Shi Jia Zhuang (Agenzia Fides) - Nine Chinese continental Major Seminaries opened the new school year in the month of September, as every year, except that of the Diocese of Shang Hai, the Seminary of She Shan. According to information provided to Fides by Faith Institute for Cultural Studies FICS, there are 80 new seminarians (one more than last year) who will begin the long journey of vocational formation that will last seven years. As always, the Seminar of He Bei always counts the highest number of entries: 26 new seminarians this year. In addition, 13 new seminarians for the National Seminar and for that of Shen Yang; 12 for those of Ji Lin and Shaan Xi; 2 for that of Beijing and Si Chuan. The Seminars of San Xi and Zhong Nan have no new seminarians for this year. In total there are now 486 seminarians preparing for priesthood in 9 seminars.
In June 52 seminarians who graduated completed their period of formation: 20 belonging to the seminar of He Bei, 16 to that of Shan Xi, 11 to the National and Shaan Xi; 5 in Ji Lin.
According to the deputy director of the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies FICS, thanks to a greater awareness of the importance of formation, particular need in China, almost all the seminars have opened their doors to religious women, organizing courses in theology, pastoral care, catechesis, for them. Also according to the statistics of the Institute, there are currently 213 nuns studying in Seminaries (especially those of Shan Xi, Shen Yang, He Bei and Shaan Xi, which was the first to welcome the sisters), almost half of them attend the Major Seminary of Shaan Xi, which includes 102 religious women students. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 19/09/2012)