Updated: October 06, 2021 01:44 PM GMT
Father Stephen Tong is now the new provincial of the Jesuits' Chinese Province covering Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China. (Photo: Jesuits Chinese Province)
Macau-born Jesuit Father Stephen Tong has been appointed as the head of the Jesuits' Chinese Province, which covers the society’s missions in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and mainland China.
Jesuit Superior General Father Arturo Sosa appointed the priest, Bishop-elect Chow said in a statement.
He thanked Father Tong “for his generous availability for this arduous and challenging mission” and sought the “support and closest cooperation” with Father Tong “for the fruitfulness of God’s mission through our province, united among the four regions.”
Military tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated in recent times. China claims Taiwan as its own territory, refuses to admit it as an independent nation and threatens to annex it.
He followed his eldest sister’s footsteps to enter religious life and joined the Society of Jesus in 1990
The region’s new head is a local person familiar with the region’s politics and culture.
Father Tong was born in 1963 in Macau in a non-Catholic family as the youngest son among five siblings. He was baptized in 1981 before he flew to Taiwan for his tertiary study in civil engineering.
He followed his eldest sister’s footsteps to enter religious life and joined the Society of Jesus in 1990. He had his novitiate in Singapore, philosophy studies in Manila and two years of regency in the Jesuit school in Macau.
In 1996, he began theology studies in Hong Kong’s Holy Spirit Seminary College, following which he spent two years in Boston in the US for studies. He was ordained a priest in 2000 in Macau.
He began his first priestly mission in Manila in 2001 as the pre-novitiate director and socius to the novice master.
Father Tong’s ministry dwells within the formation and Ignatian spirituality, his predecessor’s statement said.
After finishing Tertianship training in 2004, he was sent to Xavier House in Hong Kong to be its director. It involved giving retreats and spiritual formation in both Hong Kong and mainland China.
He has been the province consultor since 2010 and the superior of the Hong Kong Jesuit community since 2012.
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