08/01/2016, 15.48
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Funeral of Msgr. Huang Shoucheng tomorrow. Agreement with the local government on the ceremony and cremation

by Wang Zhicheng

Funeral will be held tomorrow at 6.30 am. Checkpoints set up to curb the flow of the faithful. Only 3 thousand people allowed into the cathedral. Ban on miter and pastoral buried with corpse. But faithful succeed in gaining permission for episcopal ring, pectoral cross, skull cap and floral arrangements, as well as small procession to the cremation. The tomb, ruined by bad weather of recent days, restored by the government, who wants to stop the prelates ashes from being buried in the cathedral for the homage of the faithful. The successor of Msgr. Huang is Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin. He, like his predecessor, has spent several years in prison.

Mindong (AsiaNews) – The funeral of Msgr. Vincent Huang Shoucheng, who died on 30 July, will be celebrated tomorrow at 6.30 am, in Mindong's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary. Thousands of faithful are pouring into the city from across the province of Fujian, but the police has set up checkpoints on roads to curb the influx of the faithful who want to pay homage to the bishop.

Msgr. Huang was the bishop of the diocese, but belonged to the non-official Church and therefore was not recognized by the government as a bishop.

Local authorities have been in discussions with his successor, Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin and priests on to how to perform the ceremony to avoid “too much attention" and "too many people" gathering. This is why checkpoints were set up on roads leading to the city. The authorities have established that only 3 thousand people can attend the funeral in the cathedral. But the community has pointed out that tens of thousands more will remain outside of the place of worship, and that they must be given the opportunity to pay homage to the bishop.

Since the bishop was not recognized as such by the government, initially authorities did not want the corpse to be buried with any recognizable episcopal insignia. However agreement was reached and and Msgr. Huang will be cremated with his episcopal ring, pectoral cross and skull cap. The authorities were firm in not wanting either a miter or pastoral. So the faithful prepared a floral display in the form of a miter and pastoral to decorate the bishop's body (see photo 1).

In 2005, at the funeral of the previous bishop, Msgr. Xie Shiguang, authorities did not allow anyone to take pictures. This time it was impossible to prohibit photos or videos, given the presence of many faithful with cell phones.

In 2005 , the traditional procession from the church to the place of cremation was prohibited; now permission has been granted for a procession with 20 cars, but no more.

After cremation the faithful had wanted to honor the ashes of the dead, bringing them back to the cathedral - and in doing so, allowing many more faithful to pay homage - but authorities have been insistent: after the cremation, the ashes of Mgr. Huang will be buried in the grave already prepared for him for some time. The faithful tell AsiaNews that the was damaged by the recent typhoons. But the authorities have promised that the tomb will be repaired for tomorrow will be dignified enough to receive the remains of this great pastor.

Msgr. Vincenzo Guo Xijin, 58, who succeeds Msgr. Huang,was ordained coadjutor on December 28, 2008. He was ordained a priest in 1984 and worked as a teacher in seminaries and as an economic administrator of the diocese. But his most important job was to nourish and support religious male and female and vocations to the priesthood. He also urged his young seminarians to undertake graduate studies at state colleges.

He was an unofficial priest and was arrested in 1990-'92; in 1993-'94; 1996.

In the late 1990s he was also appointed apostolic administrator of the diocese of Wenzhou for a short time.

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