norms for the Eucharistic celebration) issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 23 April 2004. Recommendations were made for adapting the Holy See norms to the Asian context.

20 November: Education (Amendment) Bill 2004 passed by the Legislative Council on 8 July. Under the new Ordinance, effective on 1 January 2005, every aided school is required before 2010 to form an incorporated management committee (IMC) whose members should include, elected representatives of teachers, parents of students and alumni, as well as other independent persons, with a view to promoting a school-based management. It was the concern of the Church that, as a sponsoring body, she would no longer be empowered in the future to supervise the schools under her sponsorship, nor be able to achieve her goals and objectives in Catholic education. In a circular letter dated 20 November, Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, urged all Catholic schools to retain their current structure, without forming the IMC before 2010. However, to promote a participatory governance framework for stakeholders, they should form a “School Executive Committee” at the functional level within the current school year. Such a body, proposed by the Education Commission Report No. 7 in 1997, would include representatives of teachers, parents and alumni as members. Catholic schools were also urged to identify potential school managers who shared the vision of the Catholic Church in education.

During this year a centralized, computerized system for keeping pastoral data and parish census records were introduced, linking the diocese and parishes and the parishes between themselves.

2003 21 February – 23 June: An atypical viral pneumonia, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), dealt a heavy blow to all sectors of Hong Kong and brought public life practically to a standstill. Preventive hygiene measures and quarantines were enforced by the government, especially for infected areas, hospitals, schools and crowded or public places. Hong Kong was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as unsafe for tourists and visitors. The diocese likewise carried out provisional pastoral measures on hygienic grounds. Death toll stood at 296 when WHO announced Hong Kong SARS-free on 23 June.

1 July: Half a million Hong Kong people, including many Catholics, took to the streets in a landmark protest against the government for hastily enacting the “National Security Bill” under Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong without wide and thorough consultations. There was much concern that the proposed legislation, aiming at outlawing such offences as treason, secession, sedition and subversion, could easily lead to violation of fundamental human rights. Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, took part in a prayer gathering at Victoria Park before the mass protest began. On 7 July the government decided to defer the second reading of the controversial Bill, originally scheduled to be put to a vote by the Legislative Council on 9 July.

17 August: Eight members of the radical Rainbow Action homosexual rights group disrupted a Sunday Mass at he Catholic Cathedral. They were provoked by the Church’s opposition to homosexual “marriages”, as set forth in a document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 3 June 2003, entitled “Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons”. Subsequently Bishop Joseph Zen, SDB, met with representatives of various homosexual rights groups to clarify the Church’s stand and reaffirmed that she had no discrimination against homosexual persons as such.

19 October: Mission Sunday celebration at the Hong Kong Stadium, programmes including (1) public recitation of the rosary to conclude the Year of the Rosary (Oct. 2002 – Oct. 2003) proclaimed by Pope John Paul II, and (2) inauguration of a Year of Evangelization (lasting until Easter 2005) as recommended by the Diocesan Synod.

This year Caritas-Hong Kong, the social service arm of the diocese, reached its 50th anniversary. It pledged to carry on its option for the poor, the needy and the socially marginalized by coping with cuts in government funding and the new government policy of community-based integrated social services. During this year the diocese also attended to the following matters:

  1. introducing a healthcare and retirement scheme for priests and religious with the assistance of Catholic medical professionals;
  2. establishing the Diocesan Finance Council in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, with a Provisional Diocesan Finance Committee during a two-year preparatory period (1 August 2003 – 31 July 2005);
  3. dialogues with the government in regard to the “Education (Amendment) Bill 2002”jointly with other representatives of the Association of School Sponsoring Bodies;
  4. considerations for assigning pastoral workers to Catholic schools.
  5. establishing the Concern Group for Sexual Abuse of Minors in Diocesan Organizations.
7 December: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award.

2002 1 January: Holy Spirit Parish, Homantin, Kowloon, suppressed and amalgamated with Mary Help of Christians Parish, Ma Tau Wai, Kowloon.

2 May: A local newspaper, South China Moring Post, gave a front-page report on three Catholic priests in Hong Kong alleged to have sexually abused minors during the episcopate of Cardinal John B. Wu. In the following weeks, other allegations involving local priests and religious rocked the Catholic Church and seriously undermined her public image. These events raised the awareness of the general public and of the Catholic Church about the need to protect minors against sexual abuse. It was decided to form an inter-disciplinary committee under the Diocese for the protection of minors against sexual abuse in Church institutions.

4 August: Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Sau Mau Ping, Kowloon, suppressed and amalgamated with Resurrection Parish, Kwun Tong, Kowloon.

8 September: Cardinal John B. Wu promulgated the deliberations and pastoral priorities of the Diocesan Synod (4 March 2000 – 30 December 2001). In a Pastoral Letter entitled “Love life, the gift of God!”, he outlined a ten-year plan for the implementation of the top ten pastoral priorities of the Synod.

