Dom Stephen Lee presenting gift to the Holy Father
Dom Stephen Lee Bun-sang, Bishop of Macau, was in Rome for his Ad Limina visit from June 18 to 24, 2018. The visit Ad Limina Apostolorum (“to the thresholds of the Apostles”), also known as “the quinquennial visit” to the Holy Father is mandatory according to Canon Law (cc. 399-400) in order to report on the overall situation of the local diocese to the Holy See. Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung and auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, OFM of the Diocese of Hong Kong also took part in the same visit.
Prior to meeting with the Holy Father Pope Francis on 23 June, the three bishops also paid their visit to a number of Vatican dicasteries and Pontifical Councils to discuss various topics. Their visits include the Secretariat of State, the Congregation of Evangelization of People, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The bishops were grateful for the opportunity to share the circumstances and concerns of their respective local dioceses with the department heads concerned. The bishops remarked that the meetings were very fruitful.
The topics touched on in their meeting include the different aspects of evangelization including catechesis, baptisms, families, the laity, the business sector of society, interreligious dialogue, and the recent worldwide initiative of the Day of 24 Hours Adoration of Our Lord, as well as the World Day for the Poor.
Pope Francis to Diocese of Macau: Youth, Seminary and the Poor
On June 23, the Holy Father received the bishops of Macau and Hong Kong. After the initial greetings, Bishop Lee presented to Pope Francis as a souvenir a photographic album featuring the historic centre of Macao. These photographs are works of local photographer Chan Hin Io. Pope Francis, in return, gave the bishops a medal of Our Lady and a rosary.
In the one-and-a-half hour meeting, Pope Francis affirmed the work that the bishops of Macau and Hong Kong have done, and he mentioned in particular the professional approach taken by the local churches in social, charitable and educational activities. The Pope showed great concern for the Diocese of Macau, especially in regard to the youth, the seminary, the poor, and to the relation with the Church in China. Dom Stephen Lee said that “Pope Francis is very patient and cordial in listening to [us] and he shares a great concern for what is going on in our Diocese. The outcome of the meeting was fruitful, especially in living out the union with the Pope and the members of the Roman Curia.”
The previous Ad Limina visit took place 10 years ago.The intervening years that had elapsed was due to the succession of Pontiffs in 2013, as well as the new appointment of bishops both in Macau and in Hong Kong. Thus the Ad Limina visit originally expected to happen in 2013 was therefore postponed for both dioceses.