Prisoners receive papal ‘mooncakes’

Hong Kong – Pope Francis’ response to a request for a symbolic ‘mooncake’ donation to prisoners in Hong Kong has generated excitement and a flood of cash donations since it was published in early September.

The Asian Church news portal reported that Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired Archbishop of Hong Kong, issued the request to Pope Francis in August. He noted that the new Pope was well-known for his charity and regard for the poor as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina, “so I guessed he would also be interested in donating mooncakes to prisoners here”.

Mooncakes are a traditional pastry eaten during the commemoration of one of China’s traditional festivals, the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival, which this year falls on September 19. For the past three years, Cardinal Zen has headed an effort to distribute mooncakes to prisoners in jails throughout Hong Kong.