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Archbishop Hon sends condolences over Bishop Jin

Shanghai bishop's passing made him feel 'united' with China Church

Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
Vatican City

May 3, 2013

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The top Chinese official at the Vatican expressed his heartfelt condolences for the death of Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, adding that Pope Francis shared the grief of Chinese Catholics.

In messages posted on the website of the Vatican Fides news agency, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, secretary of the Vatican missionary department, said he would have wanted to come to Shanghai for Jin's funeral, “as one of your brothers, without any rank or pretense”.

“However, this is one of those times in which the decision is not my own, and this is a part of life,” he added.

Hon stressed that Bishop Jin's death “made me suddenly feel very much united to you, my dear Brothers and Sisters.”

In his message, Hon also recalled that he studied under Bishop Jin at Shanghai's Sheshan seminary.

“In those days, we not only had lectures, but also basketball games and outdoor hiking. I particularly like the Marian Month and your chanting,” he wrote.

Bishop Ma Daqin, Jin's auxiliary whose movements have been restricted by the government ever since his ordination last July, was the choirmaster at the time.

In his message, Archbishop Savio expressed his “special” closeness to Bishop Daqin, who was not present at the funeral.

“He was taken to study sessions alone at the Shanghai Institute of Socialism two weeks ago, probably to avoid him presiding over the funeral Mass,” a Church source told on April 29.

“The Church, like a choir, is in need of a good conductor, so as to turn the Gospel into a beautiful song,” Hon remarked.

The deputy head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said he alerted Vatican authorities of Jin's worsening condition. “Even Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, showed his concern.”

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