"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Friday, October 2, 2009

MACAU Local Church gets new seminarians after 17 years

Source: Thanks to United Catholic Asian News

MACAU (UCAN) -- Thomas Aquinas Hoi Ka-tak's parents originally opposed his entering the seminary to become a priest. They were worried it could be a bad decision after reading international media reports of priests who sexually abused children.

However, they changed their minds after seeing how being a Catholic has changed him for the better, and after realizing that the seminary training would help him become a better person.

Hoi, 18, is the only Catholic in his family. He said he was impressed by the priests he knew during his years of study in a Salesian school in Macau, and longed to be one even before his baptism three years ago.

In late August, he and his 20-year-old friend Domingos Cheong Iau-chong, became the first two seminarians for Macau diocese in 17 years. The two have been studying at Holy Spirit Seminary in neighboring Hong Kong diocese since late August.

Macau diocese's St. Joseph's Seminary closed in 1994 due to a dearth of local seminarians. The last diocesan priest who studied at the seminary, Father Domingos Un Wai-meng who now chairs the Macau Diocesan Vocations Commission, was ordained in 1992.

Hoi and Cheong told UCA News they hope that their entering the seminary would encourage more young local Catholic men to take up the priestly vocation.

Cheong, whose family has been Catholic for the past three generations, said he was inspired to become a priest during a trip to South Korea in 2007. Macau diocese and Serra Club, a worldwide lay organization that promotes priestly and Religious vocations, organized the trip to expose Catholics to these vocations.

During the trip, Cheong learned that Macau diocesan priests are aging and that there had been no local seminarians since 1992. He said this inspired him to become a priest.

Hoi also went on this trip in which participants visited various churches, seminaries and Religious orders.
In early 2009, both wrote letters to Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau asking to enter the seminary.

Hoi also went on this trip in which participants visited various churches, seminaries and Religious orders.
In early 2009, both wrote letters to Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau asking to enter the seminary.

Hoi says he would like to serve in a parish as he feels that local Catholics are "devout and simple" in their faith, but do not fully put into practice Christ's command to "love one another." He said he strongly feels called to "nurture them to live according to the Gospel spirit."

Father Un says he is heartened to see new vocations, especially during the Year for Priests. He noted that Cheong has served as an altar boy since childhood, while Hoi joined Church-run voluntary services for the poor in Macau and mainland China.

Cheong and Hoi attribute the shortage of local priestly vocations to young Catholics preferring a materialistic life than the simple life of a priest. They added that for many people, the married life also seems more attractive than celibacy.

Hoi said he hopes his decision would encourage other hesitant young men, who feel called to the priesthood, to respond to the call.

Cheong said he knows of other young men who are considering the priesthood and believes they will enter the seminary in the coming years.

The two also say they hope laypeople would pray harder for priestly vocations and share in the task of promoting such vocations.

Macau currently has 22 diocesan and 40 Religious priests serving about 20,000 Catholics.

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