23 September: Cardinal John B. Wu, whose health had been deteriorating since mid-June, passed away, aged 77, and was immediately succeeded by his Coadjutor, Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, SDB. Cardinal Wu’s funeral, held on 28 September, was officiated by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

6 October: St. Jerome’s Church, Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, blessed.

20 October: Eucharistic celebration in the Cathedral on the commencement of the pastoral ministry of Bishop Zen, SDB, as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong.

Especially during the second half of this year, the Diocese and various Christian groups joined the legal profession, human rights organizations and other sectors of society in voicing out their reservations about the proposed anti-subversion laws, required under Article 23 of the Basic Law. It was worried that these laws, if enacted without a thorough consultation process including a “white bill”, could easily lead to violations of basic civil rights in the future. The Diocese also expressed her concern over the Education (Amendment) Bill 2002, about to be passed by the Legislative Council. Once enacted, the new legislation would likely play down the role of the Church in running Catholic schools and in promoting Catholic education.

2001 1 January: An evangelization rally to mark the closing of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in Hong Kong and the journey of the Church “towards the Third Millennium of Christ’s Saving Grace” was held at the Hong Kong Stadium.

8 August: Caritas Francis Hsu College upgraded by the Education Department and registered under the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance, Cap. 320, following an Institutional Review conducted by the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation.

10 November: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (rebuilt), Wanchai, blessed.

December: The Diocese took the lead in defending the right to schooling of Mainland-born children whose parents were Hong Kong residents and who were on recognisance, waiting judicial sentence on their claim to the right of abode in Hong Kong. Along with several local schools, two Catholic private schools, namely, St. Joan of Arc Primary School and Ng Wah College (Primary Section, AM Session) admitted those children with special tuition arrangements. In response to public opinion, especially to the appeal of the legal and educational circles, the Immigration Department finally agreed to review previous requests for schooling, on a case-by-case basis.

30 December: Closing Ceremony of the Diocesan Synod was held at the Cathedral, during which the seven drafting groups presented 177 Synodal resolutions to Cardinal John B. Wu. From among these, ten priorities had previously been chosen by Synodal members. These priorities aimed at deepening the Christian formation of the lay people; promoting the catechumenate, basic ecclesial communities and Christian marriage and family life; youth ministry in parishes and Catholic schools; more involvement in social justice issues by Church leaders and other Church members; active participation in evangelization; the establishing of a local Catholic university.

The recommendations of a special committee for foreigners were also submitted.

2000 1 January: Diocesan Jubilee Year 2000 celebration at Hong Kong Stadium, So Kon Po. Various Jubilee Year activities were held throughout this year, including local pilgrimages to nine designated places, celebrations for religious, the elderly and disabled, and a eucharistic congress.

4 March: Opening Ceremony of the Diocesan Synod (at Cathedral) and its First Plenary Assembly (at Catholic Diocese Centre), participated by about 200 Church members and some Christian leaders as observers. Seven drafting groups were to deal respectively with formation of the laity and lay ministry, youth ministry, social concerns, evangelization, marriage and family life, education and culture, and vocation promotion and ongoing formation for diocese priests. To allow for fuller representation of the English-speaking faithful, a committee for the evaluation of pastoral ministry to foreigners was set up in August.

1 May: The second Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers was established at Star of the Sea Church, Chaiwan.

22 May: Diocesan Guidelines for Pastoral Ministry to Foreigners promulgated.

14 June: SAR Government announced membership of Election Committee for the second Legislative Council elections in September. Of the seventeen Catholics who applied for membership, seven (six laymen and a diocesan priest) were chosen by the Constitutional Affairs Bureau to sit on the Committee, in accordance with the “passive compliance” stance of the Diocese.

9 July: A 26-episolde TV religious programme entitled (Alpha Omega), launched by the Diocesan Audio-Visual Centre, began to be broadcast on Cable TV.

13 August: St. Francis Xavier Parish, Choi Wan Estate, Kowloon, suppressed and incorporated into Holy Family Parish, Choi Hung Estate.

1 October: St. Vincent’s Parish, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon, suppressed and incorporated into Mother of Good Counsel Parish, San Po Kong. 120 Chinese martyrs (87 natives and 33 foreign missionaries) canonized by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. The canonization was sternly condemned by the Chinese Government, on the allegations that those martyrs were accomplices of Western imperialists and colonialists who had oppressed China, that some of the martyrs were morally corrupt, and that the date chosen for the canonization – the National Day of China – was intended as an insult to the people of China. From September to November, celebrations of the Diocese and various religious communities were held as scheduled, despite the request of the Liaison Office of the Central Government in the SAR that religious celebrations should preferably keep a low profile. There were also heated debates among the media, regarding not only the canonization as such but also the issue of religious freedom in the SAR, under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement enforced since the 1997 transition.

