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Vatican appoints three new bishops for Hong Kong

New prelates bring diplomatic skills, strong knowledge of China Church affairs

<p>From left, Hong Kong's new auxiliary bishops: Fr Joseph Ha, Fr Michael Yeung and Fr Stephen Lee.</p>

From left, Hong Kong's new auxiliary bishops: Fr Joseph Ha, Fr Michael Yeung and Fr Stephen Lee.

  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • July 12, 2014
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The Vatican on Friday announced the appointment of three new auxiliary bishops in Hong Kong.

A few dozen priests and nuns gathered privately at the diocesan center to hear the announcement, which was made simultaneously in Hong Kong and Rome.

Among the three appointees – Frs Joseph Ha Chi-shing, Stephen Lee Bun-sang and Michael Yeung Ming-cheung – two are considered to be well versed in China Church affairs.

Fr Bruno Lepeu, superior of the Paris Foreign Mission, told ucanews.com that he “is happy with the news, as Frs Ha and Lee are very familiar with China Church affairs”, which is critical in Hong Kong because of the diplomatic role the city plays in relations between Beijing and the Holy See.

Fr Lee, 58, is a canonist and regional vicar of East Asia for Opus Dei. Fr Ha, 55, a Franciscan, entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1984 and was ordained six years later.

Franciscan Fr Chan Moon-hung, the current president of the order, told ucanews.com, “Fr Ha is a very suitable candidate as an assistant with his virtue and his strength in interpersonal relations and spirituality.”

Fr Yeung, 68, was ordained in 1987 and serves as president of Caritas Hong Kong as well as one of three vicars general of the diocese.

Fr Yeung told ucanews.com that he accepts the role of bishop with reverence and awe, as this mission came at a difficult time for the Church in China.

The new appointments come at a time when Cardinal John Tong Hon has announced his retirement, having reached the age or 75, but who has remained at his post at the request of Pope Francis.

They also make Hong Kong unique among Chinese Catholic communities – there are two cardinals along with three bishops for a city that contains 374,000 Chinese Catholics and 189,000 foreign Catholics.

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