ASIA/CHINA - Death of two bishops: Bishop Thomas Zhao Fengwu, a life of poverty and penance and Bishop James Xie Shiguang who spent 30 years in prison

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

Rome (Fides Service) - On 15 August, feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Thomas Zhao Fengwu of Yanzhou, Shandong (mainland China) died at the age of 85. The Bishop was born in 1920, ordained a priest in 1945 and a bishop on 18 May 1993. Bishop Zhao was taken ill during the night and died in a few hours despite immediate medical care.
Yanzhou diocese which lies 156 km south of Jinan, main city in Shandong, has about ten priests and twenty women religious members of two congregations: the Holy Family founded by Saint Joseph Freinademetz, SVD in 1910 - and the Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit started by Saint Arnold Janssen, founder of the Missionary Institute of the Divine Word. The diocese has about 50,000 Catholics. Bishop Zhao Fengwu will be remembered as a very active prelate, but a person who lived a life of poverty and penance.
Another Chinese Bishop James Xie Shiguang of Funing, Mindong, Fujian, (mainland China) died on Thursday 25 August. Born in 1917 he was ordained a priest in 1949 and a bishop on 25 January 1984. In May this year the doctors told the Bishop that he was suffering from severe leukemia.
The diocese of Funing/Mindong, north of Fuzhou, main city of Fujian province, has a community of 75,000 Catholics, assisted by about 30 priests and 50 women religious of two different congregations. Bishop Xie will be remembered as a good and faithful servant and for 30 years spent in prison. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 30/8/2005 - Righe 20; Parole 272)