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 People’s Congress to re-interpret the Basic Law with a view to overriding the SAR Court of Final Appeal’s 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 Government’s 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 neighbouring parishes, namely, St. Alfred’s and St. Benedict’s.

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 Bureaux would draw lots to choose six or seven of them to sit on the EC.

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, focussing on “Formation of Laity towards a Renewed Church”.

1 September: Christ the King Parish, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, suppressed and incorporated into St. Lawrence’s 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 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 Vatican, was telecast live on Cable TV.

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, President of the Hong Kong Catholic Institutions Staff Association, and Joseph Hui Tak-fai, 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-14May: 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 Yiuming of Wanxian, in Sichuan Province, and his Coadjutor Bishop Xu Zhixuan, who were also invited, were not granted permission to attend by 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 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 Catholics.

1997 Starting from this year (Year of Christ), Diocese began to prepare for the Jubilee Year AD2000 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, Wanchi, 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, VG, 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 and Karl Tsang Fan-hing 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 Bishop’s 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 Assisi’s English Primary Scholl (Shek Kip Mei) and St. Joseph’s 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 graual 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.

1996 1 January: Assumption of Our Lady Parish, Rennie’s Mill, New Territories, suppressed and incorporated into St. Andrew’s Parish, Tseung Kwan O. 12 April: Celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the elevation of 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, 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, diocesan priest, and Miss Teresa Yiu Sau-hing, 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.

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. Jerome’s 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.

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. Wu’s 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 ethnics 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 Xi’an 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.

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. Wu’s 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 Cardinal’s Pastoral Exhortation and the Diocesan Committee for the Formation of the Laity.

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. Andrew’s 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 and Rev. Dominic Chan Chi-ming, were appointed. Rev. Gabriel Lam Cheuk-wai and Rev. John B. Tsang Hing-mun were respectively assigned to two newly established offices, namely, Episcopal Vicar for Religious and Episcopal Vicar for Social Services.

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 publication, 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.

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.”

1989 An “Evening Theology Degree Course” for lay people was opened at Holy Spirit Seminary College. 1 March: canonical erection of Notre Dame Quasi-Parish, To Kwa Wan (parish since 30 May 1992).

14 May (Pentecost): Cardinal John B Wu issued his Pastoral Exhortation “March into the Bright Decade: on the Pastoral Commitment of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong”.

11 July: letter of Cardinal John B Wu to the Bishops of the world, requesting them to appeal for justice, order and democracy in China, and asking for their solidarity in the “future of Hong Kong” issue and the “Vietnamese Refugees” issue.

15 December: St. Matthew the Apostle Quasi-Parish, Butterfly Estate, Tuen Mun, erected (parish since 14 November 1993).

1988 Centennial Celebrations of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

19 March: St. Joseph’s Church, Kwun Tong, blessed.

29 May (Trinity Sunday): Pope John Paul II publicy nominated Bishop John B Wu to the Cardinalate.

28 June: the Bishop was officially made Cardinal in the Consistory.

11 November: incorporation of St. Vincent’s Parish, Hang Hau, and Assumption of Our Lady Parish, Rennie’s Mill, from N.T Vicariate into Kowloon Vicariate.

1987 24 April: Annunciation Quasi-Parish, Chai Wan Kok-Tsuen Wan West and Rural, erected (parish since 1 December 1992; church dedicated on 4 December 1993). 1 May: ecclesiastical territories until then called Rectories were henceforth named QUASI-PARISH, and their Rectors were named PASTORS, who as such would have all the faculties proper to parish priests in the Diocese.

3 July: the territory of St. Alfred’s Parish was divided and two new Blessed Martyrs of China (parish since 14 November 1993) and to St. Benedict (parish since 1 December 1992; church dedicated on 20 February 1993).

1986 21-31 January: At the invitation of the Director of the Religious Affairs Bureaux of Guangdong Province, Bishop Wu led a 7-member delegation on a visit to Guangzhou and the eastern part of Guangdong Province.

15 November: St. Joseph’s Rectory, Kowloon North East. Erected (parish since 1 December 1992).

1985 25 March: At the invitation of the Religious Affairs Bureaux under the State Council, Bishop Wu led a 5 member delegation on a visit to Beijing and Shanghai. It was the first time a Catholic bishop from the Diocese of Hong Kong, a Chinese bishop, officially visited Mainland China since 1949.

15 July: Invited by the Holy Spirit Study Centre and led by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian an eight-member delegation, including clergy and laity from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church in Shanghai, visited Hong Kong for the first time since 1949.

