K1.Holidays of Obligation

K1.Holidays of Obligation

Catholics of Hong Kong are obliged to refrain from servile work and to hear Mass on the following days:

1. All Sundays of the year;

2. Christmas, 25th December.

According to the new Code of Canon Law:

(1) the days and times of penance in the whole Church are every Friday of the year and the whole season of Lent.

(2) abstinence is to be observed on each Friday of the year, unless a Solemnity (Special Feast) falls on this day. The law of abstinence binds all who are over the age of 14 years.

K2. Penitential Days

K2. Penitential Days 

According to a regulation laid down by the late Cardinal John B. Wu, by virtue of the powers conferred by the new Code, the faithful may be dispensed from abstinence on Fridays, on condition that on these days they perform special acts of charity or piety, such as making personal sacrifices in the matter of food, alcoholic drink, smoking, or spending less time on amusements (eg. watching T.V., playing majong, etc.), or making a sacrifice of their free time in serving the poor, the sick, the elderly, the lonely and the needy.

(3) Fast and abstinence are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday of each year. The law of fast binds all those who are over the age of 18 years and have not yet reached their 60th year.

When Ash Wednesday coincides with the Lunar New Year’s celebrations all are dispensed from fast and abstinence on that day. In this case the faithful are still obliged to choose for themselves some other suitable forms of penance, or make a donation to the poor.

Abstinence means the giving up of eating meat. Fasting permits the eating of one full meal. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs; but, together, they should not equal a full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted; but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed.

In addition to this, during Lent, the faithful are exhorted to make a special effort in the practice of works of piety, such as daily Mass, daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament or the Stations of the Cross.

K3.On reception of Holy Communion

K3.On reception of Holy Communion

Frequency of Holy Communion and Eucharistic Fast

Church Law allows the faithful who have already received Holy Communion to receive it a second time only on the same day at a Mass in which they participate.

When the faithful have a just cause for asking for Holy Commuion outside Mass, it should be administered to them. The liturgical rites should be followed.

Faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion must abstain from any food or beverages for at least one hour before its reception. Water and medicine may be taken at any time.

The elderly and the sick, as well as persons caring for them, may receive Holy Communion even though they have not observed the eucharistic fast.

All the faithful who have received First Holy Communion are bound to receive the Holy Eucharist at least once a year. (Before receiving First Holy Communion children should receive the Sacrament of Penance).

Those who are in danger or death from any cause should be strengthened by the reception of the Eucharist as Viaticum. Whenever a person becomes seriously ill, it is the duty of the family to inform the parish priest in good time so that the sick person may receive the Sacraments while fully conscious.

Regulations for Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion

The faithful may freely choose between Communion on the tongue or in the hand, between receiving communion standing or kneeling, and between Communion under the species of bread only or under the species of bread and wine.

K4. Guidelines for catholics intending marriage

 K4. Guidelines for catholics intending marriage

Every marriage is a lifelong covenant of love and fidelity. If both parties are baptised, marriage is also a sacrament. The Church and the State have vital interest in marriage, since marriage by its very nature has an ecclesiastical and social dimension; therefore both authorities lay down certain conditions on which their recognition of a marriage depends.

I. Civil Law Requirements:

1. The marriage is to take place in a licensed church (see Part III).

2. In ordinary cases the parties are to obtain beforehand a marriage licence (Certificate of Registrar of Marriages) from a Marriage Registry.

3. The giving of notice at the Marriage Registry must be made by one or both parties to the proposed marriage attending personally at the Marriage Registry with their identity cards or passports or some other identifying documents.

Ample notice of the intended marriage should be given at a Marriage Registry. The marriage licence may be obtained 17 days after the giving of notice. If the marriage does not take place within 3 months of the date on which the notice was given, a new licence must be obtained.

4. Persons over 16 and under 21 years of age who intend to marry must produce to the Registrar the written consent of their father, or, if he is dead or non compos mentis, of their mother, or, if both are dead or non compos mentis, of their lawful guardian.

II. Church Law Requirements:

1. Notice should be given at the Church of the wedding as early as possible, but in any case at least 6 months before the proposed wedding date.

