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    » 05/02/2013, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    Memorial service for Msgr. Jin Luxian. Message from the Vatican and the Diocese of Hong Kong

    Wang Zhicheng

    The ceremony was attended by government authorities,100 priests and 2 thousand people. Archbishop Savio Hon, Secretary of Propaganda Fide, a personal friend of Msgr. Jin, remembers the deceased bishop and bishop Ma Daqin, under house arrest. Condolences also from Card. John Tong. Absence of bishop for feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, on May 24th.

    Shanghai (AsiaNews) - The civil memorial service took place this morning of the official bishop of Shanghai, Msgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian, who died aged 97 on April 27. The diocese has received a message from the Vatican and one from the Diocese of Hong Kong, but they were not made public today.

    The religious funeral was held in the Cathedral of St. Ignatius in Xujiahui on 29 April. Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, auxiliary bishop of the diocese, was unable to attend.  He has been under forced house arrest since deciding to quit the Patriotic Association. The funeral, however, was also exempted from the presence of illegitimate bishops, allowing faithful and priests to participate without undue concerns.

    Today's ceremony was attended by government authorities, a hundred priests and about 2 thousand people, all gathered in Longhua in the great funeral hall. After a few speeches by the authorities, a lengthy eulogy was given by Fr. Ignatius Wu Jianlin, head of the Coordination Committee of the diocesan (see photo). The same Fr. Jianlin had presided over the funeral mass. He had been appointed by Msgr. Jin after the arrest of Mgr. Ma

    At the end of the speeches, the authorities led the kowtow, the triple bow before the body which was placed it on a bier surrounded by flowers. Each official placed a single red carnation on the bier. Then, all those present, in rows 10 deep,  bowed down in turn and laid a red carnation. After the ceremony, the body was cremated.

    The situation of the Church of Shanghai remains difficult. The official Council of Bishops, under pressure from the Patriotic Association, has stripped the title of Bishop of Shanghai from  Msgr. Ma, but it does not have the authority to do so, particularly given that the Holy See does not recognize the Council (which does not include underground bishops). For the Vatican, and most faithful of the diocese, Msgr. Ma is still the bishop of the metropolis.

    Both the Vatican and the Diocese of Hong Kong has sent messages to the diocese of brotherhood and condolences, devoid of any controversy.

    From the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Msgr. Savio Hon - a personal friend of Msgr. Jin - wrote of his sorrow at the death of the bishop and his displeasure at not being able to attend the funeral, although he was "present in spirit."

    Archbishop Hon also recalled that Pope Francis had been warned of the health conditions of Msgr. Jin and had prayed for him. In a veiled reference to the absence of Mgr. Ma Daqin, the Secretary of Propaganda Fide writes: " I was deeply moved by the pictures of the funeral Mass of Bishop JIN. There are so many familiar faces and my thoughts go out to all of you, my dear Brothers and Sisters, and, in a special way, to my dear brother Bishop Daqin, who was also with you in spirit. The Church, like a choir, is in need of a good conductor, so as to turn the Gospel into a beautiful song".

    Card. John Tong, Bishop of Hong Kong, has also sent a message in which he "thoughts and prayers to the prelates, all the clergy and the faithful of the Shanghai diocese and pray that God will give them strength to follow His will, to uphold our Catholic tradition, teaching and canonicity of the universal Church; and continue to promote unity, communion and development within the Church; as well as promoting evangelization and serving society as faithful witnesses of the love of God ".

    Both messages commend the deceased bishop and the community to the protection of Our Lady of Sheshan, the national Marian shrine, near Shanghai.

    May 24th is the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of Chinese during the whole month of May. Until last year the bishops of Shanghai made the pilgrimage together with the faithful, then celebrated Mass in the sanctuary. This year, with the death of Msgr. Jin, the detention of Msgr. Ma the illness of Msgr. Fan (the underground bishop, not recognized by the government), there will be no bishop to preside over the mass.

    Since 2008, after his Letter to Chinese Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has established that May 24 is also the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, where people are called to pray that the unity between underground and official Christians and communion with the successor of Peter be strengthened, also asking the Lord for the strength to persevere in Christian witness, even amid the suffering of persecution.

     

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    See also

    12/08/2008 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong bishop Tong in Beijing for Games, without meeting city's bishop
    A visit to the bishop of Beijing was judged as "inconvenient". Beijing must work harder to improve the life of the population, including from the spiritual point of view, beyond the moment of the Olympics.

    20/05/2010 HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
    You should be at the Marian shrine of Sheshan, Pope tells Card Zen
    Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus leads a prayer vigil for religious freedom and the Church in China. He reveals bits of conversation he had with Benedict XVI during the pilgrimage to Fatima.

    06/12/2006 HONG KONG – CHINA – VIETNAM
    Card. Zen: “Beijing should learn from Vietnam and be open to religious freedom”
    After a two-day visit in Ho Chi Minh City, the bishop of Hong Kong talked to AsiaNews about the deep faith of the Vietnamese people and the openness of the government towards the Church. He invited China to disavow the Patriotic Association and grant full freedom to its Catholics.

    11/04/2005 China – Vatican – Hong Kong
    Sino-Vatican relations after pope's death


    09/06/2008 HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
    Olympics, bishop of Hong Kong invited to inaugural ceremony
    The Chinese government has invited John Tong Hon, coadjutor bishop of the territory. The invitation, which was not extended to Cardinal Zen, has been accepted. Some experts describe it as "a gesture of good will", which nonetheless seems to be "only a matter of protocol".



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