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Retired bishop in western China dies aged 98

Bishop Anicetus Wang Chongyi of Guizhou was recognized by both Vatican and Chinese government

Retired bishop in western China dies aged 98

Bishop Anicetus Wang Chongyi of Guizhou was born into a Catholic family in 1919 and entered a minor seminary in Guiyang when he was 13. (Photo courtesy of the Guizhou Diocese)

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
China

April 20, 2017

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Catholics in western China are mourning the loss of retired Bishop Anicetus Wang Chongyi of Guizhou who passed away in hospital April 20. He was 98.

Father Peter Wang, parish priest of Huangguoshu church in the bishop's home town, told ucanews.com that Bishop Wang had spent a month in palliative care before he died.  

"His last Easter was spent in hospital," Father Wang said.

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Guiyang released a notice asking Catholics to pray for the bishop's soul.

Bishop Wang was recognized by both the Vatican and the Chinese government.

He was born into a Catholic family in 1919 and entered a minor seminary in Guiyang when he was 13. He was ordained as a priest in 1949.

After the Chinese Communist Party took over China, he was sent to villages to work as a laborer. Three years after communist leader Mao Zedong died in 1976, the bishop was allowed to return to his church ministry.

Maria Hu, a church worker, said Bishop Wang was a serious and devoted man. "He prepared his homily with notes for every Mass he celebrated," Hu told ucanews.com.

Despite his age, the bishop participated in the Chrism Mass in 2015, she said. When Bishop Wang retired in 2014, church affairs were passed on to his successor Bishop Paul Xiao Zejiang.

Guizhou Diocese is combined with the dioceses of Anlong, Guiyang and Shiqian by the open church authority in 1999. Bishop Wang was ordained as the Bishop of Guiyang in 1988 but later oversaw the combined dioceses.

Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher at the Holy Spirit Study Centre of Hong Kong Diocese, said Bishop Wang was a very kind person and a traditional type of bishop.

"He took reference from the other combined dioceses in the management of his diocese. He was very kind and respected the underground bishop of the original dioceses like Shiqian," Lam told ucanews.com.

Guizhou now has one bishop and 23 priests to serve around 80,000 to 90,000 Catholics, some of whom belong to ethnic minorities.

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