Hong Kong (Agenzia Fides) - After the official examination of candidates for baptism in the parishes, the communities of the Diocese of Hong Kong accompany the journey of faith of the 1,700 catechumens to the diocesan examination, which will take place on the third Sunday of Lent, March 12th. According to reports in the Hong Kong diocese's weekly newspaper "Kung Kao", the "Formation Journey for New Catholics", a regular annual event of the Hong Kong Central Council of Lay Catholics (HKCCCL), is also being planned. This is a series of events designed to help the newly baptized become more mature Catholics. A number of activities are planned as part of the initiative, including a guided tour of the Shrine, 37 weeks of reflection on the Word of God and works of charity.
At the same time, the lay faithful, the Catholic family will be involved to raise awareness of their responsibility in the proclamation, in the journey of faith of the catechumens and the newly baptized. It is only through the commitment of the laity and their active participation that "the parish and the whole Church can grow and keep the fire of evangelization alive" - reported Sister Fatima Santhosam, pastoral director of the parish of Saint Jude's Church
"This year we expect about 1,700 baptisms at Easter. However, that is only half the number in the past," regrets Bishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong in his pastoral letter for Lent 2023, entitled “A time of salvation: freedom, formation and merciful love”.
"There are several reasons for the decrease in numbers," continues the bishop, "partly because of us, but also because of factors beyond our control. Let's start celebrating with these new sisters and brothers and welcome them into our Catholic faith community. They are a precious gift from God, and in this family they are sisters and brothers to one another... In addition, parishes and communities of faith should offer them a community of ongoing formation and accompaniment so that they can continue to grow in their newfound faith". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2023)