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Hong Kong begins its Year of Laity

Relics of St Therese of Lisieux’s parents on tour to remind all of the sanctity of family

Bishop John Tong Hon (left) passes the relics of Blessed Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin to Father Stephen Ip Ting-kwok Bishop John Tong Hon (left) passes the relics of Blessed Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin to Father Stephen Ip Ting-kwok
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • January 4, 2011
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Hong Kong diocese has opened its Year of the Laity with a tour of relics to encourage faith in the family.

The relics of Blessed Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, were given to the diocese about six months ago. Pope Benedict XVI beatified the couple  in 2008.

The relics will tour different parishes and Catholic families to remind all that the path to sainthood begins from  the family. Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, a Hong Kong  vicar general  who chairs the preparatory committee for the special year, made the  announcement during Mass at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception on Jan. 1.

Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong passed the relics first to Our Lady of Lourdes Church from where it will be housed   for one to two weeks at each of the 51 parishes in the diocese.

At least one family in each parish will also bring the relics home and invite friends and relatives for a family prayer gathering.

Father Stephen Ip Ting-kwok, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, told ucanews.com that he felt honored to be the first to receive the relics. The most important task for him is to let his parishioners value married life and offer good formation to their children, he said.  “The Year of the Laity is not just for individuals but meant to involve the whole family,” he said.

Father Chan pointed out that the couple were beatified not because their daughter was a saint but due to the faith they passed on to all their five children -- all of whom became nuns.

Other activities for the Year of the Laity include seminars and prayer gatherings.

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