2. The proximate preparation for marriage consists of three steps-

(1) Registration with the church of the wedding:

a) This involves choosing the place and date of the wedding and filling out a preliminary form on the personal data and free status of the parties.

b) The parties shall be reminded by the church office by way of a written statement that if they make false declarations about their free status and this is discovered prior to their wedding, then the wedding may not take place, and the church concerned shall not bear any responsibility whatsoever, even if in the meantime other preparations have been made for the wedding.

c) When a marriage is to be celebrated outside this Diocese, documents must pass through the Chancery for “certification.”

d) When a Catholic is coming to Hong Kong in order to marry, he must at least produce a recent baptismal certificate issued “for marriage purposes” and duly authenticated by the Chancery Office of his diocese of origin. In case of a non-Catholic, he/she shall produce adequate documentation to prove his/her freedom to marry.

e) When both parties come to Hong Kong to marry, they must present to the parish priest of the parish where they intend to marry the completed prenuptial inquiries, made by the parish priest of one of them or of the Catholic party in a mixed marriage, along with all the other documents normally required.

These documents must be duly authenticated by the Chancery Office of the diocese in which they were issued. Before proceeding with the marriage the parish priest must present these documents to the Hong Kong Chancery Office and obtain a written nihil obstat.

f) The proposed wedding date shall be confirmed only when the pre-marriage inquiry has been duly conducted and a baptismal certificate issued within six months, a license of the Marriage Registry, and other necessary documents have been submitted to the church office.

(2) Participation in one of the available Pre-Marriage Formation Programmes.

(3) Pre-Marriage inquiry conducted by a priest:

The inquiry may take place either before or after the pre-marriage formation programme.

The priest responsible for the pre-marriage inquiry is the proper pastor of a Catholic party (or of one of the Catholic parties), i.e., the parish priest of his/her domicile, or the chaplain in charge of his/her community (as in the case of an ethnic group) or an assistant priest delegated by them.

A Catholic who has a close link (through regular Sunday Mass attendance, joining a lay association, etc.) with a parish which is not his/her proper parish, may also ask the parish priest of that parish to conduct his/her pre-marriage inquiry.

3. If a major obstacle to marriage is discovered, the priest will make the decision if there is to be a delay of the wedding after a prudent evaluation and due consultation with the Chancery Office.

4. Every marriage of which at least one of the parties is a Catholic ordinarily is to take place:

(a) before a priest or deacon; and

(b) in the presence of two witnesses.

In special case the Bishop may grant dispensation from the above Canonical Form.

5. Before contracting marriage, Catholic are earnestly recommended to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion. Those who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation should receive it if they can do so without grave inconvenience.

III. Catholic Churches Licensed For


K5.Infant Baptism

K5.Infant Baptism

1. Obligation of Infant Baptism

“Baptism, the gateway to the sacra-ments, is necessary for salvation, either by actual reception or at least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again as children of God and, made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church” (can. 849). As far as infant baptism is concerned, the new Code states the following:

(a) in ordinary circumstances -”Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks” (can. 867, par. 1);

(b) in danger of death - an infant is to be baptised without delay (can. 867, par. 2); the same rule applies to those who habitually lack the use of reason, because they are regarded as infants (can. 99). Infants of non-Catholic parents may be baptised in danger of death even if the parents are opposed to it (can. 868, par. 2), but in this case prudence must be exercised.

2. Pastoral Directives

Infant Baptism is not a violation of the child’s freedom. Since the well-being of an infant’s future Christian life is closely related to the parent’s life of faith, the Church will not entrust parents’ with the task of nurturing an infant’s faith if they themselves do not practise the faith.

Indications that these assurances are existent are regular attendance at Sunday Mass, devout reception of sacraments, prayers, Scripture readings, acts of charity, etc.

On the other hand, when parents ask to have their child baptised simply for worldly or superstitious motives (e.g., for admittance to a Catholic school, to obtain corporal blessings, or to be saved from misfortune), baptism should be refused or delayed until, through catechetical instruction, they can grasp the real significance of baptism.

Similarly, when Catholics who are married civilly only ask for baptism of their children, the sacrament should also be refused or delayed unless, meanwhile, they make a sincere promise to have their marriage regularized and return to Church life.

