Hong Kong enters into World Youth Day spirit
Synchronous event attended by Catholics from mainland
Young participants at the end of the closing Mass
More than 1,000 young people vowed to follow Jesus’ calling to “go and make disciples of all nations,” during a ceremony yesterday bringing to a close local World Youth Day celebrations outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
The synchronous program with the main Rio de Janeiro event began with an opening Mass on July 23, followed by evening gatherings and visits to low-income families and the diocesan seminary over the next two days.
Some 200 participants then joined a camp from July 26-28, which ended with the closing Mass led by Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong.
“We only sent 28 delegates to Rio, one tenth of those who went to the last WYD in Madrid, because not many youngsters could afford to travel,” said Father Paul Kam Po-wai, head of the Diocesan Youth Commission.
Among the young participants at the Hong Kong celebration were several dozen from mainland China.
Maria Feng, a sophomore student from northern China, told ucanews.com that “it was great” to join the Hong Kong event and learned many things from the program that would help her run her youth group back home.
“A youth leader needs to be passionate and vigorous. Thus, we also need to go out and see the world to reenergize ourselves,” she said.
Joseph Dong, also from northern China, attended with a few members of his diocese’s youth group.
He said he was excited to meet hundreds of young Catholics in Hong Kong and learn about their activities.
“We will discuss what kind of activities we will employ to bring the WYD messages back to our fellow parishioners,” he said.
Local participants admired the fervent spirit which their mainland friends showed towards prayers and liturgy, while the mainland Catholics experienced a large Mass in a public area for the first time.
During the July 26-28 program, many participants were moved particularly by the 'living' Stations of the Cross tableaux and the overnight adoration of the Blessed Sacraments.
Catherine Cheung, 23, said that watching the passion of Jesus Christ up close had an impact on her.
“I will try to spread the Gospel through heart to heart interaction with people around me who do not know Jesus,” she said.
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