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    » 02/08/2010, 00.00

    CHINA - VATICAN

    Over twenty thousand Catholics at the funeral of the Bishop of Zhaoxian

    Zhen Yuan

    Mgr. Raymond Wang Chonglin died February 2 at 88. He spent 21 years in prison for his loyalty to the pope. Underground bishop ordained in '83, he was accepted by the government in '88.

    Zhaoxian (AsiaNews) - Braving the cold winter, about 20 thousand Catholics took part this morning in the funeral of Mgr. Raymond Wang Chonglin, bishop of Zhaoxian (Xingtai). The large presence of faithful is due to the Catholics respect and love of their pastor, who spent 21 years in prison, but who never stopped working for his community (cf. 03/02/2010 Bishop Wang Chonglin, bishop of Zhaoxian (Xingtai) dies). The bishop died on 2 February at 88 from a brain haemorrhage.  

    The funeral took place primarily in the cathedral church of Biancun (Hebei) for the mass, then there was a moment of prayer in the birthplace of the bishop and then the burial.  

    Throughout all ceremonies hundreds of policemen controlled the situation. Mgr. Wang had been an underground bishop, but '88 was recognized by the government.  This morning at 9, the administrator of the diocese, Fr Simon Gao Baojin presided over the mass. Fr. Guo Jinjun, of Shunde, gave the homily. "The pastor is now in the [eternal]  pastures - said Fr Gao - but we hear his call. He is the servant and messenger of the Lord and he is not afraid. "  

    Mass was attended by more than 70 priests and more than 10 thousand faithful.

    The second part of the funeral took place with the transport of the remains to the prelate’s home village, Yuejiazhuang, where there was a moment of prayer, with the participation of tens of thousands of people.  

    Finally, the coffin arrived at the cemetery for priests in Zhujiazhuang, about 35 km from Biancun, where the body was interred in the presence of tens of thousands of Catholics, along with all the priests and religious of the diocese.

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    See also

    04/01/2010 CHINA
    Underground Bishop of Xiwanzi dies, security tightened for funeral
    Although the area is under heavy snow, thousands of faithful are expected for the funeral. The government bans display of Episcopal insignia, prohibits the publication of obituaries and allows only three priests to attend the ceremony. In 2009, 7 Chinese bishops died. In China only 94 pastors remain.

    15/10/2009 CHINA
    Over 20 thousand official and underground Catholics at the funeral of the bishop of Wenzhou
    The funeral of Msgr. Lin Xili, unofficial bishop, the government prohibits the use of the word "bishop" and forbids the dressing of his body with bishops insignia. A long procession of two and a half hours for burial in the cemetery of Panyang Hill Qiliang.

    19/03/2009 UZBEKISTAN
    Uzbek Christians face persecution and discrimination even after death
    The police and town authorities oppose a funeral for a man because his wife and son are Christian. Later they allow it, but in practically concealed form. Christians sentenced to prison solely because they gather together and pray. Persecution expanded against those who do not adhere to the country's official religion, Islam.

    19/12/2007 CHINA
    Underground and Official Catholics prepare themselves for Christ’s birth
    Elderly forced to travel up to 50 km to attend mass; priests careful to avoid arrest; checkpoints even in official churches. But Christmas is spreading and fast becoming a feast loved by the Chinese.

    30/06/2006 CHINA
    No solemn funeral service for Mgr Guo Wenzhi, underground bishop of Qiqihar

    The bishop, who was not recognised by the government, was of the best loved and respected figures of the Chinese Church. He ordained his successor, who was invited by the Pope to the Synod on the Eucharist. For the authorities, he was just a priest, and must be buried as such.





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