Hong Kong Christian leaders are using the closeness of the Chinese New Year and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to remind believers to defend the poor and simplify their lives to save the environment.Immediately after the ecumenical prayer week from Jan. 18 to 25, Hong Kong Christians are to celebrate the Chinese (lunar) New Year on Monday, Jan.26.
In view of the present financial crisis, Hong Kong religious leaders in their Lunar New Year message made an appeal for people to offer help to needy people. The leaders who made the appeal come from the Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist and Taoist communities in Hong Kong.They called upon people to act promptly in responding to emergency situations, and noted that people “who are troubled by the financial [crisis] could seek religion for peace of mind, and the wisdom to ride through the storm.”
Separately a Franciscan priest, Rev. Joseph Ha, reminded believers that the New Year was a time to be thankful for the past year, and an occasion to enjoy family life.
“If finance does matter, you may consider celebrating New Year in a simpler way. We need to differentiate what is ‘want’ and what is ‘need.’ Our parish will hold its New Year gathering at a simple restaurant this year. What is important is we are getting together!” Ha said.
At the same time Christian leaders celebrated the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, organized by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, by inviting the faithful to work together to save the environment.
At the inaugurating prayer meeting at an Anglican Cathedral on Jan.17, Catholic priest Rev. John Baptist Tsang, recalled the deteriorating environment people now face and he asked Christians to lead a simple life and to work together to save the world.