ucanews.com reporter, Hong KongUpdated: March 27, 2019 03:22 AM GMT
Father Gianni Criveller talks about the Italian priests who worked in mainland China and in colonial Hong Kong during an event on March 23 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. (ucanews.com photo)
Catholics in Hong Kong have been encouraged to study historical events so that they can carry on the work of missionaries to evangelize the Chinese territory.
Conducting historical studies does not merely involve digging out facts but is a process of gaining an awareness of what our ancestors left for us, said Father Louis Ha Ke-loon, director of the Centre for Catholic Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He was speaking at a March 23 event to launch a lecture series called “20th Century History of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong” which will conclude with an academic conference in December. The series is co-organized by the Centre for Catholic Studies, diocesan archives office and diocesan weekly newspaper Kung Kao Po.
Father Ha, who also serves as the diocesan archivist, said that studying history helps us absorb wisdom from the experience of our ancestors and leads us to reflect on what we should do.
“Different political and social incidents somehow affect the survival of the Church. The Church cannot isolate itself from the temporal and spatial background,” he told Kung Kao Po on March 22.
Italian Father Gianni Criveller, the main speaker at the event, shared the history of the work of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).
Italian missioners evangelized Hong Kong in three ways, the historian-priest told about 80 participants who included religious, theology students and Italian expats.
They carried out evangelization through creating Christian communities and parishes, through education and formation, and through social services and charities, he said.
Missioners also used print media to provide information for lay members. Kung Kao Po was co-founded by Father Andrea Granelli in 1928, while its English version was started by Father Nicola Maestrini in 1946.
Established as an apostolic prefecture in 1841, Hong Kong was entrusted to the Institute of Foreign Missionaries of Milan, a predecessor of PIME, in 1868 before it became an apostolic vicariate in 1874 with its member Timoleone Raimondi ordained as bishop and the first apostolic vicar.
Father Criveller called on local Catholics to take up more missionary work. Every baptized member of the Church has a vocation of evangelization, the professor of missiology stressed.