Ningbo (Agenzia Fides) – In the early hours of 25 September, His Exc. Msgr. Mathew Hu Xiande, Bishop of Ningbo (Ningpo), in Zhejiang Province (Mainland China) died at the age 83. He had been hospitalized for a few days because he suffered from cancer.
He was born on August 27, 1934 in Zhejiang Province, and was baptized in 1949. In September 1950 he studied at the minor Seminaries of the diocese of Ningbo, and in 1957 of Xujiahui, in Sheshan.
In 1965 he had to leave the seminary because of persecution and spent many years in forced labor camps until 1978. After being rehabilitated, he continued to work as a simple farmer in his native village until 1984.
In 1985 he had the opportunity to resume theology courses at Shanghai Seminary and on November 21, 1985 he was ordained a priest. From 1987 to 2000 he was a pastor of Cixixinpu, where he spent all his pastoral efforts to build a lively Catholic community. Ordained Bishop coadjutor of Ningbo on May 14, 2000 by Msgr. Giuseppe Ma Xuesheng, he succeeded in leading the diocese until May 8, 2004.
He was a tireless pastor for the revival of the ecclesiastical community of Ningbo, which had almost disappeared in the years of the cultural revolution. He was also a passionate promoter of the study of the Bible. He also encouraged the spread of the second Vatican Ecumenical Council and updated liturgical texts. He suffered a lot for the Church during his life, and despite the trials, he persevered in faith and fidelity to the Pope. When he died, the Successor took possession of the diocese of Ningbo.
For three days, Msgr. Hu's body was honored in the church of Jianbei by many people who always loved and respected him as their pastor.
On the morning of September 27, the Mass was celebrated, while the funeral was held the following day with the numerous participation of priests and faithful. Today, the diocese of Ningbo has about 23,000 faithful, about thirty priests and thirty nuns. (Agenzia Fides, 13/10/2017)