10 October: In accordance with the new Code of Canon Law, and in pursuance of the diocesan renewal programme, Bishop John B. Wu decided that the three Zonal Delegates, whose terms of office had expired, were to be replaced by three Episcopal Vicars. The territorial divisions would henceforth be known as Vicariates.

1984 15 August: In view of the initialling of the “Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong” on 26 September in Beijing, Bishop John B Wu made a “Statement on the Catholic Church and the Future of Hong Kong”, underlining the right to religious freedom as a basic human right and expressing the wish that this right and its free exercise be explicitly expressed and effectively guaranteed in the “Joint Declaration” and in the “Basic Law of the future Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. The Statement was sent to the Chinese Government through the Hong Kong Branch of the Xinhua News Agency. A similar statement, signed by the leaders of some 200 Hong Kong Anglican and Protestant Churches, was communicated to both the Chinese and British Governments on 31 August.

8 September: Bishop John B Wu issued a pastoral letter exhorting the faithful to show their concern for public affairs and to further the common good by registering themselves as voters and taking an active part in the District Board elections in 1985 and the Urban and Regional Council elections in 1986. 18 September: More than 30 Catholic organizations submitted a joint proposal to the Hong Kong Government on the reform of the political structure of Hong Kong in the transition period leading to 1997, with particular reference to democratization and direct elections to the Legislature.

1983 January: Missionary of Charity Sisters arrived for work with outcasts.

29 May: new O.L. of Lourdes Church, Chi Fu Fa Yuen, blessed. October: Societe Des Missions Etrangeres – Quebec PME Fathers arrived for Work of evangelization.

2-6 December: “The Laity Meeting in Asia” was held in Hong Kong under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the theme being “The Role of the Laity in the Church’s Life and Mission in Asian Society”.

1982 23 July: St. Thomas Rectory, Tsing Yi Isl., erected (parish since 14 November 1993).

1981 15 August: St. John the Ap. Rectory, Sheung Kwai Chung, erected (chapel blessed on 16 June 1983; parish since 3 November 1988).

25 December: St. Francis Xavier Rectory, Choi Wan Estate, erected (parish since 3 November 1988).

1980 6 August: St. Stephen’s Parish, Ha Kwai Chung, erected (church blessed on 26 December).

1979 January: Pious Society of Daughters of St. Paul arrived for mass media apostolate. 27 January: Inter-denominational Chapel in Kai Tak Airport blessed. 21 March: HK Diocese Chinese Priests Association founded. 1 July: Decree raising all NT Districts and urban Rectories to parish status. 1 December: Peng Chau divided from Cheung Chau and started as independent Parish (O.L. Queen of Peace opened in 1959),

1978 4 March: blessing of the Catholic Diocese Centre and new wing of Caritas House by Cardinal Hoeffner of Cologne.

1977 February: Missionary of Charity Brothers arrived to work with handicapped people. 27 March: St. Alfred’s Church, Shatin, blessed. 1 October: Diocesan Audio-visual Centre established. 8 October: St. Luke’s Rectory, Wong Chuk Hang, erected (parish since 1 July 1979 and incorporated into St. Peter’s Parish on 1 June 1997).

1976 The Philosophy Division of Holy Spirit Seminary College was affiliated with the Pontifical Urban University and henceforth could confer the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. 7 January: Sheung Shui District erected (work started in 1973, Mother of Christ Church blessed on 1 January 1976, parish since 1 July 1979).

1975 5 April: Fr. John Baptist Wu Cheng-Chung appointed 5th Bishop (consecrated and installed on 25 July). 1 October: Foreign Mission Society of Mexico Fathers arrived for pastoral work. 10 November: Holy Spirit Rectory, Ho Man Tin, erected (parish since 1 July 1979).

1974 The Theology Division of Holy Spirit Seminary College was affiliated with the Pontifical Urban University and henceforth could confer the degree of Bachelor of Sacred Theology. 23 July: death of Bishop Lei; Fr. Gabriel Lam Cheuk Wai elected Vicar Capitular.

1973 8 April: Holy Redeemer’s Church, Tuen Mun, blessed (built in 1960). 23 May: death of Bishop Hsu. 21 December: Bishop Peter Lei appointed as 4th Bishop (installed on 22 April 1974).

1972 12 August: Our Lady of China Parish, Tai Kok Tsui, erected (church blessed on 12 November 1977).

1971 March: Presidents of 13 Asian countries Episcopal Conferences met here and set up the Central Secretariat of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Asia. 26 March: St. Bonaventure’s Parish erected (church blessed on 15 July 1976). 3 July: Fr. Peter Lei Wang-kee appointed Aux. Bishop (consecrated bishop on 8 September). 26 December: Ss. Cosmas and Damian Church, Tsuen Wan, blessed.

