03/30/2011, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN

Jiangmen, first Episcopal ordination in 2011 after Beijing-Holy See tensions

by Jian Mei
Mgr. Liang Jiansen is Bishop of Jiangmen (Guangdong), a diocese vacant since 2007. All the bishops who participated in communion with the Holy See. The priorities of the newly-ordained: the formation of priests, nuns and laity. In the diocese there is a shrine that commemorates the place where St. Francis Xavier died in 1552 (Shangchuan).

Jiangmen (AsiaNews) - Mgr Paul Liang Jiansen was ordained today as the new bishop of the Diocese of Jiangmen (Guangdong), which has been without a pastor since 2007.

This is the first Episcopal ordination in China in 2011 and is the first since tension between China and the Holy See, as a result of the illicit ordination of Chengde (see 20/11/2010 Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination) and the National Assembly of Catholic Representatives (see 09/12/2010 Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church), where some bishops were forced to participate, against the express recommendations of the Holy See.

Bishop Liang, 46, is approved by the pope and recognized by Beijing. He told AsiaNews that he feels "relieved" and "sustained" by the fact that the liturgy was held in a smooth way. The ordination was attended by at least 1300 the faithful of his diocese and other parts: from the province of Shanxi and Guangdong, from Hong Kong and Macao.

The bishop is happy to have been ordained by his former seminary classmates of 20 years ago. presided over the liturgy Bishop Gan Junqiu of Guangzhou presided the liturgy, which was concelebrated by Bishops Liao Hongqing of Meizhou and Su Yongda of Zhanjiang.

Also participating were Bishop Tan Yanquan of Guangxi, Bishop Li Suguang of Jiangxi and Bishop Shen Bin of Haimen. All the bishops who attended are legitimate and in communion with the Holy See.

The liturgy, held in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Mary, in Jiangmen, was also attended by his mother and relatives.

Born May 6, 1964, Mgr. Liang studied at the regional seminary in Wuhan (Hubei) and was ordained priest in 1991. He became vicar general in 2000 and was elected bishop of Jiangmen in November 2009.

"My cross is heavy - he said - but I trust in the Lord to protect and help me live out this episcopal ministry". There are 7 priests and more than 20 sisters, serving a Catholic population of about 20 thousand in the diocese. “There will be five or six new Baptisms at Easter”, he added.

The prelate plans to strengthen the spiritual formation for priests and nuns and will begin formation training for the laity, and he hopes to restore church properties still not yet returned to the diocese.

Mgr. Liang’s predecessor was Mgr. Peter Paul Li Panjshir, who died in 2007 at 95.

The Diocese of Jiangmen, once assigned to the Maryknoll missionaries, is famous mainly because within its boundaries there is the island of Shangchuan and the church that commemorates the place where in 1552, Saint Francis Xavier died, a place of pilgrimage for thousands of faithful.
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