Yan'an (Agenzia Fides) - His Exc. Msgr. Francis Tong Hui, Emeritus Bishop of Yan'an (Yenan), in Shaanxi province (Continental China) passed away on 27 October, at 10:15 pm. He had been admitted to hospital in Tangdu following a lung infection. He was 83 years old. On 30 September 2010 the Holy See had accepted his request for resignation, presented due to advanced age and poor health.
Msgr. Tong Hui was born in Lintong, Shaanxi Province, on August 15, 1933. In September 1941 he entered St. Teresa seminary in Xi'an and on 23 December 1956 was ordained a priest. In 1958 he was appointed parish priest in the south of Lintong.
In March 1965 he was imprisoned for fifteen years because of his faith and fidelity to the Successor of Peter. He was released in 1980, appointed parish priest of Guojiahao, in the diocese of Xi'an, and in 1988 was parish priest of Gongyi. In 1993 he became Vicar General of the Diocese of Yan'an, and on March 19, 1994 was ordained Bishop Coadjutor of the same ecclesiastical district. On 28 December 1999 he succeeded Bishop Joseph Wang Zhenye.
In 2006 the Holy See appointed His Exc. Msgr. John Baptist Yang Xiaoting as Coadjutor Bishop, who after the resignation of Msgr. Tong Hui, succeeded him as Diocesan Bishop of Yan'an.
The Diocese of Yan'an, in central China, already mission of the Spanish Franciscans, has an area of about 80,000 square kilometers and has 20 parishes, 33 diocesan priests, 2 religious communities and about 65,000 faithful.
Msgr. Tong Hui was much loved by his faithful, who was seen as a zealous and caring Pastor. From the hospital of Tangdu, where he died, his body was transported to the church in Maotuan, where he was exposed for the veneration of the faithful and where the celebration of the funeral was held on November 3. (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2016)