A CHINA-APPOINTED BISHOP IN YUNNAN ORDAINED IN HIS MID-EIGHTIES

China
1988-05-25 00:00:00

A priest at his mid-80s was installed bishop early this year in Yunnan, a southwestern province of China.

China-appointed Bishop Chen Mushun of Zhaotong, the only priest in the diocese, was ordained March 28 after being elected bishop by local Catholics in early 1987, a Church source here said.

Born in 1902, Father Chen was appointed vicar general of Zhaotong to replace Father Fan Kaiping, the then vicar apostolic, who fled abroad in 1951.

According to the source, the three dioceses -- Zhaotong, Dali and Kunming -- in Yunnan province have a total of about 60,000 believers. They are mainly ethnic minorities such as Zhuang, Miao, Yi, Bai and Lisu.

Father Liu Hancheng is the only priest in Dali diocese. The source said local Catholics refer to him as the bishop of Dali.

Kunming diocese is headed by China-appointed Bishop Kong Lingzhong, who was elected by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in 1962, with the assistance of eight other priests.

A minor seminary in Kunming, Yunnan´s capital, offers one year of formation and another year of in-service pastoral training for aspiring priests in the province, the source added.

Graduates are sent to the Chengdu regional seminary in Sichuan province for formal theology and philosophy study.

Four seminarians, two from Kunming and one each from Dali and Zhaotong, are expected to graduate from Chengdu seminary in 1989, the source said.

The source also said that an elderly seminarian, Xi Guangrong, from Yunnan was ordained a priest in Shanghai last year.

Father Xi is now working at a Church in Deqen, in the northwestern part of Yunnan near Tibet, where most Catholics are ethnic Zhuang.

Bishop Chen´s ordination ceremony, officiated by Vatican-appointed Bishop Matthias Duan Yinming, took place in Chongqing, Sichuan.

Bishop Duan was made bishop of Wanxian diocese in Sichuan in 1949. He is now a vice president of the Chinese Catholic Church Administrative Commission.

END

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