OPEN CHURCH ORDAINS CHINESE DIVINE WORD PRIEST BISHOP OF YANZHOU

China
1993-07-09 00:00:00

Divine Word Father Thomas Zhao Fengwu was ordained the Bishop of Yanzhou on May 18 in Jinan, Shandong province, eastern China.

China-appointed Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide of Jinan and Zhoucun, head of the government-sanctioned Bishops´ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPC), officiated.

The two co-ordainers were China-appointed Bishop Joseph Sun Zhibin of Yidu and China-appointed Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ma Xuesheng of Zhoucun.

The ordination took place when Bishop Zong returned to Jinan from Beijing to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a priest and 35th as a bishop. Bishop Zong´s administrative duties require him to be based in the Chinese capital.

The episcopal see of Yanzhou has been vacant since China-appointed Bishop Shi Linge died during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution (1966-76).

Father Zhao, who was rector of Yanzhou cathedral in 1952, was sent to re-education through labor during that same period.

Soon after his release, he returned to Yanzhou diocese and subsequently taught at the Holy Spirit Minor Seminary in Jinan, Anthony Liu Bainian, CCPC vice-chairman, told UCA News.

He was elected administrator of Yanzhou diocese in December 1992, said Liu, a native of Shandong. Yanzhou city is 500 kilometers south of Beijing.

Bishop Zhao was born in 1920 in Jining, Shandong. He entered the Society of the Divine Word and was ordained a priest in 1945.

Yanzhou has five priests and about 30 sisters serving more than 50,000 Catholics, with 12 churches and worship places, according to Liu.

-- Yanzhou was entrusted to the Society of the Divine Word when it became an apostolic vicariate in 1924. When the hierarchy was formed in China in 1946, Yanzhou was elevated to a diocese headed by Divine Word Bishop Theodore Schu.

After the founding of the People´s Republic of China in 1949, foreign missioners were expelled from the diocese. Bishop Shi was elected and ordained a bishop without papal approval in 1958.

END

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