The new members of the Diocesan Commission for Life for the triennium 2022-2025 were formally sworn in earlier last week in a ceremony that was presided over by Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-Sang. The induction oath took place on Monday, the 30th of May, at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady, following a Eucharistic celebration during which the Catholic Diocese of Macau commemorated the sixth anniversary of the institution.
The New Diocesan Commission for Life, which will remain in office until April 30th 2025, is chaired by Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang and is made up of forty local personalities, representing various sectors of Macau’s civil society. Among the members of the organization are priests, doctors, lawyers, teachers and even a one-time member of the Legislative Assembly. Former legislator Paul Chan Wai Chi is one of the members of the commission. Paulino Comandante, secretary-general of the Macau Lawyers Association, will be, over the next three years, one of eight members of the consulting board of the organization. The lawyer shares his new role with, among others, Father Domingos Un Wai Meng and Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin. The new parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin, discussed with O Clarim the challenges that the new members of the Diocesan Commission for Life will face and unveiled some of the assignments they will try to undertake until 2025. A reinforced commitment to education, Father Michael Cheung claims, should be a key aspect. “I think that, in general, most religions are pro-life. But the details in terms of moral teachings and the consistency in the dignity, in terms of how to protect and respect human life and dignity, how this is interpreted and implemented and taught, at this level I think the Catholic Church is the religion that has done the most in recent years,” Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin, a missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, asserts.
He continues, saying, “The existence of a commission which is fully dedicated to the protection of life and the protection of human dignity is very important, as it helps to put in perspective the work that needs to be done. It is important to coordinate that work in terms of education and also to ensure that the things that are taught are put into practice. Being aware of what to do is one thing, but putting that knowledge into practice is something else entirely. We are well aware that, more often than not, not even Catholics understand or know how to put into practice the teachings of the Church, especially with regard to human dignity.”
‘Keep an eye on the law’
In Macau, the secularist tide that seeks to counter the Church’s arguments, particularly with regard to pro-family and pro-life issues, is not yet insinuating itself with the same aggressiveness as is felt in other regions of the planet. Phenomena such as abortion, euthanasia or gender issues have not yet entered the Special Administrative Region’s political agenda. Despite considering this “a grace of God,” Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin argues that local Catholics should not let their guard down. The parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima advocates they should ensure that the existing legislation continues to safeguard the protection of life and human dignity, telling O Clarim, “Even if Macau is in a sense protected, which is to some extent a grace of God. However danger and temptation still surround us and this city. And although Macau’s laws protect human dignity better than in other cities or regions, the gestures and practices of citizens do not. There are many things happening that we are not aware of. They are not reported or, quite simply, are kept secret. We still need to strengthen the people’s understanding and mobilize their support so that this legislation is preserved,” Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin tells O Clarim. He also says, “We need to persevere as much as we can and, in fact, it is not just for the purpose of preserving the legislation, but also for the purpose of making it stronger, so that it can encompass all stages of life. Currently, we have this set of laws. How can we make them even better through education? Let’s try to marry the two together so people can’t say they didn’t know the laws exist. There is nothing like making it clear and explain why laws exist.”
Performance by Youth Choir closes Marian month
The parish of Our Lady of Fatima held a choral concert on Saturday, May 28th. The performance set the tone for one of the first public appearances of the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School Youth Choir and brought to an end the celebrations of the Marian month in Macau’s northernmost parishes.
“With this concert by the Youth Choir, we marked the end of the Marian month. It was a way of honoring and meditating on the goodness of Our Lady. It was also a chance to offer the children that are part of the choir an opportunity to go on stage so that they could praise, through singing, the motherly role of Mary,” says Father Michael Cheung.
Created just before the Covid-19 pandemic paralyzed Macau and the world, the choir has been rehearsing intermittently over the last two years. The group is made up of about four dozen children and youth, many of whom are not really familiar with the word of God. Father Michael Cheung Chun Kin tells us, “Many of the members of the choir are not even Catholics, but they were given the opportunity to serve, to share with their parents, who are not Catholics either, the message that is hidden in these beautiful melodies (…) This kind of initiative is something that offers them the possibility of getting to know God, of getting to know his plans, of getting to know the mother of Jesus. We hope that they can understand that by doing this, they are given the possibility to know Jesus Christ better.”