Hong Kong Bishop visits Beijing in the name of unity
Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-yan concluded a five-day visit to Beijing at the invitation of Archbishop Li Shan. He was thus able to meet the Catholic community of the Chinese capital. The purpose of the visit was to promote communion between the two dioceses.
The Bishop of Hong Kong, Stephen Chow Sau-yan, concluded a five-day trip to Beijing on Friday 21 April. The prelate was accompanied by his auxiliary bishop, Monsignor Joseph Ha, his vicar, Father Peter Choy, and his personal secretary, layman Wong Ka-chun. The visit took place following the invitation of the Archbishop of Beijing, Joseph Li Shan.
On the first day, Monday 17 April, a moment of common prayer was held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Saviour (Beitang), attended by several dozen faithful. A picture of Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci, a missionary in China between the 16th and 17th centuries, was placed in front of the altar. Ricci, who was declared Venerable last December, is much beloved by Chinese Catholics. Pope Francis has described him as "a man of the culture of encounter", "among the first to establish a bridge of friendship between China and the West, implementing a still valid model of inculturation of the Christian message in the Chinese world" (Address 9 May 2022).
On Tuesday 18 April, Bishop Chow visited the National Catholic Seminary, celebrated Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Nantang) and then met with some government representatives.
On Wednesday, 19 April, he visited the Jesuit cemetery.
On Thursday, 20 April, he concelebrated Mass with the Archbishop of Beijing in the Cathedral of the Most Holy Saviour. Archbishop Li Shan presided over the celebration. Bishop Chow gave a short homily in which he said that the Risen Lord overcomes everything, even death, freeing us from fear. The Risen Lord,' he added, 'gave his disciples the Holy Spirit, which is the gift of the Father and the Son in the communion of love. Pope Francis,' he noted, 'is promoting a path of synodality in the Church, inviting all members of the Church to listen to each other and, even more, to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit who guides us on our journey. The Holy Spirit,' the prelate said, 'is the God of unity not of division. For this reason,' he concluded, 'we hope that the diocese of Hong Kong, the diocese of Beijing and all the Catholic communities on the mainland can have more intense collaboration and exchanges in the communion of love. Finally, he invited the faithful of Beijing to pray for them.
After the Mass, the bishop was interviewed by some local media outside the Cathedral. As reported by various newspapers, Monsignor Chow stressed the importance of loving the country and the Church. We all,' he said, 'want our country to do well, being patriotic is a duty. He then reiterated the mission of the Hong Kong diocese as a 'bridge' and added that he had invited Archbishop Li Shan to visit Hong Kong.
This morning, Friday 21 April, the prelate presided at Mass in St Joseph's Church (Dongtang) and at the end greeted the faithful who attended the celebration. He then departed from Beijing for Hong Kong.