I was born of a Catholic family. I am the third of the eight children of my parents. We moved from Tsimshatsui to Choi Hung Estate in 1962. In 1965 I was admitted to Choi Hung Estate Catholic Secondary School. During my three-year study in Choi Hung Estate Catholic Secondary School, the following episodes are still vivid in my mind. First and foremost, I still remember vividly the opening ceremony of our school in 1965 with the presence of the late Bishop Lorenzo BIANCHI, P.I.M.E. Next, we, a group of about ten fellow Catholic students, were "forced" to stay after schooling every Thursday. A layman surnamed LEE was responsible to "re-catechize" us for one hour weekly. These lectures unconsciously formed the backbone of my religious faith. Finally, we had the honour of having the late Father Luciano ALETTA, P.I.M.E., our first School Supervisor as well as an ex-Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish, visiting our home once.
In 1968 I left the school and started a new life. I spent my time for further studies to acquire my professional qualification. I concentrated on my studies and earned my living to support the family. Later my family moved out of Choi Hung Estate. I kept on working for nearly thirteen years before I finally responded to God's calling. I was so enthralled by the scriptures that I experienced His calling in the Bible. However, it was not a straightforward calling. Rather I faced a dilemma. My father passed away then and I was responsible to support the family. With the help of my parish priest, I eventually made up my mind to convince my late mother in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This way of relating my vocation to my mum was chosen because she was a very pious woman. In 1983 I abandoned my secular job and was admitted to the Holy Spirit Seminary as a seminarian.
My sojourn in the seminary for seven years earmarked my transformation as a person. I assumed the role as a student again. I received human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation in the course of those seven years. I had to abandon the "old self" and was ready to be "rejuvenated". Needless to say, living together with a group of seminarians coming from different backgrounds resulted in lots of conflicts. Nonetheless through interpersonal interaction, it permitted me to know my own self and progress in my human development. As a result, I transcended my former self. The philosophic and the theological training assisted me to build up a mature way of thinking. The spiritual formation helped me to turn to God faithfully and to discern His will with guidance. The pastoral formation geared me towards the needs of the faithful and the translation of Words of God into visible actions. Thanks to the recommendation of my rector and the formation team of the seminary, I was ordained priest in 1990.
My priestly life is of nearly twenty years is filled with joy, consolation, hope, helplessness, sorrow, frustration and suffering. Being a priest, I earned the trust of the Catholic faithful. In particular, many of them were willing to share with me their innermost struggles and feelings even when they met me for the first time. I experienced vicariously the ups and downs of human life when I presided in their wedding ceremonies, visited the sick, performed the funeral rites, counseled the dejected, helped the poor and was cheated by swindlers etc. I also lived through the limitlessness of the global Church after I had begun my sabbatical to study in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Although we came from different nations, having different cultures and backgrounds, we have one and the same faith and are united. I was so fortunate that I visited more than twenty countries in the world. I understand a bit about the cultures of other regions, the work of evangelization of other dioceses together the limitations facing them etc. Above all, I enjoyed the hospitality rendered by various Catholic institutes and faithful around the world.
Most of my immediate family members migrated to Canada before and shortly after the change of sovereignty in 1997, leaving me as a "passive" missionary in Hong Kong. However, I had the opportunity to accompany my mum to pass through the last four weeks of her suffering on earth. She was diagnosed to have suffered from cancer in 1995. She stayed in a palliative unit of Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, in 1999. Our late John B. Cardinal WU allowed me to go to Canada to accompany my bedridden mum till her death. I eye-witnessed her passing through various stages, to wit, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and accepting stages, in her peaceful ending. Very shortly before her death, she invited all my family members present at her bedside to forgive one another and to hold hand in hand to say the Lord's Prayer together. We were all moved with tears. I presided in her burial liturgy in Canada. Besides my youngest brother got married in Canada while I was having my sabbatical, I had the privilege to assist his marriage in Canada. Last year I got my temporary marriage licence and officiated the wedding ceremony of my nephew in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. My family tie is not entirely cut off after my priestly ordination. I am available whenever they need me.
In 1993 I first landed Rome on a study tour with a group of students from St. Paul's University, Ottawa, Canada. We visited various Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and we were able to meet Joseph Cardinal RATZINGER who is now Pope Benedict XVI. I personally dialogued with him on that occasion. I still treasure my visit on that occasion.
Thanks to the late principal, Mr. Joseph LIU, and his teaching staff for their dedicated service to teach me. All in all, let us learn to render love for love.