Commenting on his new assignment, the bishop told the Fides agency: “This appointment shows that the Holy See gives great attention to the development of the Church in China. It also shows that the universal Church is anxious to keep ever closer contact with the Church in mainland China.”
Bishop Tong has worked at the Holy Spirit Study Center since the Hong Kong diocese opened it in 1980 to help the local Church authorities understand the continuing changes on mainland China. The center also promotes the unity of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong with both the universal Church and the Church in China.
The members of the center often visit mainland China, encouraging the faithful to pray for China and offering logistic support to Church personnel when they visit Hong Kong or other countries. Bishop Tong says his appointment is also the Holy See’s recognition of the work of the Holy Spirit Study Center.
In a statement to Kung Kao Po, the Hong Kong diocesan bulletin, Bishop Tong said the appointment “will be a good opportunity to be nearer to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The Missionary Congregation of the Holy See has always shown sincere concern for China.”
“When the bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-Chung died in September 2002, the Pope sent Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, to preside over his funeral. This was a demonstration of the affection of the Pope and the entire universal Church for China and Hong Kong,” Bishop Tong concluded.