Hong Kong Study Report
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) in 1962-65 confirmed the need for revival of the ministry of permanent deacon.
In March 1988, the Council of Priests of the Hong Kong Diocese initiated a formal consultation on the establishment of the ministry of permanent deacon and set up a Task Force in May to study its implementation in Hong Kong. After listening to the views of the Priest Council and the Pastoral Council, the then Cardinal Wu Cheng Chung finally set up the ministry of permanent deacon for Hong Kong in 1996. On the fifth day after the return of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, for the first time the bishop ordained two permanent deacons for Hong Kong. Since then, 24 permanent deacons have been ordained.
The ‘Diocesan Commission for the Permanent Deaconate’ (The Commission), a body responsible for promoting the ministry of permanent deacon, is dedicated to addressing the various issues related to the development of the ministry. In December 2014, Hong Kong Catholic Diocese commissioned the Catholic Studies Center of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to conduct a comprehensive study on the development of the ministry of permanent deacon in Hong Kong.
It has been 25 years since the public consultation by the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese in 1992 on the subject of the ministry of permanent deacon. At that time, the churches in the entire Asia had not yet responded to the call of the Vatican Council II for setting up such a ministry. In the survey on “Should the Hong Kong Diocese set up a ministry of permanent deacon?”, about half of the clergy did not support the establishment of such ministry in Hong Kong. Since the first batch of permanent deacons came into practice in 1997, permanent deacon has been in existence in Hong Kong for twenty years. This year, in the “Study Report on the Ministry of Permanent Deacon in Hong Kong Catholic Church – 2017”, more than 90% of respondents were willing to accept the continuation of laity as permanent deacons. Such findings clearly witnessed the far-sighted vision of Cardinal Wu and the unyielding effort of all those supporting its development over the past 20 years. They also demonstrated the vocation of our permanent deacons who had responded to God’s calling, undergone formation and been ordained to take a consecrated life. During this period, the Diocese had been given increasing strength and support by a group of laity who were willing to serve the church and the society by their faith. Together with their wives and families, the permanent deacons unveiled many lovely and touching stories for us to share.
The Study report was presented to the public in 23 April 2017 in Chinese. The preface introducing the background and methodology of the study, and the Conclusion and Recommendation of Chapter 6 is now translated in the attached summary report.