Hong Kong, 4 June 2017 -- This year Pentecost Sunday has fallen on June 4th. For Hong Kong Catholics and Christians this coincidence is full of meaning. June 4th is the day when more than a 100,000 Hong Kong people every year make memory of the young victims of the Tian An Men massacre on June 4th, 1989. They do so by gathering at night in Hong Kong’s Island only big park, the Victoria Park, for the Candlelight Vigil whose motto is: “Lament the massacred democracy fighters! Carry on the spirit of the martyrs!” This year was no exception and it is the 28th time that Hong Kong people do so.
Every year Christian and Catholic participants gather earlier than the rest for a Prayer Vigil in a secluded section of the park. This year the Prayer Vigil reflected on the Tian An Men Movement, the self-sacrifice of the young peaceful demonstrators victims of the massacre, the stubborn will of many people in mainland and in Hong Kong to remember this sacrifice, in spite of urges by both Governments to forget it or at least let it go.
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit were reviewed one by one and seen clearly present in the events commemorated and in the stubborn commemoration itself. The Prayer Vigil this year concluded with the blessing given by Franciscan Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha and a dozen priests and pastors who had taken part in the Prayer Vigil along with hundreds of the faithful.
In the Candlelight Vigil itself, participated by more than 100,000 people each holding a lighted candle, echoes of the the action of the Holy Spirit could be felt in the moving songs sung by the assembly, in the witness given by phone by Ms. Ge Guirong, one of the Tiananmen Mothers, in the live witness given by Lam Yiu-keung, a Hong Kong eye-witness of the Tian An Men massacre, and in the sharing of social activist Pastor Chu Yiu-ming who spoke of the candle of hope, lighting again the dying flame of the candles of peace, truth, and love.
Young people were not absent from the podium. University student Siu Chui-ping thanked his family for making him aware of the meaningfulness of something that had happened before he was born. A musical group of secondary school students, the Boyz Reborn, presented a song composed by them in memory of the young victims of Tian An Men. Listening to them, I remembered what GC27 52 says: "Young people are our ‘burning bush’ through which God is speaking to us.” I was also reminded of the challenge thrown to us by GC27 73.5 that calls us to “educating the young to justice and lawfulness, to the socio-political dimension of evangelization and charity, walking side by side with them as agents of social transformation in a spirit of service for the common good."