Msgr. Giuseppe Ma Zhongmu, the only bishop of Mongolian ethnicity, has died. He was 101 years’ old

Unofficial bishop from 1983 to 2005, he was interred in a forced labor camp from 1958 to 1969 for his refusal to bow to the Patriotic Association. From 1969 to 1979 he worked as a laborer at a water depot. He translated the Roman Missal into the Mongolian language, but it did not receive approval because no one knew the Mongolian language at the Vatican.


Rome (AsiaNews) – Msgr. Giuseppe Ma Zhongmu Tegusbeleg, the only Mongolian bishop, died yesterday at the age of 101. Bishop Ma was an unofficial bishop, not recognized by the Chinese state, which considered him a simple priest. For the Holy See he was bishop of Ningxia, a diocese that embraces part of the autonomous region of Ningxia, part of northern Shaanxi and part of northern Inner Mongolia.

Bishop Ma retired in 2005 and lived as a pastor in his hometown parish of Chengchuan (Inner Mongolia).

His diocese has provided little biographical information. He was born in Chengchuan on November 1st 1919; he studied theology in Datong (Shanxi) and was ordained a priest on July 31, 1947. After a few years of study at the Fu Ren Catholic University (then in Beijing), he carried out his priestly ministry in Zhongwei and Hohhot.

In 1958, after refusing to join the Patriotic Association, he was sentenced to forced labor and branded as a "counter-revolutionary". Released in 1969, he returned to his hometown, where he worked as a laborer at a water conservation facility. Rehabilitated in 1979, in 1980 he returned to his ministry. On November 8, 1983 he was consecrated as the unofficial bishop of Ningxia, retiring in 2005.

According to the obituary of his diocese, Msgr. Ma translated the Roman Missal into Mongolian and had submitted it to the Vatican for approval. But unfortunately as "no one in the Vatican knew the Mongolian language" the translation has never been approved.

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