HANDAN DIOCESE OBSERVES FEBRUARY AS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

China
1991-02-14 00:00:00

Catholics in Handan diocese in Hebei province, northern China, reportedly pray fervently to the Holy Spirit this month, as they dedicate February to the Spirit.

Traveling Catholics told UCA News here in early February that during this month, Handan Catholics usually recite the "Come, Holy Spirit" prayer and do charitable services dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

The six-decade-old Holy Spirit prayer tradition in the Yongnian area of Handan diocese was reportedly personally approved by Pope Pius XI in 1933.

According to some priests in Handan, when at the Vatican in 1933 Pope Pius XI (1922-39) ordained Father Joseph Cui (Zoei) Shouxun to be the first Chinese bishop of Yongnian, the pope also endorsed and authorized the prayer tradition.

On the same occasion, Pope Pius XI approved the dedication of Yongnian´s congregation of religious women to the Holy Spirit, the travelers said.

However, clerics in Handan could not remember clearly the reasons for observing February as the month of the Holy Spirit, travelers added.

Yongnian diocese was incorporated into Handan diocese in the 1980s.

Nuns in Handan today still have the Holy Spirit as patron of their congregation, which has 38 professed sisters and dozens of novices.

Handan diocese is led by government-recognized Bishop Peter Chen Bolu with 12 priests who take care of Handan city and four parishes in the counties of Fei, Wei, Wu´an and Yongnian.

Of the diocese´s 90,000 Catholic population, 40,000 Catholics reportedly live in Yongnian.

Handan city lies 160 kilometers south of Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei.

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