05/08/2006, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN
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Bishop Mgr Pei Junmin ordained with Pope's approval

He is the new coadjutor bishop of Shenyang. There was a large crowd of believers; most had to follow the ceremony on a large screen in a square outside the Cathedral.

Rome (AsiaNews) – At least 5,000 Catholics celebrated the episcopal ordination of Fr Paul Pei Junmin, approved by the Holy See, which took place some days after illicit ordinations criticized by the Vatican.

Mgr Pei was ordained coadjutor bishop by the current ordinary bishop, Mgr Jin Peixian. At the ceremony that took place yesterday in the cathedral of the Sacred Heart, the coadjutor bishop of Xian, Mgr Antonio Mingyan, was also present, together with Mgr John Liu Shigong of Wumeng (Mongolia Interior); Mgr Fang Xingyao of Linyi (Shandong).

During the homily, Mgr Jin highlighted the link between the ordination and the feast of the Good Shepherd (fourth Sunday of Easter): "We thank God not only for granting us a new bishop, but [we thank him] also for vocations of young priests and nuns in our diocese." The diocese of Shenyang has more than 70 priests and as many seminarians; 150 sisters and around 100,000 faithful. Mgr Pei so far has occupied the posts of vice-rector and dean of studies at the major seminary. He is an expert in biblical theology and as bishop, he has chosen as a motto "In verbo autem tuo (following your word)".

More than 100 priests, including some who came from abroad, especially from Korea, participated in the Ordination Mass. In Shenyang diocese, there are some groups of Korean ethnicity, and there are ongoing ties between Catholics in South Korea and China.

Only a small percentage of the crowd of 5,000 faithful could participate in the ceremony inside the church; most followed the ordination on a large screen placed in the square opposite the cathedral. The presence of such a large number of believers is above all due to the fact that within the Church, it was known Mgr Pei had the approval of the Holy See. Only a few days earlier, on 30 April and 3 May, the Patriotic Association forced candidates and bishops to hold two illicit ordinations without Vatican permission. The events were branded by a statement of the press office of the Holy See as a "serious violation of religious freedom" and an obstacle to dialogue between China and the Vatican.

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