2010-07-14 13:15:33

Taizhou Diocese China celebrates first bishop in 48 years

(14 July 10 – RV) On Saturday, July 10 current, Anthony Xu Jiwei was consecrated Bishop of Taizhou in Zhejiang Province of Eastern China 75-year old bishop Xu had led the Diocese as Diocesan Administrator since 1999. He is approved by the Holy See and recognised by the government.

The liturgy was presided by Mgr Joseph Li Mingsu, Bishop of Qingdao, assisted by Bishop Joseph Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng, by Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen of Suzhou and Bishop Joseph Han Yingjin of Sanyuan. These are all Bishops in communion with the Holy See and are recognized by the government.

Bishop Xu was born in Shanghai April 2, 1935. He entered the seminary in Ningbo in 1948, then passed to Xujiahui (Shanghai) until 1958. From 1960 to 1985, due to political events, he was sentenced to five years in prison and then to long years of forced labour, including six years as a school teacher . The bishop recalled that period as a difficult time, but also as a time of grace, which strengthened his faith and prayer during which he has experienced that God loves him deeply and is with him every day

In 1985, returned to the seminary in Shanghai and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Ningbo where he worked as pastor. In 1999 he was transferred to Taizhou, where he became Administrator of the Diocese, working in the parish of Jiaojiang. Bishop Xu was able to study for a few years abroad, first in Korea and then in Europe.

A thousand faithful, also from Shanghai and Ningbo, attended the consecration of the new bishop, who is the second Ordinary of the Diocese, which has remained vacant since 1962 with the death of Bishop Joseph Hou Joshan. The district church has now about 6,000 faithful, fifteen priests and a dozen nuns of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity of St. Teresa, with about 25 churches and places of worship. Bishop Xu pointed out that many challenges await the small Diocese of Taizhou, but he is optimistic about a revival of evangelisation and a growth of the Catholic community.

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