Orphanage pioneer bishop dies aged 88

Orphanage pioneer bishop dies aged 88

2010-02-02 16:25:03
ZHAOXIAN, China (UCAN) -- Retired Bishop Raymond Wang Chonglin of Zhaoxian in Hebei province, died aged 88 early this morning [Feb. 2], the Feast of Presentation of the Lord. The Vatican-approved prelate, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage, previously appeared in good health. The former underground bishop was famous for established the Liming (dawn) Family orphanage in 1988 after a struggle with local authorities. It is one of the earliest Church-run orphanages in mainland China since religious activities were allowed in late 1970s and cares for 138 orphans, mostly with physical or mental disabilities. They are looked after by nuns or adopted by Catholic families. Bishop Wang was recognized by the Chinese government in 1998 but the government forbade him from exercising his episcopal ministry after he secretly ordained his Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Jiang Mingyuan (1931-2008) two years later. Father Simon Gao Baojin, diocesan administrator, told UCA News that priests living in the Biancun cathedral in Ningjin county had heard Bishop Wang call for help at around 4 a.m. They called a doctor, who diagnosed the bishop having a stroke and anointed him before he passed away within an hour. The funeral for the late bishop is scheduled for Feb. 8 at Biancun church. His body will be buried in the church’s cemetery 40 kilometers away. Father Gao remembered Bishop Wang’s simple and virtuous life. “He had strong faith in God and loyalty to the Church,” he said. Bishop Wang is remembered also for restoring Church activities after the destruction of the Cultural Revolution. The diocese, which covers seven counties, now has 145 churches and mission stations serving about 60,000 faithful. It has about 60 priests, 124 nuns, 170 minor seminarians and 52 major seminarians. With the passing of Bishop Wang, the Church in China now has 87 bishops, of which 31 "underground" prelates are not recognized by the government. Bishop Wang
  • Born May 12, 1921
  • Ordained as priest Nov. 30, 1950
  • Sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment in 1958. He was released in 1979 after religious activities in China revived and began his preaching life in Hebei
  • Secretly ordained Bishop of Zhaoxian in 1983
  • Installed openly on Feb. 16, 1998 as Bishop of Xingtai, an open church diocese that includes Zhaoxian diocese
  • Detained after secretly ordaining Father Joseph Jiang Mingyuan as coadjutor bishop in August 2000 and forbidden to ordain new priests after his release
  • Retired in 2005 but resumed his episcopal duty in 2006 due to the ill health of Bishop Jiang
  • CH08700.1587 February 2, 2010 43 EM-lines (398 words) Underground Bishop Of Zhaoxian, Hebei Province, Dies At 77 Church Home For Disabled Children Had To Struggle To Survive HOUSE CHURCH PROTESTANT DIES IN JAIL; CATHOLIC BISHOPS DETAINED
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