ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
Updated: May 16, 2017 09:10 AM GMT
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, in a group photo after his dialogue with some young Catholics at St. Stephen's Church in Hong Kong on May 13. (ucanews.com photo)
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, has encouraged young Catholics in Hong Kong to get involved in the next synod gathering to be held in Rome in October 2018.
During a 90-minute dialogue held on May 13 with group of mostly young Catholics, Cardinal Baldisseri explained how the church is preparing the next synod, which Pope Francis chose "Young people, faith and vocational discernment" as its theme.
Cardinal Baldisseri added that the theme "referred to all young people on the earth, not just Catholics and Christians."
He encouraged Hong Kong Catholics not to ignore the "opportunity to be involved" in the synod and to keep a look out "at the General Secretariat website for a questionnaire which you can fill out online."
University student Philomena Poon and some other participants told ucanews.com they are interested in expressing their views.
"In the past, we got pontifical writings on issues such as family, marriage and love but this time it is about young people and we also get a cardinal coming here to meet us. It shows the church pays heed to us which gives us motivation to get involved," said Poon.
During this first activity immediately after his arrival in Hong Kong, Cardinal Baldisseri took questions from students, a seminarian, a young family, a disabled person, a refugee and others.
A high school student was introduced to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, before a dialogue session with local youth at St. Stephen's Church in Hong Kong on May 13. (ucanews.com photo)
Young people asked for advice on how to resist the trend of being against or without the church, the key elements to make one's vocation mature, how to fulfill "everyday discernment" in family relationships, work and in children's education.
Citing Pope Francis' remarks on the "culture of the ephemeral" which stressed enjoying the moment, the cardinal asked the youth "to be revolutionaries" and have the courage to swim against the tides that see everything as temporary and that make one believe he or she is incapable of responsibility and of true love.
He also stressed the importance of "accompaniment" and helping young people with "day-to-day discernment" when a worker from the youth ministry asked him how adults could deal with same-sex attraction in young people.
Cardinal Baldisseri is making his first seven-day visit to two Chinese communities in East Asia. Besides meeting with young people, he also delivered a talk on family on May 14 as part of the diocesan program for the Year of Family 2017. He will attend a conference on family in Taiwan and also meet with the youth there.
There are no figures on the number of youth among Hong Kong's 389,000 Catholics. Government statistics for 2016 show 25 percent of the city's population of 7.3 million is between 16-34 years of age.