1970 15 February: official opening of the Diocesan Convention (prepared since September 1968, closed in November 1971). 4 December: visit of Pope Paul VI to Hong Kong. 12 December: Christ the King Parish, Cheung Sha Wan, erected (blessed on 20 November 1971).

1969 29 May: Bishop Hsu appointed 3rd Bishop (installed on 26 October); the direction of the Diocese handed over to local clergy. 14 October: Catholic-Anglican Joint Port Chaplaincy inaugurated. 23 December: St. Paul’s Parish, Yaumati, erected (blessed on 12 April 1970).

1968 Chapels of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Sau Mau Ping), Resurrection (Kwun Tong Estate), St. Cecilia (Diamond Hill) opened (all erected as parishes on 1 July 1979; St. Cecilia’s Parish incorporated into Holy Family Parish, Choi Hung Estate, on 1 June 1996). 11 September: Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate (PIME Sisters) arrived. 19 December: resignation of Bishop Bianchi accepted (in April 1969 returned to Italy where he died on 13 February 1983); Bishop Hsu appointed Ap. Administrator.

1967 15 February: St. Jude’s Church, Kam Tin, blessed. June: St. Edward’s Chapel, Lam Tin, opened (parish since 1 July 1979), 1 July: Fr. Francis Hsu Chen-Ping appointed Aux. Bishop (consecrated bishop on 7 October). 11 November: Christ the Worker Chapel, Jordan Valley, opened (parish since 1 July 1979).

1966 19 February: Mother of Good Counsel Church, San Po Kong, blessed. Missionary Oblates of Mary arrived for educational work. O.L. of Lourdes Chapel and school, Lamma Isl., opened (established as District in 1976, and as Parish from 1979 to 1983).

1965 Tai O and Cheung Chau established as independent Districts (parishes since 1 July 1979). August: Canonesses of Our Lady arrived. Congregation of Disciples of the Lord arrived for pastoral work (left in 1972).

1964 Hung Shui Kiu District established (new Rosary Church blessed on 12 December 1976; parish erected on 1 July 1979 and incorporated into St. Jerome’s Parish on 1 October 1995). September: Diocesan Holy Spirit Seminary, Aberdeen, started (minor and major seminarians gathered together, courses opened to outsiders, affiliated to the Pontifical Urbanian University in 1974).

1963 7 March: Catechetical Centre started operation. 17 September: St. Patrick’s Parish, Wang Tau Hom, erected.

1962 17 February: new St. Peter’s Church, Aberdeen, blessed (first built in 1929). 28 May: Caritas started branching out with the opening of its first Social Centre in Aberdeen, and on 30 May, of its second in Tsuen Wan, followed by several others, (Caritas Medical Centre, So Uk Tsuen, started operation in September 1964). 11 June: new O.L. of Perpetual Help Church, Tai O, blessed (built in 1937). 24 June: St. John Baptist Parish, Kwun Tong, erected. 15 August: St. James’ Chapel, Leiyuemun, opened (Yau Tong Parish since 1 July 1979). September: Kam Tin District cut off from Yuen Long (St.Jude’s Church built in 1966; parish erected on 1 July 1979 and incorporated in Ss. Peter and Paul Parish on 1 November 1994). 31 October: St. Vincent Parish erected and School, Wong Tai Sin, blessed (taking over St. Paul X Parish).

1961 1 January: new Holy Cross Church, Shaukiwan blessed. 11 June: new Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Tai Po, blessed (built in 1922; rebuilt in 1961). 13 November: new O.L. of Fatima Church, Cheung Chau, blessed (built in 1952).

1960 May: Castle Peak District established (Holy Redeemer Parish since 1-7-1979). 28 September: Junk Bay divided into Hang Hau and Rennie’s Mill Districts (parishes since 1 July 1979). 1 October: St. Lawrence Parish, Li Cheng Uk, erected (church blessed on the following day).

1959 8 January: Diocesan Council for the Lay Apostolate established. 9 April: new premises of the Catholic Centre, Connaught Rd., opened. 15 August: St. Anne’s Church and St. Teresa’s School, Stanley, blessed. 20 September: new Sacred Heart Church Sai Kung, blessed. 21 November: St. Mary’s Parish, Hung Hom, erected (church blessed on 25 November).

1958 February: Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows arrived for educational work in Shatin. 16 June: Caritas Hong Kong established by Bishop Bianchi as the official Social Welfare bureau of the Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong. 18 December: Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Yuen Long and Raimondi College blessed by H.E. Card. Agagianian, Prefect of SCPF.

1957 1 March: O.L. of the Rosary Church, Kennedy Town, blessed (work started in 1953, erected as a parish on 31-5-1957, rebuilt in 1960). 31 May: decree erecting 8 new parishes and dividing Tai Po into Tai Po, Shatin and Fan Ling Districts. 3 December: St. Jude’s Parish, North Point, erected (founded in 1953).

