Macau diocese installs new bishop

Churchgoers expect prelate to bring vitality to the parish level
Macau diocese installs new bishop

Bishop Stephen Lee signs an official document completing his installation as bishop of Macau on Jan. 23. (Photo by reporter, Macau
January 25, 2016
More than 1,000 Catholics, including people from neighboring Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province, attended the installation of Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang as the new bishop of Macau on Jan 23.

The installation took place on the 440th anniversary of the establishment of Macau Diocese.

The ceremony at Our Lady of Nativity Cathedral was presided by retired Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng.

Bishop Lee is the third Chinese person to become bishop of Macau. Previous bishops up to modern times were from Europe.

He replaces Macau-born Bishop Lai, who stepped down recently due to health issues.

Many Catholics in the former Portuguese territory welcomed Bishop Lee's arrival in Macau.

"Given Lee's experience as Hong Kong's auxiliary bishop, having him come to serve Macau is positive," said one woman, Chan Si-wing.

"Many parishes lack vitality. There are fewer young people coming to the church. We hope the new bishop can strengthen a sense of belonging," said Maria Chan, a young woman in her 20s, said.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Bishop Lee admitted he was unfamiliar with Macau, and said he would first meet with his priests, church organizations and parishioners and learn about the diocese from them.

"We are all clergy and our goal is for the good of the Catholics. I believe we can get along well."

One immediate challenge he said he faces is learning Portuguese, the official language used in Macau.

Macau has around 29,000 Catholics, 60 percent of whom are Chinese while the rest are Macanese (local-born Portuguese), according to 2013 statistics.

Bishop Lee told O'Clarim, the diocesan weekly, that he intends to learn the language and that his knowledge of Spanish should help. 

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