01/31/2024, 17.33
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Minbei, Fujian, sees China's third new episcopal ordination

Bishop Peter Wu Yishun, 59, approved by Pope Francis for the apostolic prefecture of Shaowu, without a bishop since the expulsion of Salvatorian Bishop König in the 1950s. The rite - which closes the triptych of ceremonies announced for these days - was presided over by Beijing Bishop Li Shan.

Nanping (AsiaNews) - This morning in Nanping's church dedicated to the Nativity of Mary in the Jianyang district of Fujian province, the third of the three episcopal ordinations under the Agreement between the Holy See and Beijing for the appointment of bishops, which had been announced for these days, took place.

Fr. Peter Wu Yishun, a 59-year-old priest, was ordained bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Shaowu (Minbei,  the name used by Beijing to indicate the northern part of Fujian).

This third ceremony follows those held in Zhengzhou in Henan on 25 January and in Weifang in Shandong on 29 January, after more than two years of standstill during the period straddling the second renewal of the Agreement.

The new ordination is also particularly relevant for the province in question, Fujian, which is one of those where historically the presence of Catholic communities in China is most concentrated.

Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing presided over today's celebration, together with the other bishops of Fujian Bishop Vincenzo Zhan Silu of Mindong and Bishop Joseph Cai Bingrui of Xiamen, and Bishop Francis Xavier Jin Yangke of Ningbo in Zhejiang Province.

Unlike what happened a few days ago with the erection of the diocese of the new diocese of Waifeng, in the communiqué in which the Holy See gave news of the ordination, it is said that Msgr Wu Yishun becomes bishop of what remains an apostolic prefecture, associating only the new denomination of Minbei - given by the Chinese authorities to this local Church - with that of Shaowu with which it was established in 1938 and entrusted to the Salvatorian missionaries.

It should be noted that this ecclesiastical district had not had a bishop since the time in the 1950s when the then Prefect Mgr Maximilian König was forced to leave China like all the other missionaries (he would later die in exile in 1964).

Fr Wu Yishun, a native of the diocese of Xiamen, is the priest to whom the "official" Church bodies controlled by the Party had entrusted responsibility in 1999 for the the area they referred to as the  "diocese of Minbei" .

According to the website chinacathiolic.cn, the election as bishop would take place on 18 January 2022. However, the Holy See dates the approval of the appointment by Pope Francis to 16 December 2023.


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