1956 2 June: Sacred Heart Church, Shatin, blessed. 21 October: St. Francis of Assisi Church, Sham Shui Po, blessed (opened in December 1955, taking over the Precious Blood Parish). Little Sisters of Jesus started their first fraternity in Taipo.

1955 St. Pius X’s Chapel blessed (erected as a parish on 31-5-1957, included in St. Vincent’s Parish, Wong Tai Sin in 1962, demolished in 1980).

1954 14 April: St. Joseph’s Church, Fanling, blessed. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM) (at that time known as Missionary Canonesses of St. Augustine) Chinese Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (from Kongmun), Helpers of the Holy Souls, Chinese Sisters of the Immaculate Conception arrived for pastoral and educational work in refugee areas. 8 December: Diocesan Marian Rally held at Caroline Hill.

1953 13 June: St. Anthony’s Church blessed. Sisters Announcers of the Lord arrived from Shiu Chou.

1952 Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long divided into independent districts. Centres and chapels opened in refugee areas:

  • King’s Park, Bishop Valtorta Memorial Chapel;
  • Chai Wan, Star of the Sea Chapel (parish since 31-5-1957);
  • Tung Tau Tsuen, Nativity of O.L. Chapel (parish erected on 31-5-1957; suppressed and incorporated partly in St. Patrick’s Parish, partly in Mother of Good Counsel Parish on 15 April 1990);
  • Kowloontsai, St. Peter’s Chapel (parish since 31-5-1957);
  • Diamond Hill, Holy Family Chapel (parish since 31-5-1957);
  • Ngau Tau Kok, O.L. Queen of Angels Chapel (parish since 31-5-1957, transferred to Shun Lei in 1979);
  • Cheung Sha Wan, O.L. Mediatrix Chapel (parish since 31-5-1957, incoroporated in St. Lawrence Parish in1960, demolished in 1970).

Franciscans started work in Ma On Shan District: St. Joseph’s Chapel (25 April 1952), (St. Francis Church [4 October 1955]; parish since 1 July 1979). Islands District started to have a resident priest (in Cheung Chau). 17 October: Bishop Bianchi released from Communist China (installed as 2nd Bishop on 26 October).

1951 3 September: death of Bishop Valtorta. Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian) established their Procure. Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Scheut Fathers) established their Procure (took up pastoral work in Hung Hom in 1956). Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived to work with problem girls (Home in Kowloon in 1951, Marycove in 1967).


1950 Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of Liesse moved to HK. 22 March: in Hoi Fung, Bishop Bianchi and other Italian missionaries imprisoned. 16 July: Holy Souls Church (later O.L of M. Carmel), Wanchai, blessed (taking over St. Francis Parish). Columban Fathers established their Procure. Daughters of Mary Help of Christians arrived. MEP Sisters arrived.

1949 1 January: Sisters of St. Columban took charge of the Ruttonjee Hospital. 25 January: 9 urban churches raised to parish status. 18 February: the Holy Spirit Minor Seminary reopened in Sai Kung (moved to new premises in Pokfulam in 1957). February: St. John Baptist Brothers arrived, the first to work among refugees (in Junk Bay, 1950). 21 April: Fr. Lawrence Bianchi appointed Coadjutor Bishop (consecrated bishop on 9 October). May: Marist Brothers arrived (St. Martin’s College, later St. Francis Xavier’s, in 1952). Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus arrived. With the Communist take-over of the mainland, refugees started to pour into HK, among then many Catholics and clergymen from all over China; the diocesan activities were restricted to the Colony area.

1948 Franciscan Biblical Institute transferred from Peking; (the complete Chinese translation of the Bible published in 1969). Society of the Divine Word established their Procure.

1947 NT West District divided into Taipo and Tsuen Wan Districts. Franciscan Missionaries of Mary arrived for pastoral and educational work (St. Rose of Lima School: 1947).

1946 1 March: “Sunday Examiner”, an English language Catholic paper, founded by Fr. N. Maestrini. 11 April: the Eccl. Hierarchy in China established; HK Vicariate raised to Diocese, Bishop Valtorta installed as 1st Bishop of the Diocese on 31 October 1948.

1945 August-September: post-war reconstruction started. 9 November: official opening of the Catholic Centre.

1941 25 Dec. – 15 August 1945: Japanese occupation; destruction and hardship forced many people to evacuate; Catholic personnel evacuated or interned, activities stopped almost completely; Vatican War Victims Funds distributed; in Wai Yeung, foreign missionaries first interned, then released; those in Hoi Fung expelled to Ka Ying (for 3 years).

1937 4 October: blessing of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Kowloon City (destroyed during the Japanese occupation).

