Beijing (AsiaNews) – Everything is ready in the capital ahead of tomorrow ceremony for the ordination of the new bishop of Beijing, Msgr. Giuseppe Li Shan, who – according to various church sources – has full Holy See approval.
The ordination will begin a 9.00 am tomorrow morning in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Nan Tang). Because political figures of note are among those present all of the guests have been asked to reach the church by 7.30 for security reasons. The number of the congregation is limited and has been equally distributed among representatives of the bishops, clergy, religious and lay. In order to take part in the ceremony many priests and seminarians have been in the capital for days, travelling from Shanxi, Hebei, Guangdong. Journalists are not being allowed to attend the event; but it is highly probable that the ban only regards foreign press, while state agencies will be permitted entry.
According to AsiaNews sources, the principal ordinant will be Msgr. Giovanni Fang Xingyao of Linyi (Shandong). Msgr. Paolo Pei Junmin of Liaoning will also take part in the celebration. Both prelates (54 and 38) are part of the new generation of bishops approved by the Holy See.
In recent days numerous faithful from both the Underground and Official Church have wondered if Msgr. Li Shan had Vatican approval, or if the tradition of Fu Tieshan, the patriotic bishop who died in April this year would be continued. Church sources in Beijing reassure that the ordination of Msgr. Li has papal approval.
Up until now Msgr. Li Shan has remained on spiritual retreat which traditionally precedes ordinations.
Msgr. Giuseppe Li Shan, 43, is considered by all to be a true pastor and a man of faith, capable of relating to the faithful and the political authorities. From Beijing, he is part of a family with a long Catholic tradition. He has never travelled abroad, not even to study.