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Apostolic Prefecture of Yiduxian

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Apostolic Prefecture of Yiduxian
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The diocese of Weifang (Yidu) covers an area of 16,139 square kilometer. It covers 6 cities (of Qingzhou, Zhucheng, Shouguang, Anqiu, Gaomi, Changyi), 2 counties (of Changle and Linqu) and 4 districts (of Weicheng, Kuiwen, Fangzi and Hanting). Qingzhou City was formerly the county of Yidu. Yidu was the name when the prefecture was created in 1931.


By the end of 2009, Weifang has a registered population of 8.63 million.


Mandarin is in use. Local people also speak the Weifang dialect.


Catholicism was introduced by western missioners during the Qing dynasty 1605. Yidu was first placed under the Archdiocese of Jinan in 1806 and later covered by the Diocese of Yantai. In 1931, the apostolic prefecture of Yidu was established and was first managed by the French Franciscan friars. The first prefect was Father Eugene Venance Guichard, OFM.

The Vatican's Annuario Pontificio 2007 (the Pontifical Yearbook) lists Yidu as an apostolic prefecture, but China?s government-sanctioned "open" Church recognizes it as a diocese. In 2006, there were 6 priests and 2 nuns serving about 10,000 Catholics. There are 5 seminarians and 2 postulants.

The last ordinary was Bishop Joseph Sun Zhibin. He was born to a Catholic family on April 1, 1911, in Linqu county, where Catholicism was introduced as early as in 1605. He received priestly formation in the minor and major seminaries in the neighboring dioceses in Shandong. He was ordained to priesthood in 1939. He was in prison for his faith during 1953-56 and was sent to reform-through-labor in Yidu 1966-1972 during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Ordained on April 24, 1988, Bishop Sun was among the five "self-elected and self-ordained" bishops in Shandong province. He was later legitimized by the Vatican. He passed away on Oct. 23, 2008 at the age of 97.


Weifang is the "throat" going through the lowland of the Shandong to the peninsula at the eastern coast. The railway and highways network makes it an important transportation hub for the province.


Weifang is located at the northern part of the tropical zone. Situated at the coast, it has a sub-tropical continental monsoon climate. It has distinctive seasons with the average temperature of 12.3 degree Celsius and an annual precipitation of 650mm.


Weifang is at the centre of the Shandong province. To its north it is the Laizhou Bay of Bohai Sea (or Bohai Gulf) and to its west it is the famous port city of Qingdao.


Weifang has a good development for the primary and secondary industry. It has one of the biggest bases for building ship engines in the world and the largest engine production company. For the agricultural production, it becomes an important city for handling by-product of farm produce, and has developed new breeds of chicken, peach and watermelons.


Weifang is famous of kite flying and nut-carving.

The first Weifang International Kite Festival was held in 1984. With the nomination of American David M. Checkley, Weifang was named the City of Kite-flying during the fifth Festival held in 1988. The festival is held April every year since then. In the 28th Festival held in 2011, it attracted over 2,500 kites equipped with audio, lighting, electric and firework competing in the various sections of the competition.

Using the seeds of walnuts as materials, craftsmen carve their art pieces. The most famous piece is called "Visit Chibi at night". In a tiny piece of walnut seed, the craftsman craft 5 people on a boat with the windows on the cabin clearly shown, telling the story of the famous poet Su Dongpo of the Song dynasty. In the World Expo 1915, held in Panama, the nut carving won the special prize and attracted the attention of many.

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