1934 28 April: Sacred Heart Church and School, Tsuen Wan, blessed. 1 July: blessing of St. Peter’s Church, Aberdeen erected as a parish on 25 January 1949 and rebuilt in 1962. August: Catholic Truth Society established.

1933 8 August: Carmelite Sisters arrived; (the present monastery in Stanley blessed on 4 December 1937; its chapel was used as a public church, erected as a parish on 25 January 1949, taken over by St. Anne’s in 1959).

1932 18 December: blessing of St. Teresa’s Church, Kowloon Tong (erected as a parish on 25 January 1949).

1931 February: Po On divided into 3 eccl. districts: Nam Tau, Santsun and Tunyeung. 30 March: Tai Long District, N.T., established (joined with Taipo Dist. on 12 February 1962). 1 November: South China Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, officially opened (until Summer 1964, when reorganized as Diocesan Holy Spirit Seminary).



1929 Precious Blood Church, Sham Shui Po, opened (divided from Rosary and St. Teresa’s Churches in 1933, rebuilt in 1937, erected as a parish on 25 January 1949). 26 October: Ricci Hall, hostel for students, inaugurated.

1928 19 March: opening of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Waichou. 19 March: Canossian Sisters opened St. Francis’ Hospital. 4 August: “Kung Kau Po”, a Catholic Chinese language weekly, founded by Fr. A. Granelli. Canadian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception arrived for educational work (Tak Sun School: 1928).

1927 1 October: Salesian Fathers arrived: took charge of St. Louis Industrial School.

1926 8 March: Fr. Henry Valtorta appointed 4th Vicar Ap. (consecrated bishop on 13 June). 1 May: NT divided into 3 eccl. districts: East (Sai Kung), West (Taipo) and Islands. 3 December: arrival of the Jesuit Fathers, who opened Ricci Hall Hostel (1929), took charge of the South China Regional Seminary (1931) and of Wah Yan College (1932). December: Canadian Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels arrived for educational work (St. Clare’s School: 1927).

1925 25 January: blessing of St. Margaret Mary’s Church, Happy Valley (erected as a parish on 25 January 1949).

1924 20 February: death of Bishop Pozzoni; Fr. J.M. Spada elected Vicar Capitular.

1923 2 February: Little Sisters of the Poor arrived to take care of the Home for the Aged in Kowloon (and then in Aberdeen in 1962).

1922 19 July: Precious Blood Sisters started as independent Congregation from the Canossians (juridically established as such on 19 July 1929); in Sham Shui Po since 1929; the Precious Blood Hospital opened in 1937.

1921 Maryknoll Sisters arrived for educational and pastoral work (MM Convent School in 1925).

1920 beginning of missionary work in Tai O (Lantao Is.) 15 September: “The Rock”, a Catholic English language monthly, launched. Arrival of Maryknoll Fathers, who established their Procure and took charge of the St. Louis Industrial School (former West Point Reformatory and Orphanage) from 1921 to 1926; pastoral work since 1952.

1917 24 October: Hoi Fung divided into 2 eccl. districts: Hoi Fung City and Swa-bue.

1914 22-26 July: the Eucharistic Congress held. 14 September: blessing of the Holy Cross Church, Shaukiwan (erected as a parish on 25 January 1949). “Religiao Patria”, a Catholic Portuguese language paper, founded.

1912 Wai Yeung divided into 3 eccl. districts: Waichou, Pingshan and Tamshui.

1909 9 Jan. – 2 Feb.: 3rd Synod of the 5th Region of the Cath. Church in China held here.

1907 4 October: orphanage opened in Swa-bue (Hoi Fung).

1905 5 April: orphanage opened in Nam Tau (San On). 8 May: blessing of Rosary Church, Kowloon (erected as a parish on 25 January 1949). 12 July: Fr. Dominic Pozzoni appointed 3rd Vicar Ap. (consecrated bishop on 1 October). 8 December: Bishop’s Council established,

1904 4 August: Mgr. Piazzoli returned to Italy on sick leave, where he died on 26 December.

1898 9 June: with the lease of the New Territories to the British, the San On District was divided, with Sai Kung and Nam Tau as the main centres of mission work; all other districts gradually became autonomous.

1895 11 January: Fr. Louis Piazzoli appointed 2nd Vicar Ap. (consecrated bishop on 19 May).

1894 27 September: death of Bishop Raimondi.

1891 8 November: 2nd Synod of the 5th Region of the Cath. Church in China opened here.

1888 7 December: blessing of the present Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Solemn inauguration on 8th December. (foundation stone laid on 8 December 1883, consecrated on 8 December 1938 by Bishop Henry Valtorta).

1885 26 April: Nazareth Press officially opened by MEP, together with O. L. of Lourdes Chapel in Taikulao (the chapel rebuilt in 1896 and 1938, erected as a parish on 25 January 1949, moved to Wa Fu Estate in 1977 and to Chi Fu Fa Yuen in 1982). building of St. Joseph Village (Hoi Fung), entirely Catholic.

