Visiting German youth find Hong Kong experience enriching
The German delegation visited mission stations set up by early missionaries, parishes built by the sponsorship of their home diocese, as well as various diocesan commissions and Caritas service units.
Young Catholics from the diocese of Essen, Germany, say their 10-day visit to Hong Kong and Macau has enriched their faith.
Richard Hagemann, a theology student in the delegation, appreciated Hong Kong Church's witness in society.
He was part of the 25-member delegation from the Rhur area in western Germany that visited Hong Kong from September 17 to 27. The visit was part of an exchange program that began by youth from Hong Kong visiting the German diocese in January 2012.
The German delegation visited mission stations set up by early missionaries, parishes built by the sponsorship of their home diocese, as well as various diocesan commissions and Caritas social service units. Besides witnessing the vitality of the local parishes with crowds in the Sunday Masses, for Hagemann, the meeting with Cardinal Zen was most impressive.
Sensing Cardinal Zen’s deep conviction, Hagemann believes Church people should continue to fight for the rights and for the truth.
He admitted that young Germans usually ignore talks about faith. But he is inspired to try harder to pass on the messages to his friends when he returns home. “We should try although there is always a chance of failure,” he said.
It was the first time that his counterpart Joan Lee to receive guests from Europe. It is “unusual” for her to attend Mass every day, the school pastoral worker said, and neither for the Germans. The cultural exchange and sharing on faith life have however stimulated her from her routine life, she said.
Her experience and sharing, she said, helped her see the Church "like a lake of faith kept lively by the running water that comes in and goes out,” shared Lee.
The German guests spent three days also in neighbouring Macau diocese, which differs from the skylines of Hong Kong, dominated by the neon lights of the casinos.