Father Carlo Tei has turned 80 and says he plans to stay as parish priest of Sai Kung for another five years. Father Tei said Catholic Diocese rules require priests to resign when they reach 75. He did so, but received a letter from John Cardinal Tong asking him to remain in his post until he was 85. “Worldwide the church is short of priests,” he said. “I will continue as long as I am healthy.”
Father Tei has been head of Sacred Heart Church at Yau Ma Po St and its parish since hand-over day 1997. The district has about 3000 church-going Catholics, he said. “All over the world around 20% of Catholics are active.”
He first arrived in Hong Kong from Italy 53 years ago and he wants to stay as long as he can. “Even after 85 if I’m healthy I will help out as necessary, saying mass and hearing confessions.”
Father Tei’s career in the church has been varied. In Hong Kong he has served congregations in Aberdeen, Kowloon, Shatin, Taipo and Tsuen Wan. These parish appointments have been interspersed with spells in Italy as rector at seminaries and colleges in Italy. He has the initials PIME after his name, which means he was ordained (1958) as a priest of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Relations.
Assisted by Father Sergio Ticozzi, Father Tei conducts mass three times on Sundays at Sacred Heart Church, twice in Cantonese and once in English. Anticipated mass is held on Saturdays and there are other services on holidays and weekdays.
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