On October 21, 2015, we celebrated the two year anniversary of the presence of the Carmelite Order in Hong Kong. The mission in Hong Kong was preceded by the effort of Fr. Albertus Herwanta O.Carm., the General Councilor for Asia, Australia and Oceania of 2007-2013 and Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral O.Carm., the Prior General, who introduced the Carmelite Order to Mgr. John Tong, the archbishop of Hong Kong. The archbishop welcomed the Carmelites to work in Hong Kong. This effort was then followed up by Fr. Ignatius Joko Purnomo O.Carm., the Prior Provincial of the Indonesian Province of 2009-2015. He sent several Carmelites to study the possibility for the Carmelite to work in Hong Kong, to prepare the lodgment for the Carmelites, and to build networks with other institutions in Hong Kong.
On October 21, 2013, two Indonesian Carmelites, Fr. Heribertus Heru Purwanto O.Carm. and Fr. Paulus Waris Santoso O.Carm. arrived in Hong Kong. They were welcomed by some Indonesians living in Hong Kong and brought to the Maryknoll Father’s House at Stanley Hong Kong. There had been agreement that the Indonesian missionaries would stay at the house for two years before the Indonesian Province got their own house.
The first task of the Indonesian missionaries was to learn Cantonese language. They joined a language school to learn the language. They also helped serving the Indonesian Catholic Community of Hong Kong. They met every Sunday at the Catholic Chapel of the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres in Causeway Bay Road, Hong Kong.
Time went by and they had to move to another place. Fr. Heribertus Heru Purwanto O.Carm. moved to the Parish of Saint Jerome in the Tin Shui Wai, New Territory and Fr. Paulus Waris Santoso moved to the parish of St. Anne in Stanley. Thanks to God, after two years working in Hong Kong, Mgr. John Tong, the archbishop of Hong Kong, gave permission to the Carmelites to run a holistic retreat centre at Shek O, Hong Kong. The centre belongs to the Diocese of Hong Kong and used to be run by the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban. Fr. David Tristianto O.Carm. who was just ordained last year flew to Hong Kong to assist Fr. Heribertus Heru Purwanto O.Carm. in managing the retreat centre.