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    » 04/26/2011, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    Death of underground bishop of Luoyang. Decades under house arrest and hard labour

    Jian Mei

    Bishop Li Hongye, sick for a long time, died during the Easter Vigil, in his 67th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He suffered imprisonment for his loyalty to the pope. The funeral will be held April 29.

    Luoyang (AsiaNews) – Mgr. Peter Li Hongye, 91, bishop of Luoyang (Henan) died of a heart attack on April 23 last, during the Easter Vigil, as he blessed the water before baptisms. He was approved by the Holy See, but not recognized by the government in Beijing. His faithful remember him for his fortitude in living his vocation and his suffering in the forced labour camps and the time spent under surveillance.

    A priest from the diocese told AsiaNews that the funeral of Mgr. Li will next be held April 29 at the birthplace of the Prelate, Gong County, halfway between Zhengzhou and Luoyang.

    Other sources tell AsiaNews that Mgr. Li knew Latin perfectly. During the 50s and 60s was sent to forced labour camps ("reform through labor") in Qinghai. Since the late 80's he has always lived under close surveillance or house arrest.

    Bishop Li was in charge of the Religious sisters of the Diocese of Luoyang in the underground community and surrounding areas characterized by extreme poverty and lack of personnel, rendering even more heroic the work of Mgr. Li and his priests.

    Bishop Li was born on January 6, 1920. From a deeply Catholic family from 1937-1943 he studied at the Seminary of Kaifeng. Ordained priest 22 April 1944, he became pastor at Yanshi.

    From 1955 to 1970 he was arrested and sentenced to hard labour for his loyalty to the pope. The obituary prepared by his faithful describes this period as one of a "test of blood and fire."

    On August 7, 1987, he was consecrated underground bishop of Luoyang, he continued his pastoral work in Yanshi and other areas in Henan.

    Since 2004, he suffered from heart disease, has spent periods in hospital and was always ill.

    The Diocese of Luoyang has about 10 thousand Catholics, 20 priests and 30 nuns. In 1929, Luoyang became a apostolic prefecture, separating it from the Vicariate of Zhengzhou. Administered by the Italian Xaverian missionaries, it became an apostolic vicariate in 1935 and a diocese in 1946.
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    See also

    18/06/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
    Father Li Zhigang, appointed bishop of Chengdu, dies of cancer
    He was elected May 2011. So far he had not recieved papal mandate. He died surrounded by his priests and in prayer. He was very involved in the rebuilding of the buildings of the diocese, which was hit by the earthquake of 2008.

    12/01/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
    Osservatore Romano: underground bishop, "shepherd who gives his life for his sheep"
    The Vatican newspaper today published an emotional obituary on the life of Mgr. Leo Yao Liang, who was sentenced to 30 years hard labour for refusing to join a Church independent of the pope.

    15/09/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
    Mgr. Bartholomew Yu, underground bishop of Hanzhong, dies
    Witness of fidelity to the Pope, he was a point of reference for priests and religious of the underground Church and the official Church. He suffered arrests and isolation. He worked hard for reconciliation with the official Church with Msgr. Li Duan of Xian. A funeral mass for John Paul II was the ceremony of reconciliation between him and the official bishop of Hanzhong, Msgr. Louis Yu Runshen.

    09/02/2015 CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing hides the body of bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang: too "dangerous"
    The underground bishop of Yixian disappeared in police custody in 2001. In late January news of his death spread. But authorities denied the reports. Family members await his corpse or ashes. The long list of underground bishops who have died in prison after torture. The government is terrified of possible demonstrations at his funeral. The visit of Yu Zhengsheng, "number four" from Baoding Politburo. Out of his 93 years of life, Bishop Shi spent 54 years in prison because of his fidelity to the Church and the Pope.

    17/02/2011 CHINA
    Death of Mgr. Hu Daguo underground bishop of Shiqian
    The prelate, 89, has spent decades of his life re-education camps and restrictions because of his Catholic faith. His funeral will be held on 20 February in Guiyang, in Guizhou Province.



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