Taiyuan (Agenzia Fides) - On 13 August, at 5:50 pm, His Exc. Msgr. Silvestro Li Jiantang, Archbishop Emeritus of Taiyuan, in Shanxi Province (Mainland China) passed away. He was almost 93 years old and died in the home, where he had been hospitalized for some time due to his health condition.
Msgr. Li was born on December 23, 1925 in the village of Dongergou, Shanxi Province. In 1939 he entered St. Anthony minor Seminary, in the diocese of Yüci, in Shanxi.
He was ordained a priest on 16 March 1956, he carried out his pastoral ministry as parish priest of Nanjiaowufuying and later in his parish of origin. From 1966 to 1980, he did 14 years of forced labor because of his faith. Consecrated Archbishop of Taiyuan on December 18, 1994, he carried out his episcopal ministry with great pastoral zeal and fidelity to the Apostolic See until November 4, 2013, when he resigned.
On November 24, 2013 his coadjutor, His Exc. Msgr. Paolo Meng Ningyou, succeeded him in the pastoral guidance.
Between 1996 and 2008, Msgr. Silvestro Li Jiantang was part of the Council of Governors of the Seminary of Shanxi, of which he was also Rector from 2000 to 2001. He also founded the minor Seminary of Taiyuan and the Diocesan Religious Institute Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. On August 17, in Taiyuan Cathedral, a solemn Mass was held for the soul of the Archbishop; later, the body was transported to his native village of Dongergou for the last tribute of the faithful and for the funeral Mass held on August 19th. He was then buried in the diocesan cemetery, in the area reserved for priests.
The archdiocese of Taiyuan, already a mission of the Italian Friars Minor Franciscans, has 25 parishes, 69 diocesan priests, 15 seminarians, 3 communities of religious women and about 100,000 faithful. (Agenzia Fides, 6/10/2017)