Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – The Bishops of the Triveneto Episcopal Conference "expressed an opinion in favor of initiating the cause of beatification of Cardinal Celso Costantini (1876-1958), a figure of great missionary and pastoral charity zeal as well as evangelizer of China, a native of the diocese of Concordia - Pordenone". The statement of the Bishops of Triveneto informed of the decision taken during a day of study dedicated to catechesis, and proclaiming the Gospel which was held on September 30 at the headquarters of the Regional Conference in Zelarino (Venice).
Born in Castions di Zoppola on April 3, 1876, Celso Costantini was ordained a priest on 23 December 1899. He was parish priest in various parishes, showing great missionary spirit. In 1920 he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Fiume, and elected Bishop on July 22, 1921. On August 12, 1922 Pope Pius XI appointed him the first Apostolic Delegate to China, elevating him to the dignity of Archbishop.
In 1924 he promoted the first "Sinense Council", Plenary Council of China, held in Shanghai. Thanks to his work, on October 28, 1926, the first 6 Chinese Bishops were consecrated by Pope Pius XI in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. In 1927 he founded the first Chinese religious congregation, the Congregation of the Disciples of the Lord, to promote evangelization in China carried out by the Chinese. Thanks to his efforts the first Chinese Catholic University, Fu Ren, now in Taiwan was founded.
Back in Italy, from 1935 to 1953 he was Secretary of the Congregation "de Propaganda Fide", current Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and during his office, the church hierarchy was established in China in 1946. Pope Pius XII elevated him into the cardinalate in the consistory of 12 January 1953. He died in Rome on October 17, 1958, between the death of Pius XII and the election of John XXIII. His radiant figure and his work remain as a reference point for relations between China and the Holy See. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 06/10/2016)