Going one step further under the pandemic with blessings

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and friends,

Hong Kong faces the 5th wave of the Covid-19, with the number of positive cases on the rise during the last week. It has been over two years since this pandemic outbreak, and it continues to upset us that the virus still threatens our lives.

In the wake of the recent escalation of the Covid news and pandemic prevention measures:

Let me express my closeness and prayers for those affected: those under quarantine, those living in buildings that are under lockdown and those who need to have the mandatory testing. A sudden change in their daily lives and anxious waiting for the test result are never easy.

My thoughts and prayers are also for those medical and nursing professionals, the frontline staff in testing and cleaning, and the government officials; they all need to deal with a tremendous amount of work in a limited time frame. It is an unimaginably stressful situation for them.

According to public health professionals, preventing the spread of the Covid-19 requires cooperation from all parties in the city. The two-year-long outbreak has made many of us experience the so-called “pandemic fatigue.” However, we must believe that the pandemic will be over one day, and we can then take off our facemasks and resume our daily life joyfully.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in these stressful times, besides fulfilling all the preventive measures against the pandemic, I invite you to take a step further to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need. Depending on your ability, please consider donating to a charity organization, like the Caritas-Hong Kong, some diocesan, religious or lay associations, or other secular NGOs to help the people in need. Pay special attention to those who are emotionally or psychologically disturbed. A brief phone call or a text message conveying your regards to the family members, friends, co-workers or classmates under hardship will be of great help.

Dear friends, when you feel troubled, remember to have a half-minute break, to focus on breathing: breath-in, breath-out, recalling a grateful moment or event, no matter however small it is. It is a simple but good way to calm us down.

The Chinese New Year is around the corner; let me also take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones good health and abundant blessings from heaven throughout the Year of the Tiger.

+ Stephen Chow Sau Yan, SJ
Bishop of Hong Kong