Shanghai's 'open' community holds funeral Mass for Bishop Jin
Disappointment over Bishop Ma Daqin's 'regrettable' absence
ucanews.com reporter, Shanghai
April 29, 2013
The “open” community of Shanghai diocese held a funeral Mass for Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian this morning, the third day after his death from a long battle with cancer.
A government-organized memorial service is scheduled at the Longhua Funeral Parlor in Xuhui district on Thursday morning, after which his body will be cremated.
Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin did not appear at the funeral Mass, which was held at St Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai and was attended by more than 1,000.
“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 said.
Some local Catholics expressed their disappointment and outrage.
“It’s regrettable that as the successor, Bishop Ma could not lead his fellow clergy to bid farewell to the deceased prelate. We are speechless, angry and saddened by the disrespectful suppressor,” a layman tweeted on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
However, a diocesan priest who preferred anonymity remained hopeful of Bishop Ma’s ultimate return to service.
“As the authorities now arrange for Bishop Ma to study, it is just a matter of time that he will return to take charge of diocesan affairs,” he told ucanews.com after the Mass.
Father Ignatius Wu Jianlin, the main celebrant at the funeral Mass, was appointed by Bishop Jin as the convener of the newly established Diocesan Coordination Committee in late January.
About 80 diocesan priests of Shanghai concelebrated the Mass. They were told about the funeral just yesterday, according to Church sources.
No bishops were in the liturgy while a few priests from other dioceses did not go up onto the altar.
Though it is a Shanghai custom to hold funerals for the dead within three days, the news of today’s funeral still surprised many people.
Some Church sources said they thought such a sudden arrangement for the prominent Church leader was to avoid government interference and the presence of illegitimate bishops.
However, the anonymous priest said, “It was nothing hasty as the diocese has prepared for Bishop Jin’s funeral after his condition turned critical several times in recent months.”
He added: “The diocese is also busy as the Month of Mary customarily begins tomorrow,” noting that there would be thousands of Catholics visiting the Sheshan Marian Shrine in the Shanghai suburb.
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