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Macau priest to lead Jesuits' Chinese Province

Father Stephen Tong succeeds Father Stephen Chow, who was appointed the new bishop of Hong Kong

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: October 06, 2021 08:11 AM GMT

Updated: October 06, 2021 01:44 PM GMT

Macau priest to lead Jesuits' Chinese Province

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.

Father Tong, 58, succeeds Jesuit Father Stephen Chow, whom Pope Francis appointed as the bishop of Hong Kong on May 17. Father Tong is scheduled to take office on Nov. 1.

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.”

The new appointment comes at a time when China’s communist government is accused of tightening religious freedom in China and eroding democracy in Hong Kong and Macau, its two administrative 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.

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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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