St John’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong Island, held a special service ‘Celebrating Hong Kong’ this week to celebrate the ‘vibrancy, diversity and achievements of Hong Kong.’ During the service, faith leaders and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR took part in candle lighting and prayed that the city would be blessed with peace and love.
The ‘Celebrating Hong Kong’ service was led by the Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, Archbishop and Primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. Amongst the congregation were the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Mrs Carrie Lam, representatives of consulates-general, and representatives of many Christian denominations and also of the Muslim, Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist faiths. Over 400 people attended the service.
In the opening prayer, Archbishop Paul Kwong thanked God for the many blessings upon the life of Hong Kong and for those who offered themselves for public service. “We join together to offer our hopes and dreams for this place, and ask for the strength to strive for the greater good. We come to pray for all the people of Hong Kong, our nation and our world,” he said.
The prayer was followed by reflections upon the topic ‘What’s Good about Hong Kong’, contributed by a teenager, an adult and a senior citizen. After a litany of thanksgiving led by the Christian leaders, The Very Reverend Matthias C. Der, Dean of St John’s Cathedral, invited members of the local community to light three candles, which represented faith, hope and love.
The first candle, ‘the Candle of Faith’, was lit by representatives of the local faith communities, praying that Hong Kong citizens may proceed on life’s journey in harmony and happiness with a peaceful heart. The second candle, ‘the Candle of Hope’, was lit by a group of young people. They prayed that, through this gift of illumination, people would find the way through the darkness of this world and be a light for others in need. Three couples lit the third candle, ‘the Candle of Love’, and gave thanks for the gift of understanding and compassion for all of humankind.
Mrs Carrie Lam then lit the fourth candle, ‘The Bauhinia Candle’, a symbol for Hong Kong. The congregation prayed that the city would continue to be blessed with peace, justice and prosperity. Archbishop Paul Kwong ended the service with the Prayer of St Francis and a blessing of the congregation and the city.