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Pope ordains Hong Kong Salesian as archbishop

Chinese Catholics applaud episcopal ordination of top Vatican official

Pope Benedict XVI lays hands on Archbishop Savio Hon Pope Benedict XVI lays hands on Archbishop Savio Hon
  • ucanews.com reporter, Vatican City
  • China
  • February 7, 2011
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More than 100 Chinese Catholics from Hong Kong and around the world have attended the episcopal ordination in Rome of Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-fai, the first Chinese to hold a senior post in the Roman curia.

They were joined by thousands of faithful, including around 100 mainland Chinese seminarians, nuns and priests studying in Europe as well as some foreign missionaries who used to serve in Chinese Catholic communities.

Archbishop Hon, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples, was ordained with four other archbishops by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica on February 5.

In his homily the pope emphasised certain aspects of the Episcopal ministry through a metaphor that “the pastor should not be like a bamboo, bending in the wind, but a servant of the spirit of his times”.

There was loud applause when Hon’s mentor, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun from Hong Kong, embraced him after the ordination.

At a reception after the ceremony at the Pontifical Urban College, Cardinal Zen said Archbishop Hon’s appointment was a joyous moment for Chinese Catholics as it showed the pope’s concern for the Church in China.

During his first Mass the following day at the college, Archbishop Hon explained the ordination rite and the pope’s Latin homily to more than 250 Chinese attendees.

“I could feel an airstream when the pope laid his hands with strength on my head,” he said, adding that this rite is to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the candidate to pass on the apostolic succession.

At that moment, he felt strongly his apostolic mission to give up himself and to endure any hardships for the sake of his flock, the archbishop noted.

C.M. Paul from Rome adds: Family members and friends were present at Hon’s ordination ceremony at St. Peter’s as part of a 200-strong Chinese delegation.

“We are simply proud and happy for Savio, who has been blessed with the privilege of serving the worldwide church,” said his youngest sister Catherine Hon, from Kuala Lumpur. Her daughter Adeline Khu read the first reading at the Mass in Chinese, thought to be the first time the language has been used in a scripture reading at a major liturgical event in St. Peter’s.

“China is a driving factor today which no one can ignore,” said Savio’s elder brother James Hon, commenting on the significance of a Chinese from the People’s Republic of China being ordained archbishop in the Vatican so soon after the recent illicit ordination of a mainland bishop despite the Vatican’s disapproval.

Related reports
Cardinal welcomes Vatican appointment
Archbishop-elect Hon to be ordained by pope
Pope appoints Chinese to senior Vatican role


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