11/15/2010, 00.00
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Shandong: new coadjutor bishop ordained in Zhoucun

by Zhen Yuan
The ceremony took place today in Zibo cathedral. Some 46 priests and 1,500 Catholics attended, including a number of underground believers. Mgr Jospeh Yang Yongqiang is the tenth official bishop to be ordained this year, in communion with the Holy See and recognised by the government.

Jinan (AsiaNews) – Father Joseph Yang Yongqiang, 40, was ordained coadjutor bishop of Zhoucun (Shandong) today at the cathedral in Zibo City, Shandong. The ceremony was attended by 46 priests and about 1,500 parishioners, including some underground believers. Mgr Yang Yongqiang is the tenth bishop ordained in China this year, with the approval of the Holy See and the recognition of the Chinese government.

Bishop Fang Xinyao of Linyi officiated the ceremony, whilst Bishops Li Mingshu of Qingdao and Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng co-ordained. Coadjutor Bishop Zhang Xianwang of Jinan and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi of Shanghai, a native of Zhoucun, concelebrated.

All the bishops are natives of Shandong, and are in communion with the Holy Father.

Mgr Yang Yongqiang chose as his motto ‘To serve others and not to be served’. The diocese he will lead, Zhoucun, has 16,000 faithful, two bishops and 12 priests.

He is replacing ordinary Bishop Ma Xuesheng of Zhoucun, who is currently in hospital because of poor health.

Born into a Catholic family in Zhoucun in April 1970, Bishop Yang expressed a desire to become a priest at a young age. He studied in the minor seminary in Jinan (1987-1989) and then in the major seminary in Sheshan, Shanghai (1989-1995).

In June 1995, he was ordained into priesthood, and the next year, he became a parish priest. In 2003-2004, he furthered in studies at the national seminary in Beijing. From May 2005 to 2010, he taught at the Holy Spirit Seminary in Jinan.

An underground priest from Shandong told AsiaNews that he would not attend open-Church ordinations in the same province because Bishop Gao Kexian of Yantai (Shandong) had died in detention for refusing to join the local patriotic association.

Also a native of Zhoucun, Bishop Gao had his body cremated and buried shortly after it was returned by police in 2005 (see Bernardo Cervellera, “Di che è morto mons. Gao Kexian?,” in AsiaNews, 14 September 2004).

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