1990-07-19 00:00:00

The first bishop of Kichow (Qichun) in central China, Italian Franciscan Bishop Orazio Ferruccio Ceol, 78, died in June in his native place Trento, Italy, about 500 kilometers north of Rome.

Bishop Ceol was consecrated the head of Kichow diocese in the city of Hankou, Hubei province, Sept. 26, 1948.

Born on July 26, 1911, the late prelate was ordained a priest in March 1934. Four months after his ordination, he arrived in mainland China.

According to the July 13 issue of the Sunday Examiner, the Hong Kong diocesan English weekly, Bishop Ceol was arrested and condemned to death, but the sentence was changed to immediate expulsion from China in 1952.

Bishop Ceol left mainland China on May 5, 1953 and returned to Italy, said Franciscan Father John Baptist Moscardo, superior of the Franciscan Fathers General House in Hong Kong.

The bishop remained in Italy for some time before going to Lima, capital of Peru, where he founded and directed the Pope John XXIII College for Chinese, a primary and secondary school for overseas Chinese living there, said Father Moscardo.

The bishop returned to Italy for health reasons, but returned to Hong Kong to see China again before his death. "The last time he came to Hong Kong was seven years ago," Father Moscardo said.

-- Kichow, made a diocese in April 1946, had 15,570 Catholics in 1948.

Today the former 11 dioceses of Hubei province that included Kichow have merged into Hankou, Hanyang, Laohekou and Yichang dioceses.


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