HONG KONG, JUNE 5, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A Catholic missionary, Maryknoll Father Thomas Peyton, received the annual Humanity Award from the Hong Kong Red Cross and Radio Television Hong Kong for his selfless services to the needy in Hong Kong and mainland China.
The 81-year-old American missionary received his award, along with four others, on May 26. The Red Cross explained that it was in honor of their “long term contributions to humanity through serving the vulnerable.”
The Red Cross praised Father Peyton who, “serves, as his first priority, those who face prejudice, having been abandoned by society or being seen as a burden” in Hong Kong and mainland China for three decades after he was sent to Hong Kong in 1981.
On arriving to a parish Father Peyton visits local residents to find out their needs, and helps to start up numerous new services, the Red Cross said. He also visits prisoners and those who sleep out on the streets.
“A parish is a point to serve the community,” Father Peyton said following the ceremony. “When my parishioners learn about my works, they will join me,” he added.
In 1994, Father Peyton also began his relief work in Mainland China, where he visited people suffering from leprosy in 12 provinces, including Guangdong and Sichuan.
The Deputy Chairperson of Hong Kong’s Red Cross, Vincent Lo, said that people are “fragile when facing sickness and disasters. However if all of us can lend our hands to the needy, we can brighten up the world.”
He encouraged all the awardees “to continue to devote themselves to humanitarian work, and to promote humanitarianism in all walks of life, so that more in need can get their helping hands.”