Monday, 27 October 2003

Taiyuan (Fides Service) – Mission Sunday 19 October was a great day at Feng Sheng He parish in TaiYuan, ShanXi province central China: 16 catechumens received the Sacrament of Baptism. The parish priest and parishioners say the new Christians, the fruit of evangelisation, are a gift to the Holy Father for the 25th year of his ministry as Head of the Universal Church.
Feng Sheng He parish is situated in a poverty stricken area of mostly mining families. The Parish priest Father Joseph tells Fides: “Our community truly lives the Gospel, giving witness among the local people. Many have come to know Jesus and the Christian faith. This commitment has borne fruit. Some 200 people have followed the catechumenate leading to baptism. The newly baptised are zealous and often bring friends and relations to church. In this parish, in keeping with my predecessors, we give special attention to mission. For years special mission collections have been taken for two months before Mission Sunday. Missionary activity is always included in bidding prayers. Mission is a duty for all the baptised and our Catholics are deeply aware of their responsibility".
"Of course – he says – our catechumens know that their path of growing in the faith does not end with baptism indeed it has just begun! In fact the parish offers a post-baptismal support course for the newly baptised.”.
By way of conclusion Father Joseph tells Fides: “We wish to offer the fruits of our evangelisation to our beloved Holy Father, to share in celebrations for his 25th year of pontificate. We pray that we may be united in heart and mind to imitate the Pope in his dedication and to follow the example of unconditioned love given by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all our neighbours”.
Feng Sheng He parish has a community of 1,300 Catholics, but it is growing fast. According to Hebei Faith Press information 2002, Tai Yuan diocese in ShanXi province has 70.000 Catholics, gathered in 25 parishes with more than 90 chapels and churches, served by 45 priests, 8 elderly 37 are young. (NZ)( Fides Service 27/10/2003 Lines: 41 Words: 431)