Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Vatican Reports Ordination of Two More Chinese Bishops with Papal Approval

Vatican media have reported news of the recent ordinations of two more bishops in mainland China, which they confirmed took place with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.

In their reports the Vatican media said Father Francis Lu Shouwang was ordained bishop of Yichang , in the province of Hubei, on 30 November, the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, while Father Joseph Gan Junqiu was ordained archbishop of Guangzhou (Canton), in the province of Guangdong on December 4.

The place: Yichang:

Mgr Lu Shouwang, is the bishop where the Three Gorges Dam is located.The life of the Church in Yichang has been disrupted by the pharaonic hydro-electric project, which has drawn many Catholic migrants from the countryside in addition to foreign and Chinese tourists. The new bishop has set up tens of “prayer points,” largely run by lay people, to respond to pastoral needs of his faithful. His mission and that of the Church in his diocese have been marked by the presence of this huge project.Yichang is located along the Yang Tze River, in Hubei province, an area called “China’s greatest concentration of hydroelectric resources.”

The Three Gorges Dam rises some 40 kilometers upriver—hence the bishop’s decision to add the dam to his Episcopal crest.

The construction of the dam, which is the biggest in the world, began in 1994 and should end in 2010.

The dam itself is 185 meters (607 ft) high and about 2,300 meters (7,661 ft) long.
Up to now some five million residents have been relocated to create the dam basin and avoid landslide and floods.

Since the project started millions of people have also moved from the countryside to the cities seeking employment.

Most of the 30,000 Catholics who live in the diocese are farmers, but the young and many adults are moving to Yichang to study. “The pastoral work for all this migrant population is an important challenge,” said the bishop.

In addition to parish churches, the diocese has set up “prayer points” to gather the faithful. Altogether the diocese has 21 priests, six seminarians and 12 nuns, but the laity plays an important role in pastoral activities in the “prayer points.”

In addition to Hubei’s migrant population thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists come to the city to visit the dam.

Guangzhou (Canton):

New Archbishop of Guangzhou: “Also in China the Church is One and Catholic.” Before imparting his final blessing on the faithful, Msgr. Gan recalled that the Church is “one, holy Catholic and Apostolic.”

The Catholic Church, even in China is “one holy Catholic and apostolic”. It was underlined by the new archbishop of Guangzhou, Msgr. Joseph Gan Junqiu, and minutes before he gave his parting blessing to the faithful who had gathered in Sacred Heart Cathedral to participate in his ordination.

The solemn mass took place in the “House of Stone”, the great cathedral that lies in the centre of the city. Press and faithful from other diocese were not allowed attend due to “lack of space”. About 900 people participated, each given an admission pass with the number of the pew assigned to them as well as their position within the same pew.

Msgr. Gan took advantage of the moment in which the congregation exchanged the sign of peace to come down from the altar, leave the cathedral and make his way to a room close by the Church, where other Catholics were following the mass via a giant screen. There he embraced the only foreigners who were present in a sign of communion with the Universal Church.

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