Changzhi: Everything ready for the ordination of former doctor Msgr. Peter Ding Lingbin
by Wang Zhicheng

The new bishop worked for years as a doctor before discovering his vocation. Msgr. Ding received the papal mandate two years ago. The ordaining bishops are all in communion with the Pope. Local authorities try to curb the participation of the faithful. Thousands expected to attend.


Changzhi (AsiaNews) - Everything is ready in Changzhi (Shanxi) for the ordination of the new bishop, Msgr. Peter Ding Lingbin, who discovered his vocation while he was working as a doctor. His appointment dates to 2013. During the same period he received papal mandate and in the interim served as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese. Beijing’s green light for the ceremony came a few weeks ago.

His ordination is to fully reconcile the situation of the diocese, where Msgr. Andrea Jin Daoyuan, ordained illicitly January 6, 2000 was bishop. Later Msgr. Jin asked to return to communion with the Pope, however has been retired for several years being 87.

All of the bishops in communion with the Pope will attend the ordination: Msgr. Giuseppe Li Shan, Archbishop of Beijing, who will preside; Msgr. Meng Ningyou Taiyuan (Shanxi); Msgr. Wu Junwei Yuncheng (Jiangzhou, Shanxi), Msgr. Li Shuguang of Nanchang (Jiangxi); Msgr. Zhang Yinlin  of Anyang (Henan). The retired bishop Msgr. Jin will also attend.

The local government is taking steps to ensure transport and safety. Civil authorities have mandated that all participants in the ceremony must have a pass and want to limit the number to a few hundred believers for the ceremony, which will take part in the cathedral dedicated to the Sacred Heart. But there are at least 5 thousand Catholics in Changzhi and it will be difficult to stop them.

Msgr. Lingbin Ding is 54 years old and was born on 20 July 1962. In 1982 he received his degree in medicine and until 1988 worked as a doctor in the hospital. In 1992 he finished his studies at the seminary in Wuhan (Hubei) and in that same year he was ordained priest. From 1995 to 2011 he was president of the Saint Anthony dispensary, owned by the diocese, for the medical service to the population, especially the poor. In 2011 he was secretary of the diocese and then apostolic administrator.

The Diocese of Changzhi, with a population of 3.5 million inhabitants was founded in 1946. But the Church has been present there since 1830 and was part of the Shansi Apostolic Vicariate, evangelized by the Franciscans. At present it has 51 priests, 22 seminarians, who serve more than 50 thousand faithful.