Three Chinese priests and a nun have passed away from illnesses since the start of the year

The youngest, Fr Shi from Liaoning, was 45. Fr Han of Lanzhou died at the age of 56. Fr Wang, 87, from the archdiocese of Beijing, was a victim of Maoist repression when he was young. Sister Teresa Li Xuefang was a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Shaanxi.

Rome (AsiaNews) – At least three priests and a nun have passed away in China due to illness since the start of the year.

The youngest, Fr Joseph Shi Wenjiu (pictured 2), died yesterday in the northeastern province of Liaoning; he was 45 according to an obituary by the Archdiocese of Shenyang, the provincial capital.

His funeral will take place tomorrow morning (local time) at the Shanwanzi church in a simple liturgy due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Fr Shi was born in 1977 into a Catholic family. He studied at the Shenyang seminary and was ordained a priest in 2002.

He served as pastor in several parishes – Jinzhou, Yebaishou, Niuzhuang, Kaiyuan, and Santaizi – before taking a rest at an archdiocesan centre in late 2021.

Fr John Han Jinxi from Lanzhou (pictured 1), in the northwestern province of Gansu, died last Saturday from liver disease at the age of 56. He had served in the mountainous areas of the local archdiocese, including Zhangye, Gaotai, Shandan.

Fr Han was ordained in 2005 by Bishop Joseph Han Zhihai of Lanzhou. He had entered the diocesan seminary in 1998 and that in Xi'an in 2000 completing his studies in 2004.

Fr John Wang Baofa, of the archdiocese of Beijing, died at the age of 87 on 22 January.

Born in 1935 into a Catholic family in Tianjin, he studied at the seminary in Beijing from 1950 to 1958. After that, the Communist authorities sent him to work in a factory first for two years and then on some farms.

After China’s political opening under Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s, Fr Wang went back to study at the Beijing seminary in 1985-1986. Ordained a priest, he served in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Beijing between 1986 and 1996.

His funeral took place on January 24 in Beijing’s Cathedral St Saviour (North Church).

Sister Teresa Li Xuefang died on 25 January at the age of 61. She was a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, in the province of Shaanxi. She had joined the congregation in 1982.

In 1991 she professed her perpetual vow, and later served in various communities in the dioceses of Zhouzhi and Fengxiang, both in Shaanxi. Her funeral took place on 27 January.