Xingping (Agenzia Fides) - On 22 November last Archbishop Antonio Zong Changfeng, 79 died, seriously ill for many years. The Prelate was a native of the Diocese of Zhouzhi, Shaanxi, city of Xingping, Nanyue Village, where he was born on September 13, 1932 into a family of ardent Catholics. He entered, at the age of 12, St. John's Seminary in Wugong Puji and later studied philosophy and theology at the seminary of Fengxiang and Xi'an. Because of the political situation at the time he was forced to return home where he dedicated himself to agriculture, and the production of bricks in the factory in the village. Nevertheless he continued to nourish his vocation.
On 29 May 1979 at the age of 46, he was ordained a priest and sent to work in various parishes of the Diocese of Zhouzhi. Twenty years after his ordination, on June 13, 1998 he was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Kaifeng, Henan. Since 2008 he had retired from the exercise of his pastoral ministry, and lived with a nephew in the village of Nanyue. Mgr. Zong endured and suffered all kinds of difficulties during his life, but was able to build 13 churches. He was much loved by his people, who went to daily Mass until the last days of his life. He lived a frugal life, full of zeal for the pastoral work.
At the funeral, celebrated on November 29 last, three bishops, 40 priests and 3,000 faithful from various parishes in Counties that were under his care, attended. At the end of the Requiem Mass, the body was accompanied by bands and choirs to the cemetery at the church of his village, where he was buried. (Agenzia Fides 07/12/2011)