1880 4-11 April: 1st Synod of the 5th Region of the Catholic Church in China held here.

1879 22 March: blessing of the Sacred Heart Church, West Point (changed into St. Anthony’s in 1892, erected as a parish on 25 January 1949).

1877 mission work spread to Hoi Fung District; Fr. Louis Sasso took up residence there in 1878. 22 September: “Hong Kong Catholic Register”, an English language weekly, founded.

1875 9 May: the Vicariate Synod opened: 5 Ecclesiatical Districts established. 7 November: arrival of La Salle Christian Brothers, who took over the West Point Reformatory and the Holy Saviour’s College, changing it into St. Joseph’s College (new premises, Kennedy Rd., opened on 3 September 1918).

1874 17 November: the HK Prefecture raised to Vicariate Ap. and enlarged to include, beside San On, Kwai Hsin (Wai Yeung) and Hoi Fung Districts, with Fr. Raimondi appointed as 1st Vicar Ap. (consecrated bishop on 22 November).

1872 30 November: blessing of St. Joseph’s Church, Garden Rd., which however was razed to the ground by a typhoon on 22 September 1874 and rebuilt in 1876 (erected as a parish on 25 January 1949, the new church blessed on 1 June 1968).

1867 10 March: death of Prefect Ambrosi. 17 November: Fr. Raimondi appointed as successor, with full responsibility for the Prefecture passing to PIME.

1864 Holy Saviour’s College opened.

1863 West Point Reformatory opened. 12 July: St. Vincent de Paul Society established.

1861 Dominican Fathers established their Procure (started the Noviciate in 1924 and the House of Studies in 1935).

1860 12 April: arrival of the first Canossian Sisters, who started with educational and social services, soon joined by Chinese ladies as Tertiaries (later, Precious Blood Sisters): Italian Convent School (later, Sacred Heart Canossian College) (1 May 1860), Pui Ching Chinese School (10 May 1860).

1860-61 the boundaries of the Prefecture having been enlarged to include the whole San On District (later, Po On), mission work spread to Kowloon Peninsula (exploratory trips of the inland area: December 1860 and April 1861), to Tai Po area, Sai Kung Peninsula, Nam Tau, etc. (1863-67).

1858 10 April: according to SCPF’s plan to entrust the HK Prefecture to the care of the Milan Mission Seminary (later, Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, PIME), the first of its members, Fr. Paul Reina, arrived, followed by Fr. Timoleon Raimondi and Bro. Tacchini on 15 May.

1855 20 June: resignation of Fr. Feliciani; Fr. Aloysius Ambrosi appointed new Prefect Ap.

1852 St. Francis Mission Hospital opened in Wanchai (replaced by a new one run by Canossian Sisters in 1869).

1850 24 August: resignation of Mgr. Forcade accepted; Fr. Feliciani reappointed Prefect Ap.

1849-50 mission work started in Aberdeen and Tsuen Wan.

1848 12 September: the first group of St. Paul de Chartres Sisters arrived; took care at once of the foundlings and then of sick and old people in the Asile de la St. Enfance. Wanchai (St. Paul’s Institutions, in Tonglowan, were officially opened on 6 October 1916).

1847 5 October: Mgr. Augustin Forcade, MEP, Vicar Ap. of Japan, appointed also Pro-Prefect of Hong Kong; helped by other MEP Missionaries, who had just transferred their Procure from Macao.

1846 the local Seminary started (called Immaculate Conception Seminary in 1888, moved to new premises in front of the Cathedral in 1900).

1845 St. Francis Chapel built in Wanchai.

1844 mission work spread to Stanley and Chaiwan.

1843 1 February: first school for Chinese boys started.

1842 22 January: Fr. Michael Navarro, a Spanish Franciscan, took up residence as the first Catholic priest in the Colony. 3 March: arrival of Fr. Joset with other priests and seminarians expelled from Macao. 7 June: laying of the foundation stone of the first Church (in Wellington St.) dedicated to the Immaculate Conception (blessed on 11 June 1843, enlarged in 1858-59, burnt down on 18 October 1859, rebuilt and blessed on 18 March 1860). 5 August: death of Fr. Joset. 11 December: Fr. Anthony Feliciani, an Italian Franciscan, appointed new Prefect Ap.

1841 22 April: “Hong Kong with the surrounding six leagues” was established as a Prefecture Apostolic, independent from Macao Diocese, with Fr. Theodore Joset, a Swiss diocesan priest who was the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide’s representative in Macao, as the first prefect Ap.; the first need being the spiritual care of the British (Irish Catholic) Troops, stationed in the just occupied Colony.