|Fr Joseph Tham and Fr Mattias Kim stand before the Hong Kong skyline.|
In November and December, Fathers Joseph Tham, Alex Yeung, and
Mattias Kim visited Hong Kong, China, for the priestly ordination
of one of Father Joseph’s cousins. The priests took Chinese
language lessons to brush up in preparation for their trip,
and stayed in Hong Kong for several weeks, carrying out
various apostolic activities.
Since 1997, Hong Kong has had the
status of a Special Administrative Region of China, which allows
the city to maintain autonomy in almost all areas. It
is a business city with close to 7 million inhabitants,
5% of whom are Catholic. About 25% of the primary
and secondary education is imparted by Catholic institutions. There are
many foreigners in the city, so English is also spoken
as a second language.
|A moment during the priestly ordination of Father Michael Tham, who is a cousin of Father Joseph Tham, LC|
The Legionary priests began their trip by
attending the priestly ordination of Father Michael Tham, who is
a cousin of Father Joseph Tham, LC. They also attended
his first Mass and spent some time in fellowship with
the diocesan priests of the city.
During their stay, they were
able to work alongside priests and bishops in pastoral ministry,
lending a hand with various tasks:
• In several parishes, they
helped with catechesis, Sunday Masses, confessions, Gospel reflections, a spiritual
retreat, blessing homes, and more.
• They attended a conference given
by Cardinal Zen to the priests of the diocese about
the important role of ecclesial movements in the Church.
• They were
invited to tell their vocation stories to the members of
the Serra Club, a group of Catholics committed to
helping the Church find vocations.
• They visited Holy Spirit seminary,
where 10 seminarians are currently in formation.
• The Hong Kong
|Father Joseph Tham, LC, gives a talk to the students of St. Joseph School, where he studied.|
diocesan newspaper interviewed Father Joseph on topics of bioethics, his
vocation story (he was a medical doctor before he entered
religious life), and his current work in the Regina Apostolorum
College in Rome.
• Father Joseph visited St Joseph’s College,
where he once studied, said Mass, and gave a talk
to the students. Father Alex also visited La Salle
College, where his father had once studied.
The priests also
had the opportunity to give some talks and participate in
events organized by Catholic institutions in Hong Kong:
• Father Joseph spoke
on the topic “Secular Challenges to Human Dignity” during the
|Participants of the congress of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Asia. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán is in the center front row. Father Joseph Tham, LC, is on the far right of the front row. Fr Alex and Fr Mattias are in the second row.|
congress of the Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for
Health Ministry, gave the inaugural lecture.
• Father Joseph also gave
a talk on “Cloning and Stem Cells” in the Center
for Catholic Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
He gave the same talk afterwards to the priests of
the diocese. Also present were Cardinal Joseph Ze-Kiun Zen, S.D.B.,
the bishop of Hong Kong, and Bishop John Hon Tong,
who is the coadjutor bishop of the same diocese.
Alex was invited to give a talk on Christian Corporate
Social Responsibility to a group of Catholic businessmen to explain
the document “The Values of Profit” of the International Christian
Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC).
• In the city of
|Father Alex Yeung, LC, gives a talk to a group of Catholic businessmen in Hong Kong.|
Macau, Father Joseph gave three talks, both in English and
in Chinese, on “The Theology of the Body and Chastity.”
Macau is one hour from Hong Kong. It is a
former Portuguese colony with many Catholic schools.
This recent trip
to Hong Kong was the Legion’s first pastoral contact with
the Chinese culture. It was also an opportunity for Legionaries
to work alongside the local priests and bishops, to support
them in their work and build the Church together.