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Hainan ordains first priest in 60 years

Margarita Chen, Haikou

Margarita Chen, Haikou

Updated: May 22, 2012 06:40 AM GMT
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Hainan ordains first priest in 60 years
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The Church in Hainan Island in southern China on May 17 ordained its first priest in 60 years and consecrated the newly built Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Haikou city. Bishop Joseph Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou ordained Father Zhang Wenmin. Two other bishops from Guangdong also participated in the ordination, which was witnessed by 600 Catholics. Father Zhang, originally from Tangshan diocese in northern China, was sent to serve in Hainan while a seminarian. He was asked to stay to monitor the construction of the new church after the government granted five acres of land for the project. After construction was finished, lay people asked the deacon to stay because the diocese had been without a priest since the advent of Communist rule, said Father Yang Hailong, diocesan administrator. Hainan diocese now has two priests and two nuns serving 5,000 Catholics in eight churches on the island.

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