09/22/2016, 14.01
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Wenzhou underground priests pay homage to the late (official) bishop

by Victoria Ma

A group of 16 priests from the underground Church held a "simple but solemn" ceremony of prayer in memory of the late Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang. Fr Paul Jiang, who led the group, was given “a vacation" this morning. Bishop Shao Zhumin, who succeeds the late prelate as ordinary, is still outside the diocese. Wenzhou Catholics thank the Holy See for this decision.

Wenzhou (AsiaNews) – On Sept 20, at 4 pm, Father Paulus Jiang Sunian of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), a Church leader of the underground community, led a group of 16 priests to Ma Qiao Shan Columbarium, Yongjia county, to “make up” a belated mourning of open-Church Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang, who died on Sept. 7.

However, on Sept 22, today, Father Jiang was “taken on a tour” again to Xining (Qinghai). He had been taken away before Bishop Zhu’s funeral and returned to the diocese afterwards.

Sources in Wenzhou said Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou is now also in Xining (Qinghai), northwestern China. Bishop Shao has been brought away “for vacation” by police since Aug. 23. He is still not allowed to return to the diocese, because Bishop Xu Jiwei of Taizhou, a neighboring diocese also in Zhejiang, is very sick.

On Sept. 21, the Holy See issued a statement through the Summary of Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, mourning Bishop Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou. At the end of the statement, it noted, “In accordance with canon law, Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, coadjutor of the same diocese, succeeds the deceased prelate.”

A Catholic of underground community of Wenzhou said he thanked God for the announcement. “If the question of bishop is resolved, the situation will be stabilized,” he said.

On Sept. 20, the priests of Wenzhou at the Catholic columbarium held a simple but solemn memorial prayer for Bishop Zhu, according to a brief that appeared on the blog of the open-Church community of Wenzhou in sina.com on Sept. 20. The brief was removed shortly after.

According to the brief, Father Zhong Jinxing of the open Church of Wenzhou received the group of priests with sincere welcome and warm hospitality, and accompanied them. Priests of the two sides shared their memories of Bishop Zhu.

Father Jiang and two of the other priests of the underground side of Wenzhou were taken away by government officials days before Bishop Zhu’s funeral on Sept. 13. The rest were contacted by police, warning them not to join the funeral. Around Sept. 14, the three priests subsequently were allowed to return to Wenzhou.

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