06/23/2010, 00.00
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Haimen diocese to pray for Church unity in China

by Zhen Yuan
The new bishop, Mgr Shen Bin, 41, was ordained two months ago. Clergy and nuns meet in prayer to mark the end of the Year for Priests, pray for Church unity in China and strengthen the faith. The diocese is preparing to launch its first summer youth camp, which is open to non-Catholics.
Nantong (AsiaNews) – Some 20 priests and nuns met in Haimen Diocese, Jiangsu province, to mark with a Taizé prayer the end of the Year for Priests and for Church unity in China (pictured).

Bishop Shen Bin, 41, told AsiaNews that this prayer vigil was “the first activity the local clergy and nuns celebrated after my ordination”. The meeting was held in the curia office. Fr Gu Hongjian, originally from the diocese, led the prayer.

“Mgr Shen reminded participants that they are witnesses to the love of Christ every day,” Sister Ji Yangfeng said, and that “they do so by respecting life and helping the faithful deepen their spiritual growth”.

At present, all the priests and all the nuns involved in pastoral work in the diocese are under the age of 50.

Taizé prayers “have become popular among the diocese’s Catholics,” the prelate said. “Silence, meditation and meeting with God through music as well always inspire our young people to reflect and pray.”

The diocese is currently preparing other activities as well. The first diocesan summer camp will begin on 1 August, the bishop said, with hopes that it might also attract non-Catholic youth.

The clergy is also preparing for its quarterly and biannual meetings to consolidate pastoral work and management.

In his first two months as bishop, Mgr Shen visited local parishes and the Marian shrine of Langshan, which drew thousands of pilgrims in May, the month dedicated to the Virgin, with some coming from afar.

The diocese of Haimen has 30,000 Catholics, 9 priests and 21 nuns. It is relatively young, established in 1926. The last bishop, Mgr Shen’s predecessor, was Mgr Yu Chengcai, who died in 2006.

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