Nanchang (AsiaNews) – Underground Catholics, including three priests, attended the ordination Mass for the new coadjutor bishop of Nanchang (Jiangxi), Jiangxi Province, last October 31. This was confirmed to AsiaNews, by the bishop himself, Mgr. John Baptist Li Suguang, after the ceremony which was held in the cathedral.
Bishop Li is the ninth bishop to be ordained in China in 2010.
Approved by the Holy See and recognized by the Chinese government, Bishop Li, says he wants to work hard for reconciliation between the Catholic communities (official and underground) currently living in the diocese. The prelate also stressed that his ordination was also known to the underground bishop of Yujiang, the 90 year-old Mgr. Thomas Zeng Jingmu. In any case, evangelization in parishes and formation work will top his agenda for developing the diocese with about 70 thousand Catholics,.
Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing officiated the ordination, and bishop Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng (Shandong) and bishop Shen Bin of Haimen (Jiangsu) were co-ordainers. Also present was the Ordinary of the diocese, Bishop Wu Shizhen, who is very ill. All four bishops are approved by the Holy See.
Bishop Li was born in 1964 in a Catholic family in Changzi, in Shanxi. After finishing high school in 1987, he entered the diocesan seminary: Then he studied at Beijing Diocesan Seminary.
He was ordained a priest in August 1992 and sent to Shuozhou for three years, and after, to the diocese of Jiangxi. He was appointed vicar general in 1999, and elected bishop coadjutor in July 2009.
At the ceremony were the uncle and relatives of the new bishop, from Shanxi. According to the new bishop, "The ceremony was very touching, I was especially touched to see this cooperation and unity among the priests and the faithful in preparations." There were a thousand Catholics and the Mass was concelebrated by 80 priests.