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The Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong was established in 1841. Pope Paul VI visited Hong Kong in 1970, a historical event. While in 1999, two years after HK was handed over to China, Beijing rejected Vatican’s bid for Pope John Paul II’s visit.
The program shows some of the main churches in the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong during Holy Week. All the churches are crowded, the faithful follow with impressive devotion and fervor the Liturgy. In the HK Diocese there are about 600,000 Catholics, including non-residents, out of a total population of 7.4 million.
After Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, hundreds of thousands of Chinese people fled to HK. The Apostolic missionaries were persecuted and deported. Some religious Congregations continued their mission in HK. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, created by Chinese government in 1957, was condemned by Pope Pius XII in his 1958 encyclical Ad Apostolorum principis. In 2018, the Vatican and China signed a “provisional agreement”. Pope Francis called about 10 million Catholics to reconcile: the traditional Roman Catholics of the so-called clandestine, underground, unofficial Church and those of the patriotic government Church.
In the program Cardinal Joseph Zen, considered by many as the conscience of China, describes passages that led to the agreement. He openly expresses his critical opinion regarding it. Some other priests and missionaries comment today’s situation in HK and the mainland. The Christians participate actively at the demonstrations pro-democracy that started in 2019 as it is evident that freedom and rule of law are at danger in HK. Hong Kong Church always represented a bridge to China as reported by Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, Editor-in-Chief of AsiaNews. According to some experts, the Catholic Church was appreciated by the Chinese people as it did not compromise with the Chinese authority. The overlapping of the government Church and the underground Catholic Church is creating more difficulties and persecutions to the latter one in mainland, zero tolerance for underground communities. Chinese authorities use “Sinicization” to control and hit all religious groups, Christians, Tibetans, Muslims.
In HK 3,400 catechumens were baptized on Easter 2019 according to the HK Diocese. We watch 100 Baptisms at St. Teresa Parish. Most of the new faithful are adults.