Archbishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing on November 13 arrived in the Diocese of Hong Kong at the invitation of Cardinal Stephen Chow Sau-yan.
The visit is aimed at fostering exchanges and interactions between the two Catholic communities according to a Vatican News report.
The official website of the Diocese of Hong Kong expressed that the primary purpose of the visit is to promote mutual understanding and collaboration between the two dioceses.
The itinerary of Archbishop Li Shan included a celebration of vespers at the chapel of the diocesan curia, followed by a gift exchange in the cardinal’s office.
The archbishop presented Cardinal Chow with a colored glass image of the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, while the cardinal reciprocated with an image of Saints Peter and Paul painted on a white wooden panel.
On November 14, after the concelebration of Holy Mass in the Curia Chapel, the Beijing delegation visited the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the diocesan center.
This visit reciprocates a previous one made by Cardinal Chow to the Diocese of Beijing from April 17 to 21, 2023, at the invitation of Archbishop Li Shan.
During that visit, the two religious leaders paid homage to Father Matteo Ricci, a revered missionary in China during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Pope Francis had described Ricci as “a man of the culture of encounter,” emphasizing his role in establishing a bridge of friendship between China and the West.
In a media interview, Cardinal Chow emphasized the mission of the Diocese of Hong Kong as a “Bridge Church,” a role bestowed upon it by Pope John Paul II.
He highlighted the challenges of connecting diverse and opposing parts, fostering understanding, and facilitating collaboration.
The collaborative efforts between the Diocese of Hong Kong and that of Beijing, as agreed upon during the previous visit, are seen as positive steps towards unity and collaboration within the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Chow expressed hope for more intense collaborations and exchanges within the communion of love, fostering a spirit of unity among Catholic communities in Hong Kong, Beijing, and across the continent.