3. Practical Guidelines

(a) Parents rather than other relatives should apply for their infant’s baptism, thus showing their awareness that responsibility for the baptism of their children rests primarily on them;

(b) when selecting god-parents, parents should take into consideration the person’s spiritual maturity and his relationship with the child;

(c) as a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, parents should have the child baptised in their own proper parish (cf. can. 857, par. 2)

(d) parents and god-parents, whenever possible, should attend the instruction course arranged for them by the parish in order to fully understand the meaning of infant baptism and their responsibility;

(e) infant baptism should normally be administered after the parents have obtained their child’s birth certificate. This is to avoid possible discrepancies in spelling of names, dates, etc;

K6. Special Collections

K6. Special Collections

On the following days of the year, at all public Masses in parish churches and chapels, a second collection is to be taken up for the specific purposes indicated:

(i) Third Sunday of January-for Peter’s Pence;

(ii) Second Sunday following Lunar New Year-for Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity;

(iii) Vocation Sunday-for Diocesan Seminary;

(iv) Ascension Sunday-for Diocesan Social Communications Apostolate;

(v) Sunday closest to the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul-for the Apostolic See;

(vi) Fourth Sunday of September (Education Day)-for Catholic Education;

(vii) Sunday following Mission Sunday-for Pontifical Work for the Propagation of the Faith.

*Further, parish churches and chapels are to take up a collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday, during the celebration of the Lord’s Passion or the Way of the Cross.

K7. Mass offerings

K7. Mass offerings

By order of Cardinal John Tong, starting from 1st January 2016: The offering for the celebration of Mass for a specific intention shall be HK$100.00 (minimum).

N.B. Whenever singing or extra flowers are requested on the occasion of a marriage, funeral or other cele-bration, the person concerned may make the necessary arrangements directly with the choir and florist, or he may have these arrangements made by the parish and defray the cost.

K8. Fund Raising

K8. Fund Raising

Any person, whether cleric, religious or lay, wishing to collect money for any pious purpose or to solicit funds for a Catholic institution (church, hospital, school, etc.) has to obtain the written permission of the Bishop.

This refers to all means of collecting money such as bazaars, raffles, gala premieres, door-to-door calls, walkathons, special sales.

The faithful are hereby warned that donations for any pious or ecclesiastical institution or purpose can be solicited only by persons duly authorized, as stated above.

To avoid abuses and to ensure the proper coordination of fund-raising activities in the diocese, the written permission of the Bishop is to be requested well in advance, each time these activities are to be carried out.

This permission is to be obtained before any approach is made to the relevant civil authorities.

K9.What to do when a catholic dies

K9.What to do when a catholic dies

1. Inform promptly the Parish Priest of the deceased for arrangement of bereavement service, i.e. funeral service and burial service.

2. Please note that only Catholic faithful could be buried in a Catholic Cemetery. Catechumens who have received the Catholic Rite of Becoming Catechumens (Catechumens) may be buried in a Catholic Cemetery. However a person who has not received any catechetical instructions, even though he or she had been or was baptized at the moment of death or when unconscious, could not be buried in a Catholic Cemetery.

Permission for Burial in Catholic Cemeteries

3. A Burial Permit in the Catholic Cemetery (“Burial Permit”) must first be obtained before the deceased is permitted to be buried in a Catholic Cemetery.

4. The “Burial Permit” could only be issued by the Parish Priest, Assistant Parish Priest or Permanent Deacon of the Parish (Parish Clergy) of the deceased upon production of a Certificate of Baptism or Catechumen, subject to paragraph 2 above. “Burial Permit” must bear the signature of the authorizing person and the official seal. When a “Burial Permit” is issued, the Certificate of Baptism of the deceased, if produced, is to be retained by the said Parish Clergy. Where the genuineness of the Certificate of Baptism or Catechumen is in doubt, a careful investigation should be made.

5. Parish Clergy may only issue a “Burial Permit” in respect of a Catholic or a Catechumen who, at the time of death or admission to hospital, resided in their Parish. However, it is not a sufficient reason for refusing burial in a Catholic Cemetery simply because it happens that the deceased or the applicant is unknown to the Parish Clergy. The Parish Clergy should investigate the deceased’s right to Catholic burial.

6. The Parish Clergy of the deceased should notify the parish where the deceased was baptized by forwarding to the latter either the Certificate of Baptism of the deceased or a Notification of Death form. The death of the deceased is to be entered in the baptismal register under the column Adnotationes.

7. All Clergy are required to adhere to these instructions strictly in order to ensure this policy is implemented accordingly.

Procedures for Burial (including Ashes after Cremation) in Catholic Cemeteries

(A) For Burial

8. The applicant should first apply for

(a) (i) a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 10); or

(ii) a Certificate of Order Authorizing Burial of Body (Form 11);

as appropriate, issued by the relevant government departments in the Joint Office set up by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Immigration Department and Department of Health; and

(b) a “Burial Permit” from the Parish Clergy with the production of the Certificate of Baptism or Catechumen of the deceased.

