Leong’s family left their village in Guangdong and emigrated to Hong Kong after the British takeover in 1841. In 1850, Leong entered the local seminary together with his uncle Mark Leong (?-1904) and, after his philosophical and theological studies, was ordained a priest on 24 Apr 1862.
Leong was soon assigned to work in the inland districts, first in Sun On (Po On), and later in Kwai Hsin with great zeal and prudence, gaining the respect of everyone. His linguistic gifts helped him to master the Hakka, Hoklo, and Mandarin languages.
In 1898, Leong was recalled to Hong Kong and entrusted with the care of the Chinese Catholic community and associations of the city. In 1912, he celebrated his golden jubilee and received from the holy father the title of “apostolic missionary” as an official appreciation for his missionary commitment.
On 18 May 1920, the day of Leong’s funeral, the Hong Kong Telegraph wrote: “Possessed of an active and cheerful disposition, and endowed with great tact and common sense, he proved to be a most valuable auxiliary and wise counselor in the work of the propagation of faith.”
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- Ryan, T., The Story of a Hundred Years (1959).