ucanews.com reporter, Hong KongUpdated: August 31, 2014 07:00 PM GMT
From left to right: Archbishop Savio Hon, Auxiliary Bishops Joseph Ha and Michael Yeung, Cardinal John Tong, Auxiliary Bishop Stephen Lee and Cardinal Joseph Zen.
Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong ordained Father Joseph Ha Chi-shing, Stephen Lee Bun-sang and Michael Yeung Ming-yeung as auxiliary bishops at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Saturday.
They were the first episcopal ordinations in Hong Kong since Britain returned the former colony to China in 1997.
“As a pastor, I feel an urgent need for more priests to care for the more than 500,000 Catholics in our diocese,” Cardinal Tong said in his homily.
He gave thanks to Pope Francis for appointing the three auxiliary bishops to assist him in “facing the new challenges of our age”.
The three were appointed by Pope Francis in July.
Retired bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and Archbishop Savio Hon Ta-fai, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, served as co-ordainers in the ordination.
Eight other bishops and more than 200 priests from concelebrated in the ceremony, attended by 2,000 Catholics, including several priests and laypeople from Mainland China.
Cardinal Tong, in his homily, said the new bishops would have to help him in his four pastoral priorities, one of which includes promoting contacts between the Church in China and the Universal Church.
The last episcopal ordination in Hong Kong was in 1996 when Fathers Joseph Zen and John Tong were ordained as coadjutor and auxiliary bishops.