9. Discuss with the Parish Clergy concerning the date and time of funeral and burial arrangements.

10.Make arrangements with a funeral parlour or an undertaker for funeral and burial services.

11. Arrange directly with the Staff of the Catholic Cemetery in which the family wishes to have the deceased buried for the allocation of grave, date and time of burial by presenting the “Burial Permit” and the Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 10) or the Certificate of Order Authorizing Burial of Body (Form 11).

12. Confirm with the Parish Clergy the date and time for the funeral and burial rites.

(B) For Burial of Ashes after Cremation

13. The applicant should first apply for a Cremation Permit (Form 3) issued by the relevant government departments in the Joint Office set up by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Immigration Department and Department of Health and a “Burial Permit” from the Parish Clergy with the production of the Certificate of Baptism or Catechumen of the deceased.

14. After cremation, the applicant should collect the cremated ashes and obtain a Permit to Take Away Cremated Ashes from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, together with the “Burial Permit”, Ashes, Memorial Data, Photograph, Required Fees and contact the Staff of Cemetery Office in which the family wishes to have the deceased buried for the arrangement.

15. According to the present discipline of the Diocese, Catholics may choose to have their bodies cremated. It is not necessary to seek any special permission from the Diocese for cremation.

16. The rites ordinarily performed at the cemetery chapel or at the graveside may be conducted in the funeral parlour or in the chapel of the crematorium. If there is no other suitable place for the rites, they may be officiated in the crematory hall itself, provided that the liturgical service is carried out with respect and dignity.

17. Confirm with the Parish Clergy the date and time for the funeral and burial rites.

Important Points to Note:

(A) On Funeral Service and Burial Service Providers

1. The Catholic Cemeteries, under the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, provide burial services. However, the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong does not own or operate any organization providing funeral and burial services. The Diocese has not specifically appointed, entrusted or recommended any particular funeral service or burial service providers. The Diocese has no business relationship or partnership of any nature with any funeral or burial services providers rendering such services.

2. BereavementMinistry Groups are set up in parishes under the jurisdiction of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to offer free assistance to parishioners seeking help in organizing funeral and burial services for their deceased’s family members. Such assistance is rendered free, as a gesture of Christian solidarity and an act of love and charity. No fees or commission is charged. Clergy officiating at funeral and burial services are carrying out their duties in a spirit of love and charity. These services are also free of charge. Clergy in the Diocese do not enter into joint business ventures or have any dealing with funeral service or burial service providers.

3. In accordance with Diocesan regulations, family members or friends of a recently deceased should contact the Parish Priest of the deceased promptly and make arrangements with him directly for funeral and burial services. Such arrangements should not be left in the hands of third parties, especially those requesting pecuniary rewards for the arrangements. It is also highly inappropriate to delegate third parties to look for clergy to officiate at funeral and burial services.

(B) Services provided by Offices of

Catholic Cemeteries and Parish

4. The Burial Permit in the Catholic Cemetery is issued free of charge.

5. For exhumation and relocation of human remains, exhumed human remains or ashes, or for a co-burial in a Catholic Cemetery, etc., application must be made to the Catholic Cemeteries by the recognized representative for a Permission for Exhumation which is issued free of charge by the Superintendent of the Catholic Cemeteries.


Recognized Representative means any person holding the official receipt or the replacement receipt of the burial ground allocated to the deceased buried therein.

6. The applicant should deal directly with the Staff of the Catholic Cemetery in which the family wishes to have the deceased buried and not through a third party. The Catholic Cemeteries do not have agents for handling these arrangements. The Staff of Catholic Cemeteries are all employees of the Catholic Diocese and no commission or gratuities are to be offered for services rendered. The standard charges to be paid are posted in the Cemetery Offices. When in doubt, please contact the Superintendent of the Catholic Cemeteries.

7. The burial lots and niches are all allocated according to the serial order of the respective cemeteries.

8. Except for co-burial, the ashes after cremation can only be placed in designated niches in the Catholic Cemeteries.

9. At the request and certification of the respective Parish Priest, free services or services with reduced charges are provided for destitute persons and the poor.

10. If you are approached by persons promising you or offering you favours, in return for pecuniary rewards, regarding burial lots and niches other than the Rules of the Catholic Cemeteries and relevant notices posted in the Cemetery Offices, please report immediately to the I.C.A.C.

11. Please report all complaints to:

The Superintendent of Catholic Cemeteries Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Cemetery Office, Kowloon.

Tel : (852) 2745-4220

Fax: (852) 2307-2585


[email protected]